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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 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…

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

Flour and forest perfumes

Forest produce is also quite valuable and can be picked in any season: berries in summer, mushrooms in autumn and nuts of resinous trees in winter. In the old times, during the famine, the Scots pine (sapwood) bark was used…

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

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

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

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…

ecosystems

Lemmings

One of the most typical animals of the tundra is the lemming, a small rodent. Lemmings reproduce very quickly and reach sexual maturity very early in life: when they are 38 days old, the females can already give birth. When…

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