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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

Let’s save the baby seals

In Canada, Norway and Greenland, baby seals are killed for their skin and fur, to be sold all over the world. Italy is one of the main importers of baby sealskin, for its shoe and clothing factories. China, Korea and…

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

The loess

A peculiar trait of these soils is that they are easily moved by the wind: the vegetation has shallow roots,that can be further loosened by a dry spell or excessive grazing. The strong winds that blow in these tree-less areas…

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

A frozen mammoth

During the Pleistocene (approximately 1.5 million years ago), the tundra covered all central Europe and was inhabited by spectacular animals, for instance mammoths and woolly rhinoceroses. In 1999, the Siberian permafrost gave back a huge specimen of a mammoth, which…

ecosystems

Treatment with lime trees

Some parts of the plants have healing properties: lime trees are among the most common ones. Lime trees (Tilia cordata) are some of the many plants that are grown to decorate parks, gardens and walks. Lime trees are considered to…

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

A meteorite explodes in the tundra

The Siberian tundra is also known for a spectacular astronomic event. On June 30th, 1908, in a remote region of central Siberia, near the river Tunguska, a meteorite having a diameter of 50 metres exploded in the earth’s atmosphere 8…

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