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Bizzare & Odd

12 Real Animals We Can’t Believe Aren’t Pokémon

Rob Bricken and George Dvorsky

Those who question the theory of evolution generally do it on religious grounds. But there’s a non-faith-related reason to question evolution. A lot of animals are too absurd to have been shaped by any kind of natural selection process. Here’s our working alternate explanation: these animals were designed by tired anime artists slaving away in Nintendo’s HQ. Here are 12 creatures we’re pretty sure are actually Pokémon who escaped into real life.

 

Axolotl

The Facts: Native to Mexico, these aquatic creatures are basically salamanders that never grew up. Call them the Peter Pans of the amphibian world. Also known as ‘water monsters,’ they’re a neotenal species whose adult members never lose their gills, allowing them to remain perpetually underwater. They’re also unique in that they can regenerate their limbs, including less vital parts of their brains.

Why It’s a Pokémon: Oh, come on. This can’t possibly be a real creature. The adorable smile, the fuzzy ear/horn things, the perfectly pointed fingers… that’s a cartoon character, no question about it. Hell, put a red bow on its head and it’s practically Hello Kitty’s amphibious cousin.

 

Aye-Aye

The Facts: As adorable as these animals appear to be, they don’t have it easy in their homeland of Madagascar. The aye-aye, a member of the lemur family, is considered an evil omen by the local Malagasy people. They’re killed on sight and hung upside down so that any lingering evil spirit will be carried away by travelers. Their reputation may have something to do with the fact that they’re the world’s largest nocturnal animal — and they hunt grubs by tapping on trees.

Why It’s a Pokémon: While this critter may look a little terrifying for a Pokémon, remember that Pokémon can only speak in the syllables of their name. Aye-Aye is a Pokémon name if I’ve ever heard one. Moreover, this thing looks like it howls “aye aye!” constantly, especially after a super-effective attack.

 

Blobfish

The Facts: Found off the coast of Australia and New Zealand, the blobfish (yes, that’s what it’s really called) is rarely seen by humans — and thank goodness for that. It lives at extreme depths — anywhere from 2,000 to 3,900 feet (600–1,200 meters) — where the pressure is several dozen times higher than at sea level. To survive in these deep waters, it has essentially evolved into a gelatinous mass with a density slightly less than water — a feature which allows it to gently float above the sea floor without having to exert too much energy.

Why It’s a Pokémon: Blobfish isn’t a real name! It’s just not. It’s just a combination of two random words to create a fictional creature, like Ivysaur, Charmander, Tentacruel and Psyduck. Also: IT IS A BLOB WITH A RIDICULOUS FACE. Not only is it a Pokémon, it’s one of the more recent Pokémon, created after the designers had long since run out of ideas.

12 Real Animals We Can't Believe Aren't Pokémon

Dumbo Octopus

The Facts: Named after the Disney character, but clearly not an elephant, the dumbo octopus lives deep in the ocean at insane depths of nearly 15,750 feet (4,800 meters)! But unlike Dumbo the Elephant’s ears, the octopus uses its fins to hover closely above the ocean floor as it hunts for prey. Eighteen different species of dumbo octopuses have been discovered so far, including one variety that measures 6 feet (1.8 meters) in length.

Why It’s a Pokémon: No creature this adorable could possibly be an octopus. Octopuses are weird and tentacled and gross; this is practically a plush toy with a nose (at least I hope that’s a nose). And I’m pretty sure those are just googly eyes someone glued onto the side.

12 Real Animals We Can't Believe Aren't Pokémon

Echidna

The Facts: Notorious for its terrifying four-pronged penis, the echidna is a porcupine-like creature that has remained largely unchanged since prehistoric times. Native to Australia, it’s unique in that it’s the only mammal outside of the platypus that lays eggs. The echidna is a solitary creature that spends it’s time hunting ants and other bugs; it uses its 6-inch (15-centimeter) long sticky tongue to lap-up insects, after which time it grinds them into a swallowable paste.

Why It’s a Pokémon: I’m surprised Sega hasn’t sued this ridiculous critter for defaming real echidnas, because we all know echidnas actually look like this (i.e., red and with bad attitudes). Sadly, if you’ve seen any of the masses and masses of terrifying erotic fan fiction starring Sonic the Hedgehog characters, you know that a four-pronged penis is pretty much par for the course.

 

Naked Mole Rat

The Facts: As its appearance and behavior suggests, this hairless species can’t figure out if its a rodent, an insect, or a lizard. The naked mole rat spends its entire life underground and, quite regrettably, lives an astounding 20 years — which is unprecedented for rodents. And like subterranean insectoids, it’s a species that has adapted to colonial life. The queen is the only female that breeds, and her offspring spend their days either protecting the colony or digging burrows with their powerful incisors. And because it can’t maintain a steady body temperature, it may as well be considered a cold-blooded mammal.

Why It’s a Pokémon: That’s just Diglett. Sure, it’s a Diglett that looks even more like a penis than Diglett already does, but it’s still a Diglett.

12 Real Animals We Can't Believe Aren't Pokémon

Purple Frog

The Facts: Also known as the pignose frog, it’s an amhibian native to south western India. Unlike most other frogs, it features a round and bloated body, along with a freakishly small head and pointed snout. Given how ugly it is, it comes as no surprise that the frog spends the entire year underground, coming out for two weeks during the monsoon season to mate. Some individuals have been found as deep as 26 feet (8 meters) underground.

Why It’s a Pokémon:

If there’s one creature on this list that’s possibly not a real-life Pokémon, it’s this guy. But that’s only because it’s a real-life head-crab monster from Half-Life instead.

 

Platypus

The Facts: In what looks like a biotech experiment gone horribly wrong, the platypus is a tragic mashup of several different species. Like the echidna, it’s a mammal that lays eggs. The Australian marsupial uses its beak as a shovel when searching for invertebrates in streams and lake beds. The bill is also equipped with sensory receptors that can detect electrical signals (which allows it to hone in on prey). It’s also known to eat frogs and fish. A solitary creature, the platypus is most active at night, spending most of its time under water. When mating, the male has to catch the female first by grabbing on the back of her tail.

Why It’s a Pokémon: Obviously, the completely absurd platypus is the inspiration for a lot of Pokémon in general, and Psyduck in particular. Does the fact that Pokémon are derived from it make it not a Pokémon? I say thee nay — I say the Playpus is The First Pokemon, much like Captain America was The First Avenger. In related news, I desperately want to see a movie about a shield-carrying platypus who beats up Nazis.

 

Proboscus Monkey

The Facts: Okay, stating the obvious here — the proboscus monkey has a big nose. A really big nose. Zoologists aren’t entirely sure what it’s used for, so they figure it’s on account of sexual selection; females like the big noses because it may enhance their ability to vocalize. These monkeys are also excellent swimmers, and have webbed feet. They tend to organize around harems, where a single male is accompanied by a half-dozen females. That said, the females will switch to another group when they fancy another male.

Why It’s a Pokémon: “Satoshi, come one. We have to think up 100 new Pokémon for the new game, and we’ve only got 14. Think of something.” (sighs) “Okay… what about a monkey… wearing a hat?” “No.” “A monkey… whose feet are where his hands should be, and hands instead of feet?” “No!” “A monkey… with a big nose?” (sighs) “I’ll write it down for now, but we’re coming back to it later.”

12 Real Animals We Can't Believe Aren't Pokémon

Shoebill

The Facts: A stork-like bird, the shoebill looks like something that would have been right at home during the late Triassic era. Native to Africa, it lives in swamps, keeping to itself until it’s time to mate, or when food gets scarce. The shoebill uses its impressive bill to sift through poorly oxygenated water in search of fish. And like other storks, it pours water on its nests to keep its eggs from over-heating.

Why It’s a Pokémon: A stork-like bird, the shoebill looks like it would be right at home hanging out with Cubone, the dinosaur that wears a little skull helmet and carries a club. Also, who named the bird with the bill that looks like a shoe shoebill? TRY HARDER, SOMEBODY. You don’t see Nintendo naming the bee with a drill at the end of its arm Beedrill… wait. Never mind.

 

Tarsier

The Facts: The Philippine tarsier is often called the world’s smallest monkey, but it’s not really a primate. Rather, it belongs to a suborder of primates, prosimians. The tarsier is so small it can fit inside the palm of your hand. It’s a nocturnal creature that spends its time in and around the base of tree trunks and the roots of plants as it hunts for insects. They’ve also been observed to be social creatures, often huddling together and linking tails.

Why It’s a Pokémon: Is there any way this little dude doesn’t hate Pikachu? “I’m an adorable monkey-thing with ridiculously large anime eyes. I am tiny and eminently merchandisable. And yet that goddamned electric rat gets all the attention! It should’ve been me hanging out with Ash in the cartoon! Meeeeeeeee!”

12 Real Animals We Can't Believe Aren't Pokémon

Wolffish

The Facts: Found in Suriname, South America, the wolffish is a tropical creature that dwells in virtually every kind of environment, whether it be a deep lake or shallow stream. And these guys are huge; individual wolffish have been measured at 39 inches (100 centimeters) in length and can get as heavy as 88 pounds (40 kilograms). Some of these fish have been known to be aggressive, and local fishermen have become wary. There have been accounts of attacks on humans, and even a story about a dog that was killed by two fish after it fell into a stream.

Why It’s a Pokémon: A comically goofy-looking fish with lips and fangs? Sure, that’s real. Look, there’s a water-type Pokémon named Alomomola, and it looks more like a real fish than this wolffish does, even though it’s wearing mascara.

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Bizzare & Odd

More than 5,000 strange holes have been found at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean

On a relatively small part of the Pacific Ocean, off the western coast of the United States, there are several thousand indentations of various sizes, the origin of which is not completely clear.

This was reported by scientists at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI).

The larger pits have an average width of 175 meters and a depth of about five meters. Their shape is almost perfectly round.

Over the last few years, experts at MBARI and other organizations have found more than 5,200 such holes, such as smallpox, on an area of ​​approximately 1 300 square kilometers. So far, this is the largest concentration of such sites in North America.

More recently, scientists have been exploring the bottom of California in more detail. The fact is that they want to build a power plant there, but first they need to study the local conditions in detail.

Thousands of small pits or micro-depressions have been discovered using sonars mounted on autonomous submarines. Their width is about 11 meters and the depth is about a meter. Moreover, their shape is not round but oval.

Previously, similar seabed depressions have been found elsewhere in the world, and their origin is mainly due to methane emissions.

However, MBARI researchers find no evidence of this gas in the bottom sediments or in the water in this region.

Large and small holes

Sonar data showing sludge bed layers, indicate that these points have been inactive for the last 50,000 years.

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Bizzare & Odd

Scientists discover that the Y chromosome is disappearing from the blood of men

A study has found that Y chromosomes of men are disappearing as they get older and could put them at greater risk of cancer.

Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes. The Y chromosome is considered the male chromosome and women don’t have it: they have the XX chromosomes while men have XY.

But researchers have discovered that many men also lack Y chromosomes in some of their white blood cells.

The investigation

To reach this conclusion, scientists led by the University of Cambridge conducted a study on samples of 205,011 men, obtained from the Biobank gene bank in the United Kingdom, which contains the DNA of 500,000 volunteers.

They identified 156 autosomal genetic variants related to the loss of the Y chromosome, which were preferably close to genes involved in the regulation of the cell cycle, susceptibility to cancer or somatic drivers of tumor growth.

They found that more than four in 10 men (43.6%) had lost a notable proportion of their Y chromosomes at the age of 70.

The researchers found that one in five men in a sample of more than 200,000 had begun to lose Y chromosomes of DNA in some of their blood cells.

20% of men of all ages had lost some of the Y chromosomes in their blood and this proportion had doubled when men were 70 years old.

Subsequent analysis showed that people with high genetic predisposition to lose the Y chromosome were at greater risk of suffering from some type of cancer. The autosomal genetic variants found also influenced other aspects such as reproductive aging or type 2 diabetes.

Possible causes

The study authors believe that the loss of Y occurs through predisposition to processes that promote errors in cell division, or processes that help create an environment where aneuploid cells (cells with an abnormal number of chromosomes) are more likely to proliferate.

The team that made the discovery said that this strange change may be a sign that men’s DNA was unstable and that the body was allowing random genetic mutations to accumulate.

The research has been published in the magazine Nature.

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Bizzare & Odd

The Dani cannibal tribe and their smoky dead ancestors

In the Baliem Valley, West Papua Province in Indonesia, lives a weirdly primitive tribe called the Dani People.

A few decades ago, Dani actively practiced ritual cannibalism. It is now reported that this tradition has been discontinued.

In their recent macabre history, there is no less a frightening tradition of smoked dried carcasses of their dead relatives over a fire. And also cutting off the phalanges of women’s fingers.

The phalanges were cut with a stone axe. This procedure is performed for those women who have lost a male relative: husband, son, brother or nephew, to emphasise the pain of loss and to appease the dead’s spirit.

The surgery was primitive and rough, but the wounds on the hands of the women healed well and fairly quickly.

Photo: Mediadrum images / Gianluca Chiodini

Recently, Italian photographer Gianluca Chiodini visited the village of Dani People and made unique color photographs.

Gianluca Chiodini

Chiodini wandered in the jungle for days trying to find the tribe and finally he was lucky.

The photographer shares:

“The natives greeted me warmly and did not even try to eat me.”

Gianluca was shocked to see the 250-year-old corpses of the dead, Dani’s “eternal” ancestors, completely black from smoking for a long time.

Photo: Mediadrum images / Gianluca Chiodini

The guide told the Italian that seven smoked mummies are stored in the village, but only two of them are allowed to be shown to strangers. The rest are taboos, and if the photographer tries to find them himself and photographs them, the natives could kill him.

Photo: Mediadrum images / Gianluca Chiodini

To prevent mummies from decomposing, they are removed daily and carefully smeared with ointment of herbs and lard. Then they are hung over the fire so that the smoke can penetrate well into the body. All this has been happening daily for 250 years.

Photo: Mediadrum images / Gianluca Chiodini

Dani people stopped eating their relatives only after 1990, at least officially. Now the meat they eat is mostly pork.

Photo: Mediadrum images / Gianluca Chiodini

The natives hunt wild pigs with bows and arrows. After being captured and killed, the pigs are wrapped in palm leaves and allowed to be smoked by fire, like the mummies of their ancestors.

When the meat is hot, it is considered ready. Men are the first to eat, and women and children eat what is left behind.

Photo: Mediadrum images / Gianluca Chiodini

Many women in the tribe have their fingers cut off, meaning they have lost many male relatives.

Photo: Mediadrum images / Gianluca Chiodini

Whether these deaths were in battle with neighboring tribes or through illness, history is silent …

Photo: Mediadrumimages / Gianluca Chiodini

Now, finger-cutting is also considered a forbidden procedure and in young women the fingers are already intact but you can still see the amputated hands of the older women.

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