6 Species That Make Humanity Look Primitive By Comparison
Human beings have done a lot of amazing things: medical breakthroughs, space travel, snack packs ... all delightful examples of ingenuity at its finest. If there are mysteries with our bodies, our galaxy, or our puddings, we will solve them handily. It's truly beautiful.
But, is it possible that, when you add up a list of pros and cons for humans, we aren't the dominant species on the planet, and there are other animal species out there that both make humans look like hot garbage and that know that we look like said garbage?
Here are six animal species that think they are so much better than us:
We've known for some time that ants have a very sophisticated society, with class structures, hierarchies, and probably teeny tiny smartphones that they use when we're not looking. Honestly, most of the world's ant knowledge starts and stops with Ant-Man, so if you told us that Paul Rudd controls them all, well, it would sound pretty reasonable.
One specific species of ant took their society to a whole other level though: They got rid of dudes. Yep, no males allowed in this all-lady society, leaving other insects to joke about their driving abilities, while secretly wondering how they can get in on all this streamlining.
"No dicks! Metaphorical or literal!"
These ants have started to reproduce by "cloning," eliminating the need for males in their society altogether. And let's be real, guys: We really don't contribute much. Imagine how lowly ants see us, still bothering to keep around our useless dong-bearers.
Ants: Look at this system that we have! We no longer have to exhaust our energy producing males and can instead focus on the gender that will constantly reproduce and strengthen/expand our colony. How are y'all doing?
Humans: Well, our men ... baseball?
"The one sport where they can mate the entire time and not miss a
thing, and they can't even do that? Yeah, you're fucked."
By no longer producing males, all ants become 100 percent genetically similar to the colony's queen, and she's a pretty awesome lady, so things work out quite well for them. Scientists are unsure when these ants evolved to asexual reproduction, but many hypothesize the switch to an all-female society happened around the same time as Lilith Fair.
Belugas That Learn English In Order To Tell Us To Leave Them Alone
When you're a large sea mammal, existing in captivity can be rough. You're forced into locations that are way smaller than the everlasting ocean your species evolved specifically to enjoy. You also have to constantly hear things like "Mommy! Look at the fat shark!" and "Linda, grab the kids. We're going HOME." Living at the aquarium is like constantly being in the audience of a divorce court.
"Ten years until college, kid. You can make it."
A beluga whale named Noc lived in captivity for 30 years in San Diego. While he was never made to do tricks (like the "Willies," as they're known in the whale community), Noc evidently felt that he needed more "alone time," and he actually learned to mimic just enough English to verbally tell a diver to get out of his tank.
Divers reported hearing the words "out" while diving in Noc's tank. Recording devices were set up and, sure enough, they confirmed that the beluga had indeed developed the ability to speak at octaves much lower than normal whale sounds and was parroting the same phrase that he had heard humans use.
And judging by that sound at the end, he also studied what Satan says.
What this whale did was extraordinary and goes beyond what any human would do in the same situation. And that's because, in the long run, all you ever really need is " out." " out" literally explains every feeling that the human race can have. Like someone? Don't say " out." Don't like someone? Say " out." Noc didn't have a limited vocabulary. He just had all the vocabulary that was absolutely necessary.
If a bunch of whales kidnapped us and forced us to do flips all day while they tampered with our apartments, very few of us would have the foresight to think, "Hey, I need to learn how to speak like how the whales speak to each other," and then learn to produce sounds that are well above the octaves we normally make sounds at. We would probably scream in our human language, poop on the floors, and demand Netflix.
"Netflix, huh? Fine, here's that SeaWorld killer whale movie, in case you forgot
why you're our fucking prisoners now."
Noc stopped mimicking human sounds shortly after reaching maturity, leading many to speculate that he simply gave up believing that humans were capable of understanding anything in any language. It was a safe bet, since a human's natural reaction to "Excuse me, but could you please exit my home tank. You're unwelcome here," would be "GRAB THE FUCKING WAR SPEARS. THIS WHALE HATES OUR GOD."
Rats That Score Better Than Us In Clinical Testing
Psychologists often presumptuously use rats in experiments to make predictions about human behavior. As it turns out, we've just been flattering ourselves thinking our behavior can be compared to rats.
When researchers at the University Of Leuven started out their experiments to determine how quickly rats can apply new knowledge, they intended to only study rats. Then, one day, they thought, "Let's turn this into an interspecies competition and invite some humans to play!" The results: The rats were quicker to apply new knowledge than humans. In the test, while humans were sitting on a throne of complex thinking, the rats simply made decisions on the basis of "Do I remember this as well? No? OK. I won't pick it then."
A test the humans failed the second they made the decision to compete with a bunch of rats.
The more dramatic findings of these experiments will only be known when the rats reveal that it has actually been them conducting the experiments on us all along. There will come a day where we hit a level of science that disproves all of the science that came before it as faulty. The rats are waiting for this. We've stereotyped them as Pinky, when they've always been Brain.
Or, depending on how you look at things, they actually are Pinky.
We will split the atom in a way that we previously thought was impossible, and out will pop a banner that reads "Just Kidding! You're Actually Very Dumb!" Rats will enter the room, shaking champagne bottles, and explain to us, in perfect English, that everything we had been doing in laboratories up until then had just been a big skill assessment test. The rats were trying to see how long it takes us to apply new knowledge. Turns out, we suck at it.
It might take a few years for human society to accept the new reality they face, but, eventually, we would pacify and take comfort that our new rat-overlords know what is best for us and will put food in our dishes when we are hungry.
In general, humans kill off other species. Not on purpose, mind you. But, for the most part, when humans come to town, it's bad news for all of the other species. We are the Walmart of the Earth's fauna.
Raccoon populations, on the other hand, are growing more powerful alongside our population; they have learned how to advance their society by swiping things from us.
Next step: lockpicking, for when we adorably think we can
protect ourselves behind a puny plank of wood.
We like to think that raccoons are just little scavengers. They're sneaky trash cats that take our stuff, and we don't think for a second about how the raccoons see us. They watch as we work 60-hour weeks and force ourselves to stop sleeping when we still really want to be sleeping in order to go do more work. And we do this to produce the stuff that then becomes free and available for the raccoons to take whenever they please, usually while we finally get to sleep after all that work. All the while, we consider our species to be the pinnacle of the animal kingdom because we have more heart attacks from stress than any of the others.
So, who is doing better? Us or raccoons?
Considering their biggest stressor is opening bags
without opposable thumbs, probably them.
Researchers have discovered that by trying to keep raccoons out of our gardens, garages, and garbage, we have only made them smarter. A film crew making a documentary for PBS monitored raccoons in Toronto with GPS devices and cameras, and it seems like these guys are having quite the good time at our expense. Humans have been developing new locks, and "raccoon-proof" windows, doors, and garages for so long now that it has forced the raccoons to learn and develop new skills in order to take our stuff. It's like we've been forcing raccoons to play Lumosity in order to get food, and now they are super-intelligent from all that conditioning.
The result is the "Uber-Raccoon," and there is no riddle we can throw at them that they won't solve.
Such as the "ride the subway for free and piss all over the
place without getting into trouble" conundrum.
The Immortal Jellyfish
In terms of mortals, humans have done OK. Not great, but OK.
It's because of this that people are trying to find ways to live longer and become immortal. Ancient gods were immortal, and look at how much they accomplished! They got legends written about them, and if we could just live a little longer, maybe we could get some legends of our own. This is all futile, though, because no matter how much life span you give a person, he or she will still spend most of it trying to figure out a way to get a better tax return.
"I'mma claim that lemonade stand I opened in 19-aught-two if it takes me all epoch."
Did you know that there is a species of jellyfish that is immortal? Jellyfish, the creature that most people view as the underwater equivalent of a trash bag blowing around a grocery store parking lot. They even call them the "immortal jellyfish," because scientists love to name things that sound really sarcastic at first, but make us feel terrible later.
While many of this species will die due to disease or predators, they could conceivably live forever by regenerating their cells. These jellyfish can turn themselves back into prepubescent jellyfish whenever they want, should they want to relive puberty and go to jellyfish prom all over again for some reason.
Next time, he'll know better than to try to put his stingers
down his date's bell so early in the evening.
How could these jellyfish even consider us on the same level as them? We take up just a small fraction of all of time's existence, a blip on the radar of all things, whereas they will go on forever ... unless they get trapped in one of our fishing nets or are discovered by a hungry sea turtle. Long after humans have perished, immortal jellyfish may teach their young ones about us in history classes:
Teacher jellyfish: Class, do you know of an ancient species that were named "human beings"?
Jellyfish students (in unison): No.
Teacher jellyfish: Well, human beings used to play a very important role in the world. You see, class, it was human beings that used to be the providers of food for raccoons.
Jellyfish Students (in unison): Yay! Raccoons!
"Then one day, some human tossed the recipe for mustard gas into a garbage can
an intrepid raccoon was scavenging, and it was all over for those dumb apes."
There you have it, mortal. One day, you and everyone you know will be dead, and neither raccoons nor jellyfish will care about you or anything you did while you were alive. They'll look back at us in the same way that we look at every Wikipedia entry that starts with "He wanted to invent a flying machine." You just know that something sad is about to happen.
The Antarctic Krill Party
Raccoons think we're dumb, and rats are playing tricks on us. Whales find us annoying to be around. Ants can't figure out why some of us have wieners where our ovaries should be. We should all be worshipping jellyfish. But, we're still the dominant species here, right?
There are 7 billion of us on the planet -- our society has grown so large that we are having an unprecedented impact on the planet. But, is that really what makes us dominant? That there are so many people on the planet that it is throwing everything else into disarray?
Turns out, we don't even win the most-dominant species award in the population department, either. Our population of 7 billion is absolutely nothing compared to the world's most abundant species: the Antarctic krill, with a population of 500 trillion.
They're small enough that they can divide our carcasses up equally,
and none of them would go hungry.
These finger-long jerks are throwing a giant party -- the largest on the planet, in fact -- but they aren't inviting us. To them, we are nothing but an under-populated loser species that live on tiny insignificant patches of non-ocean called land, and we can't come to their party. And every time we try to invite them to our own parties, they just click on "Interested." And you know the old saying about Krill and Facebook invitations: "Interested" always means "Fucking never."
Well, sure, there may be a lot of Antarctic krill, but we're so much bigger than them that we must have the largest pure mass on the planet, right? Nope, that's cows, which outweigh us on this planet by a cool 170 million tons. And despite the fast food industry's best, ironic efforts to help us eventually outweigh cows by feeding us cows, we've still got a long way to go.
"If you don't stop eating our veal, we're going to start eating yours, humans."
When it comes down to it, we change the Earth a lot, but that doesn't make us the most dominant species.
It just makes us the worst roommate.
What do Chuck Norris, Liam Neeson in Taken, and the Dos Equis guy have in common? They're all losers compared to some of the actual badasses from history whom you know nothing about. Come out to the UCB Sunset for another LIVE podcast, April 9th at 7:00 p.m., where Jack O'Brien, Michael Swaim, and more will get together for an epic competition to find out who was the most hardcore tough guy or tough gal unfairly relegated to the footnotes of history. Get your tickets here!
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