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In Brief

Animals 'Predict' 2014 World Cup Winning Teams

sea turtle
Brazil's turtle "Big Head" favors a Brazilian victory over Croatia in the first game of the 2014 World Cup. (Image credit: Screenshot, BBC News)

They're baaack — in zoos around the world, animals are taking to the field — or at least, the tank or the food bin — to predict the results of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

At the last World Cup in 2010, an Octopus named Paul in Germany correctly "predicted" the outcome of 12 out of 14 soccer games. Sadly, Paul died in October 2010, but other animals are taking his place as World Cup prognosticators, BBC News reported.

In Brazil, a sea turtle named Big Head swam toward a goal bearing the host nation's flag, successfully predicting Brazil's victory over Croatia (3-1) in the World Cup's opening game.

And in China, a panda named Ying Mei also pegged Brazil as the victor when it choose to eat from a box of food labeled with the Brazilian flag.

But not everyone is thrilled about the idea of animals participating in these whimsical forecasts. Officials have banned panda cubs at China's Chengdu Center from participating in the stunt, saying that too much contact with humans would be harmful to the pandas, according to BBC News.

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Tanya Lewis
Tanya was a staff writer for Live Science from 2013 to 2015, covering a wide array of topics, ranging from neuroscience to robotics to strange/cute animals. She received a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a bachelor of science in biomedical engineering from Brown University. She has previously written for Science News, Wired, The Santa Cruz Sentinel, the radio show Big Picture Science and other places. Tanya has lived on a tropical island, witnessed volcanic eruptions and flown in zero gravity (without losing her lunch!). To find out what her latest project is, you can visit her website.