Caspian tigers once roamed all over Central Asia, ranging from modern day Turkey to northwestern China. The huge cats stalked through tall reeds and shrubbery, hunting boar and deer. But in the first half of the 1900s, hunting and poisoning decimated the subspecies, and the Soviet Union's agriculture projects drained the tiger's swampy terrain to grow cotton and other crops. Disappearing habitats and food sources had wiped the Caspian tiger off the map by the 1950s.
We like to think that human speech is special. It defines our species and separates us from those animals that we'd rather think of as inferior. The trouble is that it's difficult to know when and how human speech arose because “language expressed via speech leaves no fossils behind.”
California is usually drenched with sunlight. But this week, it's just drenched. A series of storms have pummeled the state, dropping staggering quantities of rain and snow—leading to flooding, mudslides, and a whole lot of water pouring into reservoirs that were just about dried out. But is it enough to end the state's persistent drought?