6 Super Cool Creatures Featured in Showbiz Safari!
Have you had a chance to check out Showbiz Safari in the SSEC Game Center? In this life science game, students take on the role of assistant casting director for Walrus! He has three kinds of movies to cast – but different roles require different kinds of organisms! Using their knowledge of diverse plant and animal life, students must make sure that Walrus casts the prefect character for each of his movies. Keep reading to learn more about some of the super cool organisms from the game!
This list isn’t hierarchical, but there’s no doubt that dolphins are one of nature’s coolest animals! They’re considered to be highly intelligent, with very large brains relative to their body size. They also have a lot of folding in their cerebral cortex, the outer layer of their brain, which is the same thing humans have, and the reason why both our brains look wrinkled! They are beloved by seaside-watchers for their playful behavior and distinct vocalizations, but did you know that dolphins can also use echolocation underwater? They do so by sending out sound waves (clicks made by air sacs in their nasal passage). When the sound waves hit an object, they bounce back, allowing a dolphin to sense them and hear (or see?) where things are. Dolphins hunt in social groups (ranging from 5 members to several hundred) and use their echolocation to track down potential prey!
Another amazing sea creature featured in Showbiz Safari is the sea turtle. Sea turtles have existed for 110 million years, making them one of the most ancient species alive on Earth! They can be found in warm and temperate waters around the world, and many sea turtles undergo long migrations across the ocean. In fact, some sea turtles migrate 1,400 miles between their feeding grounds and the beaches where they nest. That’s like getting a meal in Mexico and then going to lay eggs in Canada! Once they get there, sea turtle mothers make up for lost time, as they are well-known for tough parenting behaviors. Adult sea turtles will leave their young alone on the nesting beach, forcing hatchlings to find their way back to the ocean. Recently, climate change and infrastructure development have posed a threat to many turtle nesting sites.
Not all of these awesome organisms live in the sea, nor are they all animals! Another cool character from Showbiz Safari is the flower of poetry – the rose. Roses have captured the attention of many throughout history, from Greek goddess Aphrodite and the Romans, to England and the United States (where it is the emblem and national flower of each, respectively). They have been used for their smell, taste, medicinal qualities, and obviously, their beauty. Rose plants can also live a very long time! The oldest-known living rose bush, from Hildesheim Cathedral in Germany, is thought to be over 1,000 years old!
Image: Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock
Parakeets (or Budgerigars) are undeniably adorable, but these 7 inch long birds from Australia are hardier than they look! Nomadic by nature, Parakeets can fly hundreds of miles in search of food and water (and we thought the drive to the grocery store was far!). They usually travel in packs, sometimes as large as thousands of Parakeets! Another cool fact is that Parakeets are able to see a wider spectrum of colors than humans can! Their visible spectrum includes ultraviolet light and scientists have discovered that Parakeets’ yellow feathers have a fluorescent pigment, likely in order to attract potential mates!
Crocodiles are pretty awesome, but also, admittedly, a little scary at first! They look like prehistoric predators, which makes sense, because their Mesozoic ancestors were at the top of the food chain! With jaws that can apply 5,000 pounds of pressure per square inch, it’s no wonder why. Today, crocodiles are less prevalent, and in some places, they are vulnerable to becoming endangered. Killing crocodiles for their skin is now illegal but past poaching has taken a heavy toll on many populations. Despite laws against it, some illegal hunting still occurs.
Pomeranians (affectionately known by some as Pom Poms) might seem a little less exotic than the other organisms we’ve mentioned, but their story is just as grand. They are the descendants of massive sled dogs from Northern Europe, selectively bread for their miniscule size and cute appearance (they usually weigh 7-10 pounds). While their size shrunk, their character didn’t, and they are famous for thinking they can take on much bigger dogs with their high-pitched bark (perhaps they’re still coming to terms with their evolutionarily recent dwarfism)! Throughout history, many famous names have had Pomeranians as pets, including Sir Isaac Newton, Queen Victoria of England, Martin Luther, Michelangelo, and Mozart!
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- Piro, Lauren. "10 Fascinating Things You Didn't Know About Roses." Good Housekeeping. Good Housekeeping, 29 May 2015. Web. 28 July 2016.
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- Schaefer, Larry. “Dolphin Brain and Intelligence.” Understand Dolphins. Understanding Dolphins, n.d. Web. 13 June 2017.