Mark Mancini

Contributing Writer

Mark Mancini is a freelance writer currently based in New Jersey. Over the years, he’s covered every subject from classic horror movies to Abe Lincoln's favorite jokes. He is particularly fond of paleontology and has been reporting on new developments in this field since 2013. When Mark's not at his writing desk, you can usually find him on stage somewhere because he loves to get involved with community theater. And if you ever feel like trading puns for a few hours, he's your guy.

Recent Contributions

What's the Difference Between a Brown Bear and a Black Bear?

Yes, the obvious fur color seems like a dead giveaway, but you can't always judge a bear by the color of its fur.

Before Halloween, There Was Samhain

This centuries-old Pagan holiday isn't necessarily scary. But those who celebrate are honoring the dead, believing their spirits have easy access to the world of the living during Samhain.

The Misrepresentation of 'Nosferatu' in Vampire Lore    

Popularized in the 1897 novel "Dracula" by Bram Stoker, and the film "Nosferatu" in 1922, the word "nosferatu" is largely considered to be an archaic Romanian word, synonymous with "vampire," though the true origin story is long and complicated.

'Flying' Snakes Are Actually Legless Gliders

To some, the thought of snakes flying through the air is the scariest thought imaginable, but, as we'll explain, flying snakes don't actually fly, they "fall with style."

The Nebra Sky Disc: Early Calendar, Ancient Astronomical Art or Simply a Fake?

Since its discovery, the Nebra Sky Disc has been known as the oldest artifact in the world depicting cosmic phenomena. But is the 3,600-year-old disc actually 1,000 years younger than previously thought or is it a fake altogether?

From the Rhino to the Corn: 10 Facts From the Wide World of Rat Snakes

Despite their name, rat snakes don't eat just rodents. This huge family of snakes, which lives on every continent except Antarctica, also eats lizards and amphibians.

Who Was Viking Warrior Ivar the Boneless?

History says Ivar the Boneless was a ruthless Viking warrior. But why the name boneless? Was he truly disabled, or was there a another more sinister reason for the nickname?

Don't Mess With the Black Mamba, One of the Deadliest Snakes Alive

One of the most venomous snakes alive, the black mamba warns off encroachment with a fearsome hiss and the ominous flaring of its two cobra-like neck flaps.

What's the Difference Between Pyrite and Gold?

Don't know your fool's gold from the real deal? We'll tell you how to tell what's pyrite (aka fool's gold) and the good ol' 24 karat stuff you want.

Deciphering the History, Symbols and Sounds of Egyptian Hieroglyphics

About 25 symbols in the Egyptian hieroglyphic "alphabet" denote specific sounds. But very few words were written purely alphabetically.

The Now-extinct Castoroides Was a Bear-sized Beaver

The giant castoroides thrived in the Great Plains, the Great Lakes region, the American South and Alaska. So why did this massive beaver die out?

Tyrannosaurus Rex Was the Tyrant Lizard King

Tyrannosaurus rex, one of the fiercest meat-eaters ever, is the animal that probably springs to mind when most of us hear the word "dinosaur."

Science vs. '90s Disaster Movies, a Deeply Geeky Pop Culture Quiz

Ah, the '90s. We're still watching this glorious decade's campy disaster flicks for the action scenes and nostalgia value. But accuracy was never their forte. Just for kicks, let's look at the science of "Twister," "Volcano" and more.

Star Trek's Kobayashi Maru Exercise Explores No-win Situations

The Kobayashi Maru simulation puts future Starfleet commanders in a classic "no-win" scenario. It's so accurate, even the U.S. military uses the exercise to test the measure of a good leader.

Inside the Weird Little World of Microclimates

A single stalk of corn can create its own microclimate. But what is a microclimate, and why do they even matter?

From Slash to Stevie: The Rock Star Name Quiz

How did Saul Hudson become Slash? And where did the name Meat Loaf come from? Test your knowledge of musical nicknames with this rockin' quiz!

Daddy Longlegs Aren't (Necessarily) Spiders; So What Are They?

That's right – daddy longlegs isn't an actual kind of spider, but a colloquial name that's been applied to a wide range of spiders and non-spiders, insects and non-insects.

Dodecahedron: The 12-sided Shape With the 12-letter Name

A dodecahedron has 12 flat faces, all shaped like pentagons. Here are 12 cool things you just may not know about them.

Sea Snakes Can Be More Venomous Than Rattlesnakes

There are more than 50 species of snakes that live in the seas. Some are super venomous and they can zip through the water with ease.

Stegosaurus: Body Like a Bus, Tiny Little Brain

Stegosaurus, an herbivorous dinosaur from 149 million years ago, walked on four legs, had a long, beak-tipped skull, a row of spikes adorning its tail and a pea-sized brain.