Three Exciting Animals & Their Adaptations

Humans are certainly classified as a type of animal. Of course, we have higher reasoning capacities, and despite conflicts over our ancestral origins, still share much in common with other species! It is important to note that, despite varying beliefs on evolution and yet the universal reality of even the slightest affirmation of the theory of natural selection, it cannot be denied that there are particular evidences of animals adapting over time to meet the needs and requirements demanded to best navigate their respective environments.

The ET salamander is but one of these newly discovered species! Interestingly enough, this salamander derives its name from the ever-so- popular “extraterrestrial” character featured on the film “E.T.”. Initially discovered in the rainforests of Ecuador, the salamander uncannily resembles the real-life drama’s E.T. Another fun fact is that, it does not only look like the dramatized alien figure, the ET salamander mimics other characteristics endemic to aliens, too; that is, ET has no lungs! The hypothesis surrounding ET’s adaptation is that “lunglessness in plethodontids evolved as a rheotropic adaptation for existence in cool fast-flowing mountain streams” (Amazing Adaptations, 2013).

While the ET salamander is certainly an entertaining creature, the “Fish Hook Ant” is yet another interesting ecological species. These exciting ants can be found in the Philippines, Java, Laos, Sumatra, India, and China. Their expressed function and purpose is to provide food for the queen of the colony, but they have developed some valuable adaptations that have served to better their evolution and thus perpetuate their species. There are mainly three traits that they have developed to help them survive and reproduce: “3 razor sharp fish hook-like claws on their backs for defense; they are able to use these hooks to hook on to other Fish Hook Ants to deter an attack from a predator on a single individual ant; the hooks of the ants are embedded into the flesh of the attacking predator” (Judson School, n.d.).

Suffice to say that these ants are not easily encountered, but if they are, one should be certain to.  Although evolution is actually more commonly expressed and discovered within the realm of smaller species, other nonhuman primates are capable of advanced changes over time as well. The Southern Red Muntjac, a kind of deer located in South Asia, has been able to evolve into a species that is able to successfully ward off invaders through a “bark” (akin to a dog bark). Given the level of danger that the animal is exposed to, it can essentially shout loudly until the threat has ceased, which can typically last for more than an hour. They are also commonly called the “barking deer”, to be contrasted with the tufted deer, who lacks canine fangs which are revealed during mating season (Handley, 2013).

PCS recognizes that it is vital to expose students to the reality of evolution and encountered adaptations in an effort to provide them with a more comprehensive understanding of science and how to best make sense of the world. Practically speaking, PCS offers the BrickLAB Zoo Digital Curriculum to meet these exact needs, wherein students can interact with important animal facts, explore complex