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Skeletons are kind of scary. Or at least, they used to be. They were a horror staple back in the day, but they've become anachronistic and kind of goofy now. They're right up there with wart-nosed witches and sheet ghosts on the scare-o-meter. But that's just because we've been looking at the wrong skeletons. As with everything, it's really the cute creatures that are harboring the true horror, just beneath the skin ...

8
Cthulhu!

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This is like something that crawled out of the deepest depths of the Bermuda Triangle, most likely from the wreckage of an ancient alien spacecraft from a distant planet that has evolved beyond compassion and mercy.

But Actually is...

Via Wikimedia Commons

We love platypuses: They have the grace of a duck, the furriness of an otter and the lethal poison-injecting feet of, uh ... what was that from again, platypus? But all that affection is gone now that we know they're packing a pair of industrial-size shears inside their goddamn heads. The playtpus' inexplicable existence has always been arguably the best evidence for the absence of an intelligent and loving creator within the universe. But now that we know the platypus has been hiding gargantuan mandibles inside its face this whole time, a few things have changed. Now we're sure of two things:

1. God absolutely does exist.

2. He's easily the best horror writer working today.

7
Night of the Thing That Should Not Be!

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How should a man react when he finds a thing like this in the woods, reeking of death metal and Satan? Would you crack it open to free the imprisoned souls of the orphans that it no doubt contains? Or rub it three times to summon an apocalypse genie who will grant you an army of zombies? Or just run home, grab your Teddy bear and cuddle the shakes away?

But Actually is...

Via Peter G. Trimming

Oh God, look at that son of a bitch. He's the daintiest, most adorable little motherfucker in existence. He's so cute he's kind of making us mad. He's the animal equivalent of Tiny Tim. He might be small, but you just know he has big dreams.

That cute bastard, and the owner of that terrifying skull up there, is a muntjac deer. They're a small breed native to South Asia but have spread all throughout the world, as far as Japan and even England. And it's easy to see why: You'd take that overwhelmingly cute little fuckhead anywhere. You'd name him Carl, and he'd wear tiny turtlenecks. And then, when you finally got back to your native land, he would strip off his skin, play a bitchin' guitar riff and raise his army of hell-bangers from beneath the Earth. And you know what? You'd still kind of love him. He's just ... he's in your heart now, y'know?

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6
The Bogeyman Cometh!

Via promiselandranch.com

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Just when we thought everything was right with the world, we find something straight out of Guillermo del Toro's private nightmare factory. We've already decided two things about the previous owner of this skull: It could taste fear, and it drank children.

But Actually is...

OK, so actually not the most terrifying creature in the whole of existence ...

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But compared against the cuteness of the animal it came from, that skull is so fucking unsettling that the very concepts of ratios and percentages fled in terror when we tried to use them to quantify it. There's not even a good reason that Bugs here needs a jawline shaped like the bastard child of a squid and an eagle. Lettuce and the occasional piece of carrot are all these little fluffy bastards eat, and we handle both of those things pretty well with our nonfreaky teeth, and almost completely without the use of razor-sharp superfluous beaks, thanks.

5
Day of the Cyclops!

Via Wikimedia Commons

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People are always pointing to signs that the end is near. For some, it's pollution and global warming. For others, it's wars and plagues. But we're a little more optimistic than that. No, for us to truly accept doomsday, we'd have to see something like ... we don't know, maybe a giant goddamn Cyclops skull.

But Actually is...

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Yep, that horrific destroyer of worlds is in fact just a lovable ol' rumbly-tumbly elephant -- the huge hole is where their trunk goes, their eyes are on the side. Who knew they be hidin' such freaky-ass head bones beneath that wizened visage? Hell, even the elephants are freaked out by their own skulls, to the extent that they've been shown to recognize and pay homage to the skulls of their own species. This is either out of a sense of mourning or a sense that they'd better not run the risk of pissing off whatever the hell that thing use to be.

Via animal.discovery.com
"Argh! Kill it again! Kill ittt."

If you believe a couple of paleontologists, the Greeks came up with the myth of the Cyclops because they discovered the skulls of prehistoric elephants in places like Cyprus, Crete, Malta and Sicily. That's right: The goddamn Spartans were so scared after finding these bones that the only logical conclusion they could come up with was that a gang of fucking immortal man-eating monsters used to live there, and they should probably get back to the boats before they came home.

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4
Mars Attacks!


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Behold, we have unmistakable proof of extraterrestrial life! When the planet goes up in flames during the big invasion, we'll be sitting pretty in our underground shelter full of grenades and Twinkies, and you'll all be busy getting vaporized. Who's a "delusional man-child" now, Brenda?!

But Actually is...

Erm, no, actually. False alarm. It's just the skull of the minute and harmless-looking owl monkey, a species commonly found in Central and South America. Unlike the other entries on this list, whose skulls were seemingly designed for the sole purpose of causing anybody who saw them to evacuate his bowels while simultaneously calling his mother and finding religion, the owl monkey actually needs those gargantuan eye sockets to hold its equally gargantuan eyes, which help it see in the dark. To see ... you ... in the dark.

3
Sandworm Death Strike!

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Question: Which animal has a skull like a Star Destroyer with teeth? Give up? We did. We ran away screaming before the Jawas and sand people showed up.

These skulls have convinced us of two things: 1) The movie Dune was filmed on Earth without the aid of special effects, and 2) by some strange glitch in the time-space continuum, Charles Darwin was a huge H.R. Giger fan.

But Actually is...

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Oh, of course. It's just a lovable, barrier-jumping, vandal-rehabilitating, crime-fighting killer whale. Admittedly, most of our whale knowledge comes from Free Willy, but we're pretty sure that's an accurate depiction of all marine life.

The absolute freakiest thing about this skull is the fact that it technically doesn't even exist. If you look again at the photo up top, you can see the total number of bones present in its head: three. That's it. We know the human skull is technically made up of only two bones (the mandible and the maxilla), but at least they make some kind of discernible shape vaguely reflective of the living creature. It was H.P. Lovecraft who once said that the scariest thing to witness was nothingness, and we're only just now realizing what he meant by that.

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2
Attack of the Crossroads Chimera!

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Half of us thought this was a Chupacabra skull, and the other half believed it was a hellhound. We flipped a coin to settle the argument. The coin froze in midair for a full 10 seconds before it burst into flames and melted into a molten puddle in the shape of a pentagram. So we're just gonna agree to disagree and settle on Chupacabra hellhound for now.

But Actually is...

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Seriously?! That's what a seal looks like if you remove all of the fur, blubber and love? Man, no wonder Mother Nature kept that shit hidden. It's difficult to decide what's most terrifying about that skull, but we'll go with the masses of teeth, which somehow seem to have sprouted their own tiny, razor-sharp teeth. We know these things eat fish, and you need some kind of teeth to deal with that, but goddammit, seals, we manage that shit just fine without the meta-fangs.

1
Here Be Dragons!

Via Wikimedia Commons

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Now don't take this the wrong way, but if you were a princess and we were the bravest knights in the land, we would let this thing kill you every single time. You could be beautiful, wealthy, magical, whatever. You would seriously die, a lot, and we would just let it happen, because there is no way in hell we're going near that thing.

But Actually is...

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We've had countless depictions of hippos as obese ...

... fun-loving ...

... lazy ...

... and otherwise comical characters since forever. It's hard to believe that at no point during these proceedings did a zoologist think to mention the fact that just beneath the surface, hippopotami are just really fat, flightless dragons.

Adam Wears leads a lonely existence over at the highly opinionated and up-til now skeleton-free Alert Level Stork! To see more of Mike Lamb's art, go to Degenerate Art Studios or check out his weekly humor column, Bad Acid.

Pick up our new book -- which is the only proven weapon that can defeat Mother Nature with one fell swoop. (Warning: That's not true at all.)

For more animals that we need to eliminate as soon as possible, check out 13 Real Animals Lifted Directly Out of Your Nightmares and 6 Animals That Just Don't Give A F#@k.

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