Did leprechauns come from Italy?

And other stories from the stranger side of life

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(Image credit: (William Thomas Cain/Getty Images))

Leprechauns originated in Italy rather than Ireland, according to new research. After a five-year study, researchers at Queen’s University Belfast and Cambridge University have concluded that the word “leprechaun” originated in Ancient Rome. According to their findings, the Irish “leipreachan” comes from the Latin “lupercus”, the name of a Roman god in charge of protecting flocks and also his cheeky male followers.

Empire Strikes Back a US box office hit again

The Empire Strikes Back was last weekend's biggest US box office hit. The open-air screens of local drive-ins accounted for most of the earnings from the Star Wars chapter, first released in 1980. The coronavirus pandemic has seen a surge in drive-in screenings in the US and old classic films are proving popular.

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Walking shark found in Australia

A new species of shark has been discovered that uses its fins to walk on land. The sharks walk around on the bottom of the sea floor in waters off Australia, making it easier for them to catch their prey. According to Marine & Freshwater Research, this helps the sharks hunt for ground-dwelling prey.

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