Christopher Joyce

Christopher Joyce is a correspondent on the science desk at NPR. His stories can be heard on all of NPR's news programs, including NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition.

Joyce seeks out stories in some of the world's most inaccessible places. He has reported from remote villages in the Amazon and Central American rainforests, Tibetan outposts in the mountains of western China, and the bottom of an abandoned copper mine in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Over the course of his career, Joyce has written stories about volcanoes, hurricanes, human evolution, tagging giant blue-fin tuna, climate change, wars in Kosovo and Iraq and the artificial insemination of an African elephant.

For several years, Joyce was an editor and correspondent for NPR's Radio Expeditions, a documentary program on natural history and disappearing cultures produced in collaboration with the National Geographic Society that was heard frequently on Morning Edition.

Joyce came to NPR in 1993 as a part-time editor while finishing a book about tropical rainforests and, as he says, "I just fell in love with radio." For two years, Joyce worked on NPR's national desk and was responsible for NPR's Western coverage. But his interest in science and technology soon launched him into parallel work on NPR's science desk.

In addition, Joyce has written two non-fiction books on scientific topics for the popular market: Witnesses from the Grave: The Stories Bones Tell (with co-author Eric Stover); and Earthly Goods: Medicine-Hunting in the Rainforest.

Before coming to NPR, Joyce worked for ten years as the U.S. correspondent and editor for the British weekly magazine New Scientist.

Joyce's stories on forensic investigations into the massacres in Kosovo and Bosnia were part of NPR's war coverage that won a 1999 Overseas Press Club award. He was part of the Radio Expeditions reporting and editing team that won the 2001 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University journalism award and the 2001 Sigma Delta Chi award from the Society of Professional Journalists. Joyce won the 2001 American Association for the Advancement of Science excellence in journalism award.

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Humans
11:01 pm
Thu October 13, 2011

In African Cave, An Early Human Paint Shop

This abalone shell was found with ocher and a grinding stone. The iron oxide was used as a pigment to paint bodies and walls, as well as to thicken glue.

Science/AAAS

Apparently one of the earliest human instincts was to paint things, including bodies and cave walls. That's the conclusion from scientists who have discovered something remarkable in a South African cave — a tool kit for making paint. It looks to be the oldest evidence of paint-making.

Over in southern Africa 100,000 years ago, Homo sapiens was pretty new on the scene. A favorite hangout was a cave named Blombos near the Southern ocean.

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Animals
5:50 am
Tue October 11, 2011

Inside Namibia's Communal Conservancies

The southwest African country of Namibia is trying a controversial approach to preserving its wildlife. Rural people control the animals and profit from them. But they have also found they must shoot some of the animals to cull the herds.

Environment
6:10 pm
Sun October 9, 2011

To Save Wildlife, Namibia's Farmers Take Control

Spooked by a noise, giraffes in northwest Namibia interrupt lunch to look around.
John W. Poole NPR

Originally published on Fri April 5, 2013 8:02 pm

It's dawn and 40 degrees out. The air tastes of dust. Elias Neftali is behind the wheel of a truck, driving us through a long valley encircled by red-rock mountains. As a farmhand in the northwest desert of Namibia, Neftali used to shoot wild animals trying to eat his livestock.

Now he protects wild animals. And that can be scary.

"Oh my god, yep," he says. He tells me about a night he was sleeping in a bungalow out in the bush with some other wildlife guards.

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Research News
4:17 pm
Thu September 29, 2011

Twitter Data Reveal The Mood Of The Planet

iSockphoto.com

Right now, armies of marketers, pollsters and social scientists are trying to figure out what Americans are thinking about — issues like global warming or Lady Gaga's latest outfit. And surveys are only so good: It's hard to get a big enough sample to be sure of the results. That's particularly vexing for social scientists who want a high standard of accuracy.

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The Salt
4:16 pm
Thu September 29, 2011

Scent Of Rotten Fruit Signals Sex, At Least For Fruit Flies

Waitin' on a lady
digicla Flickr

If you're into sexual chemistry, set an aging banana peel or apple core out on your kitchen counter, pull up a chair, and wait — for the fruit flies.

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The Salt
1:34 pm
Thu September 22, 2011

Zebra And Cattle Make Good Lunch Partners, Researchers Say

Cattle and zebra share a meal in a pasture in Kenya.
Ryan Lee Sensenig Science

Originally published on Fri September 23, 2011 5:11 pm

Those of us who eat beef can thank cattle for turning grass into something tastier. But grass is not always easy to come by, especially in Africa. And without grass, where's the beef?

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Humans
12:19 pm
Tue September 20, 2011

Quays Focus 'Weeping Glass' On The Mutter Museum

The Quay Brothers, filming Through The Weeping Glass at the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia. The Quays started filming without a script or a storyline.
Edward Waisnis Behind the Scenes with the Quay Brothers

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 10:23 am

The notion of "beauty" can mean many different things to artists. For the Brothers Quay — identical-twin filmmakers — it often means dimly lit black and white images of animated dolls, screws, cogs — any manner of inanimate object brought to life. They're so good at it that fellow filmmaker Terry Gilliam called the Quays' Street of Crocodiles one of the best animated films of all time.

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Environment
3:00 am
Fri September 16, 2011

EPA Postpones Power Plant Emissions Rules

The Environmental Protection Agency has decided to delay new rules that would limit emissions of climate-warming gases from power plants. It's the second time this month the EPA has either withdrawn or postponed new pollution rules that industry didn't like.

Animals
11:01 pm
Tue September 13, 2011

Bone To Pick: First T. Rex Skeleton, Complete At Last

When the T. rex skeleton was first put on display, it was presented standing vertically, in this Godzilla-like pose, as seen at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History around 1950. Recent studies show the dinosaur actually kept its body horizontal. Watch the videos here to see how T. rex walked.
Carnegie Museum of Natural History

The back rooms of museums are like your grandparents' attic, only the stuff is more exotic — things like fossilized jellyfish, dinosaur eggs, or mummified princes.

And if you look carefully, you'll find objects that once changed science but are now largely forgotten. You might call them Lost Treasures of Science. This is a story of one of those objects — a special bone that's part of a special skeleton.

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Humans
2:53 pm
Thu September 8, 2011

'Mosaic' Fossil Could Be Bridge From Apes To Humans

The fossil of Australopithecus sediba could be the long-sought transition between ape-like ancestors and the first humans. "It shows a small brain, but a brain that's beginning to reorganize in some ways that resemble our brain," says anthropologist Lee Berger.
Brett Eloff via Lee Berger University of Witwatersrand

A pair of fossils from a South African cave have scientists both excited and puzzled. Scientists say the fossils — an adult female and a juvenile — could be the long-sought transition between ape-like ancestors and the first humans.

The bones belong to creatures related to the famous Lucy fossil found in Ethiopia in the 1970s, but their owners lived more recently, just two million years ago.

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