The world is a vast place, and while humans seem to be everywhere, there are still some incredibly secluded areas where the animal kingdom, without a doubt, lays claim. Within these pockets of animal reign are creatures that have adapted and developed some amazingly cool quirks that will leave you in awe of how fantastic evolution really can be. We’ll start with my favorite ugly creature, the aye-aye!
1. The Aye-Aye
Aye-ayes are lemurs that look somewhat like they’ve been struck by lightning. Their hair is sparse, their eyes are off-putting, and they have fingers that look like spider legs. It’s those fingers that give them the top spot on this list. Their middle finger, longer than the rest, has zero blood flow unless they are actively hunting. You see, aye-ayes dig into wood to find grubs, but they aren’t the only ones. They need an advantage, a way to find the grubs that other creatures can’t, and a super-sensitive finger is evolution’s solution. Their “bloodless” finger starts tapping along the wood until it becomes so incredibly sensitive that they can practically “hear” with it! They stick that long finger into the tiniest hole, sense a nearby grub, and quickly snatch it up to eat! Humans have only recently discovered this phenomenon through thermal imaging. They basically carry around a dead finger and activate it on command. Whoa!
2. The Immortal Jellyfish
If you look for an immortal jellyfish, you’d probably swim right by it without noticing. These tiny creatures are only 3mm in diameter. Still, they hold the record for longest living creatures (yes, even longer than a 500-year-old Greenland shark or 2,000-year-old barrel sponge) due to their ability to reverse their aging. When an immortal jellyfish is injured or has no food, it takes its biological clock and turns the hands of time in reverse, becoming a polyp, and restarting its lifecycle! Immortal jellyfish have been on Earth since before dinosaurs went extinct (that’s over 60 million years ago), and scientists believe at least one immortal jellyfish may have been alive that long… theoretically! Sadly, they make a tasty snack for lots of predators, so they aren’t invincible. Still, that’s one incredibly cool quirk!
3. Mantis Shrimp
Think a shrimp can’t have a superpower? You’re wrong! Unless, of course, you don’t count the ability to super punch at 50 mph. That’s as fast as a .22 caliber bullet, which sounds like a superpower to me. Even better, they can see the entire light spectrum due to the 16 color receptors they have in their eyes. That means they can see ultraviolet light! If I ever get to choose a superpower, I’m taking my cues from the Mantis Shrimp!