Published: November 2009

Stone Forest

Stone Forest

Living on a Razor's Edge

Madagascar's labyrinth of stone

By Neil Shea
Photograph by Stephen Alvarez

The lizard moved in frightened rhythms across the sun-blasted stone. A few quick steps, a turn of its boxy head. Then the stillness, the absolute zero, of a creature that sensed it was being hunted. All around, jagged spires and flutes rose like the towers of some Gothic cathedral, silent and empty. From the canyons below, a parrot flew squawking, breaking the trance. The lizard launched. Hery Rakotondravony's arm fired out. Moments later the young herpetologist uncurled his fingers.

"I think this is a new species."

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