"Oh, what a cute little mouse!"
"It’s not a mouse! It’s a marsupial called an antechinus."
"Sorry, evolution, my mistake. Still cute, though."
"Isn’t he? And he’s excited, because he’s almost eleven months old, and that means he finally gets to start mating."
"Aw, that’s nice."
"He’s going to run around getting it on with as many females as he can for the next two or three weeks."
"And he’ll have sex with each of them for up to 14 hours at a stretch."
"And he’ll get so exhausted from all the frantic mating that his fur starts falling off, and he contracts gangrene."
"What? Jesus. Then does he take a break, at least?"
"Nah, not really. He basically keeps doing it until he gets so sick and stressed out that he dies. ‘Suicidal reproduction,’ I’m calling it.”
"Are you serious? He’s going to mate himself to death?”
"Yeah, but he doesn’t know it yet. Happy coming-of-age, antechinus!"
"You’re sick, you know that?"
Source: Flickr / patrick_k59
Hey, friends. I have a few announcements!
I am working on a WTF, Evolution? book! I’ve been working on it for a while now, in fact. It’ll be out in fall 2014 and will include some familiar weird faces, many strange new beasts, and a whole lot of extra goodies. Want to know where the pigbutt worm lives, whether the sage grouse is endangered, or what additional elongated appendages the tapir has? I will tell you. Possibly more than you wanted to know.
Never fear—blog service will continue uninterrupted in the meantime. And I will keep you all updated as things progress. I’m pretty excited about this, and I hope you will be too—and needless to say, none it would have happened if I didn’t have an audience, so thank you all immensely for that.
Announcement 2 (related to Announcement 1)
I’m looking for scientists to help me fact-check the book! It’s because I love you all, and I want the things I tell you to be true (except for the things that I have obviously completely made up).
If you’re a biologist/zoologist/taxonomist/weirdanimalologist and WTF, Evolution? fan, I would love to run some pages by you and have you double-check my species identifications, descriptions, and basic facts. I’ve done my research—a lot of it—but I’m not a specialist. I’ve been so grateful to have the support and following of people in the scientific community so far, and with your help I can make sure that this book is as accurate and informative as it is (hopefully) entertaining.
I’m looking for scientists who specialize in: fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, insects, spiders, marine invertebrates, parasites, plants, evolutionary theory, or probably just about anything else that falls under the umbrella of “life.” If you’re interested, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, tell me what you study, and I’ll see if there might be some pages for you. If we do end up working together, I’ll acknowledge you in the book and send you a signed copy in thanks when it comes out. Which is, again, this fall.
Valentine’s Day Tips From a Tragopan
Trying to catch the eye of that special someone? Then you need these moves, custom-evolved to win them over fast.
First, get your crush’s attention by pecking around on the ground. This will make them curious. But then, immediately hide behind a log. You’re putting on a show here—you don’t want to give everything away!
Next, inflate your rubbery blue horns and unfurl your flappy bib. Bob up and down a bunch of times to make sure that they’re fully deployed. You need to look your best!
Then start with the frenetic clicking. This will signal to your love interest that you’re ready to take things further. (Honest communication is the key to any successful romantic pursuit.)
When you feel ready, rear up and rush forward, displaying yourself in all your naked glory to the object of your affection. Remember: You are confident. You are fabulous. You have inflatable rubbery horns. You’ve got this.
If it doesn’t work the first time, try again. Try flapping harder. Click some more. You’ll have a valentine in no time, guaranteed.
Congratulations, evolution, I think “inflatable left nostril” may be your least attractive mating move so far. The hooded seal must be so proud.
"Hey! I bet you can’t tell what this is."
"It’s a slug."
"You can’t tell because I’ve cleverly disguised it."
"It’s a slug."
"Now, I know what you’re thinking: ‘Could it be some kind of cow?’"
"It’s definitely a slug."
"But no! It doesn’t even have a backbone!"
"Evolution, it’s a white banana slug.”
"Okay, okay, I’ll tell you. It’s a slug. Good trick, though, huh?"
"Please stop pretending that random mutations were brilliant ideas you had."
Source: Flickr / dhelling01
A quick note
Today, coincidentally, marks both the 100th post on “WTF, Evolution?” and the one-year anniversary of the very first one. I honestly cannot thank everyone enough for reading, sharing, sending in suggestions, and generally being so enthusiastic about my weird little project this past year. It warms my four-chambered blood-pumping chest organ to know you’re out there.
Some exciting things are in the works, upon which I will elaborate soon. In the meantime, keep being awesome, Internet.