Despite our best attempts to classify it, nature will not be put into a simple box. Animals have evolved in ways that we are still struggling to understand long after their discoveries. These are only ten such examples.
The way that this fish hunt has been compared to how humans use spears: the fish fires a stream of water through the surface and air at a precise angle to knock insects into the water, where it snaps them up.
The archerfish actually rotates its eyes to account for the distorted view of seeing things beneath the water’s surface. The “how” of this attack wasn’t truly understood until 2013.
This bird is among the fastest animals on the planet, but only when it is going in for the kill: its attack dive can reach record speeds of two-hundred miles and forty miles per hour. Cheetahs don’t even come close to that. Of course, much of that speed comes from harnessing the wind.
You may know this creature better as the dragon millipede, which makes its home in throughout Southeast Asia.
At first glance, you’d think that its many spines make it a formidable foe, but its real power is in the production of hydrogen cyanide. No bombardier beetle, but not bad.
This creature dwells at the bottom of the sea all around the world. Its simple appearance hides a complex defense: evisceration.
The sea cucumber is able to expel its organs out of its body in an effective form of self-defense. Though this sounds fatal, it can regenerate the lost organs in a few weeks.
Shrimp aren’t known for their physical prowess, so they have to make due with crafty defense mechanisms. The pistol shrimp snaps its claws to create bubbles.
Doesn’t sound too intimidating, right? But get this: when the bubble collapses it has an estimated temperature of 5000 K. The mantis shrimp utilizes a similar attack.
This one superpower is the most comic book-like on the list. The short version is that the hairy frog has hidden claws in its toes.
Awesome! The long version is that it breaks the bones in its toes and forces them through its skin to make the claws. Awesome! And also terrifying!
The anaconda gets a lot of recognition for eating comparatively large prey, but this deep-sea dwelling fish is able to eat other fish whole, up to ten times its own mass.
Its distended stomach has been known to fill with gas and float the fish to the surface when it can’t fully digest what it eats.
Only two species of the spiny mouse have the ability to literally escape their skin when cornered by a predator. On top of that, they are able to regenerate everything they lose from the process, including hair follicles. It’s the only mammal known to do this.
Three members of the horned lizard family have the ability to shoot blood from their eye. What purpose does that serve? With a distance of five feet, it’s first and foremost scary as hell.
But the blood has a foul taste to certain predators, too, warding them off. But as bad as a stream of blood may seem, it has no effect on birds.
In a small part of Africa lives the hero shrew, a tiny mammal that can carry a surprising amount of weight—one-hundred and sixty pounds—due to its unique corrugated spine. The vertebrae can lock together, allowing it to carry the weight.
The purpose of this is to date unknown, though the leading theory suggests that it allows the shrew to move fallen logs in search of worms to consume.