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Underworlds

Science is a journey into the unseen, the hidden, the unknown. It’s a journey into the Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc Cave in southern France…By Kevin Berger

Science is a journey into the unseen, the hidden, the unknown. It’s a journey into the Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc Cave in southern France to discover the exquisite wall paintings of lions, bears, hyenas, and human handprints, from 30,000 years ago. It’s a journey into the human brain to uncover the neural connections that guide our behavior in the dark, outside the light of conscious awareness. Seismic forces, slowly shifting tectonic plates, the earth remaking itself, are happening beneath our feet, and we above want to know how. Now that artificial intelligence is commanding tasks and jobs that were once the province of human ingenuity, we’re facing a whole new monolith of opaque action. In the ocean deeps and mountain depths where tree roots are joined in a massive network of mutual sustenance, life thrives. We’re burying the sins of our industrial ways in vital underground ecosystems and changing everything. How will the Anthropocene end? Has the dominant human species terminally broken the ecological links that sustain its own health and survival? So many of the answers are out of sight, but in this issue of Nautilus, we’re going into the underworlds to find them.

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