10 amazing animals that prove Avatar is stupid

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“He created a whole world!”

“The animals were amazing!”

“It was so inventive!”


Any cursory discussion of Avatar will result in globally ignorant morons extolling the virtues of the extraordinarily creative flora and fauna of the fictional world of Pandora, blathering on and on about how cool everything is and how nothing else exists like it. They salivate over the incredible creativity that went into the animal design of a horse with six legs, or a tiger with six legs, or a rhinoceros with six legs, or a helicopter gecko. Nothing like it on Earth. No, nothing. Nothing at all!


Some Avatar fans have even gone as far as contemplating suicide because our world is allegedly not nearly as beautiful as Pandora, so utterly fascinated are they by the complex biological wonderland that was placed on the screen for them to enjoy. They actually seem to think that places 2 extra legs on a horse somehow makes it an entirely new animal the likes of which the world has never seen.

Let me tell you, there is more creativity in the mind of a not-especially-smart toddler than what was on display in Avatar. Give a pencil and paper to any kindergarten classroom and James Cameron would be as creatively outclassed as a housefly against a fire hose.

And that says nothing of what actually exists. Apparently these fans have spent very little time watching the nature channels, because if they had spent even just a few minutes perusing through the programming available, they would never have fallen for the clearly-a-rainforest world of Pandora and its six-legged Earth creatures that were so “creative.” These people have not a clue what exists in the world around them.

And thus, let the educational tirade begin! Of the several million species of animal that exist, to which thousands are added every year, and which represents only a small percentage of the species that have thus far existed, are 10 amazing animals that prove Avatar is stupid.

In no particular order:

10) The Mantis Shrimp

"Nah, I don't pray. I don't need a deity to do my killing."
“I’m going to kill you. And I’m going to look good doing it.” Mantis shrimp, photo by Silke Baron.

Yes, my dear, a shrimp. But not just any shrimp. The mantis shrimp. What’s so special about this lil’ bastard, you may ask? Well, it’s just that he can launch his claws at you with the force of a gun shot, so powerful that it immediately boils the water around it, creating a shockwave which can shatter oysters into tiny pieces, and is the reason they don’t keep these little devils in aquariums. Because they’ll break out and kill everything in their path. Oh, the force also produces temperatures similar to the surface of the sun. Neat!

Oh, and they can probably see billions or trillions of colors. They’d be extraordinary interior decorators, if only their forearms weren’t the perpetrators of glass-shattering thunderclaps.

Don’t try to turn him into scampi.

9) Pistol Shrimp

Pistol shrimp. Photo by Steve Childs.

So, what’s the deal with 2 shrimp species in the top 10? What could possibly be so great about some other shrimp that it’s worthy of standing alongside the mantis demon above?

Well, somehow this little guy competes with whales for the title of the ocean’s loudest creature. By singing, maybe? Nope. The pistol shrimp snaps its claws together so hard that it bangs at a volume over 200 decibels. How much is 200 decibels? Well, a gunshot is maybe 150. And this is a shrimp.

And like its mantis buddy above, it also produces a massive shockwave that approaches temperatures like those on the surface of the sun. Fun stuff!

Check out an adorable demo of this evil and terrifying creature:

8) Mimic Octopus

"Look at me, mommy, I'm a starfish!"
A mimic octopus pretending to be a starfish. Photo by Steve Childs.

Most of the time the only thing people know about an octopus is that it has 8 tentacles and that’s how the remember what octo means. They never seem to find out about the fact that it is a shape-changing creative genius that can outwit humans and look like a checkerboard if it feels like it.

Perhaps the most chameleon-like octopus of all is the mimic octopus, a title which actually refers to several species, and which has learned to take on the form of whatever it feels like, to trick other animals into running away. Or coming close to get eaten.

Depending on what it feels like doing, it’ll imitate a flounder, a lion fish, a sea snake, or a giant rolling rock. The mimic octopus can take on so many forms that undersea scientists can argue indefinitely over what it’s trying to do. That’s right. Its ability to shape change exceeds our ability to figure out what’s going on.

Check it out:

7) Zombie Mind-Control Wasps

Not like a caterpillar is THAT great a bodyguard, but still.
A caterpillar hypnotized into defending wasp babies. Photo by José Lino-Neto.

Properly called Glyptapanteles, but more awesomely called the zombie mind-control wasp, these guys prove hands down that even if you think bees and hornets and yellowjackets and wasps are scary to begin with, you’re not even nearly as close to being as terrified as you should be.

This is due to the wasp’s ability to hypnotize a caterpillar into defending her babies. Yup, these wasps can create a zombie slave army of bodyguards that will defend their eggs to the death. The mom wasp will inject her eggs into a caterpillar, the eggs grow into larvae inside it, then crawl their way out of the caterpillar, whereupon they will wait patiently in the pupa stage until they’re ready to be adult wasps, all the while with the caterpillar defending them from attack. That’s right. Not only has the wasp convinced the caterpillar to be its bodyguard, but also to be pregnant on its behalf.

It’s only a matter of time before a human-infecting version arrives on our doorstep.

6) Immortal Jellyfish

Yes, I said immortal. These squishy little globules have accomplished what Voldemort and his army of Slytherin minions could not. The immortal jellyfish can live forever. Biologically, anyway.

The immortal jellyfish is the only known creature which, after reaching adulthood, shrinks back to the baby stage, then grows right back into an adult again. That’s right, it’s a real-life Benjamin Button. Except it can do it over and over again.

5) Portuguese Man o’ War

Portuguese Man o' War
This man is going to war.

You’ll notice this selection is heavy on the undersea monsters. That’s because undersea monsters are fantastically incredible. Or incredibly fantastic. Or both.

Not only is this thing a terrifying creature with stinging tentacles half a football field long, but they’re also quite often transparent so you won’t see ’em before you swim right into them.

What’s so interesting about them? Well, it’s actually not an animal. The Portuguese Man o’ War is actually four animals in one. The puffy balloon thing is one animal, the tentacles are another, with digestion and reproduction duties taken care of by two others. It’s a deadly coalition of useless creatures that somehow realized that teaming up to terrorize the ocean was the best thing on the agenda for the day.

Imagine what might happen if other animals teamed up to destroy things. We’re lucky so few have figured this out so far.

4) Smarter-than-humans Sea Lion

A sea lion, doing what he does best. He’s lazing around on the beach. What the hell are you doing? Photo by Thomas Mattern.

Meet Rio, an adorable little sea lion who’s probably smarter than you. She not only mastered pictorial IQ tests that outwitted humans, but she remembered everything she had learned from the test 10 years later. Remember your high school chemistry lessons? No? Well then Rio is smarter than you.

Sea lions are known for being intelligent, and although it’s hard to see that intelligence shine through when they’re underwater and all they ever have to do is catch a few fish, that just makes it all the more embarrassing when a slippery torpedo of a creature manages to outwit humans on the only measure of superiority we’ve ever been proud to have.

Watch Rio prove how dumb people are.

3) Body-Liquifying Sea Cucumber

It could have been cooler if they had called it a sea caterpillar.
Like an undersea caterpillar with magical powers. Photo by Nhobgood.

Wait, a sea cucumber? What the hell could possibly be interesting abou a tiny little blog of a creature that only exists to be the punchline of a joke that wasn’t that great to begin with?

Because it can melt itself down and rebuild. Kind of like a phoenix, except fat and ugly.

Yes, the sea cucumber can liquify its own body to slip into small spaces and the turn back to solid on the other side. Even better, it can expel all the water in its system and turn hard as a rock, to annoy voracious passersby who wanted a succulent and squishy dinner instead of a jawbreaker.

2) Love-Dart Shooting Slugs

Slugs are sexier than ninjas.
It might not look like a ninja, but it doesn’t need to look cool to get girls. Photo by Memo Schilthuizen for the WWF.

A slug? Yes, that’s right, a damn slug. This slug actually has the magic power that all humans wish they could have, and spend ridiculous amounts of time and energy attempting to acquire such powers in their efforts at attempted sensuality.

This slug can shoot darts at its victims to get them into the mood. A very sexy mood. It sees a hot girl from across the bar, shoots it with an arrow, and invites her back home for some fun times.

Yup, this slug can get girls way better than you ever could. All you know how to do is make lots of money, go to the gym, and try to be funny. All this guy has to do is fire an arrow into some hot lady slug and the dance begins.

1) Ants

"Platoon 346ATL has made landfall. Colonization will begin shortly."
An ant, hatching a plan to take over the world. Photo by Steve Jurvetson.

That’s right, fucking ants.

Everyone blathers on and on about how if there’s ever a nuclear disaster, it’s cockroaches that will take over the world. But no. Fuck that. It’s going to be ants from the depths of the Marianas Trench to the heights of Everest and everywhere in between.

Ants are the world’s greatest species. There is simply no creature on Earth that has accomplished the wonderful and amazing achievements of these tiny little bastards. A few do cool things, sure, but ants have no equal.

Ants practice all sorts of higher-level learning functions, such as actively teaching, taking slaves, farming, building complex architectural wonders with no central planning and no mistakes, and can build their marvels in practically any environment they want. They have teeth sharper than anything humans have created, their super strength is legendary, and some can morph their bodies into giant food storage sacks.

Take a look at their massive civilizations and think: If we discovered these on another planet, and they were the same size as humans, would we consider them an intelligent species?

Pretty neat, huh?

And what was in Avatar?

Yeah, soooo creative. Horses with six legs! Who could possibly have thought up such a creature?!?! What a genius it must have taken! What a prolific and inventive mind it must be that somehow came up with the idea of a rhinoceros, but with six legs instead of four! Breed him, quickly, that we may share his genius with future generations!

It’s almost like the fans who salivate over how cool Avatar is have never bothered learning anything about the world around them, and have so thoroughly cut themselves off from the outside world that they were fooled into thinking that a helicopter gecko was somehow a novel creation. Sigh.

There’s a whole world out there, and these were but 10 amazing creatures, out of several million. Spent 10 minutes in the rainforest and you’ll find (or unknowingly walk past) about a hundred animals that were cooler and more creative than anything on that special-effects-laden big screen. So get out there and go find some!

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