photos by Nick Brandt that show an eerie lake in Africa turning animals into stone. Lake Natron in northern Tanzania is a death trap for birds and bats who appear to slam into it due to its surface’s extremely reflective nature. 

Temperatures in the lake can reach up to 60 °C (or 140 °F) and the water has an extremely high soda and salt content which causes “the creatures to calcify, perfectly preserved, as they dry.” Via


The lake takes its name from natron, a naturally occurring compound made mainly of sodium carbonate, with a bit of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) thrown in. Here, this has come from volcanic ash, accumulated from the Great Rift valley. Animals that become immersed in the water die and are calcified.

"No one knows for certain exactly how they die, but it appears that the extreme reflective nature of the lake’s surface confuses them, and like birds crashing into plate glass windows, they crash into the lake."

(via geekologie)


Calcified animals found washed up on the shores of Lake Natron in Tanzania and posed as they would be found in real life. The animals become “calcified” as their bodies become encrusted in sodium carbonate or bicarbonate when the water level of the lake drops.

This deadly lake receives its harsh composition from the neighboring volcano, Ol Doinyo as alkali-rich natrocarbonatites from the volcano enter the rainwater run-off, polluting the water. There is no calcium in the lake, however there are inflowing freshwater channels that precipitate and mix with the high pH alkaline water which also contributes to its very unique composition. 


A rare phenomenon which occurs most commonly when a foetus dies during an abdominal pregnancy and calcifies on the outside as it is too large to be reabsorbed by the body. This protects the mother’s body from the dead tissue of the baby and prevents infection.

It is not unusual for a stone baby to remain undiagnosed for decades and it is often not until a patient is examined for other conditions or a proper examination is conducted that includes an X-ray that a stone baby is found.

thewomanofscandal asked:

Hi there! Recently I've been taking class Classic Backgrounds of English Lit and the Prof chose metamorphosis as the prevailing theme for the semester. Most of his choices have been pretty standard: Ovid, The Odyssey, Orlando, Twelfth Night, etc. However there was one choice that kind of threw me for a loop: Pride & Prejudice. Though I adore Austen, I'd honestly never considered it metamorphosis novel and I wondered if you (as a great lover of transformation) had any thoughts about it?

easy! because okay. pride and prejudice is metamorphic through and through. but the transformations are less concrete / visually manifest than, say, kafka’s insect or the odyssey's man-thwarting witches.  

the clue is the title: the crux of it is the mutual, inch-by-inch then all at once transformations of elizabeth and darcy, the falling away of their pride and prejudices. it’s the idea that humans can undergo profound metamorphosis catalysed by love (and money, the novel’s other fixation, because in austen’s world a person changing social class is an equally dramatic rupture).

the abstract but radical nature of transformation — how a life can be ruined or mended by a word, a look, the briefest of touches — is a concept the narrative goes back to again and again; and actually dramatises, because austen’s novel is a study of the intricacies of manners and etiquette and intimacy, of that strange insular drawing-room world hinged upon small and great shifts of surface and substance. and when these changes happen, it’s women who have most to gain or lose.

(actually. to get one degree more meta, pride and prejudice is a transitional or metamorphic text: austen’s novels are published at the same time as the work of blake, wordsworth, byron, et al. but she’s writing something profoundly different, at a moment when the novel is rapidly changing; and austen’s text underwent dramatic changes during its creation, from an epistolary novel called first impressions to the third-person free indirect of pride and prejudice. and austen herself is a chimera, a creature of changing times: a woman of leisure was not supposed to make a living at all, particularly not from authorship, which wasn’t considered a respectable means of income for a woman of her class.)

some people consider pride and prejudice to be tame and quaint and effervescent, but it’s actually a disquieting novel about instability, transition, faultlines in the old bastions of power, shifting social hierarchies—and women’s terrible vulnerability to changes of fortune. 


"I unexpectedly found the creatures – all manner of birds and bats – washed up along the shoreline of Lake Natron in Northern Tanzania. No-one knows for certain exactly how they die, but it appears that the extreme reflective nature of the lake’s surface confuses them, and like birds crashing into plate glass windows, they crash into the lake. The water has an extremely high soda and salt content, so high that it would strip the ink off my Kodak film boxes within a few seconds. The soda and salt causes the creatures to calcify, perfectly preserved, as they dry."

Nick Brandt 


Hermit crabs (x)

… lack the calcified abdomen seen in other crustaceans like other crabs and lobsters. This leaves them vulnerable to predators, so they use empty snail shells to protect themselves. Their curled abdomen is specially adapted to fit into the spiral shell; most hermit crabs’ abdomens curl to the animal’s right, the same direction most snail shells spiral. At the end of the hermit crab’s abdomen is a specialized structure that clasps the internal central column of the shell to secure it. As the crab grows it eventually outgrows its home and must find a new one.

Shells can sometimes be in high demand; when empty shells are scarce, “vacancy chains” can form. This happens when a crab finds an empty shell that is too large for them. They will wait for another, larger crab to come along and move in to the too-big shell, then they will vacate their own and take the newcomer’s discarded shell. Many smaller crabs may end up waiting around the too-big shell, sequentially swapping shells from largest to smallest.

There are some 1100 species of hermit crab worldwide; of these, only about 15 are terrestrial. A few of these species are sometimes sold as pets; if well cared for, they can live 20 or more years in captivity. Shown at top is the aquatic species Grainyhand Hermit Crab (Pagurus granosimanus), which is found in the Pacific Northwest.

* They are not actually closely related to crabs, but more closely related to squat lobsters.

photo by Susannah Anderson (Wanderin’ Weeta) on Flickr; Arnstein Rønning, and H. Zell

(via: Peterson Field Guides)



Nick Brandt

"Calcified Fish Eagle"

Lake Natron


"Calcified Bat II"

Lake Natron


"Calcified Swallow"

Lake Natron


"Calcified Dove"

Lake Natron


"Calcified Flamingo"

Lake Natron


"Calcified Songbird"

Lake Natron


Lake Natron in Northern Tanzania

"Lake Natron in northern Tanzania is one of the harshest environments on Earth. Temperatures in the lake can rise to 140 °F (60 °C) and the alkalinity is between pH 9 and pH 10.5, almost as alkaline as ammonia. Animals who enter the water are almost certainly doomed, save certain kinds of fish that have evolved to survive in such a caustic environment.

While working Africa photographer Nick Brandt stopped by the lake to discover several dead animals on the shoreline. Birds and other small mammals that end up in the water gradually become calcified, turned to stone in the deadly water. Brandt tells NewScientist, “I could not help but photograph them. No one knows for certain exactly how they die, but it appears that the extreme reflective nature of the lake’s surface confuses them, and like birds crashing into plate glass windows, they crash into the lake.”

gayalien666 asked:

What a third eye? ((And I just wanted to tell you that I'm dying my armpits pink :))

bro, i dont shave either. right on. 

and a third eye is a pineal gland. every human being on this planet has it. but its been calcified beyond beleif. it is your third dimensional umbilical cord to the universe !!

Happy Trails Fellow Indigo !  


Vision, which consists of an optical system, receptors and image-processing capacity, has existed for at least 520 Myr. Except for the optical system, as in the calcified lenses of trilobite and ostracod arthropods, other parts of the visual system are not usually preserved in the fossil record, because the soft tissue of the eye and the brain decay rapidly after death, such as within 64 days and 11 days, respectively.

A fish eye from a primitive time when Earth was but one single continent has yielded evidence of color vision dating back at least 300 million years.  Analyzing the fossilized remains of a fish called Acanthodes bridgei that lived long before the dinosaurs, scientists discovered light-sensing “rod” and “cone” eye cells — the oldest ever found. being  the first discovery of vertebrate retinal fossils. The remains had been preserved under a thin coating of phosphate, analysis of the tissue provides the first record of mineralised rods and cones in a fossil. YAY!!!