Animal Kingdom

After decades of obscurity, scientists again discover the weird-looking “faceless fish” off coast of Australia

It hasn’t seen or been seen in a long, long time. Last week the “faceless fish”, uh, showed its face in Australian waters for the first time in over 100 years. It has long been thought to be extinct. Australian scientists discovered the faceless creature about 13,000 feet below the surface during an expedition off Australia’s east coast. At first, scientists didn’t recognize the little guy. They thought it was a new species and were about to report it as such when the cook stumbled from the galley to see what all the commotion was about and with a disgusted look on his face, proclaimed, “Dang, I haven’t seen one of those in a long time.” The faceless fish, more accurately termed Typhlonus nasus or…
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Animal Kingdom

Say it isn’t so Reeko – a world without giraffes?!?!

Sorry kids, but that lovable knock-kneed doofus we call giraffes may soon be no more. Today the International Union for Conversation of Nature classified the crane-necked creature as “vulnerable” meaning it’s at a high risk for extinction. If humans don’t change their behavior, the only giraffe we’ll ever see is between the covers of a book (yeah, they’re almost extinct too). The giraffe joins the elephant, orangutan, bees, and coral as creatures that may soon face extinction. Their disappearance comes amidst the loss of habitat, varying degrees of devastating climate change, and illegal poaching. The director of Stanford University’s Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve told CNN we have at the most, 20 years to change the way we treat nature or we will bring about the…
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Animal Kingdom

Scientists warn Earth faces global mass extinction of wildlife – here’s a mind-boggling list that illustrates the seriousness

Conservationists issued a chilling warning this week telling New Scientists magazine that global wildlife populations are set to have fallen by more than two thirds of 1970 levels by the year 2020 – and there is no sign that declining wildlife numbers will slow down in our lifetime. Researchers say mammal, bird, fish, amphibian, and reptile populations have fallen by 58% from 1970 to 2012. At the current rate (about 2% reduction per year), by 2020, the populations will have declined by more than 67%. This has prompted experts to warn that we are facing a global “mass extinction” for the first time since the demise of the dinosaurs. Mike Barrett, director of science and policy at World Wildlife Foundation, said: “For the first time since…
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Animal Kingdom

And the award for the world’s weirdest animal goes to…

There are plenty of reasons we need a list of the world’s strangest animals besides just proving that these creatures really do exist. Among this list you’ll find Halloween costume ideas, ideas for faces you can make behind the teacher’s back, and new names you can call your friends. Plus, if you’re ugly, you won’t feel nearly as unattractive after laying eyes on these hideous beasts.  Without further ado, here are the world's weirdest animals. The world’s weirdest animals Naked mole rat The naked mole rat, also known as the sand puppy or desert mole rat, is notorious for its lack of hair and funny-looking buck-teeth. The naked mole rat’s overly large teeth stick out of its mouth which allows it to dig with its…
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Animal Kingdom

Algae invasion! Sea Ghosts create beautiful light show on China’s beach

China's Xiangbi'ao beach shone with a majestic sparkling glow-in-the-dark blue hue last week after a natural phenomenon called "Sea Ghosts" invaded the waters.  Sea Ghost or "Sea Sparkle" is created by the growth of an algal bloom called Noctiluca scintallans, a type of single-cell animal that loves to munch on plankton.  The organisms multiply when nitrogen and phosphorus from farm fertilizer run-off enters the water.  Beautiful, yes - but harmful to the ecosystem.  When the blooms die, they sink to the bottom of the sea where they decompose, consuming huge amounts of oxygen and killing other marine life. Check out the Sea Sparkle on China's Xiangbi'ao beach in the pictorial gallery below.  
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Animal Kingdom

Meet death on eight legs – the fierce and awesome Camel Spider was born to give people nightmares

Large, hairy, and growing to 6-inches long, they are also called “wind scorpions” for their amazing speed. The many legends surrounding the Camel Spider will give you nightmares. It has been told that they eat camel stomachs – from the inside out - and are said to scream as they speed across the desert floor, leap incredible distances to chase fleeing humans, and kill people by injecting them with venom then feeding on their bodies as they sleep. Of course, none of this is true but with jaws about a third of their body length, they can shred prey as big as rodents.  I would say that's enough to give pause when you run across one. Camel spiders are arachnids but belong to a different order than most other spiders. Despite…
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Animal Kingdom

Twice as smart or twice as scary? Rare two-headed snake sells for $50,000

Fifty thousand dollars?!? For a snake!?! But Medusa is no ordinary snake. The four-year old Honduran Milk Snake, born in Florida, has two fully-functioning heads. In fact, the owner says the two heads even fight each other for food sometimes. "I bring a mouse up to them and both opened their mouths. Then the right head struck and yanked the mouse right out of my hand. Then the left head grabbed the mouse's butt end. I couldn't believe how quickly they were eating. They were going to meet in the middle -- and these types of snakes eat other snakes!” Owner Todd Ray says he quickly cut the mouse in two before a riot broke out and now holds a playing card sideways between the…
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Animal Kingdom

Monster? Sea Serpent? Alien? No- it’s a rare creature from the deep – the terrifying frilled shark

Wait – sit back down! It’s not an alien nor closet ghost but yeah, with 25 rows of over 300 teeth it could tear off your face. The picture above is a rare frilled shark that was caught by a startled fisherman in Australia. Its oversized-mouth is packed with needle-like teeth and the shark's weird-looking 6-foot body looks like an eel’s giving it a bizarre sea-serpent-like appearance. The frilled shark, which gets its name from its six pairs of gills, is known to live at extreme depths in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and is very infrequently caught, or even observed, by fishermen. Its prehistoric origins are obvious (it's been termed a "living fossil") and it’ll scare senseless any fisherman that accidentally snags one.  After changing…
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Animal Kingdom

Scientists discover “tissue-paper” fish at record oceanic depth in Mariana Trench

It has a clear, translucent body, broad wing-like fins, and a flowing “tissue-paper-like” tail – and set a new record for the deepest fish ever recorded! It was captured on film in the Mariana Trench by a camera in a robotic submarine. Unfortunately, no scientists were around as the fish swam slowly past the camera, stopped and waved, and continued on its merry little way. The fish is believed to be a type of Snailfish and was discovered at a record depth of 26,722 feet. That’s about five miles below the surface! At these depths, the pressure from the water above is so great, it would crush most animals. Scientists think this may be the deepest any living animal can survive. At greater depths, muscle…
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Animal Kingdom

Meet Alviniconcha strummeri – the spike-haired snail named after a famous punk rocker

The Alviniconcha strummeri sea snail is covered in awesome spikes giving it the telltale appearance (you may need to squint your eyes a bit) of a classic spike-haired punk rocker. In fact, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute named it Alviniconcha strummeri after the famous Clash frontman, punk rocker Joe Strummer. “Because they look like punk rockers in the 70s and 80s and have purple blood and live in such an extreme environment, we decided to name one new species after a punk rock icon.” These golf ball-sized punk rock snails live thousands of feet underwater, crowded around the mouths of fiery-hot hydrothermal vents. Scientists believe the extreme heat from the thermal vents are what give the snail its typical severely damaged and spiked shell.…
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