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December 2010

Smithsonian December 2010

Opening Announcements, Cover, Contents

Departments:From the Editor, Now on, Letters, Indelible Images, Wild Things

Departments:Your, Digs>

Departments:Around the Mall, From the Castle, Behind the Scenes, The Object At Hand, Q & A, What’s Up, This Month in History

Mission Orangutan

Birutè Mary Galdikas has devoted her life to saving the great ape. But the animal now faces its greatest threat yet.

By Bill Brubaker

Searching for Buddha

An Afghan archaeologist insists a third giant statue lies near the cliffs where the Bamiyan Buddhas once stood.

By Joshua Hammer

Dinosaurs’ Living Decendants

Extraordinary fossils found in China show once and for all that birds evolved from dinosaurs.

By Richard Stone

The Gift

Seventy-five years later, the writer discovered an astonishing secret about his grandfather’s yuletide generosity during the Great Depression.

By Ted Gup

Marvel Arch

A photographer chronicles the construction of the Hoover Dam’s breathtaking new bypass.

By T.A. Frail

Under the Spell of San Miguel de Allende

Ever since American Stirling Dickinson arrived there in 1937, the Mexican town has been a magnet for the artists and U.S. expatriates.

By Jonathan Kandell

Picturing Tomorrow

Bad weather is on the horizon in artist Alexis Rockman’s eerie yet riveting paintings.

By Cathleen McGuigan

Presence of Mind

Rehabilitating Cleopatra: The Egyptian queen was more than just a seductress.

By Stacy Schiff

The Last Page

Daughter Knows Best