Intrigued by the incredible—and often inexplicable—forms of life on our Earth, science writer Mara Grunbaum began showcasing her favorite examples on Tumblr. Now you can marvel at more than 100 of Evolution’s greatest hits and misses in her new book WTF, Evolution?!: A Theory of Unintelligible Design (Workman). Take a break from these strange creatures and check out the most adorable photos of the sweetest animals.
These monkeys are endemic to Borneo, living in jungles and mangroves. They feed on unripe fruit because the sugars in ripe fruit ferment in their digestive system and cause bloating so bad that it can be fatal. The males use their large, penis-like noses to woo potential mates, but it’s also thought that they may serve to amplify calls. Unfortunately, these monkeys are under threat due to deforestation and also poaching because they are considered a delicacy by some, and they’re listed as an endangered species.
When they hatch, they quickly infect other local anemonefishes. Parasites, by definition, don’t aspire to kill their host. After all, if the host dies, the parasite loses its home and food source. However, in the case of the tongue-eating louse, some individuals can grow to be so large that the hapless anemonefish struggles to close its mouth. Eventually, as you might imagine, this hinders the host’s ability to eat.
We can truthfully say that our list comprises of some of the rarest and weirdest animals there are. Take, for example, the Glaucus Atlanticus – an aquatic animal who looks like a Pokemon monster and has a name as equally anime. Or the absolutely stunning, yet very unusual animal called Okapi, that looks something like a cross between a moose and a zebra but is actually related to a giraffe. Or even the rare animal called Goblin shark, who looks like it soaked in a bath for too long, making it one of the scariest sea creatures.
In a photo provided by Stephen Tatum, an orange alligator is seen near a pond in Hanahan, S.C. Photos show the 4- to 5-foot-long alligator on the banks of a retention pond at the Tanner Plantation neighborhood. While no one knows exactly why this alligator is orange, Jay Butfiloski with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources says the color may come from where the animal spent the winter, perhaps in a rusty steel culvert pipe. Experts say the alligator will shed its skin and probably return to a normal shade soon.
If this is all an accident of the lighting and their shitty cell-phone cameras, then it was a lucky damned accident, considering they were specifically there to hunt ghosts in what they thought was a haunted abandoned building. If they doctored the video with effects later, then this is a remarkably subtle job. These are giggling teenagers goofing around, and we're pretty sure they gave us a creepier ghost effect than any of the Paranormal Activity movies. So good job, guys -- you successfully creeped us out, one way or another.
Unlike most jellyfish, Stygiomedusa gigantea actually has no tentacles — only four “arms” that hang down like wavy curtains. This deep-sea jellyfish has arms that can reach 30 feet in length and also function as extensions of the mouth. Although they do not sting, they are believed to capture and trap plankton and small fish. Stygiomedusa gigantea has been sighted only about 100 times in the past 118 years.
Grey Lady, a servant to four Tudor monarchs at London's Hampton Court, has been dead for over 450 years. Still, many claim that the Hampton Court grounds are haunted by her spirit, including 12-year-old Holly Hampsheir, who took this photo of her cousin Brooke McGee while touring the palace. The tall figure looking over Brooke's shoulder in the middle of the room, they say, is Grey Lady herself. Sure, it could've been Photoshop, but, regardless, we're officially creeped out by this picture, aren't you?
Mommy told me never to go in the basement, but I wanted to see what was making that noise. It kind of sounded like a puppy, and I wanted to see the puppy, so I opened the basement door and tiptoed down a bit. I didn’t see a puppy, and then Mommy yanked me out of the basement and yelled at me. Mommy had never yelled at me before, and it made me sad and I cried. Then Mommy told me never to go into the basement again, and she gave me a cookie. That made me feel better, so I didn’t ask her why the boy in the basement was making noises like a puppy, or why he had no hands or feet.
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Once there, they start feeding. They also begin absorbing their mobility features and gills. The eyes and notochord (like a spine) go next. Finally, the brain is absorbed. Having no need to move about anymore, all of these body parts are considered superfluous by nature and dispensed with (an intriguing indicator that eyes and brains are necessarily mainly for reasons of mobility and are unnecessary for stationary organisms like plants—no wonder many of us feel an urge to travel). The material is then recycled to create whole new body systems, including digestive, reproductive, and circulatory systems. Then the hermaphroditic tunicate reproduces, expelling brand new sea squirts into the world. It doesn’t get much more alien than that.
Speaking of ghosts and tourist attractions, another haunted "spirit" of a woman was spotted in an Acadian Village cabin in Louisiana earlier this year. We're not really sure what the back story is on this one, but we do know that the attraction is dedicated to Cajun history in the 1800s. So, based on that, we're guessing the "ghost" might've been a basket weaver or corn shucker back in the day.