Attenborough’s fan-throated lizard (Sitana attenboroughii) is a species of fan-throated lizards endemic to India, primarily found in the state of Tamil Nadu.
The males flaunt their colorful dewlaps — loose skin on their necks — to woo potential mates during mating season. They also flash the fan-structured throat to challenge a potential rival in a territory. Females, meanwhile, have smaller white colored dewlaps.
This superb lizard lives mostly on the ground in open ground patches and takes its name after natural historian, David Attenborough.
Split Apple Rock Tokangawhā is a rock formation located in Tasman Bay at the top of the South Island of New Zealand.
Shaped like an apple that’s been sliced in half or a giant Pacman (if you prefer), this geological wonder emerged as granite from the Cretaceous period 120 million years ago. It sits atop fellow rocks.
According to the Maori legend, the boulder split due to two feuding Maori gods fighting to own the rock.
There’s a natural waterfall in Peru that forms the shape of a bride in her wedding dress.
Known as Cascada La Novia (Bride Waterfall), the miracle of nature takes its name from settlers who believed that the waterfall formed to commemorate the tragic loss of a woman’s husband.
Below is the story according to the legend.
“In times of yore, a couple of lovers who loved each other deeply despite the rivalry of their families, decided to get married, but on the big day so special for both, the father of the bride took a rifle and shoots the groom propitiating him the death instantaneously, this act caused the bride wrapped in tears and with a huge grief to run out with her beautiful dress towards the mountains, and being there when she could not bear the sadness of losing her beloved, she made a pact with the Apu and the Pachamama, which turned it into a beautiful waterfall, so that everyone could appreciate its beauty for all eternity.”
The Mary River Turtle is a remarkable creature for two main reasons.
It possesses specialized glands on its bottom that allow it to stay underwater for 72 hours—yes, it breathes through its genitals—two, the animal sports an algae-infused mohawk.
Named one of the world’s most vulnerable reptiles, the turtle lives in Mary River streams in southeastern Queensland, Australia. It uses the algae growing on its shell to camouflage itself from predators.
“We need to be a little bit more tortoise-y and a little less hare-ish,” best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell once said. While his message encourages people to slow down in this hyperspeed era, perhaps we need a little more punk in our lives too.
Of course, there’s always one band member who sports the bowl haircut (re Ringo of the Beatles). Here’s the Mary River turtle with algae strands on its body.
Pink sea urchins house five teeth, each supported by a separate jaw in a circular arrangement at the center of their spiked spherical bodies.
But researchers at Northwestern have discovered that the teeth of pink sea urchins are specially equipped to self-sharpen themselves.
The enamel break bits off regularly to maintain sharpness, the same way a knife sharpens upon a blade.
“The material on the outer layer of the tooth exhibits a complex behavior of plasticity and damage that regulates ‘controlled’ chipping of the tooth to maintain its sharpness,” said Northwestern University Professor Horacio Espinosa.
The teeth continue to grow throughout life, helping the sea urchins ward off predators.
Not sure what’s more amazing about the African dung beetle, one that it rolls immaculate balls out of other animals dung or that it navigates from home to manure piles and back via celestial cues.
“These clever insects use the polarized light of the moon to navigate in a straight line,” writes Popular Mechanics. “Their eyes cannot see individual stars but a group of stars together, like the Milky Way, is dense enough to create a luminous line for them to follow.”
No stars, no problem! When the sun gets blocked or is directly overhead, the beetle uses its antennae to perceive wind signals. This way it can roll across the desert without getting lost.
But entomologist and photographer Piotr (Peter) Naskrecki of the Wilson Biodiversity Laboratory at Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique believes the Kheper subaeneus beetles are more interesting for what they do for mother Earth.
Few animals are as important to the African savanna ecosystem as the dung beetles and without their thankless toil the entire ecosystem would soon collapse, covered in a thick layer of waste.
Keep in mind that the gathered feces, in which the beetle rolls into big balls, often weigh more than the beetle itself.
They are renowned for their extraordinary abilities, diving to depths of over 70 m with nothing more than a set of weights and a pair of wooden goggles (Schagatay, 2014) and spending 60% of their daily working time underwater (Schagatay et al., 2011).
They’ve evolved to harbor extreme breath-holding capabilities with up to 13 minutes underwater. Even without weights, the Bajau can stay negatively buoyant enough to walk across the sea bottom as one does on terra firma.
For thousands of years, the Bajau people have developed expanded spleens due to their dependency on diving underwater for food.
No one knows what originally compelled the Bajau to dive other than their need to survive and feed entire families.
Barcelona-based photographer Xavi Bou turns bird flight into art in a project he calls Ornitografías.
Using his degrees in geology and photography and experience as a lighting technician in the fashion industry, Bou extracts high-resolution photos from video stills to illustrate the path of birds in motion.
The result is a spectacular piece of art hinged on the physics and mathematics of flight.