May 25, 2020

The murky beauty of blood | Science

With his novel Dracula, the writer Bram Stoker He managed to create a fabulous creature that will become archetypal, even reaching the hermetic dimension of science.

The name of Dracula will be used as a zoological nomenclature when baptizing a fish, a small organism that lost its teeth in its evolution and that will develop a pair of very peculiar bone fangs; giants in relation to his body. The said fish is scientifically known as Danionella Dracula

Vlad Tepes or 'The Impaler', the historical character who inspired Bram Stoker to create Dracula.

Vlad Tepes or 'The Impaler', the historical character who inspired Bram Stoker to create Dracula.

It is worth remembering that Bram Stoker's novel was published in 1897. To baptize his character, the Irish author used the name of a romanian prince mid-fifteenth century, Vlad Drăculea, also known as Vlad the Impaler. Since then, no vampire story will shade the figure of the mysterious earl who lives in a Carpathian castle, who flees from the mirrors and who feeds on human blood, like a leech. To build his character, Bram Stoker followed a bibliographic course that starts in the first approach to what we can call "vampire story" and that appears in the Life of Apollonius of Tiana, written by Filóstrato.

The editor Jacobo Siruela tells it in the prologue of the book Vampires (Atalanta), where it outlines the evolution of the mythical creature since ancient times, when it was confused "between a vast legion of demons", until it reaches its current form; that of a man with a cruel mouth who takes his teeth out of the blood of others. Since Filóstrato sketched vampirism in the figure of the woman who seduces a young man, until he reaches Dracula, there is a bibliographic trail that will be pointed out to us by the prologue. Along the way, the vampire will change morphology, detaching himself from the magical sense he had in the Greco-Roman world until he became aristocratic, following the model that John William Polidori drew, between the effluents of the laudanum and the elongated flames of candles, the same night that Frankenstein was born.

In the case at hand here, the little fish called Danionella Dracula He opens his jaws and shows his fangs when he goes into a fight with other males. According to the research team led by Dr. Ralf Britz of the Natural History Museum in London, although the fish Danionella Dracula faces other members of the same species, does not cause injuries; contrary to what happens with the Adetomyrma venatrix, an ant genus that is popularly known as "Dracula ant", whose jaw opens and closes with the snap of a quick snap, which makes this ant the fastest animal on Earth. Their mouthparts move at speeds of up to 90 meters per second. In case there is any doubt as regards the success of its popular name, the "Dracula ant" feeds on hemolymph, nutrient fluid of insects analogous to our blood. It sucks it from the larvae themselves.

These are some examples of how the fable comes to serve science once again. In both cases, the name of a fictional character, such as Dracula, will end up being part of the zoological nomenclature, either in the scientific way (Danionella Dracula) or vulgarly (ant Dracula).

The stone ax it's a section where Montero Glez, with a will to prose, it exercises its particular siege to scientific reality to manifest that science and art are complementary forms of knowledge.

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