The sleek animal glides effortlessly above the ground. The skin of her bullet-shaped body can smoothly change colour and pattern to match the surroundings, providing an almost perfect camouflage. The animal is on the hunt, and scans ahead with her acute vision. She spies her prey in the murky distance and banks gently towards it. As she approaches, the hunter slows and then hovers, the skirt-like fin along her flanks rippling gently to provide lift. The design on her back morphs into an all-together different pattern, this one a vivid, dynamic display. The whole animal appears to be pulsating as thick black and white stripes race across her surface, from the base of her body to the tip of her tentacles. The predator carefully edges nearer to its quarry and then suddenly jets forward, her tentacles exploding outwards to envelop the hapless prey in their clutches. It is quickly dragged in towards the beak, which crushes through the prey’s exoskeleton and gulps down its flesh. After this burst of ferocity the hunter switches back into perfect camouflage, and slips away unseen.
Recent genetic research has answered some long-running questions about the ancient origins of the humble cow. At the time when the first civilisations were being born great floods of cattle surged across the continents. The results of these prehistoric migrations may now help save modern European herds.