Opening Announcements, Cover and Contents, Contributions, From the Editor,
Discussion, From the Castle
This month our theme is endings--of meals, life's stages, Earth, the universe, hungry insects and sentences.
Hot for Tamales
Our intrepid reporter heads back to the Mississippi Delta in search of his favorite food, and the title of tamale-eating champ.
By W. Hodding Carter
A card that was never mailed is a memento of a tragic season.
By James L. Swanson
Smithsonian, Books, Fast Forward
What's new around the Mall
Ready For Her Close-Up
Take an exclusive backstage tour of the National Zoo and meet Bao Bao, the newest star giant panda, a species that has evolved to beguile fans worldwide.
By Susan Orlean
Time Travelers: Walking the Ancestors Trail
On a wild hike inspired by famed evolutionist Richard Dawkins, every step promises a strange encounter with the origins of species.
By Jerry Adler
Secrets of Yellowstone
The first national park isn't all geysers and hot springs. Check out Mother Nature's cunning adaptations to one of the largest
volcanoes in the U.S.
Tales from the Pit
The exquisitely preserved fossils in Germanys Messel Pit reveal how our warmblooded ancestors came into their own after the death of the dinosaurs.
By Andrew Curry
The Venus Fixers
As Allied Forces fought the Nazis for control of Europe, an unlikely unit of American and British art experts waged a shadow campaign to save Italys cultural treasures.
By Ilaria Dagnini Brey
Barbarians at the Gates
When jihadists seized northern Mali, a secret network of activists risked their lives to rescue thousands of irreplaceable manuscripts.
By Joshua Hammer