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Weird and wonderful evolution

Discussion in 'science, nature and environment' started by littlebabyjesus, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. littlebabyjesus

    littlebabyjesus one of Maxwell's demons

    What strange adaptations would you like to share?

    This fellow looks very pleased with himself, and why wouldn't he be with his splendid four-headed penis?


    The Tasmanian echidna is thought to have developed this extraordinary love appendage so that the male can come in both ovaries at once. link
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  2. gentlegreen

    gentlegreen Sproutarian.

    For me it's behavioural stuff - like the caterpillar that is taken into ants nests and is tended through the pupal stage because it smells like them..


    Then the double whammy where a wasp lays its egg in the caterpillar first so it's actually a wasp that hatches out.
  3. littlebabyjesus

    littlebabyjesus one of Maxwell's demons

    Yeah, good shout for parasitoid wasps. This is what Darwin had to say about them:

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  4. Crispy

    Crispy The following psytrance is baṉned: All

    Wasps are bastards :D

    Although fig wasps are amazing. A fig is an inverted flower. The reproductive parts are inside and never see the sun. A wasp enters the fig through a small hole and lays its eggs. The hole closes up. The eggs hatch and the grubs feed on the nectar inside. The grubs turn into wasps. The males mate with the females and then die. Pollen is made in the flowers at last, the wasps chew a new hole and the new females leave the fig, covered in pollen. A female finds another fig to lay its eggs in. It enters the fig through the small hole and fertilises it before dying 48hrs into its life as an adult. The figs and wasps cannot survive without each other.
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  5. Blagsta

    Blagsta Minimum cage, maximum cage

    Im never eating figs again.
  6. Crispy

    Crispy The following psytrance is baṉned: All

    It's ok, the cultivated varieties don't need pollenation to produce the fruit.
    Wild figs are a little crunchy, however.
    Greebo likes this.
  7. kabbes

    kabbes "A top 400 poster"

    My QI book of Facts says that 60% of all wildlife in the jungle relies on figs for its survival.
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  8. ferrelhadley

    ferrelhadley colourless green ideas sleep furiously

    There are parasites that infect the brains of insects and effectively take over them, making them act in the best interests of the fungus. Funky shit.
    Barking_Mad likes this.
  9. Santino

    Santino lovelier than lovely

    Directly or indirectly?
  10. gentlegreen

    gentlegreen Sproutarian.

    This got me thinking about whether the human brain still has those primitive bits that could potentially be hijacked by a parasite...

    Barking_Mad likes this.
  11. Crispy

    Crispy The following psytrance is baṉned: All

  12. kabbes

    kabbes "A top 400 poster"

    The book does not go into details. In that respect, it is a poor relation of the show.
  13. likesfish

    likesfish chanelling mike from spaced

    Giraffe how the fuck did that work?
    Seriously millions of years of stretching or what?
  14. Crispy

    Crispy The following psytrance is baṉned: All

    The Walker's Gazelle is a good example of where such a trait might have started.

  15. kabbes

    kabbes "A top 400 poster"

    It's more neck and ears than animal now -- twisted and evil.
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  16. King Biscuit Time

    King Biscuit Time Well-Known Member

    That's the fungus Cordyceps - It makes ants wander away from their nest to a high spot (which helps spread the fungus around, and helps the spores cover a larger area) then bursts out of the ant's brain.

    As for humans - what about things like sneezing, coughing and scratching. I know they're all reactions of the human body to types of infection, but some they're all beneficial to diseases too. Might a flu virus aggravate your lungs specifically to have you coughing viruses all over the place?
  17. littlebabyjesus

    littlebabyjesus one of Maxwell's demons

    Here they are feeding on tippy toes.

  18. Crispy

    Crispy The following psytrance is baṉned: All

    They have special adaptations in their hips to allow that :)

    I'm enjoying this thread because we've nearly finished watching all of Attenborough's Life of... series at home and they're full of great examples.
  19. littlebabyjesus

    littlebabyjesus one of Maxwell's demons

    I've posted this before, but the thread really needs a tongue-eating louse, cymothoa exigua. It eats away at a fish's tongue then attaches itself to the stump to nab food on the way down. The fish lives on with a louse for a tongue.

  20. Frank Merton

    Frank Merton Well-Known Member

    Wonderful thread -- the whole thing. Thanks to all those who posted.

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