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The Perils of Animal Evolution

February 23, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 127

Some evolutionary quirks can leave the modern animal a touch vulnerable. Take chickens, for instance, they freeze when someone draws a line in front of them, while there are a certain breed of goats who fall over when given a shock. Mother Nature, it seems, has quite the sense of humour.

The reason chickens freeze is because of a thing called tonic immobility. If you hold its head under its wing, draw a line in front of its face or show it a Stephen King film a chicken will literally be as still as a statue. This tonic immobility thing is actually a defence mechanism, albeit a really really terrible one. It's like an opssum playing dead in the hope an aggressor will then lose interest. This would be fine if your predator was a bear or a T-Rex, less so if it's a lazy farmer.

Another odd evolutionary quirk is the mysterious art of trout tickling. So, you've set off on a delightful day's fishing and are just ready to see what you can catch when you realise you can't find any bait to put on the end of your fishing rod, oh, and you can't find your fishing rod. Jesus, you're not great at this. Luckily for you and you're poor preparation skills there is another way to catch a fish, albeit a pretty damn difficult one. It's called - as you might have guessed from four sentences ago - trout tickling. The reason for this one is even more bizarre than the chickens, trout apparently like the sensation of someone rubbing the underside of their belly, so much so it puts them into a handy trance from which they'll almost certainly never wake up.

There are other odd evolutionary quirks which seem to totally undermine Darwin's theory of the survival of the fittest but, oddly, when you listen to science completely reinforces it. One of these is the glofish. This fish has a luminous gift, it can fly. Seriously. Well, not really. OK, its real gift is that they glow, though they can also technically fly, just underwater.

For humans being able to glow would be a cool party trick and would definitely improve pedestrian visibility at night but when it comes to fish you'd imagine standing out in a sea full of predators would not be all that beneficial, unless you had the teeth of a shark or the self esteem of manic depressive. In actual fact glofish luminescence actually serves to protect it. Rather than making it stand out, the fish blends in with the light coming from above the waters thus ensuring it is ever so slightly more safe, unless it swims near some shade.

There are a whole load of odd animals with mysterious and occasionally unexplainable quirks which you can read about on this splendid list over here.

Source: EzineArticles
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