Sometimes it”s hard to believe that we”re still making new discoveries generation after generation. Thinking back on how much has changed in the world over a single lifetime can feel daunting, but it makes sense when you consider how big the world is.
Technology and societal changes aside, we”re also still learning new things and discovering amazing facts about the animal kingdom. These 14 animal encounters from 2014 left us with our jaws on the floor – not only because of how beautiful the world is, but also because of how terrifying nature can truly be.
1. Take, for example, the South American Goliath birdeater spider, which is roughly the same size as a small puppy.
2. This gorgeous blind owl appeared to have stars in his eyes when we met him for the first time.
3. This adorable new species of round-eared shrews are now believed to be the smallest breed of sengi. Incredibly, they”re actually more closely related to elephants than they are rodents.
4. A group of Austrian scientists brought these formerly extinct Northern Bald Ibises back to life. They had been driven to extinction in Europe 400 years ago.
5. Officially the world”s largest insect, the Giant Dobsonfly was found in China and now resides in your nightmares.
6. It might look like an alien creature, but earlier this year a fisherman came across this basket starfish off the coast of Singapore.
7. An extremely rare, and incredibly adorable, set of twin elephants were born at the Pongola Game Reserve in Pongola, South Africa.
8. This 18-inch mantis shrimp was caught by a Florida fisherman – talk about a jumbo shrimp cocktail, amirite?
9. Normally solitary creatures, this unusually non-stealthy oarfish was spotted swimming by some kayakers in Baja, Mexico.
10. This is probably the only camel who wasn”t camera shy, spitting, or biting when some tourists wanted to take a selfie.
11. A rare megamouth shark was reeled in by a group of fisherman in Japan.
12. Proof of how little we know about the deep blue sea, a scarce 10 foot, 200 pound giant squid was picked up by a fisherman off the coast of Texas in the Gulf of Mexico.
13. As if to one-up the giant squid, this colossal squid, the second one ever found, was discovered defrosting in Antarctic waters. It certainly lived up to its name weighing in at over 770 pounds.
14. This terrifying, adorable, and 100% real animal appeared to be part-deer, part-vampire. It was sighted in Afghanistan earlier this year.
(via Discovery News)
I can”t wait to see what amazing things our animal friends have in store for us in 2015!
Want to see more cool animal discoveries from 2014? Check it out!