Our world is habitable and is made complete by a fully functional natural ecosystem. There are, however, a few unique geographical places that are of harsh and unbearable environments. These places can barely support any form of life, let alone human or animal life. Yet, there are some robust animal species that have somehow evolved through time and have survived under those unbearable conditions. With a little help from mother nature and her unfathomable natural selection process, these animals can still roam free where no other animal can exist. These are a few animals with crazy adaptations that allow them to survive in some of the most hostile environments known to man:
1. The Freezing Effect – Arctic freezing frog
This would probably be the stuff that most popular Hollywood blockbuster movies are made from. The arctic can be a very hostile place to live in, considering that the lowest temperature ever recorded in this extraordinary place was an astonishing -67.7 degrees Celsius, which by any measure, is a little too low to sustain any effective living.
Despite these unbearable environmental conditions, some animal species have found their unique ways of surviving through these otherwise deathly conditions. Reptilian species like certain frogs and turtles calling this place home have mastered the art of survival and thrive under these cold conditions.
Unlike the arctic fish that has an equally impressive evolutionary adaptation that allows it to avoid freezing to death, the arctic frog, in particular, enters a frozen state. Arctic frogs capitalize on the liver glycogen transformation process that occurs before the actual freezing, produce urea and glucose that limit the osmotic shrinking of cells that would otherwise lead to death. As a result, the frog practically freezes during the cold season and melts back to life as the warm season approaches. How’s that for a survival technique?
2. Air breathers – Air-breathing fish
Mother nature has a way of asserting authority and letting everything in existence marvel at her profound works. Unlike the Dipnoi species that have a special adaptation that sees them create a special mucus sack that protects them from the elements, some species of eels and catfish literally travel on land, albeit briefly, in search of the next water pool.
As wild as it may sound, these species of fish do not extract their essential oxygen through traditional organs like the gills or lungs, they instead use their special adaptation of respiratory features in their mouths to source for oxygen from the air! This is remarkable considering the level of technological sophistication humans require to survive underwater effectively.
3. Volcanic dominance – The Aratinga Holochlora
Native to Central America and Nicaragua to be specific, it has never really been determined how these airborne creatures survive in their toxic habitat. The Masaya volcano crater in Central America, like any other volcanic crater, emits unbearably high levels of toxic sulfurous fumes that would most definitely end any unprotected human life within a short time. The Aratinga Holochlora, however, is not your average animal species as it thrives and even nests in this very environment.
It is often the case for animal species to adapt to specific environments. It naturally takes some profoundly significant time and often naturally induced adaptations that ultimately lead to this kind of evolutionary survival. But what makes this parrot species particularly remarkable is the fact that it only recently adapted to the otherwise catastrophic environment full of toxic fumes and has deemed the volcanic crater safe enough for not only living but also nesting.
Science is yet to conclusively explain exactly how this adaptation works or why these parrot species specifically opted for a toxic volcanic crater to nest. Still, if they alone can live there, it must be for an exceptional reason.
4. Blood is thicker than water – The Sperm Whale & The Bar-headed goose of Asia
Geographical locations undoubtedly impact on the adaptations of dwellers within that location. For us humans, it has been clear from popular sporting events such as athletics, that success in a particular sporting category could be just as much heavily influenced by their origin as they are influenced with determined hard work and practice.
Both the sperm whale and the bar-headed goose of Asia have developed the impressive ability to store greater amounts of oxygen in their bloodstreams as compared to their counterparts. This is thanks to their evolutionary adaptation to the changing feeding resource patterns and mother nature’s will to do everything possible to ensure their generational survival.
This adaptation is critical for the survival of these species as they would otherwise perish. The sperm whale, for instance, requires extra oxygen when hunting for food deep under the ocean’s depths. At the same time, the bar-headed goose needs the extra oxygen as it charts the high altitudes of the Himalayan mountain range where oxygen is inadequate supply.
5. Encystment – Microscopic existence
Among the only ways, we could truly reconnect with long lost species only in theoretical existence in our time would be by scientifically engineering genetic matter discovered and preserved through the years. It is remarkable how protozoa, bacteria, and spores have braved the hostile effects of time, and they have shown resilience and unwavering will to survive.
Through the intricate process of encystment, which is entering an animated state where a solid cell wall separates them from the outside world, mother nature has kept these microscopic creatures from ceasing to exist for an unprecedented amount of time. Scientists have, through the years, been able to bring back to existence some long-extinct species only represented by the virtually dead matter.