Animals

Eight of the Most Nightmarish Prehistoric Animals

There's been life on earth for about four billion years, and a lot of it has been freaking terrifying. Great job, evolution, we’ll all be having bad dreams tonight. 1. Basilosaurus basilosaurus.png © The Field Museum, GEO86500_166d, Photographer Karen Carr, artist.

Illustration of a black squid with red eyes

Inside the World of the Elusive Vampire Squid

Vampire squids live in a world totally alien to us, and almost qualify as alien themselves. They spend most of their lives floating in the ocean’s deep, dark, midwater depths that don’t have much oxygen. A vampire squid brought onboard a ship by a trawl is black with a huge pointed beak—an infernal appearance if there ever was one. Despite their threatening appearance, studies of this ancient group (we think they had their heyday during the time of the dinosaurs) have improved our knowledge of cephalopod evolution.

Do All Bats Echolocate? How Different Species Use Their Senses

Bats' ability to navigate gracefully in the dark kind of seems like a superpower at first glance. Many of these flying mammals use echolocation: they emit sonar and then detect the sound waves that return after bouncing off another object. Echolocation is useful for navigation (not running into that tree up ahead) as well as finding food (zeroing in on a tasty moth fluttering nearby).

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