10 extraordinary nature photos from the BigPicture photography competition

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The winners for the California Academy of Sciences BigPicture Natural World Photography Competition have been announced, and the images are nothing short of crazy-amazing. From oddly sleeping whales to the surreal life of baby pandas, the photos highlight Earth’s biodiversity in all its impressive glory, while also at times, illustrating the threats our planet faces.

The Academy's multimedia magazine, bioGraphic, has shared these images with us, and we're delighted to be sharing them with you on the following pages.

First up, the monkey dumpling above.

The More the Merrier by Alexandre Bonnefoy

Terrestrial Wildlife Finalist: Shōdoshima Island, Japan

When temperatures drop, macaques often huddle together to pool their body heat, forming what’s known as a saru dango, or “monkey dumpling.” This behavior is common among the 23 species of macaques, all of which form complex matriarchal societies. It is especially important for Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata), which live in colder climates than any other primate, aside from humans. On frigid days, their need for warmth clearly outweighs their desire for personal space.

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