At Cracked, we're no strangers to the weird and terrifying creations Mother Nature's animal development team comes up with. We consider it our scientific duty to keep the world informed about the continuing freak show that is the animal (and sometimes plant and fungus) kingdom.
Sometimes the results of evolution look like Mother Nature sat down with Salvador Dali and sketched out whatever Hunter S. Thompson was screaming about, things like ...
#15. The Snub-Nosed Monkey
Quick: What looks like someone mixed a skull monster with a clown and gave it hair? If you said La Toya Jackson ... well, OK, we'll give you that.
Not all of the monsters in the world come from the deep sea.
But thanks to photographs of the snub-nosed monkeys, we now have evidence that evolution occasionally looks like botched plastic surgery.
"Why doesn't anyone respect me?"
Snub-nosed monkeys, native to China, are what happens when God runs out of ideas. Their eyes are sunken in, their noses are skeletal and their mouths are what we imagine a doughnut's butt looks like. The monkeys can live in groups of up to 600, mostly dudes, forming some of the most gigantic, ridiculous-looking monkey colonies on earth. They are known for their colorful fur, and for the fact that they look like a species that got into mom's makeup drawer and went to town.
Facts and Details
This one looks like that girl in the yearbook who only wore lipstick for school photos but always wore a sweater with horses on it.
And this one looks like AH! Holy shit!
On second thought, we'll quit picking on the painted terror monkey.
#14. Gulper Eel
If you think of the deep sea as some sort of earth-bound gallery of horrors ... well, this will do nothing to change that opinion.
Gulper eels live as far down as 10,000 feet below the surface, where they terrify even larger fish, because gulper eels can swallow them whole. They lack many parts that normal fish enjoy, like many major bones, a swim bladder, scales and possibly whatever fish have in place of souls, sacrificing all those things for the ability to consume anything that swims by them. They also have a bioluminescent organ on their tails to attract prey, making them nature's version of an anglerfish mixed with an umbrella dipped in fear sprinkles.
Ten thousand feet of water might be an acceptable buffer, but there's no harm in moving to Denver to put another 5,000 feet between you and them.
Hey, nature, we have a request -- could you create something that looks like Van Gogh painted a feather duster made out of slugs?
Nudibranchs, also called sea slugs, are some of the most brightly colored, bizarre-looking creatures ever to spawn from the ocean. Unlike the eel, they don't live where the sun never reaches, and they aren't armed with tentacles or giant teeth. As far as sea creatures go, they are downright pleasant, and it's a wonder Pixar hasn't tried to make a touching, weep-inducing movie about them yet.
Except they are hermaphodites. But don't worry -- they aren't able to fertilize themselves.
Yeah, good luck selling The Mighty Hermaphroditey, Disney.
On the other hand, looking at nudibranchs is about as close as you can get to doing powerful hallucinogens without murdering yourself.
#12. Glasswing Butterfly
Speaking of nature's whimsical fairy creatures, this is a real butterfly from Central America:
He's got his own built-in bubble wand!
Glasswing butterflies look even more delicate than regular butterflies, lacking the scales that usually give their wings color, resulting in insects that look like they were handcrafted by tiny artistic fingers.
Grant and Caroline
"You think you hate hail ...".
Proving that nature always has an awful-card hidden up her sleeve, these fairylike bundles of shimmer are poisonous as caterpillars because they exclusively eat poisonous plants. But don't worry, once they metamorphose into butterflies, they are pure sparkles. Except the males, who are also poisonous, because they eat murder nectar.
Grab four of these guys and you've got the makings of a butterfly cathedral.
While we're on the subject of insects, we recently told you about scorpionflies and their dickish cross-dressing shenanigans during breeding season. They, too, have transparent wings, and in this photograph taken of a live scorpionfly under a microscope we see that they OH FUCK!
By Wim van Egmond
So when you mix a fly, a dragon and a scorpion, you get a Stan Winston creature effect that is terrifying, but completely harmless.
As long as you consider shitting yourself "harmless."
#10. Ankole-Watusi Cattle
Texas may boast about their longhorn steer, and we're inclined to agree that the Lone Star State has some impressive cows with impressive horns. On the other hand, the only things those cows have to contend with are lonely cowboys and an industrial mincer at the end of their days. Now, put good ole' American steer in a land filled with ebola and lions, and the stakes get higher.
That's the smile of a boy who will never, ever be fucked with again.
In Africa, Ankole-Watusi cows need to carry a pair of Conan's swords on their heads just to make sure they don't wind up as hyena food. Their horns can be anywhere from 8 to 12 feet between the tips and are the result of several different breeds of cattle being mixed across Africa.
And a couple of pikes thrown in for good measure.
They are considered "medium" in size as far as cattle are concerned, probably by a bull with smaller horns and a bigger truck.
#9. Giant Softshell Turtle
Let's play a game. We describe an animal and you picture it in your head, then we show you what it looks like and you shriek in horror, OK? OK, here we go. It's a reptilian predator, it only has to breathe twice every 24 hours and it's 6 feet across, sucking in any animal that comes too close. What are you picturing? An alligator? Maybe some giant hideous snake?
Annette Olsson, IUCN
How about a cow patty squished and formed into a turtle? Cantor's giant softshell turtles live in Asia and Indonesia, where they spend 95 percent of their lives lying in the mud with just their faces sticking out, eating whatever unfortunate fish happens by. It's like a giant alligator/snapping turtle.
Annette Olsson, IUCN
Only really retarded looking.
#8. Miniature Horses
By Jim Cole, AP
Imagine a world where My Little Pony is real, where tiny, adorable horses can be kept in the house like dogs. But that's a fantasy world, nothing in real life could --
Jose Reynaldo da Fonseca
We're only a few tubes of dye and glitter short of making My Little Pony a reality.
Holy shit. It's only a matter of time before they start breeding those with pink fur and ice cream cone tattoos on their ass. Miniature horses aren't just bred to make little girls squeal with delight; they also serve as companion animals (translated: little horsey dogs) and even service animals, helping out disabled people who find golden retrievers boring and don't mind road apples in their kitchen.
"Oh, yeah. They're all definitely jealous."