Altered Evolution: Strange Animal Deformities

(Images via: Bolsta Blog, Turtle Journal, Think Article, Next Nature)

Not all animals are created alike, as seen by animal deformities that may include creatures that feature plus/minus a couple of legs, tongues and other essential body parts. In some situations, animal deformities are the result of natural evolution gone awry. In other cases, animal anomalies are a product of man experimenting with nature, while other animal one-offs are actually a testament to the supernatural inner workings of some very special species. Whatever the circumstances, animal deformities may cause weird looks, but they shouldn’t necessarily lead to stereotypes about the mental capacities and toughness of some of these creatures.

Got the Folks at Red Lobster Sweating

(Images via: Ibex Inc.)

Imagine the surprise of a New Hampshire fisherman a couple of months back when he pulled out of his lobster trap what appeared to be a can of “Miller Lite” but was actually something much rarer: a blue lobster. Just how rare? Turns out that the likelihood of a blue lobster is one in five million. Apparently, some lobsters are better at processing an antioxidant in their food known as astaxanthin, which apparently causes them to turn (but not feel) blue rather than the normal brownish/red hue that we’ve all grown accustomed to. Amazingly, the fisherman who caught the blue lobster once caught a white lobster as well. Update: Before being donated to a local science center, the blue lobster died as a result of hot water temperatures. However, the strange blue lobster has been preserved for researchers to study, as reported yesterday.

Does the Cat Got Your Tongue(s)?

(Images via: The Cat’s Meow, Sakshi Juneja, Admire Space)


No, it’s not 80’s star Toonces the Driving Cat, but rather Five Toes, The “Two Tongued Cat” (which also actually has five toes — a condition that is known as polydactyly). But that’s nothing compared to the two tongues. Located in Dobson, North Carolina, this healthy black Burmese cat is able to use the dual tongues together or for separate purposes, liking licking the chin and the nose at the same time. This unusual female cat is certainly popular, as she has her own Web site and MySpace page, but apparently not alone: a similar, two-tongued cat was born in Malaysia in 2004 but struggled to feed herself, thus requiring its owner to feed it with a syringe. Apparently, other cat anomalies include cats born with two faces, black tongues and double canine teeth that would make a vampire jealous. Cats always have been a bit eccentric and aloof, and these felines certainly take these characteristics to a whole new level.


Birds of a Feather-less Variety

(Images via: Farming Pathogens, Anomalies Unlimited, JPHPK)


Chickens have been documented as having various physical deformities, including one bird with a horn in the middle of its head and another with four wings instead of two! Now not all chicken abnormalities are due to bumps in natural evolution; rather, experimentation by man has played a role. Take the case of the featherless chicken, which was created by an Israeli geneticist in 2002 with the purpose of creating a more environmentally-friendly, faster-growing and healthier bird. A cross-breed of a naturally bare neck chicken and a normal boiler chicken, this naked chicken garnered much controversy, with some critics of the process arguing that featherless birds are at a disadvantage compared to their feathered counterparts. More specifically, featherless chickens have experienced difficulties mating and flapping their wings, and been more prone to parasites and mosquitoes. While certainly odd-looking, the featherless chicken raises a very legitimate question: when does too much science compromise purported human progress and become bad for the animal?

How Do You Get These Fish Off the Hook?

(Images via: Barbel Fishing World, Photo Bucket, The Prairie Spider)

As an avid fisherman, I’ve hooked my fair share of fish that just did not look right. Unfortunately, many fish deformities, from deformed spines to two eyes on the same side of the face to split bodies, are the result of man-made chemicals seeping into the water. For example, chemicals like selenium from the coal processing and burning process have been known to produce fish deformities in the head, spine, fins and gills, affect reproduction, and even kill off fish. For more information on this important topic, see my previous post on Reptile and Amphibian Anomalies.

Can’t Keep a Good Dog Down

(Images via: Maniac World, Handicapped Pets)


After the fish example, let’s finish off on an inspiring note. Perhaps you’ve seen or heard on the talk show docket about Faith the two-legged dog. Born with just three legs in December 2002, Faith was nearly killed by her own mother but was saved and taken in by a loving owner. Despite having one of her three legs amputated and doctors suggesting that she be put to sleep, Faith persevered and learned to hop around. What was Faith’s motivation? Like most dogs, food. In this case, it was peanut butter. Amazingly, Faith evolved from hopping around to walking. Her story is a testament to the fact that a physical deformity does not necessarily suggest a lack of mental toughness!

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