the fact that the real world could have involved dragons, unicorns, magic, time travel and insane adventures but instead has things like taxes is why i read so much
This lizard shoots blood out of its eyes to deter predators
This bird has tiny dinosaur claws on its wings and its chicks can climb like goddamn monkeys
This thing is literally named the Vampire Squid from Hell, and it’s so lazy that it uses optical illusions to trick its predators into thinking it’s running away really fast instead of actually running away
When these ants squabble over territory, instead of fighting they have a dance-off. The winner of the dance-off gets to enslave the other colony
This diagram is of one of many planets made of solid diamond
And here’s a picture of our galaxy in space which, by the way, would taste of raspberries and smell of rum:
This adorable dear is a water bear, a very tiny animal with a weird internal pulley system for movement. It can survive being dried out and rehydrated (in nature it depends on it), and can survive in open space without air, pressure or radiation shielding for at least ten days and be fine.
Naked mole rats are not only the only eusocial mammals, but are also cold-blooded and immune to cancer.
There are a LOT of animals that navigate via electricity
or can “see” through sound echoes
or have the regenerative properties of mythical trolls
These guys live in water between 2C and 464C (35-867F) at 300atm of pressure, sometimes in water as briny as vinegar… and they’re far from the only species to do it
Caterpillars turn completely to goo in their cocoons and their adult forms grow within it. Hundreds of species of parasite mind-control their hosts, including those that affect humans. Wheat as we know it isn’t rightfully a single species; it’s a 2-way hybrid with twice as many sets of chromosomes as it should rightfully have, created by us. Microorganisms genetically engineer plants to change their shape to provide homes for the tiny engineers. If you mess up the mRNA distribution in a newly fertilised fly egg, you can make a fly with two heads and no butt. Fruit flies get drunk in the same way that humans do; they’re a remarkable model for all kinds of human things, even though they shouldn’t be all that similar to us at all. Beavers change entire landscapes to colonise new areas. Bacteria far up in the sky help clouds to form. Diamonds are born not from the bones of dinosaurs, as many believe, but in the hearts of volcanoes. If you capture lightning on a super high speed camera, you can see many little spots of light branch out and seek the ground, calling up positive branches until one tendril from the sky meets one from the land and the energy of the could is immediately discharged in a bright, hot flash. We don’t yet know what lives in magma. We can deduce the heart of a star, but we can’t explore the hundreds of other planets in the galaxy like ours. The trillions and trillions of microorganisms living in your gut act like digestive organs that it’s very hard to live without, and there are 10x as man of them as there are human cells in you; you could argue that you’re 9% human. If you fold a single (hypothetical, infinite) piece of paper 42 times, it will reach past the moon. The eye has evolved independently on Earth at least 40 times, and possibly as many as 65 times. There are no muscles in your fingers. A rhino’s horn and your hair are the same structure. A horse’s hoof and your fingernail are the same structure. Some of your thinking isn’t done in your brain — it’s done at the top of your spine, throughout your spine, in your intestines, and in your heart. Your brain fills in the gaps of what you don’t see, but mentally interpreting what you do see is largely done inside the eyes. A lot of an ocopus’ thinking is done in its arms.
But sure, gripe at the universe for not giving us pointy horses. Without them I guess it’s all pretty boring.
(Fantasy novels can be pretty great though)