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Amazing Things Animals Can Do With Their Heads

Some animals can do amazing things with their heads and faces. Many such feats have only been recently documented by science.

Limpets Use Their Tongues Like A Jackhammer



Limpets are small, sturdy aquatic snails. Like more commonly known animals, the limpet has the gastropod equivalent of a tongue—a radula. A limpet’s radula is forested with spiky projections for scraping algae. The appendage also doubles as jackhammer. It’s used to rasp cozy alcoves into rocky surfaces for the limpet to inhabit. It helps that limpet teeth are nearly indestructible and have recently been labeled as the strongest biological material known to man. When researchers atomically deconstructed the adamantium-like teeth in the lab, they found them studded with goethite nanofibers, giving them a consistency tougher than Kevlar. This unmatched tensile strength allows the limpet to constantly chew rocks without any damage to its teeth.

Moles Have Stereoscopic Smelling



A mole’s nose is the only body part that it isn’t ashamed of. In spite of overwhelming blindness and inadequate tactile sensitivity, common moles excel at locating food sources. Trained rats have previously been coerced into stereo smelling to detect air currents, but such a strange ability had never been observed in the natural world. It’s a novel find, implying that other champion sniffers (like dogs) may be benefiting from the same technique.

Vibrating Mosquito Probosces Inspire New Types Of Painless Needles



The mosquito proboscis, nature’s most annoying appendage, has finally become useful by inspiring a new breed of painless hypodermic needles.

The King Of Saxony Bird-Of-Paradise Is The King Of Eyebrows



The oddly named King of Saxony bird-of-paradise is the owner of the animal kingdom’s most glorious eyebrows. These erectile appendages, called wires, don’t really do anything other than look good and have only evolved to their current state because females consistently mate with males that have the beefiest brows. During their intricate mating procedures, Kings also employ aggressive head-ruffling, haphazard wire-waving, and a weird pumping motion most accurately described as twerking.

Pink Underwing Moth Young Wear A Literal Skullcap

Pink Underwing


A pink underwing moth’s smooth blandness belies the deeply disturbing foulness of its adolescence. The horrible larva starts out hideous enough and then develops into a repulsive, skull-faced demon. Circular spots mimic the appearance of large, ever-seeing eyes, while a row of white splotches below gives the fearsome appearance of teeth. Its actual head is slightly well-guarded, being curled up within its poo-colored mass of flesh. However, it’s all a bluff. Even though the larva is decked out in scary face paint, it’s entirely harmless and is actually a strict herbivore. The animal itself is completely defenseless.

The Pinocchio Lizard

Pinocchio Lizard


The Anolis proboscis, or Pinocchio lizard, gave researchers a nice surprise when it was unexpectedly found in an Ecuadorian cloud forest. Having feared it to be extinct, ecological bounty hunters from Tropical Herping; searched for three years before serendipitously finding one asleep on a branch. It was actually still quite a feat, since searches were carried out by night; the lizard is far too good at camouflaging itself during daylight. It also lives very high off the ground in the most inaccessible strata of trees. The distinctive horn is possessed only by males, who are known to articulate their enlarged stumps quite suggestively at females. Only time will reveal the evolutionary purpose of the horn, a rare feature found on only two other types of South American lizard.

Monkeys Use Faces Like Name Tags



Monkeys boast the most colorful faces in the mammal kingdom, and they’re not just for show. Like humans, they discern friend or foe by facial features, which have evolved to be especially distinctive under the selective pressures of keeping a tight-knit community. Researchers liken the phenomenon to a primitive, simian Facebook. The increasingly intricate markings are used as biological name tags to differentiate family members from other closely related individuals. An Old World monkey’s social status is reliably predicted by its face.

Venomous Frogs

Venomous Frogs


The hateful Greening’s frog does head butting to its enemies to turn them into submission like a drunken soccer hooligan. This odd and novel form of envenomation is possible thanks to numerous venom-dispensing barbs on the frog’s skull. The Brunos’ casque-head frog also possesses this ability, making these feisty specimens the only two venomous frogs ever documented. A single gram of Brunos’ casque-headed frog juice, on the other hand, could lay down 300 men.

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