Octopuses can taste with their skin, resist a pull 1,000 times their own weight, change color and shape, squirt ink, and inject venom. And even giant Pacifics—the biggest of the 250 octopus species, sometimes weighing 100 pounds—can pour their baggy, boneless bodies through an opening the size of an orange.
—  National Geographic, “Consider the octopus”

Trees which survive where environmental conditions are extremely severe may grow less than a hundredth of an inch in diameter each year. The tree trunk above is a bristlecone pine from the White Mountains of eastern California, and is one of the oldest, authentically-dated trees in the world. The seed germinated in rocky, mountainous soil, and for approximately 4,500 years, from 2,550 BC to 1956 AD, the tree endured extreme cold, short growing seasons, frequent blizzards, and high winds that eroded away more than half of its trunk. 

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The technique of watercolour was first honed by the English in the 17th century. Watercolor was used by topographers as the pigments are portable and water can be easily found all over the world. Many of the first watercolour artists were actually topographers, such as the famed Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851) who was first trained as an artist by the british military. His Scarborough watercolour and graphite on paper c. 1825 (157 x 225 mm) (located in the Tate in London, England) is a great example of this early technique and further demonstrates why watercolour took off around Europe in the 19th century.

Fast Facts: Axolotl 

With its frilly gills and variety of colorations, the axolotl is a popular pet in aquariums around the world. Native to lakes near Mexico City, these salamanders go their whole lives without leaving their watery habitats.

  • The name axolotl is believed to come from the ancient Aztec language nahautl, and translates roughly as “water monster.”
  • Axolotls have the amazing ability to regrow entire limbs repeatedly. They experience no scarring, and can even regrow injuries as grievous as a crushed spinal cord!
  • Unlike most frogs and other salamanders, which move to land as adults, the axolotl lives its whole life underwater, retaining many of its juvenile traits.
  • The feathery structures on either side of the axolotl’s head are its gills.
  • Scientists are working to identify the genes involved in the axolotl’s incredible regenerative abilities in hopes of one day applying what they learn to human medicine. 

Scientists are working to identify the genes involved in the axolotl’s incredible regenerative abilities in hopes of one day applying what they learn to human medicine. Visitors to Museum can soon get up close and personal with a tank of axolotls, which will be among the live animals on display in Life at the Limits opening April 4th

Image: Wikimedia Commons/LoKiLeCh