A new species of tarantula has been discovered. Nothing particularly extraordinary about that, except for its appalling size.
It’s much bigger than a normal tarantula. The Sky News headline on the story announcing the find helpfully described the newly discovered venomous spider as “the size of a human face.”
Hey, thanks, Sky News! That paints a compelling mental image! Those of us who think spiders are creepy anyway appreciate knowing that this new shaggy, eight-legged nightmare could fully cover the front of our heads, from ear to ear and crown to chin.
You normally don’t think of measuring size by reference to a human face. No one says, for example, that a particular dog is about “two human faces long” or that the new flat-screen TV is about four human faces in diameter. When it comes to spiders, however, the human face measurement technique probably makes sense. If you are in Sri Lanka, where the new species was discovered, and want to know whether the furry monstrosity laying eggs in your nostrils is a newly discovered tarantula, you can consider whether the creature covers the entire face or just reaches the eyebrow line before you are stung into oblivion.