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Like a tapir, only even more bizarre

We don't know what's weirder -- the way the Mongolian saiga looks, or the fact that its population has plummeted by 95 percent in just the last 15 years:

Standing just under two feet at the shoulder and weighing about 50 pounds, the most striking feature of the saiga is its large nose, or proboscis, similar to a tapir [editor's note: I once called the tapir "the world's silliest animal," but this one clearly trumps it]. The function of this unusual nose is not clear, but it may serve to warm or filter air during Mongolia's frigid winters and notorious dust storms. ...

Saigas still occur in pockets of Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kalmykia, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia, but the genetically unique subspecies found only in Mongolia numbers perhaps less than 2,000. Ten thousand years ago saigas roamed from the northern Yukon and Alaska to England, but the species was lost from North America and Britain as climate and vegetation shifted. With the collapse of the Soviet Empire, unregulated hunting resulted in the recent startling decrease in saiga numbers.

Scientists have just outfitted eight saiga with GPS tracking collars, which will have two effects: (1) helping scientists learn more about what the saiga need to survive, and (2) making the animals look even more ridiculous.

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The Origins of 36 Marvel Characters, Illustrated
Pop Chart Lab
Pop Chart Lab

No matter what their powers, every super hero has an origin story, from Spider-Man’s radioactive bite to Iron Man’s life-threatening chest shrapnel. In their latest poster, the designers at Pop Chart Lab have taken their infographic savvy to the Marvel Universe, charting the heroic origins of 36 different Marvel characters through miniature, minimalist comics.

Without using any words, they’ve managed to illustrate Bucky Barnes's plane explosion and subsequent transformation into the Winter Soldier, Jessica Jones’s car crash, the death of the Punisher’s family, and other classic stories from the major Marvel canon while paying tribute to the comic book form.

Explore the poster below, and see a zoomable version on Pop Chart Lab’s website.

A poster featuring 36 minimalist illustrations of superhero origin stories.
Pop Chart Lab

Keep your eyes open for future Marvel-Pop Chart crossovers. The Marvel Origins: A Sequential Compendium poster is “the first release of what we hope to be a marvelous partnership,” as Pop Chart Lab’s Galvin Chow puts it. Prints are available for pre-order starting at $37 and are scheduled to start shipping on March 8.

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