Highlights of Fantastic Beasts™: The Wonder of Nature
Step into the magical world of Fantastic Beasts™: The Wonder of Nature.
Explore the stories behind mythical beasts and the incredible abilities shared by real-life creatures with those from the wizarding world. Learn how scientists, just like Newt Scamander™, care for and protect animals.
The Fantastic Beasts™: The Wonder of Nature exhibition closed on 3 January 2022.
In Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them™ Newt Scamander™ writes about sea serpents including where they're found, their appearance and their behaviours.
Throughout history, sightings of oarfish, giant squid and other unfamiliar animals led sailors to tell tales of terrifying sea monsters like the kraken, which is often depicted as a giant octopus or squid that drags down entire ships.
Giant oarfish (Regalecus glesne)
Living in the deep ocean, scientists know little about giant oarfish behaviour. However, rare glimpses of their silvery, snake-like bodies and bright red fins are thought to be behind many tales of sea serpents.
Giant oarfish are the world's longest bony fish and can grow up to twice the length of this delicate four-metre-long skeleton, which you can see on display in the exhibition.
The dragon skull from Professor Lupin's classroom
Don't miss the dragon skull, part of the skeleton seen in the Harry Potter™ film series hanging from the ceiling of the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom at Hogwarts™.
Its skull has spines, spikes and sharp teeth, which is typical of many dragon breeds that appear in the wizarding world created by J K Rowling.
Meet fantastic beasts with magical powers and the real-life animals that share their remarkable abilities.
Like fluffy, mischievous Nifflers and their fascination with collecting all things that glitter, many animals collect things for all sorts of reasons.
Satin bowerbird (Ptilonorhynchus violaceus)
Feathers, flowers, shells - even buttons and bottle tops - feature in a satin bowerbird's treasure trove.
To attract a mate, males gather colourful objects to decorate their bower, a tunnel-like structure made from sticks. When a female appears, the male performs a dance while holding a favourite object in its beak.
Blue objects are particularly popular with satin bowerbirds. As blue is a rare colour in nature, this suggests that males who find lots of blue objects are perceived to be skilled, good-quality mates.
Galápagos marine iguana (Amblyrhynchus cristatus) and Occamy
When food is scarce, these lizards shrink their bodies by up to seven centimetres or around 20% of their body length. This reduces the amount of food they need to survive.
Marine iguanas feed on the green and red algae that grow in the waters around the Galápagos Archipelago.
Like the Occamy that can change size dramatically to fit an available space, marine iguanas can expand as well as shrink, returning to their original length when more food becomes available.
In the film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them™ (2016), Tina holds a teapot to recover an escaped Occamy in New York City. After a cockroach was dropped into the teapot as bait, the enormous Occamy was tempted to shrink inside in pursuit of a tasty treat.
Demiguise and jaguar (Panthera onca)
Much like the Demiguise, which can make itself invisible when threatened, a jaguar's markings disrupt the outline of its body, making them harder to spot in its habitat.
Can you see the dark, rose-shaped markings or 'rosettes' on this jaguar's fur? These markings help the animal remain hidden as it stalks and ambushes its prey. Researchers have found that markings like these evolved specifically in large cats that tend to hunt in forests or during the night.
Erumpent and peacock spider (Maratus pavonis)
In the exhibition, see if you can win the affection of a life-size digital Erumpent, using a magical scent. Like the Erumpent, some animals (often males) display complex, energetic routines to help show off their intelligence and fitness to a potential mate.
Take a closer look at the peacock spider. Like a peacock displaying its feathers, a male peacock spider tries to impress a mate by raising its brightly coloured bottom (known as an abdomen) and waving its long legs. This delicate dance is a matter of life and death - if the performance does not impress, a female might eat the male.
Like many of the fantastic beasts cared for by Newt, real-world animals need our help. In the exhibition, you can see some of the world's most vulnerable creatures and learn about the people who are ensuring we can live alongside them for generations to come.
As forests shrink and cities expand, large predators like tigers are encountering people more frequently. As with the Zouwu in the wizarding world, these confrontations can be dangerous for humans and big cats alike.
Caspian tiger (Panthera tigris virgata)
Caspian tigers were once found across Central Asia. This subspecies was driven to extinction in the 1970s as humans replaced its habitat with farms and cities. For the world's remaining wild tigers to survive, we need to find new ways of living peacefully alongside big cats.
Vaquita (Phocoena sinus) and Graphorn
This is the skeleton of the world's smallest porpoise - the vaquita - one of the most endangered species on our planet.
Vaquitas live off the coast of Mexico, where they are often caught accidentally in illegal fishing nets.
Like Graphorn populations, vaquita populations have fallen to very low numbers. Conservationists have tried everything from captive breeding at sea to redesigning fishing gear to keep this species from disappearing forever.
Take inspiration from the stories of dedicated conservationists and scientists, and Newt's commitment to the beasts in the wizarding world, to understand why it is now more important than ever to care for and protect the creatures that share our planet.
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