Certain creatures on this planet seem to have evolved simply for the purpose of making the rest of us laugh really, really hard. We've already talked about a distinguished group of animals that can do incredible things with their penises, so it should come as no surprise that there's a corresponding list of animals that have shaped the world around them using nothing but their asses, because life is occasionally just as wonderful as we always knew it was meant to be.
#5. Tropical Beaches Are Made Out of Parrotfish Poop
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With its wide-eyed stare and perpetually doofy "fake teeth from the dentist's toy chest" grin, the parrotfish might be the stupidest-looking creature alive. It's the only fish that looks like it walked into a room in the middle of a joke and is laughing at the punchline anyway because making new friends is hard, you guys.
Nick Hobgood/Wiki Commons
"Haha,'karate my foot!' I get jokes; nice one."
It doesn't just spend its days hee-hawing good-naturedly through the Caribbean, though: Parrotfish are directly responsible for some of the most beautiful white sand tropical beaches in the world. Or rather, their poop is. That's basically all white sand is -- parrotfish shit.
The parrotfish's pitiable horse teeth actually serve a purpose -- namely, grinding up chunks of coral. Once it finds a particularly tasty-looking reef, the parrotfish will bite off a piece and chew it up with those oversized self-help-guru veneers, extracting the algae that makes up a large part of its diet. The useless coral waste is then passed through its digestive tract and back out onto the reef in the form of pristine anal sand.
That's why sand rushes for your butt crack -- it's trying to get home.
The typical parrotfish can produce over 200 pounds of sand in a year. Much of it ends up washed ashore, forming large parts of the gorgeous tropical beaches you see in commercials and travel brochures. And they're not exactly a new or endangered species, which means the parrotfish population has been dooking out grains of resort icing for an incredibly long time.
Alessandro Dona/Wiki Commons
"Ho HO! Joke's on YOU, motherfuckers!"
So if you've ever dug your toes into the beaches of Antigua or watched your children build sand castles at a timeshare in the Caribbean, just know you've all been relaxing and building memories in mountains of leering-fish shit.
#4. Manatees Swim by Farting
If you're able to observe a manatee for an extended period of time without going blind from hysterical laughter, you may notice that they're able to rise and sink in the water with almost no perceptible movement or effort whatsoever. How did these floating speed bumps manage to master ocean magic when they look like they're barely aware of their own existence?
Well, if you watch this video closely, you might notice a telltale clue bubbling up from their hindquarters:
That's right -- manatees control their buoyancy through an endless cycle of farting. Manatees can strategically regulate the distribution of their intestinal gases, holding it in when they want to approach the surface and letting loose when it's time to sink (or disrupt a fancy dinner party with charmingly blue collar antics).
Ramos Keith/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
He's about to teach the stuffed shirts at the country club how to cut loose.
But don't try this the next time you hit the beach -- a manatee's physiology is tailor-made for this activity. Manatees eat a ton of plants on a daily basis, which causes them to build up a lot of methane -- so much so that their diaphragms are uniquely arranged closer to their lungs to accommodate all the gas, instead of down near the liver like a normal diaphragm. Their diaphragms are also much longer and stronger, which allows the manatee to pressurize the methane and release it at will. This is another way of saying that if you tried to regulate your buoyancy by storing up methane, you would literally explode like the shark at the end of Jaws if that air tank had been sealed with thousands of pounds of pressurized farts.
#3. Termites Build Walls of Chemically Shielded Poo
Once termites show up to feast on your house, boat, or Wicker Man, you have almost no hope of getting rid of them. Biological controls such as introduced fungi almost never do the trick, and dangerous chemical pesticides manage to kill everything else on the planet, in addition to the pests they were intended for. This is probably one reason why every termite colony looks like a supervillain fortress.
It doesn't have a shark tank, but it comes with a ravenous insect swarm.
Those medieval insect castles are constructed from layers upon layers of industrious termite poop. And those fortified walls of poop are what shield the termites from pesticides.
Since a colony of termites can contain millions of individual insects that haven't yet evolved to use the toilet of whatever home they're currently destroying, they have no way of getting rid of the skyscraper of deuce that would inevitably pile up. So, they evolved into a symbiotic relationship with the Streptomyces bacteria, which feeds off of termite poop and in return releases antibiotics that protect the termites from any destructive pathogens we humans spray their way. The next logical step is for the bugs to build their nests almost entirely out of their own excrement, handing the Streptomyces bacteria an endless buffet and creating what amounts to an impenetrable fortress of shitfarts.
Yep. That's like 90 percent poop.
Now that we know their secret, scientists are developing new non-chemical weapons to bypass the poop shield and destroy the bugs within. In addition, we may someday be able to use the termite's hyper-resistant underpants chocolate to develop more effective antibiotics to replace the ones that have grown obsolete and useless. So, your next prescription of amoxicillin might come straight out of a termite's translucent poop spigot.