Photo of the Day 1 December 2007

Honeybees, Maine, 2007
Photograph by Peter Essick
Swarming honeybees, like these on Maine's Appledore Island, frequently differ about where to establish a new nest. But the group usually chooses the best site. Bees reach this decision by gathering information, conducting independent evaluations, and holding a kind of vote. Scientists are studying such swarm intelligence—note the yellow and blue identifier dots on the bees in this photo—for clues about how humans might manage complex systems, from truck routing to military robots.

Photo of the Day 30 November 2007

Monkeys at Watering Hole, India, 1997
Photograph by Michael Nichols
A troop of Hanuman langur monkeys drinks from a watering hole used by tigers in India's Bandhavgarh National Park. Named after the Hindu monkey god Hanuman, these lanky, long-tailed monkeys are found in the humid forests, swamps, and even urban areas of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar (Burma).

Photo of the Day 29 November 2007

Dinosaur Fossils, Niger, 1997
Photograph by George Steinmetz
In Niger's Ténéré desert, a ridge of protruding bones suggests a dramatically different past. Millions of years ago, the parched plains of the Ténéré were spread with thick forests and broad rivers home to crocodiles, turtles, fish, and dinosaurs, including Suchomimus tenerensis, a recently discovered crocodile-like creature.

Photo of the Day 28 November 2007

Orchid, 2004
Photograph by Robert Clark
For legendary 19th-century scientist Charles Darwin, orchids, like the dew-beaded beauty shown here, epitomized the theory of natural selection, the belief that plants and animals evolve with traits favoring survival and reproductive success. By this measure orchids are a sensational success, with 24,000 species and 60,000 registered hybrids, far more than any other flowering plant on Earth.

Photo of the Day 27 November 2007

Aerial View, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Alaska, 2002
Photograph by Frans Lanting
The jagged University Range in Alaska's snow-draped St. Elias Mountains blushes red in the Arctic twilight. Many peaks in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park remain unnamed—and unclimbed—more than 20 years after the park was established.

Photo of the Day 26 November 2007

Butterfly on Leaf, Borneo, Malaysia, 2001
Photograph by Timothy Laman
Under the cover of darkness, a butterfly with folded wings rests gracefully on a leaf in the Danum Valley Conservation Area in Sabah, Borneo. The 170-square-mile (438-square-kilometer) conservation area is the largest undisturbed lowland rain forest in Malaysia, home to one of the world's most complex ecosystems.

Photo of the Day 25 November 2007

Swakopmund Dune Fields, Namibia, 2000
Photograph by Cary Wolinsky
Wind-sculpted dunes sprawl across the Sesriem and Sossusvlei dune area in Namibia's Namib Desert. The Namib is a cool, coastal desert that roughly translates to "an area where there is nothing" in the Nama language. It is known for its dramatic dunes, including the crescent-shaped barchan dunes shown here, some of which can reach 100 feet (30 meters) high and 1,200 feet (370 meters) wide.

Photo of the Day 24 November 2007

Sky Disk at Twilight, Germany, 2004
Photograph by Kenneth Garrett
Found buried in a hill in the town of Nebra in 1600 B.C., this 3,600-year-old sky disk reflects cloud-strewn skies in central Germany. The disk, which tracks the sun's movements along the horizon, contains the oldest known depiction of the night sky and may have served as an agricultural and spiritual calendar.