Happy Darwin Day

Charles Darwin

As I’m sure you are all aware today is International Darwin Day.  Celebrating the 201st birthday of the guy who worked out how come we’re all so ugly.  (I baked a cake.)  I am speaking of course of evolution.  That most wonderful of processes that changed us from being one celled wiggly things crawling though slime to the magnificent upright beasts with opposable thumbs you see parading illustriously before you today… crawling through slime.  I wanted to do something to celebrate this momentous occasion.  You know, to let the old boy know we still care.  To that end I have compiled the complete list of:

Awesome Super Powers Other Creatures Have That Humans Should Have Evolved



Super Speed

What has it?: OK so when I say  “Fastest thing on earth” what is the first animal that comes to mind?  If you said New Zealand’s Kakapo you’d be wrong… and an idiot.  I’m willing to bet you said the Cheetah.  Am I right?  Well I would have to agree to an extent.  The Cheetah is mighty fast.  They have reportedly been spotted doing 110km/hr.  That’s pretty impressive.  So what could be even MORE impressive?  Doing the same speed through thick-as-pea-soup, salty water.  I present to you: The Sail Fish


Swimming monster

Yes they're ugly but I wouldn't laugh at them if I were you.

This living bullet of the deep has been clocked doing the same speeds as a cheetah but through the briny blue.  I don’t care who you are that’s awesome.  Plus with that giant pointy nose they have they are basically a spear thrown by Poseidon himself.

What’s the closest thing we have?: Well a lot of you might say Michael Phelps because he swims like an underwater beam of light that’s been lathered in baby oil but I’m going to give this one to Usain Bolt.  You remember him.  He’s the guy that broke the 100m world record while doing this:

Weeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!

Wasn't there a super dog called Bolt?

That’s right.  He propelled himself faster than any man has managed to do before while impersonating a pigeon that’s just been shot in the butt.  While scientists have not declared him to be a super human just yet I’m sure they can’t be too far off.

Super Flight

What has it?: I’m sure most of you already know this one.  The Peregrine Falcon, sometimes known as the Duck Hawk, is probably the scariest thing in the whole world with feathers & that includes my cleaning lady when she’s dusting.  When they decide they want to kill something there is only a 66% chance that thing will survive.  Now I know that might seem like a lot but think about it for a second.  In a world where you are constantly hunted by these death ninjas of the sky would you like those odds?

Swooping Vengence

I have no idea what this image has to do with my last statement.

Now the big question in your mind is how fast can these things really go.  Well just flying through the sky taking it easy  they can reportedly hit speeds of up to 90km/hr.  That’s when they’re just watching TV or heading down to the pub.  When it hit’s dinner time however it’s another story.  A falcon will cruise through the sky until it finds a thing it wants to eat & at that time pray you are not on the menu.  Going into a dive these things can hit speed of 320km/hr straight down & that was the LOWEST estimate I could find when doing my research.  Image that.  One minute you’re hopping along with your little friend talking about which farmer’s grain you’re going to eat today & the next “Where’s Doug?!?!”  If it’s razor sharp talons or skull crushing beak didn’t kill you the shear shock of  collected by an overpassing super jet would at least make you pee in your pants a little.

What’s the closest thing we have?:  Enter Franz Reichelt.  A.K.A. The Flying Taylor.

The Flying Taylor

Muuuuuuuuum!!! It's too biiiiiiiiiiiiiiig!!!

On February 4th 1912 this French inventor decided it would be a good idea to test out his new parachute suit by jumping from the first platform of the Eiffel Tower.  He will be missed.

Super Glow-In-The-Darkness-Ness & Camouflage

What has it?: In a word: Cephalopods.  In a sentence: Several members of the cephalopod family, such as the Vampire Squid or Cuttlefish, have evolved the ability to glow in the dark, commonly referred to by those science-a-ma-jiggy people as ‘bioluminescence’.  But this isn’t just lame Glow-In-The-Darkness-Ness & Camouflage powers.  This is SUPER Glow-In-The-Darkness-Ness & Camouflage powers.  Check this out.

Man if I had that kind of ability I could finally throw away my night light & as for the boogy man under the bed.  Well, you can’t eat what you can’t see.

What’s the closest thing we have?:  Glow sticks at rave parties.

Boom-tss Boom-Tss Boom-tss

Sid Vicious should have suck with the Punk Rock scene.

Is it just me or are our super power equivalents getting sadder as we go along?  Move along.  There is nothing good to say here.

Super Fire Breathing Power

What has it?:  OK I bet you think I’m making this one up.  Think about it.  What creature on the earth besides dragons has ever had the ability to breath fire?  Give up?  Me too.  Unfortunately they don’t exist so yes technically I cheated.  BUT… there is something that runs a very close second.  The Bombardier Beetle.  These tiny critters pack one hell of a wallop.  Here is where I’m going to get all science-y on you.  The Bombardier Beetle carries two chemicals, stored in glands in its abdomen which shall henceforth be referred to as the awesomeness glands.  Each of these chemicals on their own are completely useless but mix them together & they undergo an extreme, rapid exothermic reaction.  (Which means it releases a whole bunch of heat really quickly.)  What happens is this.  Little Mr Bombardier is walking to the shops to get some milk.  Presumably to help with his severe heart burn.  Suddenly a desperate spider who has been recently laid off from his job & is ready to kill for money or food leaps from behind a stationary leaf & screams “Wallet, watch, phone NOW!”  As quick as a flash Mr Bombardier squeezes his but cheeks together & fires his two chemicals at the attacker & to cut a long story short THEY EXPLODE IN HIS FACE!!!  For your convenience I have staged this re-enactment.   Warning!  May be less exciting than I just made out.

OK so maybe it doesn’t explode but when you consider the process of evolution it’s still pretty amazing.  How many bugs died horrible agonizing deaths while nature was trying to figure this one out?  It’s a good thing that insects lay eggs rather than having live young.  That could have been a disaster!

What’s the closest thing we have?:  NOTHING!!!  Human’s have nothing anywhere near as cool as The Bombardier Beetle’s Exploding Booty Cheeks of Doom!  Four billion years of evolution & all we’ve come up with is the ability & inclination to spit while playing football.  WHERE DID WE GO WRONG?!?!  Darwin must have wept for humanity.

So what is it that makes us humans the top of the food chain?  How have we managed to overrun this planet in a way that no other living organism has done?  Our brains.  The evolution of the human brain was & is one of the most important things to happen in the history of the earth.  Evolution itself is such an amazing process.  In the words of Carl Sagan “We are made of star stuff” so to get to where we are, even though we do some dumb stuff sometimes, is really nothing short of amazing.

Did I miss any super powers?  Click the “Leave a comment” link below & tell us all.

Unless there is ever a next time.
Goodbye forever.

Luke Venables
Crowd Surfing Goat

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3 Responses to “Happy Darwin Day”

  1. Mysterious Mystery Says:

    Happy Birthday Chuck! I pondered the other day: ” …. what if felines had evolved opposable digits?” Do you suppose we might not have made it to the top of the food chain? I certainly know birds would be very different if cats – of any shape or size – had developed wings. That’s a universe I’d love to visit but only if I had genuine superpowers.

  2. Hell yeah evolution! 😀 Man, I would take the octopus camouflage. Best ever.

    Meanwhile, here’s another super awesome power for you:

    FASTEST PUNCH IN THE WORLD: THE MANTIS SHRIMP

    “Mantis shrimps are aggressive relatives of crabs and lobsters and prey upon other animals by crippling them with devastating jabs. Their secret weapons are a pair of hinged arms folded away under their head, which they can unfurl at incredible speeds. With each punch, the club’s edge travels at about 50 mph, over twice as fast as scientists had previously estimated.

    “The strike is one of the fastest limb movements in the animal kingdom”, says Patek. “It’s especially impressive considering the substantial drag imposed by water.”

    Water is much denser than air and even the quickest martial artist would have considerable difficulty punching in it. And yet the mantis shrimp’s finishes its strike in under three thousandths of a second, out-punching even its land-living namesake. When the arm is cocked, the structure is compressed and acts like a spring, storing up even more energy. When the latch is released, the spring expands and provides extra push for the club, helping to accelerate it at up to 10,000 times the force of gravity. ”

    Human equivalent? My bets are on Bruce Lee. ;D

  3. Peregrine Falcons are amazing! Did your research tell you how they kill their prey? They make their talons into two fists and punch their prey at 320km an hour, turning their insides to jelly. Their joints have built-in shock absorbers to let them do that without shattering their legs. That’s Chuck Norris levels of awesome.

    Other superpower suggestions:

    Able to leap tall buildings with a single bound:
    Fleas can leap the equivalent of a skyscraper in height relative to humans.

    Super strength:
    Ants can lift hundreds of times their bodyweight.

    Harness the power of lightning:
    Electric eels, nuff said.

    Night vision & Echo-location:
    Owls can see clearly on the darkest nights and fly completely silently to ambush their prey. Or you can take the echo-location of bats and dolphins, allowing a 3d mental image of surroundings including which things are biological and which are terrain.

    There’s more. Nature is too awesome for words.

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