Halloween is the perfect time of year to celebrate nature’s creepies and crawlies—the weird, the misunderstood, and the not-so-cuddly species that call Planet Earth home. From vampire squids and goblin sharks to aye-ayes and naked mole rats, there are many strange animals swimming in the deep sea, hiding in dark forests and jungles, and scurrying below the ground.
Month: October 2016
Research and conservation are like peanut butter and jelly—they’re simply better together. Marine conservation biologist Simon Pierce, co-founder of the Marine Megafauna Foundation, has seen firsthand how important research can be in conserving species. Just this summer, Simon’s research on whale shark populations helped prompt the species’ reclassification from “vulnerable” to “endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
In the movie Jurassic Park (1993), ambitious scientists and their patron, John Hammond, populate an island with living dinosaurs as part of a theme park attraction. The scientists accomplish this by extracting dinosaur blood from the preserved bodies of mosquitos and reconstructing dinosaur genomes. While the film takes some liberties (to say the least), there is such a concept as “de-extinction,” and there may come a day when de-extinction transcends fiction.
In the book Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter, a young wizard attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, conjures a powerful defensive charm called a Patronus to save the life of his godfather. In Rowling’s fictional world, a Patronus charm takes the form of an animal that in some way or another reflects the witch or wizard who cast it.