Animal Evolving To The Modern World: Critters Vs. Humans
For animals, evolution is a part of life and adapting to the modern world can be easier for some creatures than others. Whether though adaptation, evolution or even mutation animals gain abilities to help them in an ever-changing world and in some cases superpowers to help them against humans. There have been amazing animal discoveries in the recent past, and though It’s hard to predict where evolution will take these creatures over the next 100 or even 1,000 years we may not have to wait. Some animals can already do some near impossible things.
12 Bed Bugs
They say sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite but how are you supposed to stop bed bugs if you can’t use poison – especially the bed bugs living in New York City. Yes research has discovered that bed bugs in New York city have built up a resistance to pesticides and we’re not talking about a small resistance either. Turns out that Bed bugs in NYC are, listen to this, 250 times more resistant to pesticides than bed bugs in Florida.
If this wasn’t bad enough already bed bugs have quite a few other tricks up their sleeve to make sure they share a bed with you. They can survive around 5 months without food and when they do feed, they feed on your blood and use an anaesthetic in their saliva while biting you so you don’t notice it. Not to mention they’re really good at hiding so they’re difficult to find. I am sure you are wondering if there are any other animals who have adapted to poison the same way or even better…
This is yet another strange creature that you can easily believe is made up and not real – especially once you hear what they’re able to do. These funny looking horse-like mammals have a black, tube shaped tongue that can get up to be as long as a school ruler. In fact, their tongues are so long they use it to clean their own eyeballs. Other than acting as wiper blades, the Okapi’s lengthy tongue is also used to pluck, buds, leaves and branches from trees and shrubs central Africa.
That’s not the only thing the Okapi uses to survive though - the okapi has also evolved a camouflage that makes it possible for it to blend in with its environment. It stripes although resemble a zebra, the okapi is genetically closely related to the giraffe.
10 Atlantic Cod
When trying to eat a healthy diet, fish is on the top of the list, low on saturated fats and very healthy for the system. Many fish have been hunted to extinction. As a consequence, some smart fish were forced to adapt in order to survive. For a long time, the Atlantic cod was one of the most overfished species of fish.
The fish are usually caught when they are a certain size and thrown back into the ocean if they aren’t mature or big enough yet. This action is believed to have been the cause of the Atlantic Cod completely changing up its reproductive cycle. Whereas, previously, the fish would begin their cycle at the age of 6 when they’re much larger, they now begin their cycle at the age of 5. This means that they have a better chance of producing offspring before they become big enough to be caught and ate by humans. It’s impressive, I’ll admit, but also sad to think that we have had such a big impact on animals – and not in a good way.
9 Goliath Birdeater
If you don’t like spiders, you’re definitely not going to like the next animal. If you wonder why it’s called the Goliath Birdeater – then let’s just say it is exactly what its name says it is: It’s a massive bird eating spider. Although, to be fair, it rarely eats birds and instead it usually munches on other large arthropods, worms, and amphibians. It has been spotted eating everything from rodents, lizards, frogs, toads and even snakes. Yes even snakes.
You might think that this predator rarely becomes prey but in the wild you can never be too safe so the Goliath Birdeather has also adapted to make sure that it’s got ways to protect itself. One way it does this is by rubbing its abdomen with its back legs. This releases hairs that are very irritating to the skin and mucous membranes and can even be harmful to us.
So I would suggest you never get too close to these eight legged creatures – although I can’t imagine why anyone would want to.
8 Guineafowl Pufferfish
We all know when we’re scuba diving that there are animals, we have to keep an eye out for, not because they are beautiful but because they are dangerous. This guy just happens to be both. If you’re a sushi lover you’ve probably had this guy’s famous cousin for lunch a time or two. Meet the Guineafowl Pufferfish– also known as the Golden pufferfish. Why on earth is this fish called after a bird? Well, let’s just say it is a case of who wore it best. Yes, the Guineafowl Pufferfish gets its name from its unique coloration which resembles the polka dotted look of the Guineafowl. These interesting creatures are the ninjas of the ocean as they are able to change their color rather quickly when resting during the day to camouflage themselves from predators.
If a predator still decides to make them their lunch the Guineafowl Pufferfish has a few other tricks to keep them safe. pufferfish, have this nifty ability to puff themselves up by filling their tummies with water, and this makes it difficult for the predator to fit them in their mouth. And if the predator still somehow manages to do that – they still have one last defence. These fish have a symbiotic relationship with types of bacteria which produce what is called tetrodotoxin. Which is a powerful neurotoxin. Needless to say, if a predator somehow manages to catch and eat them – they’re going to have a very bad time.
7 Honeypot Ants
Team work makes the dream work, and nobody understands that better than Honeypot Ants. These little creatures have come up with a rather unique way to store food for the rest of the colony when times are tough – they use their own bodies as living storage. I’m not joking, I couldn’t make this up if I tried.
Honeypot ants get their name from the fact that they can store large amounts of honey and nectar in their abdomens as emergency food supply. When it’s needed by the community, the worker ants would stroke the antennae of the honeypot ant which causes it to cough up the goods – and I do mean that quite literally. It causes them to regurgitate the stored nectar.
It sounds gross, I know – but it is pretty useful. I mean, wouldn’t you want your friends to carry around food for you all the time? Yes, although preferably not in their bellies.
Can you imagine trying to get rid of vermin later to find out that the poison you are using does not work on them at all? Perhaps they even use it as a “perfume de la pest”? its incredible how animals have adapted to survive everything humans throw at them. Specially in cities where most people use pesticides often to get rid of anything from a tiny ant to a giant rat. Super mice were discovered in Germany that have adapted to be resistant to Warfarin which is a type of poison commonly used to fight mice infestations. These mice got their superpower from breeding with its distant cousin the Algerian mouse – a mouse that is already resistant to poison.
Interestingly, however, hybrid animals generally cannot reproduce, but these Warfarin resistants’ won the genetic lottery by creating the super mighty hybrid mouse that has the right combination of genomes of two species in order to survive humans.
5 Bombardier Beetle
If there’s one beetle you do not want to get on the bad side of – it’s the Bombardier Beetle. Sure you could ignore my advice and do it anyway but believe me, you’re going to regret it. This bad boy has chemical bombs in its arsenal and is not afraid to use it. In fact, the Bombardier Beetle’s defense system is so amazing it sounds like something straight out of a war movie.
When attacked the beetle launches chemical bombs containing an irritant chemical. But wait, it gets worse. The beetle doesn’t detonate just one of these powerful bombs. Instead, it launches up to twenty before finally running out of ammunition. This distracts their enemy long enough for them to whisk away leaving their attackers in their toxic wake – likely regretting all their decisions that lead up to this point.
Like I said, do not mess with this beetle and if you do – don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Being the largest living land animals on the entire planet, you would think that Elephants wouldn’t have a lot to worry about. No predator would be able to attack it just because of its sheer size right? Well, there is one predator that has hunted elephants nearly to extinction – us humans. Yes Ivory Poaching has had such a detrimental effect on Elephants that they’ve had to adapt and evolve in order to survive.
One way they have done that is to get rid of the reason they are being hunted in the first place – their tusks. In 1969, only a little more than 10% of all Zambian elephants were born with a mutation that stops the growth of tusks, but by the year 1989 - a peak time in ivory poaching in the country - that number shot up to over 38%.
That’s not all. In one study done by Oxford University, it was discovered that African Elephants have a specific alarm call they make to warn other elephants of elephant hunting tribes nearby.
3 Mary River Turtle
Let’s travel to Australia, to a particular river called the Mary River. There you will find one of the most bizarre animal adaptations you will ever hear about. The Mary River Turtle is definitely not your average turtle. This turtle is in all honesty – cooler than the rest. Just look at it. It’s got a green punk-rock hairstyle complete with spikes under its chin and a bit of attitude. But if you think that’s cool, wait till you hear what this rebel can do.
This turtle has the unusual ability to breathe underwater through specialized glands in its cloaca which is a posterior opening for excretion and reproduction or to put it simply for you. He breathes through his butt. Again, I couldn’t make this up if I tried. Now while it might sound like a strange way for any animal to breathe – it does have its benefits. It allows the turtle to stay underwater for up to three days, and it’s actually because of these lengthy underwater trips that they get their cool hair do. Yes, their vibrant green hair is actually algae that grows on their heads because they spend so much time underwater. I think it’s safe to say that this punk rock turtle is one of the coolest creatures you’ll ever come across.
2 Tawny Crazy Ant
Imagine if you lose power in your home, and the culprit is not a thunderstorm, but maybe something more sinister… This animal adaptation, or perhaps mutation has been studied… extensively, but scientist don’t seem to find a reason for their behavior. There is a particular ant with a bizarre sense of taste. for whatever reason they love hanging out inside electronic machinery such as outdoor electrical boxes, air-conditioning units and water pumps and nobody knows why.
Their weird love for electronic machinery might be a mystery but it’s also a big problem. They can cause serious damage by shorting out units and even starting small fires. That’s not the only reason people aren’t exactly fans of these guys. The tawny Crazy Ants are wreaking havoc in the southern states of the US and replacing the red imported fire ant as the region’s biggest ant problem and the fire ants can’t even fight back. Tawny Crazy Ants have a never-before-seen ability, where they cover themselves with a formic acid secreted from their abdomen and this makes it possible for them to withstand the sting of fire ants. The crazy ants might not be crazy, they sure know how to cause trouble and defend themselves.
Is it a Zebra? Is it a Horse? This animal might sound like some sort of imaginary animal made up by a creative 4 year old but I promise you – they are very real. The Zorse is a horse-zebra hybrid that you get when you cross-breed a male Zebra with a female horse. You can cross-breed them other way around but that’s generally not done.
Apart from looking strange, these guys truly got the best of both worlds. They get their toughness from horses but their hardiness from the zebra. Zorses are sturdier and larger than a zebra thanks to their horse genetics which makes it harder for predators to catch and have them for lunch. BUT, thanks to their Zebra genes, their stripes will give them better camouflage in the wild and they have natural resistance to diseases and certain pests that normally effect horses and donkeys.
One thing is certain though – animals are amazing and the ways in which they’re able to adapt and evolve to survive is enough to make anyone’s jaw drop.