As humans, we think we’ve got Mother Nature and planet Earth pretty much figured out. Yet every day scientists and researchers are making more and more discoveries that show us just how wrong our previous perceptions of the big blue ball we call our home can be. Below, we’ll look at four of the most incredible, odd, and downright strange things that actually exist in nature.
The living rock
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Found off the coast of Peru and Chile, the Pyura Chilensis is essentially a living, breathing rock, which bleeds, reproduces and is even eaten by the locals, raw or in stews. While perhaps the strangest aspect of this strange sea creature is not that it is in fact completely immobile and looks exactly like a rock, but that it eats by sucking up water through a microorganism, reproducing in clouds of sperm and eggs, and becomes hermaphrodites at puberty to reproduce. The strange living sea rocks also secrete Vandium through their clear blood. The rare element is also found in crude oil and tar sands.
The deer with gills
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Considered one of the world’s rarest large animals, the Saola, a native bovine found only in the Annamite forest region of Laos and Vietnam, is a deer-like species with a strange feature on the sides of its face; gills. Saolas are referred to in the media as the “Asian Unicorn” because of their seemingly bizarre facial features. In reality, the Saola’s “gills” are not used for breathing underwater, as previously believed, but are actually sinus glands located in front of the eyes. The species was first discovered in 1993 and has rarely been kept in captivity or seen in the wild.
Crystal clear lake looks inches deep, has a depth of 300 feet
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Lake Flathead, located in the northwest corner of Montana, has water so clear that it can actually maximize the view of the bottom, making the lake appear inches deep, when in fact the water reaches up to 300 feet deep. Because the water of the lake is deceptively clear, magnification takes place, improving the view of the bottom to the eye, making it appear much, much closer than it actually is. While someone standing on the shore of the lake, or on a boat in the middle, might seem to be able to see the bottom, seemingly from a few inches away, in reality they can star in depths of up to 320 feet.
South America’s Real Life Hell Hound
Image source: http://bib.ge/img_animal/71795055Maned-Wolf-Joel-Sartore.jpg
Somewhere between deer, wolves and foxes is the native maned wolf of South America. The creature itself resembles a long-legged cross between a wolf and a fox and evokes images of diabolical hellhounds when seen agitated in photos. Usually solitary creatures, the maned wolf has three distinct vocalizations, a roaring bark, angry growls and high pitched howls, which if heard unconsciously in the wild can cause the hairs on the back of your neck to stand on end. Apparently, the maned wolf’s urine also smells like burning marijuana, a fact Dutch police accidentally discovered after being called to a local zoo on suspicion of being an active smoker.
There you have it, four of the weirdest creatures, places and downright weird quirks that Mother Nature claims as her own. If you thought humans have discovered everything, despite all the strange things we’ve already found on planet Earth, there are hundreds of thousands more waiting just outside our daily habitats and explorations. All of them prove that truth is sometimes stranger than fiction when it comes to the things we share our planet with.