你知道吗：Are There Monkeys in the Sea?
In today's digital world, kids are growing up with different forms of entertainment than their parents and grandparents experienced. Many modern kids enjoy video games and smartphone apps. If you were to ask your parents or grandparents what they enjoyed to pass the time, they might answer with comic books.
In addition to losing themselves in a cartoon world of superheroes, parents or grandparents likely remember the fun they had leafing through the pages of advertisements in the back of their favorite comics. These ads contained a whole world full of interesting products you could purchase through the mail.
One of those products became a marketing sensation that still makes millions of dollars today. The product's interesting advertisement featured a family of creatures that looked a bit like aliens. It promised that, with a bowl of water and a couple of packets of magical powder, you would see sea creatures come to life. What are we talking about? Sea monkeys, of course!
Now, before you get too excited, we should warn you: these creatures did not live in the sea and they certainly weren't monkeys. But wouldn't real-life sea monkeys be cool? Can you imagine monkeys riding dolphins like they were horses? Anyway, we digress…
The "Sea-Monkeys" advertised in old comic books were actually a special type of crustacean called brine shrimp. In fact, they were the result of the combined efforts of a marine biologist and a clever inventor with a knack for marketing.
Scientists believe brine shrimp have existed on Earth for millions of years. Instead of oceans, they prefer saltwater lakes that have especially high salinity. Because these lakes dry up occasionally, brine shrimp have adapted over the years to survive dry conditions by entering a form of hibernation called anhydrobiosis.
In dry conditions, female brine shrimp can produce eggs with a special coating that allows them to remain metabolically inactive until appropriate conditions return. In 1957, Harold von Braunhut, an inventor of novelty items, worked closely with Dr. Anthony D'Agostino, a marine biologist, to create a new hybrid species of brine shrimp that would have an especially long dormant period.
Cleverly marketed as "Sea-Monkeys," a kit would arrive in the mail with two packets of powder. The first, called "Water Purifier," contained water conditioner, salt, and a few brine shrimp eggs. After adding the first packet to regular water, you would need to wait 24 hours before adding the second packet, called "Instant Life Eggs," which contained more brine shrimp eggs, salt, soda, borax, and food.
Soon thereafter the brine shrimp would hatch. To create an interesting product, von Braunhut called them "Sea-Monkeys," because he claimed their tails resembled those of monkeys. However, they didn't look anything like monkeys, and they also didn't resemble the alien-like creatures featured in the Sea-Monkey ads.
Sea-Monkeys were very popular during the 1960s and 1970s. After all, who wouldn't be amazed by pouring powder into tap water and seeing life spring forth? Today, Sea-Monkey sales are still in the millions of dollars each year.
As for the creatures themselves, brine shrimp might not sound quite as cool as sea monkeys. However, they're actually really interesting. In addition to breathing through their feet, they are born with just one eye but grow two more as they reach maturity! They can also survive extremely harsh conditions, such as boiling and below-freezing temperatures and crushing pressures like that of the deep ocean. Scientists have even launched them into space to test their ability to survive cosmic radiation!
the bags of letters and packages that are transported by the postal service——mail
showing self-interest and shrewdness in dealing with others——clever
lose clarity or turn aside esp. from the main subject of attention or course of argument in writing, thinking, or speaking——digress
the relative proportion of salt in a solution——salinity
the period of time in your life after your physical growth has stopped and you are fully developed——maturity
the offspring of two plants or animals that are of different species or breeds——hybrid
in electronics, transmitting all variables as numerical values——digital
the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising——marketing
something that is dazzlingly successful in any field——sensation
a solid substance in the form of tiny loose particles; a solid that has been pulverized——powder
(of persons) excessively affected by emotion——excited
cheap showy jewelry or ornament or clothing——novelty
an activity that is diverting and that holds the attention——entertainment
a public promotion of some product or service——advertisement
the torpid or resting state in which some animals pass the winter——hibernation
suitable for a particular person or place or condition etc——appropriate
a substance used to improve the condition of something such as hair, or added to enhance the usability of something such as water——conditioner
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