Pelicans and disabled cranes

The English diarist John Evelyn records a visit he made to James’ Park in London on 9th February 1665 where he saw many birds. One was a pelican, a gift from the Russian ambassador to London: “I examin’d the Throate of the Onocratylus or Pelecan, the tongue scarce appearing, the [B]eake above 2 foote long,…

Snot-ites and space snot

Imagine: you go into a deep, dark cave and your hand touches slime. Then you find there is slime dripping from the roof – slime like snot. Eurgh! It’s like something from a horror movie. But it’s real. You’re in a cave festooned with snot-ites. Snot-ites are long, gooey drips of snot-like slime that hang…

Stony stomachs

Do you know that story about the wolf and the seven kids, recorded by the brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm? (If you don’t, you can read it here.) At the end [*spoiler alert*] the mother goat fills the wolf’s stomach with stones and stitches it up. Fairytales aren’t the only place that stones are found…