Tag Archives: Jan Freedman

When life gives you lemmings…..

If I had a games console I wouldn’t get anything done. (Are they called ‘games consoles’ today?) Just like when I watch a film, I am completely captivated by the make-believe world: I am in that world. There is nothing around … Continue reading

Posted in Lemming | Tagged | 4 Comments

On the origins of our species

As families go ours is pretty amazing. You have ancient cousins who effortlessly chomped through the toughest of roots and hardest of seeds. Another relative was the first of our family to make it all the way to China around … Continue reading

Posted in Denisovan, Homo sapiens, Neanderthal | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Medusa’s legacy

Monster movies were a huge inspiration for me when I was little. They fed my fascination with natural history: in particular the incredible work from the extraordinary mind of Ray Harryhausen. My favourite of his films was, of course, the amazing Clash … Continue reading

Posted in Wonambi | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Meet Long Tusk

Some of you may have been lucky enough to see these incredible animals in the wild. Others may have felt a strong tug at your heart seeing one in a zoo. Most, if not all, of us have seen these … Continue reading

Posted in Deinotherium, Mastodon, Woolly Mammoth, Zygolophodon | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Eye of the beholder

By looks alone there are many animals that do not win our hearts. People don’t coo over wasps; vultures are grotesque; don’t get me started on elephant seals. Sadly this is due to what we see as beautiful. David Hume, the … Continue reading

Posted in Hyena, Pachycrocuta | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Going underground

South America is a place full of stories about mysterious beasts. Standing seven feet tall, with long red hair and big sharp claws, tales of the mapinguari, have been passed down in South American Indian folklore. An odd tapir/jaguar hybrid … Continue reading

Posted in Giant Ground Sloth | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Mini-beasts, giants, and mega-floods

I have a little link to the time before the English Channel formed 450,000 years ago. Almost every day in the last academic year, a PhD student has been working in my office. He is investigating the environment and ecology … Continue reading

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Time capsules from the Ice Age

It is late August, and the weather is turning cold. Very cold. A little chubby arctic ground squirrel bounds at surprising speed across the prairie. It pauses briefly, standing on those two short little back legs. Ears twitching, listening. There … Continue reading

Posted in Arctic Ground Squirrel | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Survivors

One of the wonderful reasons Twilight Beasts are so dear to us is because most are just downright weird. The peculiar llama with a trunk, dogs with teeth as strong as a hyena, and an armadillo that looked like an igloo were just … Continue reading

Posted in Saiga antelope | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Big find in little China

Charles Darwin wrote 502 pages outlining his groundbreaking theory of evolution by natural selection. In it he provides incredible evidence of natural selection he gathered over 20 years, using many different species of animals, from humans breeding dogs to the … Continue reading

Posted in Homo sapiens | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments