Sunday, February 13, 2011

Weird animal facts

I love weird science stuff, so when I encounter funky weird stories like this one, I can't resist reading them.

First of all, I thought I'd heard of most critters. See, I used to read encyclopedias for fun. ALL THE TIME. My grandmother owned several big collections of encyclopedias, and whenever we spent time there (which was often) and I was the only kid (also, quite often), I parked myself in her fireplace room and perused them. One set was entirely devoted to the animal kingdom. For example, one of the books dealt with all the animals that fell within the alphabetical range of "Barbet to Bream."

One animal that I had never read about in any of the books, however, was the Lowland Streaked Tenrec. This black-and-yellow little oddball from Madagascar is one of those fun little guys with quills, like a hedgehog or a porcupine, but it bears a physical resemblance to a shrew with its longish snout. What's rather bizarre about them, though, is that they use their quills to communicate. Audibly. Well, audible to one another. We can only "hear" them if we use special equipment that was developed to listen to bats' echolocation sounds.

Sometimes I wonder about myself. Is it normal to be on a perpetual quest to know new stuff? Particularly stuff that bears no discernible advantage for the know-er? I mean, knowing that tenrecs exist or that they communicate ultrasonically using specialized quills won't make me wealthier or healthier or even wiser. It just fills this vast chasm in my mind that longs to KNOW STUFF for the sake of knowing it. I guess it's kinda like the person who climbs Everest just because it's there. Only it's not anywhere near as physically demanding or life-threatening.

I just like to know random stuff.


Anonymous said...

how refreshing! a person that wants to learn stuff, and not weird junky stuff, like kids are exposed to today that turn them into mindless animals but neat stuff about the world that shows all the wonderful things that God has made!

fillyjonk said...

I'm like that, too. I love knowing all these weird random facts. And the strange thing is I'll remember some of them (like: the first commercially-available individually wrapped candy in the U.S. were Tootsie Rolls, in 1896) and then I can't remember things like phone numbers....

I also want to read through all of Shakespeare. Just so I can say that I did.

CGHill said...

Random stuff is good for you. (I probably wouldn't have a Web site were it not for random stuff.)