If you thought the captivating creatures in the movie adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, looked and acted somewhat familiar, you are not wrong. That’s because to create the mythical creatures, animators from three visual effects companies, Framestore, Rodeo FX, and MPC, drew inspiration from real-life animal physiology and behavior.
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In 2015, while browsing at a market in Myanmar, Lida Xing, a paleontologist at Beijing’s China University of Geosciences, was offered a piece of amber. Believed to contain a preserved plant it was meant for use as jewelry. Suspecting that the semitranslucent precious stone was harboring something more valuable, the scientist convinced the Dexu Institute of Paleontology to purchase it.
In 2013, Jeff Bezos, the CEO and founder of Amazon Inc., made headlines when he proclaimed that within a few years, the company would deploy unmanned drones to deliver packages within 30 minutes after an order was placed. Since Amazon Prime Air was unveiled the night before “Cyber Monday,” skeptics dismissed it as a publicity stunt, designed to draw attention to the company. It turns out they were wrong.
Echidnas, medium-sized animals that closely resemble porcupines or hedgehogs, are one of only two egg-laying mammals (the other being the duck-billed platypus) left in the world. Also called spiny anteaters, the timid creatures that are native to Australia, are very elusive and hard to observe in the wild. Therefore, though they have been around for millions of years, very little is known about their lifestyle, making it almost impossible to breed the mammals in captivity.
New York-based Ecovative has been creating environmentally friendly packaging made from mushrooms and agricultural waste since 2009. Now, the company wants to bring their innovative material into homes and offices with a new line of compostable furnishings that are grown using just three ingredients: mycelium (the vegetative part of mushrooms), hemp, and salt.
The “Muriwai Monster,” a twitching black mass that washed up on Muriwai Beach, 25 miles northwest of Auckland, New Zealand, has taken the world by storm since its discovery about a week ago. Melissa Doubleday, who stumbled upon it while driving by, initially suspected it to be a whale carcass. However, when she shared images of the mysterious “creature,” which was covered in seaweed and wiggling black tendrils with white shells on social media, people around the world began speculating it was a sea monster, a “beach Christmas tree,” or even an alien time travel capsule.
Deep below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico lies a salt lake so deadly that researchers are calling it the ‘Jacuzzi of Despair.’ Measuring 100 ft in circumference and 12 ft deep, the brine pool gets its well-deserved reputation due to its warm temperature and high methane and salt content — a fatal combination for many unfortunate sea creatures that wander in.
Chronic or compulsive lying has largely been considered a mental illness. However, a new study from the University College London suggests that there may be a biological explanation as well. The researchers believe that small, self-serving lies desensitize our brains to the negative emotions connected to dishonesty, paving the way for bigger lies.