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SCIENCE: Monsters in Real Life

Frankenstein

People are fascinated by monstrous creatures, and popular culture and folklore are populated by bizarre beasts, from electrically reanimated corpses and giant, hairy humanoids to blood-guzzling vampires and amorous fish-men.

Are any of these monsters even remotely possible in the real world?

Not every monster is scientifically plausible, but many do have their foundations in the natural world’s real-life “monsters,” a group of experts reported here March 31 during the Future Con panel “Ack, Real Monsters.” They weighed in on what makes a monster and introduced the audience to some terrifying examples of animals that are just as strange and alarming as their fictional counterparts.

Ao, what qualifies as a “monster,” anyway? That was a question asked by panelist Tina Hesman Saey, a geneticist-turned-writer at Science News. Interpretations vary, but a study from the 1970s on the population density of aquatic monsters in Scotland’s Loch Ness was quite specific on the subject, with the authors insisting that, to be considered a “monster,” a creature would have to weigh at least 220 lbs. (100 kilograms), according to panelist Bethany Brookshire, a staff writer with Science News for Students.

By Mindy Weisberger – Full Story at Live Science

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