5 Terrible, Scary, Brilliant And Weird Parasites

March 25, 2014
Parasites Fish

Source: Flickr

The dirty little secret at the heart of nature is the parasite. For every animal we humans regard as noble—your tigers, your dolphins, whatever—there are thousands of these horrifying little monsters. So numerous are these microscopic tyrants that naturalists believe that an actual majority of animals might be parasites. It’s entirely possible that life on Earth exists solely to provide adequate hosts for our many, many parasites. And you thought looking at a starry sky made you feel insignificant.

Here are five of the weirdest that we know of so far.

Weird Parasites: Cymothoa exigua: Worst. Kisser. Ever.

Weird Parasites Exigua Pale

Source: Neo Gaf

Human beings can come to terms with some parasitic diseases. Malaria, for example, is refreshingly straightforward. You get bitten by an infected mosquito, you get sick and you (maybe) die. The parasite is just trying to weaken you to the point that you can’t swat the next mosquito that comes to drink your infected blood. It’s nothing personal.

Some parasites, however, despite being harmless to humans, make their living in such a gothic horror show manner that we really can’t be comfortable sharing a planet with them. Meet Cymotha exigua, the marine isopod that thinks it’s a tongue.

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Carl Sagan Writes Neil DeGrasse Tyson

March 24, 2014

Carl Sagan Writes Neil DeGrasse Tyson

This exchange is the stuff of scientific and cultural legend. When Neil DeGrasse Tyson accepted Sagan’s invitation and spent a Saturday touring Cornell University labs with the famed astrophysicist, his life was irrevocably changed.

A 17 year old when he met Sagan for the first time at Cornell University, Tyson later described the encounter in this way:

“At the end of the day, he drove me back to the bus station. The snow was falling harder. He wrote his phone number, his home phone number, on a scrap of paper. And he said, “If the bus can’t get through, call me. Spend the night at my home, with my family.”

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Gurung Honey Hunters: Preserving The World’s Greatest Traditions

March 24, 2014

Few have witnessed—let alone captured—the centuries-old traditions of the Gurung honey hunters. Located in the Himalayan foothills of central Nepal, these tribe members utilize centuries of generational wisdom to extract wild honey from hives located hundreds of feet in the air. World-renowned photographer Andrew Newey documents the extraordinary ceremony, which takes place twice a year, with his incredible photographs.

The Gurung Honey Hunters Carry Out An Ancient Tradition

Before collecting the wild honey, the Gurung honey hunters perform a ceremony that consists of sacrificing both food and animals to appease the region’s gods. Then, tribe members make the 3-hour trek to the hives, which are precariously located on steep cliffs. While the Gurung honey hunters use smoke to extract the bees, this process doesn’t prevent them from getting stung. Painful stings, rope burns and blisters are all part of the wild honey hunting experience.


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