Meet the Zoo Hiding in the Tube Map
All Elephant and No Castle: a secret bestiary of the London Underground
From a young age, Frank was fascinated by maps and atlases, and the stories they contained. Finding his birthplace on the map in the endpapers of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings only increased his interest in the mystery and message of maps.
While pursuing a career in journalism, Frank started a blog called Strange Maps, as a repository for the weird and wonderful cartography he found hidden in books, posing as everyday objects and (of course) floating around the Internet.
"Each map tells a story, but the stories told by your standard atlas for school or reference are limited and literal: they show only the most practical side of the world, its geography and its political divisions. Strange Maps aims to collect and comment on maps that do everything but that - maps that show the world from a different angle".
A remit that wide allows for a steady, varied diet of maps: Frank has been writing about strange maps since 2006, published a book on the subject in 2009 and joined Big Think in 2010. Readers send in new material daily, and he keeps bumping in to cartography that is delightfully obscure, amazingly beautiful, shockingly partisan, and more.
Rats and other vermin live in the London Underground, and there are probably urban legends around about bigger, nastier animals down in the Tube. But a whale? An elephant? And an emu? How about a pig, a polar bear and a baby rhino? All these and more species, enough to fill a zoo, live in the Underground – but not in the actual tunnels: they’re cleverly hiding in the map of the Underground.
Someone collected them all at this site, where you can check out all the beasts squatting in the Tube Map. Henceforth, you will be travelling along familiar lines to stations code-named for their parallel purpose in this secret bestiary:
Foxes, the sourge of London - both overground and Underground.
Since Animals on the Underground first came to our attention, the scope of the website has expanded. The site now also shows animals on the New York, Moscow and Paris Metros:
Moscow Metro Goldfish
Blue Tit hiding in the New York Metro, just south of Central Park
An Alsatian on the Paris Metro
It's a development that could one day lead to much better treatments for osteoporosis, joint damage, and bone fractures.
- Scientists have isolated skeletal stem cells in adult and fetal bones for the first time.
- These cells could one day help treat damaged bone and cartilage.
- The team was able to grow skeletal stem cells from cells found within liposuctioned fat.
Gut bacteria play an important role in how you feel and think and how well your body fights off disease. New research shows that exercise can give your gut bacteria a boost.
- Two studies from the University of Illinois show that gut bacteria can be changed by exercise alone.
- Our understanding of how gut bacteria impacts our overall health is an emerging field, and this research sheds light on the many different ways exercise affects your body.
- Exercising to improve your gut bacteria will prevent diseases and encourage brain health.
A groundbreaking new study shows that octopuses seemed to exhibit uncharacteristically social behavior when given MDMA, the psychedelic drug commonly known as ecstasy.
- Octopuses, like humans, have genes that seem to code for serotonin transporters.
- Scientists gave MDMA to octopuses to see whether those genes translated into a binding site for serotonin, which regulates emotions and behavior in humans
- Octopuses, which are typically asocial creatures, seem to get friendlier while on MDMA, suggesting humans have more in common with the strange invertebrates than previously thought
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