A combination of adaptation and natural selection has produced some beautiful and elegant creatures. It also causes some animal body parts to be completely strange. Have sponges lost their brains? What’s so strange about the mantis shrimp’s seemingly telescopic eyes? Why do sheephead fish teeth look so weird? What made researchers think of origami when confronted with the mystery of salamander wings?
Yes, arachnid legs function “kind of like… tongue, nose and fingertips.” Of all the places where tentacles could grow, why would nature choose snakeheads? Skilled combatants claim that almost anything can be used as a weapon, but unlike aquatic salamanders, they may even draw a line across their ribs. Shoe stork is nothing if not an innovative hunter.
When mating season comes, male venomous platypuses don’t have to worry about being cuckolded for good reason. The proboscis monkey’s nose may strike one as plain, but the females of its species seem to appreciate it, and another of its appendages is — well, for now, let’s assume you’ve been warned. .
More animals than might be thought have really strange feet. One of the most bizarre of these body parts are those of the venomous platypus. Mindy Weisberger’s description of the platypus itself also perfectly captures the appearance of their feet in particular: they do, indeed, “look like they were stitched together by a rogue taxidermist from the [feet] of unrelated animals, as a prank.”
A wrinkled, leathery web fans out from the foot’s five claws, which emerge, seemingly abruptly, from the end of each leg. The claws lie along bifurcated folds each pair of which connect a section of web on either side of it, further complicating the look of the animal’s bizarre feet.
In males, the claws are “loaded with venom,” Weisberger says, which scientists believe may be used to dissuade competitive suitors from pursuing their romantic interest in females when mating season rolls around.