How much sci is in your fi? To celebrate Halloween, we're taking a look at physics, biology and everything in between through the lens of monster cinema. This quiz will grill you on alien jaw mechanics, Godzilla's dinosaurian ties and the unexpected downside of invisibility. You know, all the stuff you'd need to know as a mad scientist's lab assistant. Mwah-ha-ha.
Question of 10
True or false: Vampire bats — like Hollywood vampires — suck the blood of their victims.
The flying mammals use their sharp incisors to make tiny holes in the skin. But instead of sucking the blood, they lap it up with their tongues.
Megalodon, a huge prehistoric shark, is the villain in 2018's "The Meg." According to paleontologists, when did this species go extinct?
8,500 to 10,500 years ago
2.6 to 3.6 million years ago
A full-grown megalodon might have measured anywhere from 43 to 82 feet (13 to 25 meters) long. And yes, the giant fish is almost certainly extinct. There's no hard evidence to the contrary.
65 to 75 million years ago
Fill in the blank: If Jack Griffin (title character in the movie "The Invisible Man") was real, he'd probably suffer from _____.
Normal people can't see Griffin because visible light bends around his body. But optic scientists think this would also keep light from entering his eyes — and he'd therefore be blind. Tough break.
insensitivity to pain
Beasts with two or more heads are a mainstay of cheeseball horror flicks. What's the scientific name for this condition?
It's been documented in snakes, cats, fish and lots of other animals. For the record, our favorite example of fictional polycephaly has to be King Ghidorah, Godzilla's three-headed nemesis.
Those nightmarish Xenomorphs in the "Alien" franchise have two sets of jaws apiece — just like which of these real animals?
The truth is scarier than fiction: After a moray's primary jaws clamp down on its victim, a hidden pair called the "pharyngeal jaws" pull it down the throat.
The botanical bad guy in "Little Shop of Horrors" speaks English well enough to make wisecracks (and use profanity). How do non-fictional plants communicate?
by releasing chemical signals
through very faint sounds
They might use both methods.
Airborne chemicals help certain plants warn each other about impending danger. Also, corn sapling roots emit clicking noises which — in theory — could allow them to transmit messages through soil.
We swear we're not making this up: "The Giant Claw" (1957) is about an alien bird with an antimatter shield. What happens when matter and antimatter particles collide?
They annihilate each other.
It's a process that releases energy (and has no discernible ties to cosmic avians).
King Kong notwithstanding, how much did the largest ape currently known to science weigh? (Hint: It was prehistoric.)
300 pounds (136 kilograms)
600 pounds (272 kilograms)
900 pounds (408 kilograms)
The Gigantopithecus blacki, a prehistoric resident of Vietnam and China may have stood 9 feet (2.7 meters) tall and weighed at least 900 pounds (408 kilograms). Compare that to the largest living ape, the eastern lowland gorilla, who weighs up to 440 pounds (200 kilograms) and stands about 5 feet (1.5 meters).
Like Jeff Goldblum's character in "The Fly" (1986), houseflies intentionally vomit on a regular basis. But why?
to keep themselves light enough to fly
to break down food
Lacking jaws or teeth, houseflies break down solid food by regurgitating digestive enzymes. These help liquify the meal, allowing the insects to suck it up.
to mark their territories
The vertically oriented plates on Godzilla's backside were reportedly inspired by what iconic dinosaur?
By the way, the plates are called "osteoderms." Nobody knows what the plates were for, but they might have helped the dinos attract mates.