One of the most bizarre rodents, populating the deserts of East Africa, is the naked mole-rat. Famed as the longest living rodent in the world, this wrinkly mole rat has a life span of 30 years. With two yellow buck teeth protruding from a pale, hairless body, the mammal may not be an eye-pleaser, but it has an alluring longevity-related adaptation that has gripped researchers in recent years: It seems to be immune to cancer.
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.
The dugong is a herbivorous marine mammal, often called the “sea cow” for its habit of grazing on seagrass meadows. Dugongs are related to manatees and are similar in appearance and behavior— though the dugong’s tail is fluked like a whale’s. These mammals can stay underwater for six minutes before surfacing. They sometimes breathe by “standing” on their tail with their heads above water.
"Rubber Johnny" is not just British slang for a condom. It’s also a very disturbing art film by Chris Cunningham for the band Aphex Twin. The video originally hit the internet in June 2005, and what was supposed to be a 30-second commercial for Aphex Twin music became a short film about a deformed raver who lived in a basement with his chihuahua. Practical make-up effects were combined with quick editing and video shot in night-vision mode to make the whole thing seem trippy, weird, and disturbingly tactile.
Whether it was the flower arrangements or the music that set him off, one unhappy "ghost" made sure that the bride and groom knew he wasn't having it. As you can see from one reddit user's selfie, there appears to be a rather displeased face lurking in the background of what is an otherwise adorable memento. Grimacing ghost or not, one thing is for sure: the photobomber certainly did not receive a wedding invitation.
Gather round, children, and let me tell you about a time before the internet, when our phones were attached to the walls and we bought music stored on physical objects that we played in our cars. Back then, secret groups of videophiles collected creepy, avant-garde, and extremely weird clips stored on tapes. We even believed that a Japanese ghost could haunt a VHS cassette.
“The babirusas (from Indonesian b?b? r?sa, lit. “deer-hog”) are a genus, Babyrousa, in the pig family (Suidae) found in Wallacea, or specifically the Indonesian islands of Sulawesi, Togian, Sula and Buru. All members of this genus were considered part of a single species until 2002, the babirusa, B. babyrussa, but following the split into several species, this scientific name is restricted to the Buru babirusa from Buru and Sula, whereas the best-known species, the north Sulawesi babirusa, is named B. celebensis. If a babirusa does not grind its tusks (achievable through regular activity), they will eventually keep growing so as to penetrate the animal’s own skull.” – Syahrul Ramadan
You might be surprised to learn that this beautiful sea critter (also known as a sea swallow or blue dragon) is actually a sea slug. The blue and silvery mollusk is known to feed off cnidarians like the venomous Portuguese Man o' War. What makes these gorgeous slugs even more fascinating is their practice of storing the cnidarians's stinging nematocysts within its own tissues — ensuring a painful sting to anyone who messes with it.
After just moving into a new house in England, Michelle Widwinter went outside to take a quick picture of home sweet home. It wasn't until Michelle looked back at the pic later that she noticed a face staring through the downstairs window. When she posted the picture online, a local historian, Andrew Jones, determined that the man in the photo could have been the apparition of "Old Man Kent," who was a suspect in a famous murder case in 1860. As a non-ghost believer, Michelle initially thought it was nothing more than a reflection of the flower bush in her front yard. But after seeing the picture, hearing weird noises coming from the walls, and seeing her lights flicker, she couldn't help but wonder if it was, in fact, the face of the man.
These spiky spiders look pretty damn awesome. There are numerous different species of spiny orb weavers, all belonging to the genus Gasteracantha. One such example is G. cancriformis which is found in some parts of the US, Central America and some parts of the Caribbean. They’re around 2-9mm in total length and come in a variety of colors and shapes, and some have colored legs too.
This bizarre looking animal (Atretochoana eiselti), which shockingly is neither a penis nor a snake, was only known from two preserved specimens until it was rediscovered in 2011 while part of the Madeira River in South America was being drained. It’s a caecilian amphibian that can achieve a total length of around 80 centimeters, making it the biggest known caecilian. Little is known about these hilarious looking animals, but caecilians are limbless and generally navigate via their sense of smell.
The goblin shark is, without a doubt, one of the weird ocean animals that looks more like the predators from the thriller shark movies. This living fossil sports a protruding nose or stout to detect its prey. Along with its unique and extendable jaw that appears to unhinge when feeding, the overall appearance of the goblin shark is both fascinating and terrifying at the same time.
In January 2013, a Canadian student at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver was reported missing, having last been seen at the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles. After Elisa Lam had been missing for a week and a half, LA police released this video of her last known appearance. Three weeks later, Lam's body was discovered naked and drowned in the building's water tower, and her death was labeled an accident. Her mystery reportedly inspired Ryan Murphy to make American Horror Story: Hotel.
This quirky little guy is native to the tropical lowland forests of eastern Madagascar. The streaked tenrec is equipped with two sets of quills: barbed and nonbarbed. Similar to a porcupine, the barbed quills are used as a means of a defense against predators. The nonbarbed quills, on the other hand, are vibrated in order to emit a faint chattering that is used to communicate with family.
There are 18 different species of octopus within the genus Grimpoteuthis which are commonly referred to as a “Dumbo octopuses” due to their characteristic ear-like fins that make them resemble Disney’s Dumbo. These enigmatic cephalopods are a pretty rare sight since they usually dwell in deep waters ranging from 400 meters to 4,800 meters, but the few times they have been spotted has revealed that they usually eat crustaceans and worms. They’ve also been observed around deep sea hydrothermal vents, which are areas on the sea floor where hot and mineral rich fluids spew out due to volcanic activity.
The Star Nosed Mole must have jumped straight out of a Bugs Bunny cartoon. It looks as if its head just got blown up, an effect made even more realistic by the pink tentacles stretched out on its nose. This weird creature is found in Canada and in the north-eastern part of the US. The name comes from its strange nose (which is more like a squished octopus attached to its face than a nose). The tentacles on the nose help the mole find snails, molluscs, worms, and other small creatures it likes to eat. They probably see it coming and die laughing, allowing the mole to simply walk up and gobble them up.
The daintily named sea pig is actually a kind of locally abundant sea cucumber that inhabits the world’s abyssal plains up to 3.7 miles beneath the surface. It gets its name from a characteristic pink, eggplant-shaped body and bloated legs that give it a porcine appearance. Like their shallower cucumber cousins, sea pigs play an important role in marine ecosystems. They feed on detritus that falls to the seafloor from the rich waters above, whether plankton or a whale carcass. They walk along on a few large tube feet, using a combination of muscle contractions and body fluids. Modified pairs of legs can act as antennae to detect food.