To survive in this harsh environment, the flies perform a feat that Mark Twain described with great fascination in 1872. “You can hold them under water as long as you please—they do not mind it—they are only proud of it,” he wrote in a passage of his book Roughing It. “When you let them go, they pop up to the surface as dry as a patent office report.”
This is the best description ever, and makes me want to go into taxonomy.
Read more about these aberrations here!
If you see a hagfish don’t anger it. Under attack, these bottom scavengers and hunters releases thick, clear slime in astonishing quantities. Potential predators back off quickly when presented with the slime, because it clogs their gills. The hagfish itself escape their own mucus that they tie their bodies into a knot and scrape it off (A highway in Oregon was harder to clean up after a truck full of hagfish crashed there last year.)
However, it turns out that this mucus is a precious resource for a hagfish. After sliming a predator, the fish can take nearly a month to refill its slime glands. So leave the poor slime monsters alone.
Read about it here.
The Mexican cavefish have no eyes, little pigment, and require about two hours of sleep per night to survive.
Imagine what you could do with those extra hours! So we should ask cavefish, how do they do it?
Read more about that very research here.
And I for one am wondering how the hell they do it! I just moved to a bigger city and I love it, but I’m finding my time a little stretched thin.
And I have opposable thumbs, and grocery stores. I can’t imagine how wildlife are doing it. Are they better at adulting than I am?
Read about how mountain lions are handling it here.
Blue whales are the most massive creature on earth. And yet it is surprisingly flexible and able to move about with remarkable ease. This allows for graceful and borderline romantic mating rituals.
They also have an alien-like tongue that can invert itself, allowing the entire area from the whale’s mouth to its belly button to expand.
This is completely different than all other whales, and all other mammals.
So while they aren’t actually from space, they look very alien.
Read more about it here!
I’m always amazed by scientists who LOVE their organisms. And bird people really take this to a whole new level.
In 1918 Congress passed the Migratory Bird Treaty Act to protect birds from wanton killing. To celebrate the centennial, National Geographic is partnering with the National Audubon Society, BirdLife International, and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to declare 2018 the Year of the Bird.
To start the year off right, read this impassioned story by Jonathan Franzen about how much he loves birds and why.
And celebrate, the year of the bird!