About That Whole Black Swan Thing…

Sunday, I went to the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston to see the blossoming of the carrion flower. Because nothing is cooler than a five foot flower that smells like rotting meat and wilts after 48 hours. Unfortunately, it hadn’t blossomed yet, but it was still kinda stinky*. But I digress.

Anyway, I realize the Black Swan metaphor, popularized by Nassim Nicholas Taleb in The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, is, well, a metaphor. But there are black swans, Cygnus atratus, which are native to Australia–these are not freaks of nature like albino tigers. And here’s some hot black swan action:

Very exciting! Some more information:


Text of sign:

Black swan Cygnus atratus
Weight: 8-19 lbs
Life Expectancy: 3-6+ year in the wild; 20+ in captivity
Food: These swans use their long necks to graze for vegetation under the surface of the water. They will graze on grasses and occasionally eat insects.
Habitat: Lakes, rivers, streams, and swamps of Australia and Tasmania. They are an introduced species in New Zealand and many parts of Europe.
Activity Pattern: Black swans swim with their necks arched. They feed at dusk and fly at night using their calls to keep together.

Don’t even get me started on those stupid fucking natural history facts….

*Here’s the stinker, not quite in bloom:



And here’s a wilted one:



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3 Responses to About That Whole Black Swan Thing…

  1. Odyssey says:

    Australia and Tasmania

    Huh, when those Tasmanians wake up tomorrow I bet they’ll be surprised to see they’re no longer part of Australia.

  2. helikonios says:

    Am I the only person who ever giggles at the fact that the corpse flower’s scientific name is Amorphophallus titanum?

  3. Jef C Taylor says:

    Nice shots. I’m impressed with the clarity, considering how humid it was in there.

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