National Geographic : 2014 Aug
ART: JOSÉ MIGUEL MAYO. GRAPHIC: ÁLVARO VALIÑO. SOURCE: HUMANE SOCIETY NEXT Depp Sea Creature The 1990 movie Edward Scissorhands has had a brush with science. Researchers discovered a pincered marine animal that lived 500 million years ago and named it after Johnny Depp—the actor who played Scissorhands. Called Kootenichela deppi, it likely used its clawlike extremities for foraging. K. deppi is the ancestor of all ar- thropods, says paleobiologist David Legg, “a group that’s conquered most of Earth’s ecosystems, including the depths of the Mariana Trench and the slopes of Mount Everest.” —Catherine Zuckerman Good Luck Often originating in hunting or the performing arts, modern idioms for good luck frequently incorporate wishing exactly the opposite—to avoid a jinx. —Johnna Rizzo ITALY in bocca al lupo in the mouth of the wolf To avoid hexing a hunt, Italians wish for a wolf to eat the hunter himself. The response: I hope it dies. ESTONIA kivi kotti a stone into your bag Also born of bestowing luck on a hunt, this Estonian wish is for heavy rocks to slow a hunter’s progress. RUSSIA ni pukha, ni pera neither wool, nor feather Russians express a hope for an empty game bag to avoid obstructing a hunt’s success. U.S.A . break a leg The American saying started as a superstition of performing artists— wishing something horrible so they wouldn’t ruin a performance. VENEZUELA mucha mierda much excrement Venezuelans borrow from a historical wish that many carriages—and their horses—will stop at a performance. KOREA hwaiting fighting To wish luck—often for sports or exams—Koreans mimic how Japanese pronounce “fighting.” About the size of an earthworm, Kootenichela deppi was found fossilized in British Columbia’s Kootenay National Park. THE LIST About 95.6 million cats and 83.3 million dogs are household pets in the United States.