The human race continues to find fascinating and previously undocumented animals… seemingly at an increasing rate! This trend, of course, can’t continue forever. But I suspect it will for longer than we think. Here are some recent news items that made my thinky thought meat happy:
Whale teeth… I always found the evolution of whales to have a certain depth (ehh?) of profundity. Firstly, it’s one of the most visually striking embodiments of the process of evolution… a deer-like creature morphing into a giant fish-like creature. It seems somehow lonely… or grotesque… or sweetly dark to think of enormous intelligent animals living their entire lives in deep seas, their extremities sculpted into bound paddles. And yet, mammals who were seabound evolved new features and abilities never seen by previous marine animals. They developed echolocation for example (they had vocal chords to start with) where no fish, in 500 million years, ever evolved the ability. It’s striking to me that an animal’s genetic lineage can have more success in an environment that it’s spent less time evolving in. It implies to me that if you go away and come back, so to speak, you have the upper hand somehow. Does this concept have a universal truth hidden in it?
Big Spider. How’d we miss this one? I read somewhere that humans have an instinctive aversion to the shape of spiders, implying they were a significant threat to our survival at some point in our evolution. I don’t know if I quite buy it… maybe we have an aversion to insects/arachnids in general?
Meet The Beetles
Wickedly adorable lemur! I don’t know how this animal hasn’t been eaten by the cute memeverse of the internet yet… watch the video.
And finally, here’s an awesome comic about mantis shrimp…s? Is it shrimp or shrimps? Shrimpen?
Gelada photograph by Brian Shuchuk, Your Shot