The Real Life Animals Behind 10 Mythical Beasts

the 10 Animals Behind 10 mythical beasts

Lions and tigers and... manticores?

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From books like "The Last Unicorn" to movies such as "The Little Mermaid," magic and mythical beasts have been a part of our lives from the very beginning. Sadly, that's all they were: mythical. No matter what anyone said, you couldn't braid your hair with mermaids or ride on the shoulders of a giant. The trees would never walk, the birds would never talk, you could never go on a quest with your pet roc, and your dream of reeling in that kraken would never be realized.

Unless it could be. While sea serpents and golden rams may not be real, many of the mythical beasts we've come to know and love were based off of real animals—but I still wouldn't recommend trying to tame that manticore.

1. Sirens and Mermaids

Half-human, half-fish creatures have been documented as far back as the fourth century BCE, but the first siren as we know it evolved from a half-bird creature in Greek mythology. Even Christopher Columbus had a run-in with what he thought were mermaids and sirens, but in all reality these "mermaids" were likely dugongs and manatees. Because of their bone structure and breasts, manatees and dugongs are the most likely culprits to the mermaid and siren myths.

2. The Golden Ram

The Greek story of Jason and the Argonauts is popular one: Jason challenges his uncle as rightful ruler, his uncle demands the Golden Fleece from a golden ram, Jason fetches the Fleece after even more trials, then he dies after betraying his vow to the gods. While there's no proof that this story actually occurred, the golden ram depicted in the story was likely a real animal, the golden takin.

3. Sea Serpents

Even if you're not a lover of nautical stories, the sea serpent is a creature most everyone knows about. Growing up to 36 feet long and shining with vibrant colors, it's no wonder people mistook the oarfish for a snake-like monster of the depths. The oarfish is also thought to have influenced the appearance of the the Thai and Lao phaya naga.

4. The Kraken

To be entirely fair, the real animal behind the kraken isn't too different from the myth itself. Giant squid are thought to be the inspiration behind stories of the kraken, and with the largest documented giant squid reaching an astounding length of 59 feet long, I would just like to steer clear of them all together.

5. Griffins

The half-eagle, half-lion of the Gobi desert was discovered by miners seeking gold as early as 800 BC, but not in the way many think; rather than finding the living creature, the miners found their bones while excavating hillsides. Unfortunately, the bones Scythian miners found belonged to the protoceratops, not a griffin.

6. Giants

As interesting as the Greek stories make giants sound, these human-like creatures weren't as human as the Greeks came to expect. In all reality, the bones of mammoths, mastodons, and woolly rhinoceroses were excavated before the Greek became familiar with elephants, and they assumed the bones belonged to a bipedal humanoid.

7. The Roc or Rukh

A little less commonly known is the roc, a massive middle eastern eagle said to carry off elephants. While there is some debate, it's believed that the roc was based off of the bearded vulture. Though smaller, the bearded vulture behaves exactly as the roc was said to have acted, down to dropping large bones from incredible heights to feast on the bone marrow within.

8. El Chupacabra

The chupacabra is a popular creature in North American, Latin American, and Caribbean countries, but the creature that was originally depicted as "a bipedal creature four or five feet tall with large eyes, spikes down its back and long claws" quickly turned into a hairless, dog-like creature that walked on four legs. When the bodies of these dead chupacabra were examined, they turned out to be little more than coyotes with severe mange.

9. The Ziphius or Water Owl

The water owl is a lesser known sea monster, but it was once said to terrorize ships with its beaked, owl head and dorsal fin that could slice through boats. Once thought to just be a legendary creature, the Curvier's beaked whale was later accredited as the inspiration of the water owl.

10. The Manticore

The manticore is a beast from Persian and Greek mythology depicted as having the head of a man, the body of a lion, and the tail of a scorpion, but in reality the man-eating mantiger was likely nothing more than the now-extinct Caspian tiger.

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45 Things Day Care Workers Say All Too Often

Toddlers are pretty much tiny, drunk people.
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Being the keeper of tiny humans can be a very interesting job. You are constantly breaking up arguments, cleaning up messes, trying to keep them safe, and telling them not to do things that are well, sometimes pretty weird. They do and say the strangest things that'll make you wonder what is really going on in their little heads.

1. "No no no, don't do *something crashes to the floor* ....that."

2. "Bubbles in your mouths every body!"

3. "No, we don't eat our friend's snack."

4. "Hands to yourself."

5. "Get off of the table before you hurt yourself."

6. "Why do we even give them spoons?"

7. "We don't put toys in our mouths"

8. "Did you wash your hands?"

9. "Where do we run? Where are we right now?"

10. "Where are your shoes?"

11. "We don't talk like that here."

12. "Go tell them you're sorry"

13. "Get your finger out of your nose"

14. "Inside voices please!"

15. "Every one find a buddy."

16. "Ew ew ew, some body get me a tissue!"

17. "How did your shoes untie already? I just tied them five minutes ago."

18. "We do nice with our hands."

19. "Oh god, it's spaghetti day."

20. "Please, do not put noodles in your hair."

21. "Hold hands until we are on the play ground!"

22. "5 little monkeys jumping on the bed, one fell off and bumped his head..."

23. "Do you have to poop?"

24. "Well you should at least try."

25. "Why didn't you go to the potty before we went outside."

26. "If I hear "Let it go" one more time..."

27. "Hot dog, hot dog, hot diggity dog.."

28. "Mommy and Daddy will come back, I promise."

29. "No, no biting!"

30. "She had it first, you'll just have to wait until she's done."

31. "Ew, why are you dipping everything in applesauce?"

32. "Now, are you going to eat the vegetable with the ranch or just the ranch?"

33. "Then why did you say you weren't eating snack?"

34. "Put your arms back in your sleeves."

35. *Five minutes before closing* "Where are your parents??"

36. "I finally got him to sleep, everyone be quiet."

37. *You see one eye open* "Oh no..."

38. "Wow, all your kids are still sleeping!?" (We wish we said this more often)

39. "Don't eat that, it was on the floor!"

40. "Glue the google eyes on here." *puts the eyes anywhere but there*

41. "Stop fighting over who's going to turn off the lights, you'll get a turn tomorrow."

42. "Don't shove so much food in your mouth at once, you'll choke!"

43. "Chew and swallow your food before you get up."

45. "Don't touch anything until we wash your hands!"

As weird as these small people are, they are some of the sweetest beings on the planet. And although they drive you crazy, at the end of the day, they make you love your job.


Cover Image Credit: http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1223221/images/o-KIDS-MESS-facebook.jpg

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The Reality Of Cat Shows

Go in with an open mind, because cat shows may seem totally bizarre, but are incredibly fun and special.

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As a self-declared cat lady, when I decided to attend my first cat show I was hyped to pet all the kitties, and watch them do tricks, or show off their beauty. After attending a few, I know they're totally unique and amazing events that everyone should be attending.

Upon arriving, you will probably need to pay an entry fee, and maybe there's an area for donations for local animal shelters (yes, animal breeders support animal shelters!). You might be overwhelmed with the sheer amount of cats, as far as the eye can see. Having a game plan of cats to visit might seem fun, but just roaming and visiting is a lot more fulfilling, and you may discover breeds of cats you never knew you would love. Usually, cat shows will feature visiting areas for guests attending the show to view, and sometimes pet, the cats. As well as areas where cats are judged and given awards, sort of like miniature stages.

Visitor areas are pretty self-explanatory as you can roam around and look at the dozens of different breeds, of kittens and cats alike. The diversity will amaze you and the cats are all special and loved by their owner. Because cats can catch sicknesses while surrounded by so many other cats, it's important to sanitize your hands before petting, as well as asking the owner if you can pet their cat or kitten. Some may even let you hold their cat, but this would be rare and you shouldn't get your hopes up! While viewing cats, you may find some that are up for adoption and could find a new family member. Some cats are actually people's household pets, and are scored differently from a cat who was bred for its looks!

The competition side is where the cat shows get interesting. You can view any and all competitions, although there will be many occurring at a time. That's because cats will initially be ranked against the cats of the same breed as them, and within those breeds, by gender and color style. Winning best in the breed is the first step to becoming the champion of a cat show. Watch as owners get nervous and excited as the tiny plastic awards go up, showing which cat was victorious. Although all judges can be different, it's fun to see beautiful and friendly cats win awards and look pleased with themselves as their owner smiles with pride.

Later in the day or weekend, one cat will be chosen as the grand champion out of the best in breeds. Usually, fans can vote on their favorite as well, and award a special cat a top prize, although unofficial, for its cuteness and spirit. A hairless cat has won fan favorite at every show I attended!

Go in with an open mind, because cat shows may seem totally bizarre, but are incredibly fun and special. The group of people who participate will love to tell you about their amazing cat and let you in on cat show secrets. A place where cat lovers unite, what could be better?

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