Strangest animals and how they evolved....

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Offline caipocha

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Strangest animals and how they evolved....
« on: 04/08/2009 18:25:02 »
Hello everyone,

I'm building up a collection of evolutionary curiosities: strange intermediate life forms (like the half horse-half whale that became the ancestor of all whales and dolphins) and bizzare dead ends like the strange creatures from the Cambrian Explosion.  I'm looking for animals whose weirdness is physically striking.  Although of course they don't have to be animals, but I think I'd rather focus on life forms that are visible with the naked eye.

I'd like to draw these creatures for a website, and also write about them in a University paper.  So if you could point me to pictures or peer-reviewed science in addition to giving me a name, that would be wonderful.  But I'll be happy to take anything you've got!

Thanks,
Sandra

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Offline Don_1

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Strangest animals and how they evolved....
« Reply #1 on: 08/08/2009 01:24:49 »
'half horse-half whale'?

Are you sure you are not thinking of the Hippocamp?

The best example of strange animals must be the Duckbill Platypus and the beautiful seahorses.



Or how about this leafy seadragon:


The giant Coconut Crab:
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Offline DoctorBeaver

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Strangest animals and how they evolved....
« Reply #2 on: 14/08/2009 16:02:51 »
That's an evil looking crab
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Offline RD

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Strangest animals and how they evolved....
« Reply #3 on: 14/08/2009 20:32:16 »
"Weird" is a subjective term: the aye-aye probably thinks humans have weirdly fat middle fingers ...

[attachment=9486]

http://www.arkive.org/aye-aye/daubentonia-madagascariensis/video-08d.html 
« Last Edit: 14/08/2009 20:42:07 by RD »

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Offline MonikaS

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Strangest animals and how they evolved....
« Reply #4 on: 16/08/2009 23:16:48 »
That's an evil looking crab

This one is even better... The Japanese spider crab, Macrocheira kaempferi, leg span up to 4m, weight up to 20kg




And then there's the red king crab, Paralithodes camtschaticus, it's said to be very tasty.

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Offline Laura_Kelly

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Strangest animals and how they evolved....
« Reply #5 on: 17/08/2009 02:44:24 »
I'm not sure if you would consider them weird, but many of the animals (brids, reptiles etc..) are evolutionarily quite different in New Zealand.
Kiwi, the extinct Moa, Tuatara(and their third eye)and the Kune Kune pig all have distinct features that other animals don't have.
Kiwi are flightless, have only stubs for wings and their nostrils are at the tip of their beak.
Moa were the largest birds on earth when they lived and had some interesting characteristics.
Tuatara are born with a third eye and are the oldest (?) known species of reptile still living. Some don't mature until after 100 years of age.
Kune Kune pigs have interesting wattle-like growths on their necks.
I owuld suggest New Zealand's Deparetment of COnservation website for more info and pictures:
www.doc.govt.nz [nofollow]

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Offline RD

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Strangest animals and how they evolved....
« Reply #6 on: 17/08/2009 09:55:24 »
While we're on the subject of giant crustaceans how about 5 foot long woodlouse ? ...

[attachment=9512]

Quote
Arthropleura was a 0.32.6 metre (18.5 feet) long relative of centipedes and millipedes, native to the Upper Carboniferous (340-280 million years ago) of what is now northeastern North America and Scotland. It is the largest known land invertebrate of all time, and would have had few predators
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthropleura
« Last Edit: 17/08/2009 10:07:09 by RD »