Behind February 14, Valentine’s Day, lies the biography of a character who had a rather tragic and nothing “valentinian” ending. St. Valentine would have been a priest from Rome who was beaten and beheaded in 270 A.D. His crime: secretly marrying soldiers with their partners in defiance of the rule of Emperor Claudius II, who … Read more The punished St. Valentine
Did you know that Charles Darwin’s nose almost prevented him from making the trip aboard the HMS Beagle, which was decisive in elaborating his Theory of Evolution? And all because its captain, Robert FitzRoy, was a supporter of Physiognomy, a discipline that holds that facial features and characters are a reflection of the individual’s personality. … Read more Charles Darwin’s nose
Snakes don’t have eardrums… HOW DO THEY HEAR THEN? What happens is that the lower jaw is connected to the columella (homologus organ to the mammalian stapes), a bone that connects to the oval membrane, which in turn connects to the inner ear. In this way, being in contact with the ground or water, the … Read more The hearing of snakes
According to a famous creepypasta (an urban legend generated by Internet users), 107 people between 6 and 12 years old took commited suicide in the summer of 1996 in Japan. They all had one thing in common: they had acquired the video game Pokémon Red Version or Pokémon Blue Version and had saved the game … Read more The Pokémon curse
It is Argyroneta aquatica. This spider not only dive, but completes its entire life cycle underwater. How does it breathe? It produces an air bubble that envelops the opisthosoma (the “body” without the “head”). As the bubble consumes, the spider comes to the surface to add other bubbles and increase its supply of air. How … Read more An aquatic spider?
Amphibians have two ways to capture the vibrations of the medium and transform them into sound: In one hand, through their legs… What actually happens is that when the ground vibrates, vibrations are transmitted by the legs to the scapula of these animals, and through the opercular muscle and opercular bone, reaching the oval membrane … Read more How do amphibians hear?
Scorpions emit fluorescence…when they are illuminated with ultraviolet light. It is supposed to be a kind of warning. The same happens with centipedes. In biology this phenomenon is called aposematism, that is, warning mechanisms to indicate that they are dangerous. There are several types of aposematism, especially in relation to color (intense colors such as … Read more Scorpions also shine
Surely, many of you have seen these animals flutter in the field… And surely many of you have turned away when you saw them nearby and shouted: “Watch out, a wasp!” Well, they’re actually flies… yes, harmless FLIES known as syrphid flies, flower flies or hoverflies. They imitate the coloration of wasps, which warns of … Read more Syrphids. Camouflaged as wasps
There are up to 7 types of silk-producing glands (and each silk is different). But not all spiders have all those glands. Not all the spiders build cobwebs, but all of them have the ability to produce silk. The construction of cobwebs is genetically codified, it is not by learning. In addition, it is done … Read more Cobwebs: Architecture in miniature
The well-known “roscón de Reyes” (ring of the kings) is not a contemporary food by a long shot. Its origin, moreover, is pagan. We have to go back to the time of the Roman Empire. The Romans celebrated festivities known as Saturnalia between 17 and 23 December of the Roman calendar in honour of the … Read more The pagan origin of the “Roscón de Reyes”
The Three Kings weren’t always three. In fact, the canonical Gospels never established their number. The first Christian theologians and exegetes discussed this aspect, and went so far as to establish from two to several dozen Magi. Three was the definitive number thanks to Origen of Alexandria (184 or 185-254), who established that if three … Read more Have the Three Kings always been three?
Balthazar didn’t always have African features. In the sixth-century Byzantine mosaic presented here, from San Apolinar el Nuevo (Ravenna), Balthazar is white (the first character on the left). Like the other two Kings, he is dressed in a Phrygian cap and Persian vestments, thus indicating the origin of the Magi protagonists of the Epiphany. We … Read more Balthazar, the polymorphic King