Friday, November 18, 2011

Quirks of evolution

The other night, as I was watching a documentary called "Clever Monkeys" (narrated by David Attenborough of course), I was introduced to one of the weirdest looking creatures on the planet today.

Really. It's really weird. Wanna see it?

Scroll down. I dare ya. 

TA DA!!!

This is a proboscis monkey. Or the "long-nosed monkey," as its also known. And I think it might be my new favorite animal. I'm not sure, though.

It's kind of like a car crash. Part of you wants to look away, and the other part of you can't help your fixation, you know? When I showed this picture to my sister-in-law Laura, she said "I don't know whether I want to cuddle it or drop an anvil on its head."

Anyway, they're endangered, and they live in Borneo, and only the males have those weirdly large noses. Here's another picture for you.

I mean, doesn't this guy look like a muppet? Or an old man? Or a muppet of an old man? Several people noted that this guy is "The Jimmy Durante of Monkeys."

Here's another picture. This is "Zoolander Proboscis Monkey."

"What? I'm a proboscis monkey, biotch! Don't hate me 'cause I'm beautiful!"

(Okay, that might have gone a little too far. But it seemed the appropriate caption to this photo.)

The thing I can't figure out is WHY they have those huge noses. What evolutionary purpose could they serve? Since only the males have them, are they some sort of...wooing display? Like, "Look at me and my large nose. I would make a good mate!" (That's as far as I'm going with that...I don't think I could continue without feeling uncomfortable.) Or are there foods in Borneo that demand a keen sense of smell to be found?

I can't think of any truly plausible reason that nature would select for this nose.

I have a hard time believing it's real. I've concluded, however, that the proboscis monkey must belong in the same genus as these guys:

Squidward, from "Spongebob Squarepants," and

the Blobfish.

(The Blobfish is a real creature, by the way. I know that picture doesn't look real, but it is. According to Wikipedia, the blobfish "is a deep sea fish of the family Psychrolutidae. Inhabiting the deep waters off the coasts of mainland Australia and Tasmania, it is rarely seen by humans. Blobfish live at depths between 600-1200 meters or 1968-3937 feet where the pressure is several dozen times higher than at sea level, which would likely make gas bladders inefficient for maintaining buoyancy. Instead, the flesh of the blobfish is primarily a gelatinous mass with a density slightly less than water; this allows the fish to float above the sea floor without expending energy on swimming. Its relative lack of muscle is not a disadvantage as it primarily swallows edible matter that floats in front of it. Blobfish eat invertebrates like crabs and sea pens." Yeah. It's "primarily a gelatinous mass.")

Oh, and proboscis monkeys tend to have large "beer-bellies" too.

1 comment:

K + J said...

Absolutely vulgar. Obscene. Adorable. Honk Honk!