5 Real People With Mind-Blowing Mutant Superpowers (Part 3)

Everyone wants superpowers. When we're not sitting around daydreaming about ungodly supernatural abilities that can bend the world to our will, we're sitting around lamenting that it's just never going to happen, no matter how many spiders we microwave. But some folks don't have to dream of superhuman abilities, because they already have them. These select groups of gifted individuals, whether they were born better than us or simply became so over time, have abilities that make them stronger, keener, faster ... and probably totally smug about it, too.

#5. An Entire Family Has Bones Stronger Than Granite

David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images

Remember that movie Unbreakable, the true secret origin story of Bruce Willis, who discovered he couldn't be harmed after surviving a train wreck? As it turns out, the idea of a guy going his entire life without noticing that nothing can hurt him isn't all that farfetched. In fact, it happened for real back in 1994. A guy known to the public only as John (he's already got that one-word-name mystique down, although he probably could've picked a sexier super-handle) crashed his car and suffered no injuries whatsoever. He went to the hospital anyway, just in case he was internally bleeding, but the X-rays revealed nothing. Well, no fractures, anyway -- they did determine that John had ludicrously dense bones. As in, eight times denser than the average adult.

Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images
"Your bones look good, but we might need to re-evaluate your adamantium intake."

Naturally, the doctors did the logical thing upon discovering a superpowered mutant: They shrugged, sent the guy home, forgot all about him, and then presumably tried to drink away their crippling apathy. Other than providing an explanation as to why John was never the best swimmer (hey, Unbreakable again!), the medical world pretty much ignored what was, objectively, a medical miracle.

Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images
"File this under 'W,' for 'Who gives a shit?'"

That is, until six years later, when another doctor found another Bruce Willis (are we going to need a plural term? Is it Bruce Willises or Bruce Willii?) who needed a hip replacement, but couldn't get one because nobody could screw the prosthesis into place. The two doctors found each other, compared notes, and realized that they had stumbled on something far more interesting than a solitary super-mutant: a secret race of super-mutants. They traced their patients' family histories and discovered that the two were related. Further investigation revealed that their entire family, scattered up and down the East Coast of the U.S., were all a bunch of indestructible supers. The world could ignore a superior form of humanity for only so long, and scientists eventually began investigating the family. Their conclusion: High bone density stems from a mutation of LRP5, the gene linked to osteoporosis and low bone density.

Holy shit, they even have an ironic origin story!

#4. A Tribe of Sea Nomads Can See Perfectly Underwater

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Have you ever opened your eyes underwater without swim goggles? What did it look like? If you can't remember, here's a hint:

Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images
"Hey there, pretty ... lady?"

That's just us, though -- that boring old human weakness simply does not apply to the Moken, the sea nomads of Southeast Asia. They dive all the time, with eyes wide open, and see everything in crystal-clear high-def. This is especially helpful since they dive in order to catch food, and it's nice to be able to pick up a quick snack without getting attacked by a blurry shark-shaped blob.

Sofie Olsen, via BBC
Just bear in mind that that crystal-clear shark can still turn you into meat-and-seawater salsa.

Researchers learned of this incredible ability by studying the underwater eyesight of six Moken children. They then compared the results to that of 28 European children. The study found that the Moken children, at the very worst, could see under the sea twice as well as the rest of us. At best, they could see better than some fish.

So how do they do it? It appears to be a simple case of learned evolution. (That's a thing? You can just learn to evolve? Are there ... classes we can sign up for?) See, because the Moken dive all the time, and have done so for just shy of eternity, their irises no longer expand underwater like ours, but rather constrict, enabling them to maintain their on-land resolution.

In other words, they decided they wanted superpowers and then practiced every day until they got them. And yet when we tied a sheet around our necks and tried to Superman off the roof, all we got was a ground sandwich.

#3. Some African Prostitutes Are Immune to HIV

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Hold on to your monocles, we're about to reveal some very shocking information: Life as an African prostitute is not the best.

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Get it all out; we'll wait.

Very few clients use condoms, and STDs (particularly HIV) are an everyday workplace hazard. Well, unless you have super immunity. What? That is too a thing: There are certain prostitutes in Africa who are exposed to HIV just about every day, and yet never contract it. They won the superhuman lottery, but lost the prize draw. They didn't get laser vision or cat's paws instead of hands; they get to not die of a terrible disease. We guess it's not the worst consolation prize.

Comstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images
"Lousy, rigged game. I was already alive."

Researchers visited Kenya and Gambia and studied the sexually transmitted disease history of its finest prostitutes. Thanks to barebacking with dozens of different infected men every year, over two-thirds of the prostitutes reported the HIV virus crashing on their couch.

Normally, unprotected sex with an infected partner is like diving into a pond full of alligators, but a few of these women actually survived the gator pond, then did it again, and again. After a few years, they were laughing and playing Marco Polo up in that predatory swimming pool. Despite constant exposure to HIV, a small percentage of the women studied didn't catch it for at least three years, with some evading the little bugger for even longer.

Comstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images
Seriously, at this point most people would be safer actually having sex with the gator pond.

Based on blood tests, scientists determined that the immune ladies had cytotoxic T-cells working triple overtime. These cells stopped any invading HIV cells dead in their tracks, forming a natural shield against the disease -- one that science is all too eager to use as the basis for the long-awaited AIDS vaccine. There's just one issue: The T-cells work only if they're constantly in action. Many of the immune women lost their immunity shortly after leaving prostitution behind. It seems that, at the first sign of peace and quiet, their immune systems let their guard down. So there you go: If you want to be immune to AIDS, just try constantly getting a whole lot of AIDS.*

*Please never, ever listen to our advice.

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