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Elf ring

Fairy Ring

Ever see a set of mushrooms growing in a near-perfect circle? Or an arc of dead or dark grass on a green field? Folklore calls it the elf ring or fairy ring, but it actually has a very reasonable biological explanation.

Immortal dog

Husky

Some time more than 200 years ago, a dog or wolf in China or Siberia got cancer. It was a strange type of cancer: the cancer cells were contagious. That cell line is still alive today, and will probably be alive forever.

Flea poetry

Flea

Fleas are not an obvious topic for poetry. And yet it is the core of both the shortest poem in the English language and the dodgiest erotic poem ever written by a cleric of the Church of England.

Rooster egg

Cockatrice

A tiny yolkless egg shows up in your henhouse. Today, we know this to be a chicken’s first training egg. In the 12th century? It came from a rooster, and you better throw it over your house or it will be born a monster.