Royal Rat Rosette

Certainly not your normal “Ratatouille”

Who has heard of the “rat king”? Chances are you are now thinking of some fairy tale or contemplate whether the “boss” of a community of rats, the decision-making individual, the “leader of the pack”, mightn’t be referred to as the king of the rats. Or was it perhaps the manager of the pop group “The Boomtown Rats”, who answered to that nickname? And what about Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet “The Nutcracker” – wasn’t there a rat king? —>


Can Animals Count?

Probably no better than humans can

You can play this game with children or with adults: the result would be the same. If you have, 15 cards, each with a different and randomly placed amount of black spots, ranging from 1 to 15, and then ever so briefly showed a card to the audience letting them guess how many spots they’d see, chances are they’d only give the right answer if there are no more than 6 or 7 spots to be seen. Of course, there mustn’t be time to start counting the spots. You can also randomly place some items on a table, covering them with a sheet and ever so briefly exposing the objects to the onlookers. Again, with more than 6 or 7 items, mistakes increase and amounts in excess of 10 will almost always be estimated wrongly. —>

Vladimir Kovalesky’s Insights

Horses and Hooves

Substantiated by vast numbers of fossil bones from North America and Europe, representing different geological strata, T.H. Huxley (grandfather of three very famous Huxleys!) had concluded that the horse had evolved from dog-sized ancestors with 4 fingers on each front and three toes on each back extremity. So, towards the latter quarter of the 19th century he had basically unravelled the palaeontological pedigree of the modern horse. —>