11. Charles Darwin ate every animal he discovered.
But it doesn’t sound surprising when you realize he founded The Glutton Club while in college.
The club got together periodically to taste exotic animals like hawks, bitterns, brown owl etc. The students apparently found the brown owl so disgusting that they could not finish it. Darwin himself was a beetle enthusiast as a young lad and part of his method was eating the insect to discern its taste – a quirk he carried into his later experimentations.
Among the impressive platter of things he ate (and he ate everything) were armadillos – which he said tasted like duck, iguanas, pumas and even tortoises.
Anything for science people.(source)
12. A biologist created a unicorn bull in the 1930s.
In 1933, a biologist from the University of Maine strapped on his surgical gloves with a solitary goal in mind – to make a unicorn bull. The experiment worked! Dr. W.F. Dove removed two knot-sized tissues from the sides of the bull’s head where the horns would normally grow and transplanted them to the middle of his forehead.
Interestingly, the bull’s unique horn placement changed the social dynamics of his herd – which unanimously chose him as their leader.(source)
13. Robert Liston, the only surgeon in history to have performed an operation with a 300% mortality rate.
In Liston’s defence, the medical world had not seen anaesthesia yet, and ether had one major pitfall which made it no good – while it sedated the patient, it also randomly blew them up. Having a quick hand and nerves of steel while performing even the most simplest of surgeries was a top priority and Liston had both – sometimes in greater measure than necessary.
Although he was skilled at hacking and slashing (he could apparently amputate a leg in under two minutes), the frenzy of the operation room – with the patients kicking and screaming due to pain, the assistants often getting in the way to restrain them and the additional pressure to perform under the gaze of the spectators – got to him.
The legendary case in question went down this way. In addition to amputating the patient’s leg at the hip, he accidentally severed his assistant’s fingers and managed to cut through an audience member’s coat in the process.
The patient and assistant died from infection and the man in the audience from a heart attack. It turned out that Liston had not actually injured him, but the gruesome scene caused him to collapse on the floor and die from shock.(1,2)
14. A massive rock in Finland is inexplicably balanced on top of another rock with curved surface. Nobody knows how.
Stupefying both natives and scientists in equal measure, this 7-meter boulder called Kummakivi does a delicate balancing act – resting neatly on a smooth, concave rock unmovable by human force.
Kummakivi, which translates to ‘strange rock’ in Finnish, is believed to have been put there by the trolls and giants of yore, emerging from the rich catalogue of the country’s mythology. As such, it is regarded sacred and has been guarded by the locals since its discovery in 1962.(source)
15. When flatworms mate, two ‘males’ use their bifurcated penises to fence one another. The winner is one that stabs the other with its penis remains male while the loser becomes female.
It is officially called penis-fencing.
Move away praying mantises; the award for the weirdest mating ritual goes to flatworms.
Flatworms are hermaphroditic by nature, which means they are born with both sets of sex organs – male and female. When mating season begins, the flatworm pair engages in a violent phallic showdown. It begins with both flatworms exposing their penises, which then fight to inseminate the other one first. The flatworm that ends up being impregnated assumes the role of the female while the winner takes on the male role.
These battles can get so vicious that they sometimes take chunks off of their opponent’s body. Ouch.(source)