National Geographic

National Geographic


National Geographic Channel

National Geographic Society

The National Geographic Society, headquartered in Washington, D.C. in the United States, calls itself "the largest non-profit scientific and educational institution in the world". Its interests include geography, archaeology and natural science, the promotion of environmental and historical conservation, and the study of world culture and history.

Its historical mission is "to increase and diffuse geographic knowledge while promoting the conservation of the world's cultural, historical, and natural resources." Its President and CEO since March 1998, John M. Fahey, Jr., says National Geographic's purpose is to inspire people to care about their planet. The Society is governed by a twenty-three member Board of Trustees composed of a group of distinguished educators, businesspeople, scientists, former governmental officials, and conservationists. The organization sponsors and funds scientific research and exploration. The Society publishes an official journal, National Geographic Magazine, and other magazines, books, school products, maps, other publications, web and film products in numerous languages and countries around the world. It also has an educational foundation that gives grants to education organizations and individuals to enhance geography education. Its Committee for Research and Exploration has given grants for scientific research for most of the Society's history and has recently awarded its 9,000th grant for scientific research, conducted worldwide and often reported on by its media properties. Its various media properties reach about 360 million people around the world monthly. National Geographic maintains a museum free for the public in its Washington, D.C. headquarters, and has helped to sponsor such popular traveling exhibits such as the "King Tut" exhibit featuring magnificent artifacts from the tomb of the young Egyptian Pharaoh, which toured in several American cities, ending its U.S. showing at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.


The National Geographic Society was founded in Washington, D.C. on January 27, 1888, by 33 explorers and scientists who were interested in "organizing a society for the increase and diffusion of geographical knowledge." They had begun discussing forming the Society two weeks earlier on January 13, 1888, before gathering at the Cosmos Club, a private club then located on Lafayette Square near the White House. Gardiner Greene Hubbard became its first president and his son-in-law, Alexander Graham Bell, eventually succeeded him in 1897 following his death. Bell's son-in-law Gilbert Hovey Grosvenor was named the first full-time editor of National Geographic Magazine and served the organization for fifty-five years, and members of the Grosvenor family have played important roles in the organization since. Bell and his son-in-law, Grosvenor, devised the successful marketing notion of Society membership and the first major use of photographs to tell stories in magazines. The current Chairman of the Board of Trustees of National Geographic is Gilbert Melville Grosvenor, who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005 for the Society's leadership for Geography education. In 2004, the National Geographic Headquarters in Washington, D.C. was one of the first buildings to receive a "Green" certification from Global Green USA. The National Geographic received the prestigious Prince of Asturias Award for Communications and Humanity in October 2006 in Oviedo, Spain.


National Geographic Magazine

The National Geographic Magazine, later shortened to National Geographic, published its first issue nine months after the Society was founded as the Society's official journal, a benefit for joining the tax exempt National Geographic Society. The magazine has had for many years a trademarked yellow border around the edge of its cover.

There are 12 monthly issues of National Geographic per year, plus at least four additional map supplements. On rare occasions, special issues of the magazine are also created. The magazine contains articles about geography, popular science, world history, culture, current events and photography of places and things all over the world and universe. The National Geographic magazine is currently published in 31 language editions in many countries around the world. Combined English and other language circulation is nearly nine million monthly with more than fifty million readers monthly.

Other publications

In addition to its flagship magazine, the Society publishes five other periodicals in the United States:

* National Geographic Kids: launched in 1975 as National Geographic World, name changed in 2001. There are currently 15 local language editions of NG Kids. An Arabic edition of the children's magazine was launched in Egypt in early 2007.
* National Geographic Little Kids: for children aged 3-6.
* National Geographic Traveler: launched in 1984. There are seven language editions of NG Traveler.
* National Geographic Adventure: launched in 1999
* National Geographic Explorer: classroom magazine launched in 2001 as National Geographic for Kids, which has grown to about 2 1/2 million circulation.

The Society also runs an online news outlet, National Geographic News.

The Society previously published:

* The National Geographic School Bulletin, magazine similar to the National Geographic but aimed at grade school children, was published weekly during the school year from 1919 to 1975, when it was replaced by National Geographic World.
* During the 1980s and 1990s, it published a research journal which later closed.

The Society has also published maps, atlases, and numerous books.


Main article: National Geographic Channel

Stories by the National Geographic Society are shown on television. National Geographic specials as well as television series have been shown on PBS and other networks in the United States and globally for many years. The Geographic series in the U.S. started on CBS in 1964, moved to ABC in 1973 and shifted to PBS (produced by WQED, Pittsburgh) in 1975. It has featured stories on numerous scientific figures such as Louis Leakey, Jacques Cousteau, or Jane Goodall that not only featured their work but helped make them world-famous and accessible to millions. The specials' theme music, by Elmer Bernstein, was also adopted by the National Geographic Channel. The National Geographic Channel has begun to launch a number of subbranded channels in international markets, such as Nat Geo Wild, Nat Geo Adventure, Nat Geo Junior, and Nat Geo Music.

In 1997, internationally, and in 2001 in the United States, the Society launched, in part ownership with other entities like News Corporation, the National Geographic Channel, a television channel with global distribution for cable and satellite viewers.

National Geographic Films, a wholly-owned taxable subsidiary of the National Geographic Society, has also produced a feature film based on the diary of a Russian submarine commander starring Harrison Ford in K-19: The Widowmaker, and most recently retooling a French-made documentary for U.S. distribution with a new score and script narrated by Morgan Freeman called March of the Penguins, which received an Academy Award for the Best Documentary in 2006. After a record $77 million theatrical gross in the United States, over four million DVD copies of March of the Penguins have been sold. National Geographic Films will be launching a new feature film in July called Arctic Tale, featuring the story of two families of walrus and polar bears. Queen Latifah is the narrator of this film. Inspired by a National Geographic Magazine article, National Geographic opened in October 2007 a 3-D large format and Reality 3-D film called Sea Monsters," with a musical score by Peter Gabriel. National Geographic Films is co-producing with Edward Norton and Brad Pitt the 10-hour mini series of Steven Ambrose's award-winning "Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson and the Opening of the American West" for HBO. The National Geographic website ( provides a wealth of content in multimedia formats, including a recently launched site highlighting world music.

Support for research & projects

The Society has helped sponsor many expeditions and research projects over the years, including:

* Codex Tchacos - (conservation and translation of the only known surviving copy of the Gospel of Judas)
* Ian Baker (Discovers hidden waterfall of the Tsangpo Gorge, Tibet)
* Robert Ballard - (RMS Titanic and John F. Kennedy's PT-109 discovery)
* Robert Bartlett - (Arctic Exploration)
* George Bass - (Undersea archaeology - Bronze Age trade)
* Lee Berger - (Oldest footprints of modern humans ever found)
* Hiram Bingham - (Machu Picchu Excavation)
* Richard E. Byrd - (First flight over South Pole)
* Jacques-Yves Cousteau - (Undersea exploration)
* Mike Fay - (MegaTransect and MegaFlyover in Africa)
* Dian Fossey - (Mountain gorillas)
* Birute Galdikas - (Orangutans)
* Jane Goodall - (Chimpanzees)
* Robert F. Griggs - (Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes)
* Heather Halstead - World Circumnavigations of Reach the World
* Louis and Mary Leakey - (Discovery of manlike Zinjanthropus, more than 1.75 million years old)
* Gustavus McLeod - (First flight to the North Pole in an open-air cockpit aircraft)
* Robert Peary and Matthew Henson - (North Pole Expedition)
* Paul Sereno - (Dinosaurs)
* Will Steger - (Polar Exploration & First Explorer-in-Residence 1996)
* Spencer Wells - (The Genographic Project)
* Xu Xing - (Discovery of fossil dinosaurs in China that have distinct feathers)

The Society supports many socially-based projects including AINA, a Kabul-based organization dedicated to developing an independent Afghan media, which was founded by one of the Society's most famous photographers, Reza.

The Society also sponsors the National Geographic Bee, an annual geographic contest for American middle-school students. More than four million students a year begin the geography competition locally, which culminates in a national competition of the winners of each state each May in Washington, D.C. Alex Trebek has moderated the final competition since the competition began some seventeen years ago. Every two years, the Society conducts an international geography competition of competing teams from all over the world. The most recent was held at Marineworld in San Diego, California during the summer of 2007, and had representatives from 18 country teams. The team from Mexico emerged as the winner.

Hubbard Medal

The Hubbard Medal is awarded by the National Geographic Society for distinction in exploration, discovery, and research. The medal is named for Gardiner Greene Hubbard, the first National Geographic Society president. The Hubbard Medal has been presented 34 times as of 2000, the most recent award going posthumously to Matthew Henson, Robert Peary's fellow Arctic explorer.


1. ^ About the National Geographic Society. National Geographic Channel Canada.
2. ^ National Geographic Online. National Geographic Society.
3. ^ National Geographic Education Foundation. National Geographic Society.
4. ^ National Geographic Society. U.S. Department of State.
5. ^
6. ^
7. ^
8. ^ Explorer-in-Residence
9. ^

Further reading

* Poole, Robert M. Explorers House: National Geographic and the World it Made. New York: Penguin, 2004. {ISBN|1594200327}

See also

* National Geographic Magazine
* Royal Geographical Society
* Royal Canadian Geographical Society
* Maps of the United States
* National Geographic Bee (Credit: Wikipedia).


Press Release

3rd December 2007


One-Hour Special Dino Autopsy Opens New Window to Dinosaur Evolution

“It is quite fair to say that our dinosaur mummy [Dakota] makes many other dinosaurs look like road kill.”

- Dr. Phillip Manning, palaeontologist, University of Manchester

(Monday December 3) – National Geographic Channel uncovers the Holy Grail of palaeontology on Sunday December 16 at 10:30pmNZ: a partially intact mummified dinosaur. Named Dakota, this 67-million-year-old dinosaur is one of the most important dinosaur discoveries in recent times – calling into question our conception of dinosaurs’ body shape, skin preservation and movement.

In Dino Autopsy, a National Geographic exclusive, top palaeontologists in the United States uncover the rocky tomb of one of the most complete dino mummies ever found. Whereas most understanding of dinosaurs is based on fossilised skeletal remains, this specimen includes an uncollapsed skin envelope on many parts of the body and limbs, offering a degree of insight impossible from bone structure alone.

With the use of a giant CT scanner provided by the Boeing Company, scientists attempt to peer inside this preserved body and tail in one of the largest CT scans ever attempted. They also look for clues as to how this dinosaur was astonishingly preserved.

“It is quite fair to say that our dinosaur mummy [Dakota] makes many other dinosaurs look like road kill. Simply because the evidence we’re getting from our creature is so complete compared to the disjointed sort of skeletons that we usually have to draw conclusions from”, said Dr. Phillip Manning, palaeontologist, the University of Manchester.

Nearly everything we know of dinosaurs comes from bones and teeth, usually the only tissue durable enough to fossilise. Unlike most previous fossil finds, Dakota has survived millions of years almost entirely intact, with fossilised skin and tendons allowing the reconstruction of major muscles. Many of these body parts now allow a tantalising glimpse of a 3-D dinosaur.

Unearthed by then-teenager Tyler Lyson on his family’s land in North Dakota in 1999, Dr Manning and his team of scientists from the University of Manchester were then brought in to work alongside Tyler and his team of volunteers in the struggle to uncover the tomb.

As the documentary reveals, Dakota is wrapped in plaster and first transported to the Black Hills Institute in the United States, where it is revealed to be a Hadrosaur, more commonly known as a duck-billed dinosaur. A team of scientists in the United Kingdom then test skin samples, examining the fossilised skin to determine how Dakota might have looked and measuring muscle mass to determine how it might have moved.

With the aid of a giant Boeing CT scanner, they then peer inside Dakota’s preserved body and tail. A technology usually reserved for testing aircraft and spacecraft parts for NASA, a scan of the 3,600-kilogram body will be one of the largest ever attempted.

Dakota may contribute some significant findings to the field of palaeontology, altering our comprehension of how dinosaurs looked and moved. The Hadrosaur’s backside appears to be approximately 25 percent larger than previously thought; a surprising conclusion that could change the image commonly held of the dinosaur for the last 150 years. With a larger backside, the Hadrosaur would have been able to reach top speeds of 45 kilometres an hour – 16 kilometres faster than the T. Rex. The skin envelope also shows evidence the Hadrosaur may have been striped and not block coloured, producing an almost camouflage pattern on some parts of the body.

With its body so well preserved, researchers are able to more accurately estimate the spacing between vertebrae. While most museums have dinosaur spinal bones stacked tightly against each other, Dr. Manning’s research suggests the vertebrae should be stacked approximately one centimetre apart. This could mean that some dinosaur species are at least one metre longer than previously thought.

The National Geographic Society partly funded analysis of the mummified dinosaur, including the CT scanning of the fossil. Scientific papers based on study of the dinosaur are in progress.

Dino Autopsy is produced by National Geographic Television (NGT) for National Geographic Channels International.

Attached Image 25: Scientist examines the Hadrosaur’s skin under magnification.

For image requests please contact:

Katie Fisher | Publicist | SKY Television
T: +64 9 979 5793 | M: +64 21 344 048 |

For further details please contact:

Marcus Cammack | Publicist | National Geographic Channel
T: +61 2 9813 6875 | M: +61 417 684 585 |


Tara Moss

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