Star Wars' YODA may have been based on saucer-eyed tarsier
Dr Myron Shekell from Washington University believes Yoda in Star Wars was based on the tiny tarsier due to its huge eyes, tiny frame and the fact that it speaks a secret language.
It's a question that sparks endless debate among Star Wars fans; who exactly was the inspiration behind the legendary Yoda?
Some believe the Jedi master was modeled on Albert Einstein, while others suggest the character's creator, Stuart Freeborn, designed Yoda based on himself.
Now one biologist is arguing that Yoda was in fact based on a tiny, wide-eyed creature, named the tarsier, which can be found in the trees of Indonesia, Philippines and Borneo.
And it's easy to see why. They some of the biggest eyes relative to body size in the animal kingdom. They are incredibly small in size and have mysterious form of communication.
According to Matt Simon at Wired, one of the world's experts on the creature, Myron Shekell, from Washington University believes the similarities between Yoda and the tarsier are striking.
'I work closely with a guy who knows Harrison Ford, and Harrison Ford of course knows Lucas, so we've been trying to get the actual answer for a while,' he told Wired.
'But we don't have it really confirmed.'
There are believed to be around 10 species of tarsier. Growing to just 15.2 cm (6 inches) in length and weighing less than an average wristwatch, the tarsier is one of the smallest primates in the world.
It also has long hind limbs and its feet have extremely elongated tarsus bones, hence his name.
After dark, it can jump more than 40 times its own body length in a surprising display of agility.
The casual mammal is often seen in inquisitive mode, caught with one eye closed as if in cahoots with the photographer.
While they are famous for not saying much at all, research several years ago found that they are real chatterbox' – in ultrasound.
Researchers from Humboldt State University in California in fact found that the 'minimum frequency' of its call is 67 kHz - higher than any land-based animal bar rodents and some bats – and occasionally rising to 70 kHz.
Anything above 20 kHz is inaudible to a human, with dogs able to detect sounds pitched up to 23 kHz.
This means that the creatures effectively have a secret language that they can use to warn each other of predators.
wristwatch ['ristwɔtʃ, -wɔ:tʃ]
n. [动] 捕食者；[动] 食肉动物；掠夺者