Turns out the animal world isn’t just about lions, giraffes, dogs, cows, and cats. Mother Earth contains many creatures that are just now being discovered by scientists, and not only at the bottom of the ocean. A six-foot-long tree lizard and a new African antelope were discovered in the last couple of years. If you’re not a scientist, you may find you have some news to catch up on.
Humans are the most intelligent animals
Of course, many people assume that humans are the most intelligent animals. A very strong case can be made for that. However, as a purely hypothetical thought experiment, let us imagine that humans make weapons that, hmm, well, might be able to destroy entire cities.
Let us further posit that humans might use this superweapon on each other in the course of human disputes over political ideas. In this hypothetical case, the world could be turned to ruin, and humans essentially wiped from the face of the planet, along with many other poor animals who got in the way.
This scenario is not entirely inconceivable; let’s face it, we’ve ruined many many natural habitats doing our thing and karma is not really on our side.
Darwin’s Bark Spiders: The most fascinating creatures I’ve ever seen
Darwin’s Bark Spiders were a recent discovery (2009) for the world at large; here are some pictures and discussions (in National Geographic) from the scientists who first documented them.
Of all these creatures, they mystify me the most. A couple of facts: First, their silk is much stronger than any other spider’s silk that has been studied. It is 10 times stronger than Kevlar (that stuff in bulletproof vests).
Second, and probably related, they somehow string their webs across, not along, rivers…don’t you have to have two people to string something across a river? Maybe they swim across, who knows? Their webs are the biggest and strongest spiderwebs known.
What is the Mutillidae family of wasps?
The Mutillidae are a family of more than 3,000 species of wasps (despite the names) whose wingless females resemble large, hairy ants. Found in Chile, they are known for their extremely painful stings, hence the common name cow killer or cow ant.
Black and white specimens are sometimes known as panda ants due to their hair coloration resembling that of the Chinese giant panda.
Watch: Mimic Octopus
The Mimic Octopus was discovered in 1998, in shallow, murky Indonesian seas. What makes it special? Watch the video and see for yourself. It can mimic many underwater species and mimic them very well indeed. In one example, it mimics a crab so real crabs think that the octopus is a mate.
Only then does it devour the (probably shocked) crab that is trying to mate with it. Nature is a cruel, cruel beast. Imagine laying down with a hot date you picked up at the bar, only for it to turn into a ravening grizzly bear waiting to devour you. Ugh.
Mimic octopus tricks predator into thinking it’s a snake
In another instance, the mimic octopus tricks one of its predators into thinking it’s a snake by burying six to seven legs in the ocean floor. The snake that it’s mimicking, by the way, preys on the fish that preys on the octopus.
Extending the metaphor from before, one could say that is basically the same thing as your Mcdonald’s chicken strips turning into something that looks like a ravening grizzly bear waiting to devour you. Smart, eh?
The octopus is smart enough to mimic five or six different animals, and it
So—humans are smart enough to create a weapon of incredible power, and some other cool stuff like the drive-thru, but dumb enough to blow ourselves up because we don’t know if we like communism or democracy better.
The octopus is smart enough to mimic at least five or six different animals, and also likely smart enough to live to see its great-great-great-great-(x50)-great-grandchildren. Which is smarter?
This Blobfish Is A Fast Swimmer, But It’s Not Fast
You might guess that the blobfish isn’t a fast swimmer. It doesn’t even have to swim most of the time, as its body tissue is slightly less dense than water, allowing it to float effortlessly just off the bottom of the ocean, waiting for its dinner of microorganisms to float by. How does it survive not being eaten?
By not being tasty. In fact, it’s inedible to humans. It’s still endangered though; overfishing of the ocean bottom leads to these guys being hauled out of the ocean at a fast rate.
Flying squid: What is it?
I couldn’t find much information on flying squid, because people have been mistaking them for flying fish. Only within the last 20 years was the flying squid seriously talked about in academic circles.
If you readers have been on the water much, you know that flying fish just zoom by and it is hard to distinguish their finer features from a boat. Flying squid are even rarer, and zoom by just as fast.