+
Most Shared

10 ancient beasts your pet might be related to.

Today is Charles Darwin's 207th birthday! Darwin, who famously wrote "On the Origin of Species," the book that introduced much of the world to evolution and the theory of natural selection, didn't just write about animals. He also kept quite a few of them as pets, including several dogs, a tortoise (kind of), and pigeons.

Just like Darwin, Mother Nature shares her home with some interesting animal companions. And if you squint, you can see the resemblance they have to more familiar animal faces.

So in celebration of Darwin's birthday and his pets, here are 10 cool animals that don't look exactly like your domesticated Fluffys, Pollys, and Rexes but just might be related to them.


1. Your fluffy house cat may be related to the smilodon.

Image from Sergio De la Rosa Martínez/Wikimedia Commons.

Smilodon! One of the fabled saber-tooth cats. They lived up until about 10,000 years ago in North and South America.

2. And your dog has some family to match — dire wolves.

Image from Sergio De la Rosa Martínez/Wikimedia Commons.

Yeah, George R. R. Martin didn't just make up House Stark's emblematic animal out of whole cloth. Like the smilodon above, these guys roamed up until about 10,000 years ago. While superficially similar to modern wolves, your average dire wolf would have weighed about 25% more.

3. But it's Lamb Chop's cousin you have to really watch out for.

Image from Boris Dimitrov/Wikimedia Commons.

What do you get if you cross a sheep with a wolf? This guy! He's an andrewsarchus, and though he might look more like some kind of prehistoric hyaena, evidence suggests he belongs in the same order as goats, sheep, and deer.

4. Babe's cousins are no slouch either.

Image from Heinrich Harder/Wikimedia Commons.

And people think warthogs are ugly! These distant relatives of pigs, known as entelodonts, lived about 33 million years ago.

5. Think your brightly colored, talkative parrot is a handful? Try sharing your home with Haast's eagle.

Image from John Megahan/Wikimedia Commons.

This featured creature also has the distinction of being the only thing on the list to have lived in modern times – up until the year 1400. The species lived in New Zealand, where it preyed on the giant, flightless birds known as moa. They may even be the giant man-eating birds of Maori legend!

6. The creature in this illustration is related to today's horses. Really, I swear. I'm not making it up.

Image from Jay Matternes/Wikimedia Commons.

Though they might look more like a gorilla (or Joe Camel) than Black Beauty, these are in fact distant relatives of modern horses known as chalicotheres. They died out about 3.5 million years ago.

7. This massive titanoboa just wants to give you a hug.

Image from Ryan Somma/Flickr, taken at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum.

Yes, that is a snake big enough to eat a crocodile. Titanoboa lived about 60 million years ago, at a time I imagine it must have ruled the post-dinosaur world.

And sorry, Potterheads, but as far as history and science are concerned, there is no record of one of these behemoths living in a Chamber of Secrets below a magical school, and though titanoboas aren't around today, no, they weren't wiped out by a messy-haired, bespectacled pre-teen wizard stabbing a dusty old diary with a fang either.

8. Your goldfish dreams of life as a megalodon.

Image from Karen Carr/Wikimedia Commons.

Megalodon is not just the star of bad science fiction movies! The megalodon really did munch its way through the ocean from about 16 million to about 3 million years ago. If your goldfish could LARP, it'd probably go as one of these toothy giants.

9. Even turtles have some impressive relatives in their family trees.

So, yes, there are more lifelike drawings of this massive turtle known as archelon, but you really gotta check out the size of this thing. Archelon lived about 80 million years ago and must have weighed at least two tons. And it had an even larger cousin — stupendemys!

Finally, I'm so sorry, but I have to include at least one huge bug on this list. Look away now if you hate creepy crawly critters.

10. This is a pulmonoscorpius.


Some people like to keep scorpions as pets, but even they would probably think twice before adopting pulmonoscorpius.

The thing was more than two feet long! Luckily, of all the creatures on this list, we're the furthest away from the time that spawned this massive bug — the species died out over 300 million years ago. Thank goodness.

It might be hard to imagine trying to keep any of these creatures as a pet. But, Fluffy and Rex aren't the only animals with weird cousins.

After all, it's not too long ago that we looked like this ourselves:

A reconstruction of homo habilis. Image from lilyundfreya/Wikimedia Commons.

Everything on Earth is, ultimately, related to each other. That's one of the greatest ideas that Charles Darwin handed down to us. Humans, animals, even our pets. We're all one big, weird — sometimes incredibly weird — family.

And if homo habilis up there is what we looked like 2 million years ago, what are we going to look like 2 million years in the future? Maybe we'll out-weird them all.

Finally, someone explains why we all need subtitles

It seems everyone needs subtitles nowadays in order to "hear" the television. This is something that has become more common over the past decade and it's caused people to question if their hearing is going bad or if perhaps actors have gotten lazy with enunciation.

So if you've been wondering if it's just you who needs subtitles in order to watch the latest marathon-worthy show, worry no more. Vox video producer Edward Vega interviewed dialogue editor Austin Olivia Kendrick to get to the bottom of why we can't seem to make out what the actors are saying anymore. It turns out it's technology's fault, and to get to how we got here, Vega and Kendrick took us back in time.

They first explained that way back when movies were first moving from silent film to spoken dialogue, actors had to enunciate and project loudly while speaking directly into a large microphone. If they spoke and moved like actors do today, it would sound almost as if someone were giving a drive-by soliloquy while circling the block. You'd only hear every other sentence or two.

Keep ReadingShow less

Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson in 2006.

A startling number of professional athletes face financial hardships after they retire. The big reason is that even though they make a lot of money, the average sports career is relatively short: 3.3 years in the NFL; 4.6 years in the NBA; and 5.6 years in MLB. During that time, athletes often dole out money to friends and family members who helped them along the way and can fall victim to living lavish, unsustainable lifestyles.

After the athlete retires they are likely to earn a lot less money, and if they don’t adjust their spending, they’re in for some serious trouble.

In a candid interview with NFL Hall of Famer and TV personality Shannon Sharpe, Chad Ochocinco (legally Chad Johnson) revealed that he saved 80 to 83% of the $48 million he made in the NFL by faking his lavish lifestyle because it made no sense to him.

Keep ReadingShow less
Nature

Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave that’s been closed for 70 years

You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.

This Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave.

Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.

The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.

Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

American mom living in Germany lists postpartum support and women are gobsmacked

“Every video you make gets me closer to actually moving to Germany.”

U.S. mom living in Germany shares postpartum support she received.

Having a baby is not an easy feat no matter which way they come out. The pregnant person is either laboring for hours and then pushing for what feels like even more hours, or they're getting cut from hip to hip to bring about their bundle of joy. (Unless you're one of those lucky—or rather not-so-lucky—folks who get to labor for hours only to still end up in surgery.)

Giving birth is hard and healing afterward can feel dang near impossible, especially given that most states in the U.S. only offer six weeks of maternity leave and it's typically unpaid. But did you know that not everyone has that experience?

A mom who had her first child in the U.S. before meeting her current husband and relocating to Germany is shedding light on postpartum care in her new country. The stark contrast is beyond shocking to women living in the U.S. and she's got a few considering crossing the ocean for a better quality of life.

Keep ReadingShow less

Meghan Elinor chimes in on the Starbucks tipping debate.

Tipping culture is rapidly changing in America, so understandably a lot of people aren’t sure what to do when they buy a coffee and the debit card reader asks for a tip. It used to be that people only tipped bartenders, drivers, servers and hairdressers.

Now people are being asked to tip just about any time they encounter a point-of-sale system. There is a big difference between tipping a server who lugged around hot plates of food for an hour-long meal and someone who simply handed you an ice cream cone.

"We're living in an era of inflation, but on top of that, we've got tipping everywhere—tipflation. I take it a step further and call it a tipping invasion. Because that's really what I think it is," etiquette expert Thomas Farley (aka Mister Manners) told CBS 8.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

One moment in history shot Tracy Chapman to music stardom. Watch it now.

She captivated millions with nothing but her guitar and an iconic voice.

Imagine being in the crowd and hearing "Fast Car" for the first time

While a catchy hook might make a song go viral, very few songs create such a unifying impact that they achieve timeless resonance. Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” is one of those songs.

So much courage and raw honesty is packed into the lyrics, only to be elevated by Chapman’s signature androgynous and soulful voice. Imagine being in the crowd and seeing her as a relatively unknown talent and hearing that song for the first time. Would you instantly recognize that you were witnessing a pivotal moment in musical history?

For concert goers at Wembley Stadium in the late 80s, this was the scenario.

Keep ReadingShow less