National Geographic Magazine

January 2022

The latest news in science, exploration, and culture will open your eyes to the world’s many wonders. Get a National Geographic digital magazine subscription today and experience the same high-quality articles and breathtaking photography contained in the print edit.

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National Geographic Society
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in this issue

2 min
on the cover

The 2021 “Year in Pictures” issue, our second, feels very different from the first. Many people have called 2020 their most challenging year ever: a pandemic worldwide, racial and political strife in the United States. Yet well into 2021, problems of all kinds persisted; the political rancor and climate crisis did not abate. On the other hand, vaccines and other medical advances, along with behavioral shifts, began to rein in the virus and raise spirits. You’ll see that glint of optimism reflected in many of the photographs we chose to represent this whipsaw year. Yet as we looked through the more than 1.9 million images added to National Geographic’s archives in 2021, we couldn’t settle on one photo that captured the year. So we created four covers, each reflecting a major…

2 min
from the national geographic society

THE PHOTOGRAPHY OF National Geographic is extraordinarily multifaceted, and therein lies its magic. A single image can spark our curiosity or influence our collective consciousness. I’ve known this since I was a little girl in Iowa, leafing through the pages of National Geographic magazine in my elementary school’s library. To this day, I vividly remember the impact of the iconic image of King Tutankhamun’s funerary mask on this March 1977 cover. It was a passport to an ancient dynasty, a visual journey of archaeological discovery that ignited my imagination. Photography was published in National Geographic for the first time in 1889, the year after the National Geographic Society and the magazine were created. It’s been a tremendous honor to build on this legacy during my first year leading the Society—a year…

3 min
national geographic contributors

Lynsey Addario A Pulitzer Prize winner, Addario has focused on COVID-19 death rituals in the U.K. and consequences of climate change for women. Pages 2, 54, 74, 92 Juan Arredondo In Colombia, Arredondo has looked at how former rebel fighters are reintegrating into society. Page 46 Javier Aznar González de Rueda His work showcases the significance of lesser known animals such as reptiles and insects. Page 118 Dan Balilty As Israel confronted the pandemic, Balilty trained his lens on images of daily life and the country’s push to vaccinate residents. Page 44 David Chancellor With a focus on Africa, Chancellor scrutinizes the ways humans and wildlife intersect. Pages 57, 114 Alejandro Chaskielberg Based in Buenos Aires, Chaskielberg has photographed places hit hard by natural disasters. Page 16 Alessandro Cinque In Latin America, Cinque investigates the effects of COVID-19 on native populations whose water…

3 min
the year in discovery

READ MORE ABOUT 2021’S SCIENCE NEWS AND BREAKTHROUGHS AT NGM.COM/JAN2022 MILLION-YEAR-OLD MAMMOTH DNA Two mammoth molars more than a million years old yielded the oldest DNA ever sequenced. The discovery hints that with the right conditions, DNA could help scientists unlock evolutionary secrets even further in the past. LUXOR’S LOST CITY A 3,400-year-old metropolis built by Tutankhamun’s grandfather was hidden for millennia by Egyptian sands. Found west of modern Luxor, the warren of buildings gives a glimpse of ancient Egyptians’ lives at the height of the empire’s wealth and power. UNDERSTANDING THE RED PLANET TWO ROBOTIC EXPLORERS touched down on Mars’s rusty red surface: NASA’s Perseverance rover and China’s Zhurong rover. Both have a lofty goal of searching for hints of past life on Mars. Zhurong marks China’s first landing on another planet. Perseverance achieved other…

11 min
stay strong

UNITED STATES • ARGENTINA • AFGHANISTAN • DEM. REP. CONGO IN JULY 2021 the Indonesian photojournalist Muhammad Fadli drove with his cameras to a cemetery on the Jakarta outskirts and understood, again and more profoundly, how wrong he had been. Over a stretch of weeks during March and April, Fadli had let himself believe that life as he knew it was righting itself: He saw a nationwide inoculation campaign, markets starting to bustle again, malls reopening. But no. It was like that lull in the horror movies, the brief fake serenity before the thing roars up again. Now in this new burial area, one of six commissioned when the pandemic filled the city’s main public cemetery, earthmoving machinery was clearing more ground even as mourners bent over fresh graves. At the entrance gate,…

4 min

INDIA • DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA • INDONESIA • TAIWAN • TEXAS • ISRAEL • COLOMBIA • PERU Opportunities Lost: New strains of the virus and uneven responses to vaccines delayed the world’s return to normal. IT WAS SUPPOSED to be a triumphant year, the year we defeated COVID-19. Revolutionary vaccines—developed at breakneck speed from genetic technology decades in the making—were rolling out, ushering in the largest global immunization campaign in history. Lockdowns, isolation, masking, and sparsely attended funerals would give way to open borders, family reunions, and rebounding economies. In 2021 life would return to normal. What we didn’t know, though, was that the vaccination drive would falter. In the United States, millions spurned vaccines despite a deadly winter surge followed by another in the summer. Scientists making discoveries and adjusting recommendations aroused…