Bilbo Floresiensis

Once upon a time a tiny human species with large feet shared the planet with our own kind. It hunted giant rats and miniature cousins of the elephant, defended its kills from monstrous storks and dodged fearsome dragons. This is not the plot of a lost Tolkien book. This really happened. I’m referring, of course, to our extinct relative Homo floresiensis, which lived on the island of Flores in Indonesia as recently as 17,000 years ago and has for obvious reasons been dubbed the hobbit. It turns out that despite the species’ small size, it may have looked rather familiar, according to a scientific reconstruction.

There is something about using [...]


Squash or Snuggle: Tardigrades

They live invisibly in the ground, in the muck of ponds and deep-sea sediments, in dunes, in moss, in stone walls, on the tops of mountains, and deep inside glaciers… Their stocky bodies and stumpy legs do give them an ursine cast, but there aren’t many bears that have eight legs, or daggers in their mouths that pierce smaller animals or algae cells. There are also aren’t many bears that could be taken aboard a spacecraft, left out in the vacuum of space for ten days, and still be alive when they returned to Earth… Here on Earth, they can survive without water by going into a state of suspended [...]


The Fungus Among Us

Here is a time-lapse of what really goes on behind your refrigerator's closed door. The pink stuff that (always) forms on low-fat sour cream was booked on another shoot the day this was filmed. [via]


Was Paul the Octopus Truly Paul?

Paul the psychic octopus, who charmed the world by predicting World Cup scores, died "peacefully in his sleep" yesterday in his tank in Germany. But a conspiracy theory about Paul has arisen, and in fact has been risen for several months, long enough for a woman named Jiang Xiao to start filming a thriller about it.


The Last Unicorns

Dr. W. Franklin Dove spent years of his career creating unicorns. Unicorn goats, unicorn cows. Even tri-horned animals roamed Dove’s barns. Dove created these strangely-horned animals by removing immature “horn buds” from the heads of young animals and implanting the horn buds to a different location on the skull.

I knew they were real! I knew it. I saw one once at the Shiawassee County Fair, I swear. There was also a snake lady but she was not real… I don't think?


Pistachio-Sized Rat Totally Worth $85 Medical Bill

"When my son flopped down on my bed with tears in his eyes, I knew I was in trouble. 'Mom, one of my baby rats needs to see the vet,' he said. A week before, the female rat—way too young, in my naive view, to be sexually active—he had brought home from the pet store had given birth to 10 hairless babies, each the size of a pistachio. One baby was in distress: a teeny hair, invisible to the naked eye, had wrapped around its toe and cut off circulation. A local veterinarian could see him/her immediately. Ninety minutes and $85 later, we returned home with our recovering patient, hair [...]