Search term: science

Rafting Monkeys

We know of only three species of pre-historic mammals that managed to cross the Atlantic ocean between Africa and South-America. One of them was the now extinct Ucayalipithecus monkey about 35 million years ago. The other species of “immigrant” mammals were New World Monkeys, flat-nosed primates that are found in south and central America today. […]

Micro-Livestock’s Short Shadow

Livestock’s Long Shadow: Environmental Issues and Options, a 2006 report released by the Food and Agriculture Organisation, assesses the impact of the livestock sector on environmental challenges, along with potential technical and policy approaches to mitigation. The livestock sector poses serious challenges to the environment at every scale from local to global. According to senior U.N. Food […]

Zebrafish Oannes

The zebrafish is one of The Incredible Shrinking Man’s most beloved spirit animals. Being a model organism for endocrinological and genetic research positions it between fact and fiction, the known and the unknown and the present and the future. Thus it invites us into realms of reality yet undiscovered. As mirrors of the human body they became […]

Deaf Fish

A recent study shows that every second farmed salmon we eat is deaf resulting of a deformity in the ear, caused by accelerated growth in aquaculture. The study’s lead author, Ms Tormey Reimer, says when they went looking for the cause of the deformity they found that the fastest-growing fish were three times more likely […]

From Model Organism to Spirit Animal

Evolution is not just a process of change: it’s also a process of holding on to what works. When one species mutates into another, most of everything remains the same. We still are most of the animals we’ve been in the past, and we’re already connected to the animal we can be in the future. […]

A Frog’s Patience

Bigger males, both human and animal, are generally more successful in attracting and being selected by females. But not in all species. The Incredible Shrinking Man seeks inspiration from those few species where females favour the small, like Agalychnis callidryas, the Red-eyed tree frog. In most frog species females choose a mate during a lek mating […]

Japanese Miniatures: Cat Maximisation

Our series of Japanese Miniatures investigates the specific Japanese sensitivity for small as expressed in their love for things like bonsai, sushi, netsuke, and capsule hotels. Japan ‘knows’ things about shrinking that may help the human species embrace the desire for, or overcome hurdles to, becoming smaller. Cat maximisation, through furniture miniaturisation, merges the internet’s love […]

Trans-species Psychology

Trans-species psychology re-embeds humans within the larger matrix of the animal kingdom by erasing the notion that humans are substantively cognitively and emotionally different from other species. According to the ecologist/psychologist Gay A. Bradshaw, there is a common model of brain, mind and behaviour for humans and nonhuman animals that is conserved in evolution. The new paradigm […]

Beyond Phlebotinum

Phlebotinum is the versatile substance or incomprehensible technology that causes an effect needed by a plot in a work of fiction. Phlebotinum basically does everything, except solve specific limits and dangers required by the plot. Without it, the story would grind to an abrupt halt. In the film Downsizing by Alexander Payne the phlebotinum is […]

Hyperthermal Shrinking

Global warming has the potential to shrink the human species. As we’ve discussed before mammals, and many species of birds and fish, shrink when the climate heats up. During the last two hyperthermals, the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (55 million years ago) and the Eocene Thermal Maximum 2 (53 million years ago), temperatures rose as much as […]