In this photo released by World Wildlife Fund-National Geographic, two Thai fishermen show a 293-kilogram (646-pound) giant catfish they caught from the Mekong River in Chiang Khong district of Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand Saturday, June 11, 2005.
Thai fishermen have caught this giant catfish believed to be the world’s heaviest living freshwater fish but it died and was eaten after environmentalists and officials negotiated for its release to allow it to spawn. (AP Photo/Suthep Kritsanavarin, HO)
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by Charles C. Mann
“Are the mounds, causeways, and canals in BoliviaÃ¢â¬â¢s Beni region natural formations or the result of 2000 yearsÃ¢â¬â¢ labor by lost societies?”
TRINIDAD, BOLIVIAÃ¢â¬âIn some ways, William Denevan says today, he didnÃ¢â¬â¢t know what he was getting into when he decided to write his Ph.D. thesis about the Beni, a remote, nearly uninhabited, and almost roadless department in the Bolivian Amazon. Located between the Andes Mountains and the river GuaporÃÂ© (a major Amazon tributary), the Beni spends half the year parched in near-desert conditions and the other half flooded by rain and snowmelt.
But it wasnÃ¢â¬â¢t until he made his first research trip there, in 1961, that Denevan realized the area was filled with earthworks that oil company geologistsÃ¢â¬âthe only scientists in the areÃ¢â¬âbelieved to be ruins of an unknown civilization.
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