Discovering the Incredible Journey of Life on Earth – 40 Fascinating Facts

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Two species of vultures (New World and Old World) evolved completely separately from each other on different continents, suggesting that vultures have a huge and essential ecological value in nature.

27. Rye and oats used to be considered weeds in wheat fields. Because they would get weeded out if they didn't look like wheat, they also evolved to have large seeds. Eventually, their hardiness compared to wheat meant they were grown as food in colder climates.

28. A study found that narrow nostrils evolved in humans living in colder climates so as to warm the air before it hit their lungs.

29. Sperm whales only have one blowhole which evolved from the left nostril. The right nostril is located inside the front of the whale’s head and has evolved into a pair of lips used for echolocation.

30. Elephants are all evolving smaller tusks due to selection pressure put against the large tusked males by ivory poachers, which allows small tusked males to produce more calves.

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The crab-like form is so effective that at least five groups of crustaceans have independently evolved into that shape, in a process called carcinisation.

32. Female ducks have evolved a complex vagina with several dead-end pockets and tunnels in order to confuse unwanted mates and prevent fertilization from the wrong male.

33. Chili peppers evolved to be spicy because heat repels most animals except for birds, which are responsible for spreading their seeds.

34. Some rattlesnakes have now evolved not to rattle. Previously, they rattled to avoid being stepped on by hoofed animals. Now they’ve learned to remain hidden and quiet as to avoid being hunted by humans.

35. After 6.5 million years of separate evolution, the differences between chimpanzees and humans are ten times less than those between rats and mice.

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36Greenland Sharks

Greenland Sharks

Most Greenland sharks are blind due to a 3cm long parasite that latches onto their eye. The sharks have not evolved a defense because the parasite is bioluminescent and is theorized to attract prey to the shark’s head.

37. Fainting at the sight of blood may have evolved to help us “play dead” when attacked.

38. Shyness may be an evolutionary adaptation. The braver animals may find more mates and eat more food whereas the shyer individuals, hiding on the sidelines, might avoid the attack.

39. Poisonous food substances are the reason we find the bitter taste unpleasant. Our taste buds evolved associating bitter taste to poison because most of the poisonous wild fruits are bitter and nutritious ones, sweet. The feature which protected us for centuries is now causing major health-risks.

40. Even animals like jellyfish that lack brains need to snooze. Biologists have discovered that like people, jellyfish hit the hay and have the same trouble we do waking up. Because these creatures are very low on the animal family tree, the work suggests that the ability to sleep evolved quite early.

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