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ecosystems

The rhinoceros, an endangered animal

Rhinoceroses appeared on Earth around 40 million years ago spreading across Asia, Africa, Europe and North America, and shared the planet with humans for millennia, as can be seen from cave paintings portraying them, found in the Chauvet Cave in…

ecosystems

A witness of the ancient times

Baltic amber is largely used to make jewels. Amber is a resin that took origin thousands of years ago from some now extinct plants, and that has then fossilised over the millenniums from a soft and sticky resin into a…

ecosystems

An environmental quality indicator

The tundra, which is extremely rich in lichens, proved very useful to study the world’s distribution of pollutants: the wind actually carries poisons everywhere, even thousands of kilometres away. Lichens are excellent bio-indicators, i.e. natural signs that allow us to…

ecosystems

An underground hospital

In the Russia of the Ural mountains, amidst the woods of the taigs, there is a very peculiar hospital: it is located approximately 300 metres below ground and treats disabling and chronic diseases, for instance bronchial asthma and arthrosis. It…

ecosystems

Myths and legends of the forest

The dark and mysterious shadows of the forest are populated by fabulous creatures that have existed in men’s dreams for hundreds of years. Myths and legends describe them with lots of details: extravagant beings, good or bad according to the…

ecosystems

Peat-bogs

Peat is a material of vegetal origin, that forms in different types and sizes of water fields or in very humid areas from the incomplete conversion of dead vegetal residues. The natural environments where peat generally builds up are called…

ecosystems

By train through the steppe

Number Three, this is the official name of the express train (also called Trans-Mongolian Railway), is the best and most comfortable way to visit the immense prairies of the steppe. Full of tourists from all over the world, it departs…

ecosystems

Resin from tree bark

Resin naturally forms underneath the bark of some trees, that are therefore called resinous trees. Resin, that can be easily found when walking in the woods, is used to make paints, glues and detergents. To collect it, one piece of…

ecosystems

Sputnik in the steppe

The steppe was the protagonist of one of the most important events in the history of space explorations. The very first artificial satellite was launched from Kazakhstan on October 4th, 1957. It was Sputnik 1, a metal ball provided with…

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