Evolution is an artist. And not one that paints realistic scenes, like a Rembrandt or a Michelangelo, but some ADHD-riddled little kid furiously scrawling demented visions on the back of a school notebook. Here are 11 of those unbelievable scenes, crafted by Mother Nature's infinitely creative but hilariously unhinged mind.
Wasps don't need to get more terrifying. They're aggressive, can sting multiple times without dying, and attack in swarms like middle-aged white men on $1 beer night. And yet here we are.
Yes, that's a decapitated wasp calmly locating its severed head and then flying off like it's just a flesh wound. It turns out that insects don't necessarily need their brains or heads to function because they have ganglia, or nerve clusters, in their bodies as well. The ganglia are like auxiliary brains that control most body functions independent of the head-brain, allowing bugs to go on doing their buggy thang until they die of starvation.
And that, we regret to inform you, can take nearly six days for a wasp, according to an old-timey decapitation study (apparently, modern scientists are too busy studying dark matter to lop off insect heads). The only remaining question is why that wasp gathered its head before flying off. Is it going to place the it on a shelf in its apartment?
Bald eagle married life is endearingly down to earth. They return to the same nest every year, with the same mate, and live god-fearing monogamous lifestyles with a "divorce rate" of less than 5 percent.
Bald eagle dating, on the other hand? That's fucking insane. It consists mostly of the scientifically termed "cartwheeling," more accurately called the "death spiral."
All animals test their potential mates, and while we humans do it with polite chatter over the Applebee's 2 for $20 selection, eagles lock talons and plummet toward the ground in a suicidal love pact. It's a risky maneuver, and sometimes they don't release in time and crash, suffering injuries or even death. Still a better first date than Applebee's.
In 2015, amateur photographer Martin Le-May ensured his grandchildren will eat lobster with their royalty money thanks to a once-in-a-lifetime shot of a weasel riding a woodpecker. No, that's not a euphemism for a sex act.
Was the weasel running late to work? Are the weasel and woodpecker soul mates who finally found friendship after being exiled by their own species, like in a Disney movie? Nope! It's attempted murder.
According to the photographer, the European green woodpecker was picking ants off the ground when the weasel jumped it from behind, probably whispering something about its wallet. A kinky neck-biter, the weasel was about to deliver its spine-crushing death bite when the woodpecker took off in an attempt to shed its assailant.
And no, it's not fake, according to computer science professor Hany Farid. It doesn't have any markers of Photoshopping, and Le-May snapped multiple photos of the event. Plus, finding images of a weasel and woodpecker that fit so seamlessly together would take a fantastic coincidence or more time spent looking at weasels and woodpeckers than any human could endure.
And the story has a potentially happy ending. The woodpecker made its escape while the weasel was distracted by Le-May's presence, so the photographer either saved a woodpecker or starved a weasel, depending on whether you're a glass-half-full or half-empty type of person.
Hahaha, you poor soul. You probably think this entry is about some clever macaques learning how to mount deer like horses for transportation, in something right out of Planet Of The Apes. But no, we meant "riding" in the dirtier sense.
In 2014, Japanese scientists noticed female macaques jumping atop sika deer, which was kind of cute until said macaques starting humping the deer. They reported 13 successful, uh, "consortships," and almost all of these involved mature male deer, showing that men of all species will settle for whatever's available. It's heartbreaking to see innocent young primates from respectable families committing such depraved acts, and it's all because male macaques have a severe MILF fetish. The females reach reproductive maturity at around five years of age, but the males prefer older, more experienced mates. So the lonely females have to make do somehow.
More recently, even male macaques have started getting in on the interspecies action, possibly after noticing that sika deer will put out for anybody.
The Mary River turtle looks like a series of playground insults turned reality. Not only is it an endangered species with a rapidly disappearing habitat and the party-trick-worthy ability to breathe through its ass, but it also looks like this:
This Australian (of course) turtle became one of the most threatened reptile species in the world after their "unique" look made them the focus of a pet craze in the '60s and '70s. More than 15,000 eggs were stolen every year and sold to pet shops, which in turn sold them to people who probably didn't find them so cute once the LSD had left their systems. Oh, but did we mention this fella can hide underwater for up to three days while breathing through a tube that triples as a lung, pooper, and sex organ? Yeah, we'd hide too if that was our most impressive feature.
Visitors at North Carolina's Shallotte River Swamp Park presumably demanded to see the manager when they discovered the park's main attraction, the alligators, frozen stiffer than Walt Disney's head and in no condition to snatch at dangling chicken quarters or wrestle local hillbillies.
Before PETA could file the proper legal paperwork, however, it was revealed that the alligators weren't dead, just ... chilling. Despite their coldbloodedness and propensity to sunbathe, alligators can endure extreme cold, down to about 4 degrees Celsius. During the ball-freezing months, they sink to the bottom of frigid ponds or swamps and enter a state of brumation, or reptilian hibernation, lowering their metabolism and becoming extremely lazy, sometimes passing an entire winter while barely moving, not unlike many humans.
But why do they leave their snouts out in the not-quite-as-cold? Because even though they can hold their breath for up to 24 hours, gators still need air, so they'll occasionally bob to the surface to stick their snouts through the ice like toothy snorkels. Clever. Looks stupid as hell, but clever.
Leopards may not have the brute strength or speed or Tina Turner hair of their big cat brethren, but they ain't afraid of heights, and sometimes that's enough.
Leopards, you see, are well-acquainted with Newton's second law of motion, and know that acceleration is a suitable replacement for mass, so they like to dive-bomb their future food from stupendously tall treetops. The scene above transpired at Botswana's Moremi National Park, and yes, it resulted in a confirmed kill.
But getting the jump on their prey is only half the battle. As the puniest of the big cats, leopards lose about 20 percent of their kills to stronger or more numerous foes, like lions or those hyena dickheads. So to protect a catch, they lug it more than 30 feet up a tree -- a task they accomplish with unnerving swiftness, whether they be slaying a zebra or a baby rhino or, well, you.
Leopards can typically support one and a half times their body weight while climbing, but on one occasion, an especially hungry cat was observed getting a giraffe five times its weight up a tree. The BBC did the math and determined that this feat was the human equivalent of carrying 2,000 Big Macs up two floors, but somewhat more graceful and dignified.
You're enjoying a dive and oh no, it appears that some scuba prankster tied a poor helpless eel into a knot. Actually, the eel did that to itself, and not for some weird cross-species autoerotic asphyxiation ritual. It's just a thing eels do, and generally speaking, you don't want to be around them when they do it (in fact, just stay away from them forever).
An eel may tie itself in a knot so it can club less flexible creatures into submission, or to break open bags of food dangled overboard by scientists. The knot also gives it extra leverage and pulling power so that it can wrestle or dislodge potential dinner targets, all of this while looking like a possessed balloon animal.
Japan's crow population has grown dramatically over the past several decades -- not in the "they've turned giant and are destroying the city" sense, but it's almost as annoying. They create huge messes by scavenging through garbage, they steal candy from children, they wake residents with early morning cawing, and creep people out with their cold dead stares.
And on top of that, Japanese crows have also grown bourgeois. No longer satisfied with building their nests from mere twigs, they've upgraded to colorful synthetic materials, with the unintended side effect that they're leaving abstract art installations behind them everywhere they go.
Science isn't sure why Japanese crows like coat hangers so much, but it's probably because they realized these things are like pre-assembled twigs and offer better stability. The crows steal the hangers from balconies and verandas as people dry their clothes, or pick them out of the garbage after tearing open bags looking for food. There are worse personal objects from your closet they could hang high for all your neighborhood to see, we guess.
Occasionally a crow will build its nest atop transmission towers, and hangers dislodged by wind, rain, or corvid clumsiness will fall onto power lines and cause blackouts. It's a surprisingly common problem, to the point where officials have installed artificial nests on their towers to deter crows. Only a matter of time before they start using scarecrow-shaped mechas piloted by brave teens harboring dark secrets.
Sea sapphires belong to a family of tiny generic crustaceans that inhabit just about every body of water on Earth. To make them less boring, nature gave them Birdman-and-Lil-Wayne-when-they-were-still-together levels of shine.
Sapphirina's dazzling glow is the result of light bouncing off the reflective chain mail on its back. It's made of layered, perfectly hexagonal guanine crystals interspersed with biological goo, and the color reflected depends on the angle at which the light hits it. As a result, the ocean is full of sea sapphires of various colors, including the most mind-blowing of all, invisible. If the light hits the reflective crystals at just the right angle, its wavelength gets crunched and grows shorter and shorter, all the way down to violet and then the impossible to perceive (by human eyes) ultraviolet. This is a trick it may use to escape predators -- or, let's face it, to look at other sea sapphires in the shower.
Are you picturing a jolly big rat with a little crown and scepter? Good. We want you to have this final moment of happiness before you find out the truth. This is a rat king:
Zoologists aren't convinced that rat kings are real and not just Medieval hoaxery, but they are open to the possibility that nature could allow such a travesty. Black rats do have long tails, and in winters huddle close together in tight confines to conserve heat. Add in some biological adhesive, such as blood, urine, dirt, sebum, or good ol' fashioned feces, and you may get a rat king. Plus, most historical sightings have happened in winter, or in grimy little holes.
Oh, and there are actually several rat king specimens on display at natural history and zoological museums, in Nantes, Strasbourg, and Estonia. The most massive rat king (that we know of) consists of 32 tangled-up rodents, and is housed at the Naturkundliches Museum Mauritianum in Altenburg, Germany, hopefully under several protective spells.
Also, it's not so outlandish that a bunch of rats could get stuck together, because this sort of thing does happen to other small mammals (like these baby squirrels). We'd tell you to go to hell, Nature, but looks like we're already there.
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