We live in a fascinating world, don't we? While we human beings go about our daily lives, we have no idea about all of the amazing things going on in other places in the world. Creatures we never knew existed living here on planet Earth, and life forms possibly existing on the planets on other galaxies. The problem is we're too busy with our lives to discover these things on our own. Luckily, we have National Geographic, one of the largest non-profit organizations in the world. NatGeo researchers spend their days discovering the odd and the unknown. With a magazine, television station, and huge social media following, National Geographic is the world's source of all things unknown. A society that started all the way back at the end of the 1800's has contributed to some of the world's greatest mysteries being solved.
National Geographic doesn't just explore the weird creatures in this world, or the unknown planets and stars that may exist in our Solar System. However, the ones we care about for this list are exactly that. Have you ever wondered what the ugliest animal on Earth is? Have you ever thought to yourself that there may be life out there beyond just us? Or have you ever been daydreaming and wondered if sharks have two heads? Maybe the last one is a stretch, but there are certainly some crazy things you need to see to believe. So here we go with the 15 most bizarre and weird things ever discovered by the amazing National Geographic team.
15 ‘Thor’ The Hero Shrew
The hero shrew, who goes by the nickname ‘Thor’ has been dubbed as one of the most bizarre creatures on Earth. His nickname comes from Greek god of strength...for a good reason. Despite its small size and stature, the hero shrew is one of the strongest creatures on Earth thanks to its interlocking and super-tough spine. There have only been two of these discovered in all of science, and this latest one was discovered in Congo.
The hero shrew's spine is so strong that it has baffled scientists to this day. They claim it is a spine never before seen by man. How strong is the spine of this bizarre creature? A human who weighed over 200 pounds stood directly on the spine of the shrew for five full minutes. Surprisingly, the shrew walked away unharmed, barely having noticed the man standing on top of him. Now, that's Thor-like strength.
14 The World's Ugliest Animal
The new mascot of the Ugly Animal Preservation Society is the sagging, gelatinous creature blobfish. A recent poll voted on by millions of people around the world decided that the blobfish was most deserving of the title for ugliest animal in the world. The poll was actually done as a way to raise awareness for the blobfish, and all of the other weird-looking animals in the world. The Ugly Animal Preservation Society, as they are so appropriately named, believes that all animals should be treated and cared for equally.
The cuddly kittens and cute pandas of the world get all the attention, and the tigers and lions get all the respect. But what about these ugly guys? They need some love too. As part of the campaign to raise awareness, 11 ugly animals have been chosen to be represented by 11 different comedians. These comedians will make videos about each animal, and a winner will be chosen. Each view the video gets and each vote that gets placed, will go towards money to help educate people on these creatures.
13 The Pinocchio Lizard
We're not lying about this one, but scientists discovered a spotted lizard that has a nose so long that it can only be compared to the legendary puppet, Pinocchio. It was recently discovered by scientists in an Ecuadorian cloud forest. The creature's so odd-looking that it deserves to make this list on the nose alone. However, there is something that makes it even more fascinating and bizarre.
The long-nosed reptile was thought to be extinct by scientists. Most had thought none had been seen in over 15 years. The scientist who discovered it was filled with joy and excitement upon his discovery. “It's hard to describe the feelings of finding this lizard. Finding the Pinocchio lizard was like discovering a secret...deeply held secret.”
The reptile was first noted all the way back in 1953 when a group of scientists discovered six of them. Since then though, it had only been spotted a few times, and then seemingly vanished, never to be seen until this recent discovery. It's no lie that this Pinocchio lizard comes in at lucky number 13 on our list.
12 The Mystery Of The Two-Faced Cat
The two-faced cat is literally one of its kind with only one known version of this type of feline existing in the world today. Her name is Venus and she is actually becoming pretty famous for her odd appearance. Venus is a three-year-old cat that has her own Facebook page and a YouTube video that has garnered over one million views. Venus even appeared on The Today Show as a special guest.
It's obvious from one look that Venus is special. Much like the Batman villain, Venus is a two-face. One side of her face is a solid black with a green eye, while the other side has an orange-striped face with a blue eye. Venus is a medical marvel. According to a professor at the University of California, Venus is extremely rare, and there is really no logical explanation to how she came to exist the way she does.
Some believe Venus to be a ‘Chimera’, a mythological creature that is basically a mish-mash monster made up of a different animals. Basically, Venus has two types of DNA. Despite being different, Venus is still a very cute cat, and probably the most famous animal on our list.
11 The Giant Eyeball
One of the creepiest items on our list is this giant eyeball that has been recently washed ashore in Florida. Apparently, this eyeball has the Internet buzzing. Reminiscent of the infamous ‘Montauk Monster’, the giant eyeball was washed ashore leaving scientists and the people who found it at a loss for words.
No one knows for sure what it actually is, but some are guessing that the eye-ball could have belonged to a giant squid that was recently seen on a behind-the-scenes tour of the Smithsonian. National Geographic scholars are looking into the possibilities with this giant squid theory being one of them. The softball-sized eyeball, which was found by a beachcomber in Florida, will be submitted for genetic testing. Many indications imply that the eyeball could belong to a swordfish, tuna, or some type of deep sea water fish. Either way, it's an extremely bizarre finding—one you would expect to see in an X-Men movie.
10 V-Shaped Lights Indicate UFO Sighting
Back in 1983, V-Shaped Lights were discovered in the Hudson Valley. Normally, if one or two people suspected something strange about the lights coming from the sky, no one would bat an eye. However, hundreds of people were reported seeing these odd lights in the sky on March 24, 1983, and many believe that it truly was a sign of extra-terrestrial life.
Hudson Valley, about an hour drive north of New York City, is known for UFO sightings in the area. From 1982 through 1986, there were over 5,000 reports of a UFO being seen. Now, this could just be a town full of conspiracy theorists, but on that one night, on March 24th, something just seemed different. 300 people reported seeing a V-shaped array of lights that moved slowly and almost silently through the sky. There was blinking on and off for about 5 minutes, and then suddenly vanished. No one can know for sure what exactly was seen on that fateful night, but with 300 people all witnessing the same thing, it's at least a cause for a little attention.
9 A Lost Civilization
Ever wonder who was here before us? A civilization of people or creatures that existed before we were ever born? Before humans even inhabited the Earth, it wasn't just the dinosaurs that roamed the Earth, but many different creatures that disappeared and are now labeled as lost civilizations. This one recently discovered is one of the most mysterious.
In an expedition to the Honduras, scientists and archaeologists discovered what appears to be a ‘were-jaguar’ effigy, likely representing a combination of a human and spirit animal. It's one of the many artifacts discovered in a cache in ruins deep in the Honduran jungle. Not only is this a lost civilization, but it's actually an entire lost city, one that had never before been explored. It's known as the ‘White City’ or the ‘City of the Monkey God’. It's a pretty unbelievable find. Sculptures that hadn't been seen since the city was abandoned were also found.
8 Founding Fathers Discovered
It all started back in 2010, when archaeologists were studying a series of four male burials in Jamestown, Virginia. Jamestown is one of the first known cities in American history, and where some of the first British settlers came over and established a life in America. After searching around the first major Church building in North America, the same one where the infamous Pocahontas married John Rolfe in 1614, the archaeologists discovered something extraordinary.
They discovered the bodies of those exact British settlers—Reverend Robert Hunt, Jamestown's first chaplain; Sir Ferdinando Wainman, a master of ordinance for Fort James; Capter Peter Winne, a sergeant major of the fort; and Captain Gabriel Archer, a member of the colony's first governing council. These historic bodies were identified by the time of death, the structure of their bodies, and the breakdown of bones compared to the men when they were alive—fascinating finding that was discovered by accident.
7 A Cat's Pee Can Smell Like Buttered Popcorn
You read that right. This animal's urine can smell like good old-fashioned movie popcorn. The bearcat of Southeast Asia has a urine whose aroma omits the smell of buttered popcorn that you would find in a movie theater. They go by the name Binturongs, or in layman's terms, a bearcat. Mind you, they are neither a bear or a cat. They are actually mammals related to small forest predators like civets and genets. When a bearcat urinates, a chemical compound in their urine known as 2-AP is omitted and the smell of hot, buttered popcorn hits the air. The liquid soaks its feet and fuzzy tails, leaving the smell in its trail. Like most animals, this is how they mark their territory. The other s*x then knows the area belongs to that male bearcat. The male takes the lead because the odor is stronger in male bearcats than female ones.
The Binturong isn't the only animal whose urine can smell like a snack humans eat. Other urine smells are similar to corn chips, cherry cola, almonds, and lemon drops.
6 Two-Headed Shark
One of the most interesting and bizarre discoveries on our list is the two-headed shark that keeps popping up around the world. Scientists don't seem to have any idea why. Their biggest hypothesis is that the mutated fish are appearing due to genetic abnormalities and overfishing. A few years ago in Florida, fisherman discovered a bull shark whose uterus contained a two-headed fetus. A few years prior to that, a different fisherman discovered a blue shark with two heads in the Indian Ocean. And then most recently, in Spain, an embryo of the Atlantic sawtail catshark appears to be developing with two heads.
What's causing these odd genetic mutations? Most researches, although there aren't really much, seem to suggest that it's simply a genetic disorder. These mutations are few and far between, so extensive research has not been done. However, other factors could be metabolic disorders, viral infections, or even polluting. See, you never know what could happen when you throw your garbage in the ocean.
The most interesting theory could be the one involving overfishing. Due to so many fish being scooped up by fishermen, there has been more inbreeding than usual, which leads to these genetic mutations. So if you are a fisherman and see a two-headed shark, you can thank yourself.
5 Strange Radio Bursts From Another Galaxy
It was just a faint radio burst, but it could be the discovery of a new galaxy. That's right, a small burst in a dwarf galaxy over three billion light years away may be the opportunity scientists have been waiting for to prove that this galaxy exists. The radio burst offers vital clues to a mystery that continues to perplex some of the smartest men in the world. The radio burst happened a long time before scientists were able to figure out where it came from. But, they may finally know.
By pinpointing the exact location of the radio burst, scientists hope that they use it to obtain clues about other origins of radio bursts and information on the places they are coming from. They can use this information to research on dead stars, organisms, and theories about what goes on in other galaxies—something astronomers long to figure out. We are still ways away from figuring out what this all means, but it's a step in the right direction towards figuring out how our universe is forever developing.
4 The Rare Black Wildcat
When photographers, scientists, and archaeologists spend their time searching the world for the next great discovery, the big ones usually come by accident. Such was the case when a nature photographer was exploring Kenya looking for wildlife. He intended on taking pictures of wildcats—all of whom are tan with black spots. That's why when this extremely rare all-black wildcat appeared out of the woods, the photographer was shocked. He said it was an extreme bit of luck that he was able to catch this rare animal on camera. And he was right about that, as there hasn't been another known photo of the black wildcat since. In fact, no one even knows if it is a male or female.
Some believe that the black wildcat has evolved over the years out of necessity to camouflage within its surroundings, making it a stronger predator and never the victim. However, further research has since discovered that it could actually be a genetic mutation that causes its pigment to be much darker than it should be. Either way, the black wildcat is a rare sight to see.
3 One Of The Last Unexplored Places On Earth
Life can truly be found anywhere. It can be found in outer space, in the wilderness, or deep, deep under the sea. Such was the case with an ROV found miles and miles beneath the sea. It's a new type of volcanic vent near the Mariana Trench. Photos were taken to prove its existence making this area of life one of the last unexplored places on Earth.
The discovery was made more than 13,000 feet under the sea. It's being described as a volcanic wonderland, one that is unlike any other place in the world. The volcanic wonderland is crawling with life including hairy snails, shrimp, weird worms, and even some species that may be new to science, making the fact that it has never been discovered all the more bizarre and fascinating. It's an unbelievable life form that is made special by being located in the deepest place on Earth.
2 Dinosaur Tail
Amber is most notably known to be used to make jewelry—very rarely being used for scientific purposes. But these wispy feathers found in amber actually decorate a dinosaur's tail. The small lump of amber was found at a market in Burma, and somehow miraculously landed in the hands of a paleontologist. The paleontologist went on to discover the dinosaur tail—the first known piece to EVER be discovered in the history of the world. The tail dates back 99 million years, the oldest piece of anything on our list, and was originally mistaken as a bit of plant material. The paleontologist knew better as he continued to inspect it, discovering that it was actually bone and tissue covered in feathers.
What kind of dinosaur did the tail belong to? Well, it was a young baby coelurosaur, which is part of the same family as the T-Rex and some modern birds. One of the reasons this discovery is so big is because it allows scientists and paleontologists to realize how much more they have to explore and discover. Amber deposits will now be on the radar for all of them going forward.
1 Ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Found In Cairo
Earlier this year, archaeologists working in Egypt and Germany discovered a statute from Ancient Egypt that they believe could be one depicting a famous ruler from the olden times. Originally thought to be Pharoah Ramses II, further research concluded that it actually depicted King Psammetich I, who ruled Egypt from 664 BC to 610 BC. The confusion was over an inscription that read ‘Nebaa’ and once discovered, it was easily determined it belonged to the latter as ‘Nebaa’ roughly translates to ‘Psammetich’.
The statue is 26 feet tall, made of quartzite, and is estimated to be nearly 3,000 years old. These facts make the discovery all the more important. The statue was discovered in the eastern part of the city near the city of Heliopolis. Much of the city is now covered with residential buildings and researchers believe more remains are in the area. Must be an interesting time to live in the area. The magnitude and chronology of the discovery gives it top billing on our list.
Sources: nationalgeographic, cnn