As you might know I do a lot of extra research for my Sciencing the Shit Out Video Games column on GameSkinny. What am I to do with all of that extra sciency stuff that I really would like to share? Well that’s what this column on my personal site is all about. Sometimes, I’ll expound on the GameSkinny topic; sometimes, I’ll veer of into another rabbit hole that I traveled during my research. This week is one of those rabbit holes.
When I researched how it was possible for Vulpix to be both a fire-type and an ice-type animal, my first stop was looking at extremes in nature. And there are a lot of them. Earth is full of fascinating creatures that really should not exist. In my search for evolutionary extremes, I found many of them. I’m not one for listicles, generally. But I really didn’t know where to draw the line for what animals to include here. So here are my five real-life animals that should be Pokemon.
One of the freakiest animals in the entire world has to be the aye-aye. Of course, it’s a primate and in close evolutionary relationship to humans. Perhaps that’s one of the major reasons that it looks so weird. It hits somewhere in that uncanny valley of the human form.
However, its large eyes and creepy fingers are directly related to how it lives in its native Madagascar. It’s nocturnal, and although it does eat fruits and plants, it’s adapted to feed on larva buried in trunks of trees. It knocks on the trunk and listens for a hollow area. Then after biting a hole in the trunk, it will scoop out all the larva it can eat. I’m still trying to decide if that’s creepy or cool.
There are about 500 species of bombardier beetles, but all of them have the same strange ability to shoot hot liquid from its abdomen. I mentioned this creepy-crawly in the GameSkinny article because it actually generates super hot liquid without actually generating internal heat.
However, I didn’t get to mention how this fearsome guy makes the spray in the first place. The beetle naturally makes two chemicals: hydroquinones and hydrogen peroxide. When these two chemicals combine, they instantly cause an exothermic reaction and force the external valve on the beetle’s abdomen to open. The resulting liquid spray smells bad and reach temperatures of 100°C. The beetle holds about 20 shots of this liquid in his abdomen, which is enough to kill some predators and run off most others.
I kind of feel sorry for the blobfish. There was, after all, a Saturday Night Live sketch based around the ugliness of this South Pacific fish. However, the sketch doesn’t quite capture what this fish is actually about.
The fish doesn’t need a muscle structure deep under the water; it lives on the floor of the ocean off the coasts of Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand. On the ocean floor, it likely looks like any other fish, but when decompressed from its normal ocean depths, it sags, and not having muscle, it also loses its form. In its normal home the weight of the water bearing down on it can be 60 to 120 times that of the surface. Try lifting that every morning.
We’ve all seen Kim Possible. We know what a naked mole-rat is, or do we? Ron Stoppable’s pet named Rufus wasn’t exactly what mole-rats are like. The biggest difference has to be its looks. Rufus was damned cute. This thing is… well, it’s more of a penis with legs.
That being said, it’s on my list of Pokemon because of its long life. Naturally — meaning without the help of humans like dogs and cats — mole-rats can live in excess of 20 years. In the animal world, we know how rare that is. Scientists have even studied the longevity of the naked mole-rat against humans and mice and have found a lot of conclusive evidence for the DNA damage theory. This theory basically states that animals that live longer actually have innate ways of repairing its own DNA. In fact, it’s possible that the naked mole-rat might have better DNA repair than humans because they are not known to get cancer.
Lastly, we take a look at the silkie. In all honesty, there really isn’t anything significant about the silkie when compared to other chickens. But did you see that plumage? It’s amazing! Then to hear that it’s really a chicken, I did a double take. It’s possible that a chicken is just a chicken when you look beneath the feathers, but you really shouldn’t mess with chickens. Just ask Link; he knows.
These are my picks for animals that are real life Pokemon, but the truth of the matter is that there are hundreds if not millions of animals that might as well be Pokemon. What are your picks? Let me know in the comments.