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. .
s its name implies, the homely proboscis monkey has a strange-looking nose. Although the animal’s name doesn’t suggest that any other part of its body is in any way bizarre, the male of the species has a penis that can only be described as totally bizarre.
The Jimmy Durante of the animal world, the somehow sad-looking proboscis monkey has a nose like a banana, except that it’s orange, rather than yellow. In addition to its “big nose,” writer Brad Joseph says, the monkey is cursed with a “pot belly, crazy voice box, and several other bizarre features, [which] once discovered . . . are never forgotten.”
The belly’s size is explained by its function: the stomach serves as a “fermentation vat,” in which “gut flora” convert leaves’ “structural cellulose . . . into usable sugar” and detoxify poisonous alkaloids.
The nose is either easily explained or inexplicable. The former is true if scientists are correct in assuming that the proboscis monkey’s proboscis is “attractive to females.” The latter is likely if the scientists’ hypothesis is false. One thing is certain, though: the animal’s nose has unmistakable presence. Not only is it there, but it’s impossible to miss.
The other “unique and attention-getting characteristic of the monkey,” as Joseph calls it, is the proboscis monkey’s penis. “Always erect,” the cone-shaped scarlet member rearing aloft from a black scrotum constantly perspires as a means of releasing “excess sodium,” Joseph explains, a necessity for life in the “salty, mangrove forests” in which the monkey makes its home.