The Biology Behind Dune, Vampires, And The Goblin King
Not caught up on the latest episodes of Cinematica Animalia, the podcast where we break down the biology behind our favourite (and not-so favourite) movies? Here’s a quick summary of some recent episodes, with the links below.
How in the universe can a planet this devoid of life support megafauna as striking as the sandworms? It’s not immediately apparent exactly what Frank herbert’s enormous invertebrates are supposed to be eating, but with teeth that resemble a whale’s baleen we can probably assume they’re going after smaller organisms within the sand, and that their consumption of imported machinery is just a bad habit they’ve picked up recently, which is probably not good for their digestive system. After all, wildlife in Australia still won’t learn not to chow down on the invasive cane toad.
30 Days of Night
Far from your more sexy, aristocratic vampires, the vampires which terrorise the town of Barrow in Alaska, USA are totally animalistic, and seem to be feeding on entire humans, not just drinking their blood. It’s presented as barbaric, but these days we know that our close relatives the Neanderthals were obligate carnivores and often resorted to cannibalism. Neanderthals were also hardier individuals than most Homo sapiens, and their vision was thought to be much better than ours, so I really enjoy the theory of an isolated population of Neanderthals survivng thousands more years and eventually being regarded as vampires.
It doesn’t matter how magnificent David Bowie’s hair is, stealing a child and bringing it up differently WILL NOT CHANGE ITS SPECIES. A cuckoo might get brought up in another bird’s nest, but it doesn’t grow up to look like that bird! Bringing a human baby up in an atmosphere like Bowie’s labyrinth would probably result in it looking VERY different though, even if it’s still human. So could the goblins odd proportions and skin complexion be a result of years of malnourishment and injuries from being randomly punted through the ceiling in the middle of dance numbers? It’s probably more likely than a mid-life species transition.
New episodes of Cinematica Animalia are available every Thursday. You can listen in on Spotify, on Soundcloud, or any podcast app worth its salt.