7 animal superpowers that will amaze you!

0


Many animals have abilities that surprise us as they are so far removed from what humans can do. If we are remarkable for the nature of the intelligence we demonstrate, animals are capable of feats worthy of a superhero comic book. These natural “superpowers” ​​are in reality the fruits of complex evolution and careful adaptation to their environment, because nature does nothing for “the beauty of the gesture”. This article invites you to list the most fascinating skills.

1 – Change color and texture

When we think of the ability to change color to blend into the environment, we generally think of the chameleon. The name of this emblematic reptile also describes any person who changes their behavior or opinion according to their interest. But contrary to popular belief, this change is not primarily used for camouflage. Rather, it is used for communication with other chameleons and for regulating body temperature. Chameleons actually change color depending on their mood, their state of health, the ambient temperature and the light intensity.

However, in the category of animals capable of changing appearance, the octopus surpasses the chameleon. This cephalopod is indeed known for its great intelligence but also its astonishing ability to change color, but also texture. It is among the most sophisticated invertebrates on the planet. He mobilizes his superpower with incredible speed, an ability that serves him as much to escape his predators as to surprise his prey. The octopus thus adapts its appearance to the environment in which it evolves, whether rocks, sand or corals. But that’s not all ! This system is also activated when these animals sleep. Biologists do not yet understand the process but suggest that these changes could be linked to the dreams that cephalopods have.

2 – Adopt multidirectional flight

The hummingbird is a bird endowed with aerial capabilities unrivaled in the avian kingdom. In reality, its flight is more similar to that of insects than to that of members of its family. This tiny bird, which can weigh less than 2g, is known for its rapid flight. Looking a little closer, he has a skill set that defies belief. Hummingbirds are capable of flapping their wings up to 80 times per second, a dizzying speed that allows them to fly not only forward, but also backward, hover motionless in the air, and make rapid, precise turns. This aerial agility helps it access flower nectar, its main source of food. It is also necessary that technology is making progress so that we are able to observe it properly. Scientists use cameras filming 1,000 frames per second coupled with X-ray imaging technologies.

This ability is supported by proper metabolism as it requires a huge amount of energy. The amount of nectar it needs to feed it is the equivalent of several times its own weight. It must therefore visit hundreds of flowers every day, its bifid tongue allowing it to collect nectar efficiently. It should be remembered that hummingbirds play an important ecological role as pollinators.

3 – Climb on smooth walls

The gecko is a small reptile with extraordinary climbing abilities. It has fascinated scientists for many years. These animals are endowed with a remarkable capacity for adhesion. They can indeed easily move on vertical surfaces and even defy gravity by walking on the ceiling. Their secret lies in exceptional grip, made possible by tiny hairs, called setae, present in very large numbers on the pads of their paws. Each hair divides into hundreds of even smaller structures, called spatulas, which increase the contact surface with the wall and exploit forces called van der Waals forces which allow adhesion without generation of liquid or sticky substance.

4 – Moving in the dark

The bat is a nocturnal mammal famous for its unique ability to navigate and hunt in complete darkness. The majority of these animals use echolocation, a sophisticated biological system. The animal emits ultrasound through its nose or mouth, the echo of which it collects. This very sensitive system allows the bat to obtain a precise image of its environment. Most of the sounds emitted are imperceptible to the human ear which only perceives frequencies of approximately 0.02 to 20 kHz: however, bats emit sounds between 30 and 120 kHz. The emission duration is between one and five milliseconds.

Using this method, a bat can accurately detect and capture insects in mid-flight, avoiding obstacles and effectively navigating complex environments. Their eyesight is often considered less developed, but in reality it is quite suitable for their needs. Although bats rely largely on echolocation for their nocturnal activities, they can also see, especially in low light conditions.

This combination of vision and echolocation gives them an added advantage in navigation and hunting. Remember that bats play an important ecological role, participating in the regulation of insect populations. Some species of bats are also pollinators. This echolocation capability has inspired many technological advances in the field of navigation and sensors, particularly with regard to radar and sonar systems.

5 – Survive in extreme conditions

The tardigrade, often nicknamed “water bear”, is a microscopic and almost indestructible animal. It is so small that it is only visible under a microscope. But it has gained an almost mythical reputation for its ability to survive in extreme conditions that would be fatal to almost all other life forms. It can withstand temperatures from near absolute zero (-272°C) to over 150°C, withstand extreme pressures far greater than those found in the deep ocean, and survive radiation levels that are fatal to most. other organizations. Amazingly, tardigrades can even survive in the vacuum of space, a feat that challenges our understanding of life. The secret to this incredible resistance is its ability to enter a cryptobiotic state. In response to environmental stress, a tardigrade can completely dry out, losing almost all of its body water, and enter a state called “tun.”

In this state, its metabolism slows to an almost undetectable level, and the animal can remain in this form of stasis for years or even decades. When conditions become favorable again, the tardigrade rehydrates and resumes its normal biological functions, as if nothing had happened. This capacity for cryptobiosis is being studied for its potential applications in medicine and biotechnology, including for the preservation of vaccines and drugs, and for understanding the limits of life in extraterrestrial environments. Although little known, tardigrades are essential organisms in many ecosystems. They feed on the fluid of plants, algae and small invertebrates, playing an important role in the microbial food chain.

6 – Capturing your prey with your tongue

Several species are distinguished by their ability to use their tongues in ingenious ways to capture their prey. We find the chameleon, which can project its tongue to astonishing distances and at lightning speed. This tongue also has a sticky tip that allows it to grab insects with incredible precision. Frogs and toads, collectively known as anurans, have fast, adhesive tongues that catch flies and other small insects in a flash. The same goes for the frilled lizard.

7 – See 360 ​​degrees

Another of the most remarkable adaptations for a human being is the ability of some animals to see 360 ​​degrees. This ability manifests itself in different ways in several species. Chameleons, again, have particularly mobile eyes that function independently. This allows them to monitor a broad spectrum of their environment simultaneously. Dragonflies, thanks to their large compound eyes, benefit from almost complete panoramic vision, complementing their agility in flight. Let us also mention hammerhead sharks which have a broad, flattened head with eyes located on the ends. They thus have a 360 degree vision in the vertical direction. As for most anurans, their eyes are located on either side of the head, near the top, and are very prominent, providing these animals with binocular vision over a 100 degree field in front and a total vision of almost 360 degrees. .

Life forms are incredibly varied. The cases discussed in this article are not only fascinating but also offer prospects for technological innovations inspired by biomimetics. And, when you think about it, this ability of humans to observe, understand and be inspired by their environment is no less incredible than the superpowers we have listed here!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *