October 18, 2019

The marmot lives forever.

His terror at the moment he sees his death becomes frozen-in-time slapstick comedy and the human with a camera wins 2019 Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

33 comments:

Begonia said...

Those photos are all so beautiful.

I think my favorite is the dreamy underwater frogs and eggs scene.

Openidname said...

We have to hope he just ran like hell.

bagoh20 said...

Imagining your death is a privilege left to those not in the throws of defending their life. That dude is only thinking fight or flight.

mockturtle said...

'The Climate Crisis' is the real feature here. I'll pass.

Roughcoat said...

I didn't view the photo. I don't want to see an animal terrorized by his impending death. I'm soft that way.

Ann Althouse said...

I'll bet a lot of people look really funny right at the moment when they see they are about to die. If a camera is there to catch it, the photos are censored and you don't see them at all or you self-censor and recognize only your laudable empathy for the deceased.

Roughcoat said...

That dude is only thinking fight or flight.

Animal behavioral scientists might disagree. Over the past decade or so it has become increasingly apparent that the animal cognition, emotion, and psychology, etc. is much more complex than was previously thought and assumed. Increasingly researchers in this field are inclined toward the concept that, although animals are not fully sentient, they do possess limited sentience. Just how limited it might be varies on a case-by-case basis. What it certain is that the higher forms have complex emotional lives (and personalities and not are not operating solely on instinct. As one canine researcher (a fast-growing field)observed: "Our problem is not that anthropomorphize (canines) too much, but that we don't an anthropomorphize enough.

Yancey Ward said...

"Throes", not "throws".

traditionalguy said...

Marmots need them a Second Amendment. Nothing there that a 45 Cal. Fox Equalizer wouldn't handle.

Death is overrated.

Yancey Ward said...

I have only once been in a postion where I really did think I was about to die- it was only pure chance that I lived. I don't know what the look on my face was, but probably a bit bemused by the idiocy of what I had done. The aftermath was different, though- I immediately threw up the contents of my recently eaten breakfast.

CJinPA said...

Well done photos. I love this stuff, although the increasingly common "..and this is why animals are better than humans..." editorializing gets tiresome.

rhhardin said...

The Robert Capa of wildlife

rcocean said...

Great photos. Hope they're not staged like some of Capa's.

rhhardin said...

Peter deVries Vale of Laughter had a father worried that nobody would be around to hear and report his last words. The son suggested he compose his last words and tell him what they will be and he'll report them. Stop worrying. That seemed like cheating to his father. As it happened the last words were "Jesus Christ!" after a lightning strike nearby, so he was reported as pious.

There were a few last words mentioned that didn't work out, to dissuade the father.
Thoreau - "Moose." and then "Indians." Goethe "More light." Einstein "[something in German - the nurse didn't speak German]." Some british admiral "Kiss me, Hardy."

All unmemorable and the world would be better off not knowing them.

remembered at a distance of 50 years. When I read a book, it stays read.

Bob Boyd said...

Maybe he got away. Telephoto compression makes the fox look right next to the marmot, but the fox should be bigger, relative to the marmot, than he looks. Maybe the marmot was safe at home base.
In this game a tie goes to the fox.

Mr. Majestyk said...

Yancey, what happened?

Marc said...

The photographs section on the Guardian's online front page almost always returns a certain pleasure or amusement. Construing the headlines as meant to be ironical or sarcastic works a lot of the time, too, e.g. "Hillary Clinton hints Tulsi Gabbard is being groomed by Russia as third-party candidate".

Dan in Philly said...

A picture is worth a thousand words, all of them lies. I think the expression of the marmot was more of aggression to try to scare the fox before running than slapstick terror.

Bob said...

According to the caption, the marmot was lulled into reticence because the nearby fox hadn't moved. Then suddenly it did.

Impossible to know if the marmot's expression came from its sudden realization of misjudgement or the attack itself.

Michael K said...

The Guardian, of course, has a popup about "Climate Change" on the pic.

Lyle Smith said...

I must have had that look before being hit head on by another car.

bagoh20 said...

"Animal behavioral scientists might disagree..."

I wasn't suggesting animals think of nothing else but fight or flight, but that at that moment, it is all any of us think about. The lizard brain we all share takes over. If you are contemplating your possible death at that moment, you are guaranteeing it.

bagoh20 said...

Yea, "throes". But he was probably thinking: "I need to throws something at this canine."

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

Remember not to eat the guts raw like the ill-fated Mongolian couple.

That Chinese photog could get similar shots covering the protests

Bill R said...

I happened to catch my wife trying to sneak from the shower to the bedroom once. It was just like that.

Kevin said...

I like the bison one a lot.

mikee said...

The marmot lives forever?!
The marmot dies endlessly.

h said...

As Bill R notes: the marmot pose seems decidedly feminine.

Rabel said...

"I'll bet a lot of people look really funny right at the moment when they see they are about to die."

This one's a real hoot. Facial expression a bit like the marmot's.

William said...

I'm surprised that it hasn't been photo-shopped with the faces of Pelosi and Trump. It will happen. Historic inevitability. The fox can be photo-shopped to taste.

Yancey Ward said...

Mr. Majestyk asked:

"Yancey, what happened?"

I was at conference at a resort at Lake Tahoe in November of 1996. I went for drive around the lake early the first morning since I had never been there before. The roads had been plowed (it had snowed a lot a couple of days before I arrived), but there were still a lot of icy spots in the shaded areas. I was driving far to fast for the conditions (I knew it, too, but thought I could sight see and see the icy areas at the same time. I was doing about 50 when I came into a blind curve and lost control, and the car spun around a couple times in the middle of the road- on each turn towards the oncoming traffic, I could see a large delivery truck coming who had no time to stop or even avoid hitting me. My only thought at that moment was along the lines of, "Well, shit, I didn't think it would end for me like this." The road on either side in that section was down a steep hill towards the lake on my left, and on my right was just large trees down a steep embankment to a gully. There was exactly one area of the shoulder in that 1000 ft stretch where a car could fit- somehow, my car spun to a stop right on that one piece of shoulder just as the truck passed by doing 50 himself.

I got out the car shaking so bad I could barely walk. I vomited a few seconds later. I don't think I have ever been that frightened by anything, nor that relieved at an outcome either.

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

Poor marmot. My bedroom window is a dozen yards from a couple miles of steep woodland occupied only by coyotes, deer, birds, raccoons, and who knows what else. Sometimes I listen to the random cries and wonder what life and death dramas are playing out in the darkness.

Phidippus said...

AA: "I'll bet a lot of people look really funny right at the moment when they see they are about to die."

The merits of the claim aside, that is one of the most bizarre comments I've ever read here or anywhere else.

How many people have you watched die? (For me, the answer is zero.)

Based on what I've heard from hospice and ICU nurses, the hilarity quotient of observing the dying varies over quite a large range.

Separately, I hope the fox got the marmot. I hate those things. They dig up my flower beds. Nice picture, though.