WTF Wednesday: WTF Evolution

Now that Animal Review is largely defunct (those a-holes got a book deal or something), here's a website to fill the void.  My hilarious friend Peter sent it to me a while back and my apologies to him for taking so long to get it out to the public.  It's 'cause I was just waiting for the site to really come into its own, you know? (You don't know.  It's a lie.  I'm horrible and lazy.)

Anyway, this tumblr operates in the vein of Animal Review, but instead of grading any old average animal, it highlights the oddities and anomalies of nature, the lesser-known creatures whose whole evolutionary development makes you ask, "WTF?"  Creatures like the inelegantly-named but delightfully-shaped Pigbutt worm:

"Evolution likes worms that look like tiny disembodied floating butts, and it cannot lie." - WTF Evolution
And, yes, now Piggbuttworm.jpg is a file on my desktop.  Or this guy:

That was probably a pretty Freudian choice for me to juxtapose those two examples together, huh? 
Regardless, the selections are fascinating and the commentary is amusing, so get over there and be thankful that your genetic burden doesn't get any worse than your ridiculous lack of body hair and your inefficient bipedalism! 

WTF Evolution collaborated with Scientific American for a similar pieced called: "Dear Evolution: Letters of Gripe and Gratitude," written from the point of view of Evolution's most unfortunate achievements.  Some of the animals have long-winded complaints, but in cases where their dissatisfaction is utterly self-evident, their gripes can be understandably brief:

"Dear Evolution,
Send help. Soon.
Desperately,
Angora Rabbit"
On a related note, Radio Lab just did a super interesting podcast to those of us who majored in Anthropology called "Inheritance," which pretty much re-evaluated the legitimacy of Lemarckism, the evolutionary theory that external traits developed during one's timetime can be passed down from parent to child.  This largely-debunked theory posited that the first giraffe stretched her neck, which made it longer, and then her baby was born with a stretched neck, who stretched it further, and voila.  The same, Lamarck argued, could be true of humans: say a blacksmith got really big, strong muscles could pass his propensity for big strong muscles down to his kids who would then have big, strong muscles, too.  And that way they, too, could be blacksmiths!  I mean just LOOK at all the kids of blacksmiths who are also themselves blacksmiths!!  And it totally was because they were born with muscles that they were blacksmiths and not that they took over their dad's Backsmithe Shoppe that they had muscles!  Oh...wait, whoops.  Enter Darwin.
Lamarck on a giraffe: super scathing
political cartoon back in the day.
Before T.V. people actually cared
about science!


Anyway, apparently this theory isn't one million percent wrong as we've all be led to believe: recent studies reveal that some external behaviors may have a very real effect on the actual interaction of all your inside stuff, like genes.  Some scientists and rats  have revealed a sort of hybrid answer to the eternal Nature Versus Nurture debate, and given a few notes to Lemarck along the way. It's outlined really well in this super interesting to those of us who majored in Anthropology podcast, and they have sound effects and all, too!

All this talk just serves to introduce two creepyweirdamusing lists from Cracked.com: The 5 Strangest Things Evolution Left in Your Body and 5 Weird Directions Human Evolution Could Have Taken (Warning: some scenarios evolve away boobs, y'all. BOOBS!)   The thing to remember is that while may be weird, horrible, selfish, slow-learning, Earth-destroying, long-gestating, processed-food-eating, tool-using, monogamy-demanding abberations of the animal kingdom, but we could be waaaaay weirder.  We could be these guys:

Pink Fairy Armadillo: soft on the inside, pink corset on the outside. The Drag Queen of the Animal World.
Aye Aye: seems like this guy is ALWAYS showing up for your regional Bat Boy: The Musical audition.  #shoein

Blob fish: is it a fish or did Walter Matthau drown?

Hey, do y'all think WTF Evolution needs some new material?  Call me, y'all, I've got animal one-liners for days.  'Til next time, Darwinites!
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