on the origin of strangeness

The Questionably ‘Rational Animal’

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’.

15 October 2017
The Untold Story of Hyenas

Like countless other ’90s kids, I first learnt about hyenas from watching The Lion King. 

18 September 2017
Worse than Oedipus

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.

15 August 2017
Parents From Hell

Ah, Tasmania. The butt of jokes from smog-loving mainlanders and regularly omitted from the world map, it’s Australia’s often forgotten state.

18 July 2017
Pigs With Dental Problems

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.

7 June 2017
The Perks of Being a Fainting Goat

If you’ve ever looked up funny animals on YouTube, chances are you’ve come across ‘fainting goats’. Seemingly, they’re just normal goats – yet when startled, they topple over with their legs outstretched, like plastic toys that have been knocked over. It’s a cuteness overload and the most popular videos on the subject usually involve entire […]

11 May 2017
I Ate My Twin in the Womb

As a child, the highlight of every trip to the Melbourne Aquarium was the ‘oceanarium’ – a 2.2 million litre tank encircling the viewing space. It was a magical experience being immersed in the watery world of its marine inhabitants, with bright coral climbing up the sides, stingrays gliding above and fish of every hue […]

30 March 2017
How To Lose A Bird In 10 Days

On a few tiny islands off the coast of New Zealand, there lives a fat, flightless, and rare parrot called the kakapo. The kakapo is quite possibly one of the most ridiculous birds to ever exist, with Benedict Cumberbatch once describing it as “a bird that is as un-bird-like as it is possible for a […]

20 February 2017