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The Quick 10: 10 Bizarre Deaths

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I stumbled upon this list of bizarre deaths and immediately thought, "Perfect mental_floss post." I think this subconsciously might be my reaction to Halloween displays going up in retail stores already "“ you might think it's too early, but I'd be happy if Halloween stuff was sold in stores year-round. Hopefully you guys are used to my morbid ways by now. Um. Happy Monday!

1. Aeschylus, a Greek playwright, supposedly met his making in 458 B.C. when an eagle mistook his bald head for a rock. He dropped a tortoise on the "rock" to try to kill it and break its shell open, but since the "rock" was actually Aeschylus' skull, it didn't really work out well. Except for the tortoise: legend has it that it walked away, unharmed.

tycho 2. It was long believed that astronomer Tycho Brahe died because he wouldn't get up to go to the loo. He was at a banquet in 1601 and had to pee something awful. But to get up and leave the banquet would have been unspeakably rude, so he, you know, held it. The theory is that it stretched his bladder beyond repair, he developed an infection and died 11 days later. However, these days, it looks like Tycho may have suffered from mercury poisoning. One school of thought thinks that his then-assistant, Johannes Kepler, intentionally poisoned him.

3. Speaking of faulty bladders, in 1862, baseball player Jim Creighton died when his bladder ruptured. Well, maybe. He was at bat and swung a little too hard, he gave himself some sort of internal injury and died a few days later. Many sources say it was his bladder; others say his appendix burst. He is largely regarded as baseball's first superstar.

4. If you visit the Jack Daniels distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee, you'll hear the story of how Jasper Newton Daniel met his untimely demise.

It was blood poisoning, which isn't that unusual, until you hear how he got it: years earlier, he kicked a safe because he couldn't remember the combination. This resulted in a toe injury, which resulted in blood poisoning.

5. It's entirely possible that King Alexander of Greece is the only King to ever die from a monkey attack. Seriously. He was out walking his dog in the Royal Gardens when a monkeys descended upon them. He tried to defend his poor dog, but got bitten a couple of times in the process. Infection set in and the King died of sepsis later that month.

6. George Herbert died of "blood poisoning", but those in the know say he was the first victim of King Tut's curse. He was the once who financed the excavation, which he probably regretted when a seemingly harmless mosquito bite turned into a deadly infection in 1923.

isadora7. Famous dancer Isadora Duncan died because she loved accessories. Scarves, to be exact. As she was riding in a car, her scarf fluttered out and got wrapped up in the spokes of the tires. The scarf was wrapped around her so well that it wouldn't come loose and instead dragged her out of the car and strangled her.

8. Robert Williams was the first person to be killed by a robot (see, Flight of the Conchords know what they are talking about). Williams worked at Ford and was getting a part out of a storage bin when the arm of a robot performing the same function caught him in the head with enough force to kill him.

williams9. I'm sure Tennessee Williams would have written a much more poetic death for himself than what actually happened. He was at a hotel in New York when he put the cap to some eyedrops in his mouth, then leaned back to put the drops in his eye. This was something he did a lot, but this time, the cap slipped and he choked to death.

10. I suppose after the "unsinkable" Titanic sunk, we should have learned to never declare things definitively impossible. Garry Hoy would certainly know better, if he had survived his fall. In 1993, he hurled himself against a glass wall on the 24th story on his office building. He was at an after-hours party and was proving to the party patrons that the glass was "unbreakable." Except it wasn't.

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FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images
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Animals
Fisherman Catches Rare Blue Lobster, Donates It to Science
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FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images

Live lobsters caught off the New England coast are typically brown, olive-green, or gray—which is why one New Hampshire fisherman was stunned when he snagged a blue one in mid-July.

As The Independent reports, Greg Ward, from Rye, New Hampshire, discovered the unusual lobster while examining his catch near the New Hampshire-Maine border. Ward initially thought the pale crustacean was an albino lobster, which some experts estimate to be a one-in-100-million discovery. However, a closer inspection revealed that the lobster's hard shell was blue and cream.

"This one was not all the way white and not all the way blue," Ward told The Portsmouth Herald. "I've never seen anything like it."

While not as rare as an albino lobster, blue lobsters are still a famously elusive catch: It's said that the odds of their occurrence are an estimated one in two million, although nobody knows the exact numbers.

Instead of eating the blue lobster, Ward decided to donate it to the Seacoast Science Center in Rye. There, it will be studied and displayed in a lobster tank with other unusually colored critters, including a second blue lobster, a bright orange lobster, and a calico-spotted lobster.

[h/t The Telegraph]

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Courtesy Murdoch University
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Animals
Australian Scientists Discover First New Species of Sunfish in 125 Years
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Courtesy Murdoch University

Scientists have pinpointed a whole new species of the largest bony fish in the world, the massive sunfish, as we learned from Smithsonian magazine. It's the first new species of sunfish proposed in more than 125 years.

As the researchers report in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, the genetic differences between the newly named hoodwinker sunfish (Mola tecta) and its other sunfish brethren was confirmed by data on 27 different samples of the species collected over the course of three years. Since sunfish are so massive—the biggest can weigh as much as 5000 pounds—they pose a challenge to preserve and store, even for museums with large research collections. Lead author Marianne Nyegaard of Murdoch University in Australia traveled thousands of miles to find and collected genetic data on sunfish stranded on beaches. At one point, she was asked if she would be bringing her own crane to collect one.

Nyegaard also went back through scientific literature dating back to the 1500s, sorting through descriptions of sea monsters and mermen to see if any of the documentation sounded like observations of the hoodwinker. "We retraced the steps of early naturalists and taxonomists to understand how such a large fish could have evaded discovery all this time," she said in a press statement. "Overall, we felt science had been repeatedly tricked by this cheeky species, which is why we named it the 'hoodwinker.'"

Japanese researchers first detected genetic differences between previously known sunfish and a new, unknown species 10 years ago, and this confirms the existence of a whole different type from species like the Mola mola or Mola ramsayi.

Mola tecta looks a little different from other sunfish, with a more slender body. As it grows, it doesn't develop the protruding snout or bumps that other sunfish exhibit. Similarly to the others, though, it can reach a length of 8 feet or more. 

Based on the stomach contents of some of the specimens studied, the hoodwinker likely feeds on salps, a jellyfish-like creature that it probably chomps on (yes, sunfish have teeth) during deep dives. The species has been found near New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and southern Chile.

[h/t Smithsonian]

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