No, that's not a snark on Jennifer Connelly. Although she was in Labyrinth...
A release from ScienceDaily has a headline I can't resist:
Darwin Killed Off The Werewolf
It was Darwinian theory that did away with the werewolf. For much of recorded history, humans have reserved their greatest fears for dog-human hybrids like the werewolf. These beasts were once thought to be real, hiding behind every tree waiting for the unsuspecting traveler.
But, argues Brian Regal, assistant professor of the history of science at Kean University in Union, New Jersey, USA, the publication of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species 150 years ago focused minds on a different kind of monster – ape-men such as the Yeti, Bigfoot and Sasquatch.
That's an interesting take on it. I think that greater contact with exotic places, including exhibitions of apes, probably had more influence than Darwin's ideas. Nineteenth-century travelogues and lectures caused a sensation with their description of gorillas and chimpanzees. Later on, people started to record myths and stories of indigenous peoples -- including Sasquatch, ebu gogo, orang pendak, and others. Those raised the possibility of unknown creatures in unexplored parts of the world. Meanwhile, industrialization and associated development markedly reduced the potential that supernatural creatures were roaming Europe.
Still, if public education about hybridity made a difference, so much the better!
(via Gene Expression)