Tessa Marshall20 February 2017
Despite Harry Potter being a magical universe where logic need not apply, some elements are closer to science fiction than true magic: Tessa Marshall writes.
As humans, we have always prided ourselves on our rationality. Since Aristotle defined us as ‘rational animals’, philosophers have praised humans for their logic and reason. Carl Linnaeus, the father of modern taxonomy, christened us Homo sapiens, or ‘wise man’.
Like countless other ’90s kids, I first learnt about hyenas from watching The Lion King.
A creature fated to die before it is born. This paradox sounds like one of Gollum’s riddles, yet it is part of the real lifecycle for male mites belonging to a genus known as Adactylidium.
Ah, Tasmania. The butt of jokes from smog-loving mainlanders and regularly omitted from the world map, it’s Australia’s often forgotten state.
In the forest of the Indonesian island of Sulawesi lives a creature that has inspired artworks and folk tales for thousands of years (and a range of tacky souvenirs). Traditional demonic masks incorporate this forest-dweller’s menacing tusks into their design, terrifying generations of small children – including me. My grandfather was gifted one of these masks while working in Indonesia, and he proudly displayed it above the mantelpiece on the second floor. For years, I was too scared to venture upstairs alone, where the mask’s soulless black eyes watched my every move.
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