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26 Times Evolution Failed So Hard It Almost Won

Go home nature and think about what you've done.

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1. Narrow-headed soft shell turtle.

Krishna Kumar Mishra /

Growing up to a metre long and weighing over 100 kg, these are some heavy turtles. They spend most of their life buried just under the sea bed, waiting for a fish to swim by, at which point they extend their surprisingly long neck to catch it.

3. Pigbutt Worm, Chaetopterus pugaporcinus

Karen Osborn/MBARI

What's remarkable about the pigbutt worm, other than the fact that is looks like a butt, is that scientists don't really know what it is. They're unsure about where it's an usually large baby worm larva, or a really weird looking adult worm. If it is a big baby, then where are all the adult pig butts hiding?

5. Piglet Squid

REX USA/Gary Florin

The piglet squid can be found in all the tropical waters of the world, bobbing about, spreading joy. Not much is known about this little squid, as it is quite rare. As it grows up it changes quite a lot physically, turning red and losing its cute little tentacles.

6. Desert Rain Frog / Via

This little guy sounds like he's a squeaky dog toy, but he is actually alive. It spends most of its time underground, but comes up above ground occasionally to feed on insects and squeak.

7. Star-nosed mole

Rod Planck/Science Photo Library

The star-nosed mole is completely blind, it finds its prey of insects and worms purely by touch. It's 22-tentacled nose is the equivalent of our eyes. It is so sensitive it could "detect a grain of salt on a pile of sand." Using this super power the star-nosed mole builds a 3D picture of its tunnels, using texture alone, and is an extremely efficient predator.

8. Stargazer

Flickr: rickcollier / CC

The stargazer fish half buries itself in the sand and waits for a fish to swim directly overhead before springing out of the sand and eating said fish. It has a permanently upturned head, perfectly adapted for its hunting technique.

9. Hairy Frogfish

The hairy frogfish is a remarkable creature. Called a frogfish because it uses its fins to walk along the sea bed rather than swim. It lures prey by disguising itself as a seaweed covered rock, and then deploying a lure that looks exactly like a wiggling worm. It is also a fearsome predator and has been known to eat fish as big as itself.

10. Gum Leaf Skeletoniser Caterpillar.

Flickr: 40325561@N04 / CC

You see that pile of weird balls on its head? That's a pile of the caterpillar's old heads on its head. As the caterpillar grows it sheds and replaces an exoskeleton, but it keeps all the old head sections of the exoskeleton on top of its new head, which makes for a rather fetching hat. Don't touch it though as it will give you a nasty sting.

11. Maned Wolf

Flickr: ucumari / CC

The maned wolf is basically an exceptionally leggy fox. Like us they eat pretty much anything, from fruit to birds. They also mate for life, despite spending the majority of the year apart, hunting alone. How progressive <3.

12. Short-Horned Lizard

Churnice / / Creative Commons

The short horned lizard has some interesting defense mechanisms. First they like to inflate themselves up to double the size, to become like a big spiky balloon lizards. And then if that doesn't work they squirt blood out of their eyes.

16. Flapjack Octopus

Flapjack octopuses found stardom in the character Pearl in Finding Nemo. Sadly though, if Pearl were real she would have been pink mush as these creatures can only survive the the extreme pressures of the deep sea. Still cute though.

17. Gharial

Bo Link /

Two possible uses have been suggested for the weird bulb on the end of the gharial's snout; either a vocal resonator, or just an ornament used to attract a mate. It's amazing what some giant reptiles find attractive.

19. Sea-pig sea cucumber

British Antarctic Survey/Science Photo Library

Sea cucumbers might be a contender for strangest animal ever. If they are attacked they shoot their sticky internal organs out of their anus in the direction of their attacker. They then regenerate their internal organs. Nice huh?

22. Asian sheepshead wrasse / Flo Perry / BuzzFeed

Think this fish can't get any weirder, I mean its already got that head it can't possibly get weirder than that right? Well no, this is a sex-changing fish, so it will spend the first part of its life as a female, and then transform into a male. Pretty neat.

24. Gunnison sage-grouse / Creative Commons

Sadly this jazzy-looking grouse with inflatable chest sacks may be the rarest bird in the U.S. It was only discovered 14 years ago, how everyone missed it until then is a mystery. To attract a mate the males shake their tail feathers and inflate their breast sacks, something I think we can all relate to.

25. Wolffish

Flickr: eirikm / CC

These friendly looking fish can grow up to five feet long and live pretty much anywhere. There is some kind of wolffish for nearly all water on the planet. But they are mainly found in the cold murky ocean depths.

Their reproduction behavior is pretty odd, the females self-fertilise the eggs and then dump then for the males to ferociously protect for several months.

26. Naked Mole Rat

Buffenstein/Barshop Institute/UTHSCSA

Naked mole rats are not exactly lookers, but they are pretty incredible. They feel no pain when exposed to acid, this is thought to be an adaptation to the limited oxygen they experience in their underground homes, which would cause a build up of carbon dioxide, which is acidic.

They also seem to be resistant to cancer, and are the longest living rodent, living up to 31 years. They also live in a similar social group to bees, with one mother queen doing all the breeding, and the rest being workers bring her food. If you needed anymore reasons to respect the naked mole rat, they can run backwards as fast as they run forward. All hail the naked mole rat.