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Six Of The World’s Strangest Plants

December 26, 2011

Rafflesia Arnoldii

Rafflesia Arnoldii Exotic Plant

The largest flower in the world, this parasitic plant can bloom over three feet tall. Despite its alluring appearance, the plant exudes a pungent smell and has no leaves, stems or roots. The large center can hold six to seven quarts of water.

Rafflesia Arnoldii Flower Picture

Gigantic Rafflesia Arnoldii Next To Children

Rafflesia Arnoldii Photograph


Selaginella Lepidophylla

Chihuahuan Strange Desert Plant

Also known as Rose of Jericho, this impressive plant is native to the Chihuahuan Desert and has an amazing survival mechnanism. The desert plant can survive almost complete desiccation by curling into a tight ball during dry weather and unfurling when exposed to moisture.


Mimosa Pudica

Strange Mimosa Pudica Plant

The Mimosa Pudica is an extremely sensitive plant that reacts to the slightest stimulus including touch, warmth, wind or even a shake. The herb responds by collapsing into itself and then reopening a few minutes later. This sensitivity is a result of seismonastic movements, which are the result of water movement in and out of the cell.

Mimosa Pudica Photograph

Mimosa Pudica Plant Picture


Bear’s Head Tooth Mushroom

Bears Head Tooth Mushroom Strange Plant

Though they appear to be dangling worms, this is actually an enormous, edible white mushroom. They can also grow branches and are said to be helpful in fighting cancer, stimulating nerve growth, and helping kill roundworms.

Bears Head Tooth Mushroom Picture

Bears Head Tooth Mushroom Photograph


Wolffia Angusta

Watermeal Strange Asian Plant

Also known as watermeal, Wolffia Angusta is a plant native to Asia that included in cooking. The plant is one of the smallest in the world and has no roots. Instead, it grows in depressions in the water’s surface.

Watermeal Picture


Victoria Amazonica

Victoria Amazonica Strange Plant

The Victoria Amazonica plant is the largest water lily in existence and has the strength of a stepping-stone. The root is more than 26 feet long and the leaves and flowers can reach up to be 10 feet in diameter. The plant even changes colors: it is white while blooming on the first night, and the next day turns pink. The plant was named in honor of Queen Victoria.

Victoria Amazonica Gigantic Water Lily

The Seven Cutest Animals You’ve Never Seen

December 12, 2011

Red Panda

Cutest Animal Red Panda Picture

More closely related to raccoons and weasel, the adorable red pandas frolic in the forests of the Himalayas, Burma and central China. These adorable creatures hardly grow bigger than a house cat and spend most of their time in trees. Their numbers, however, have been dwindling thanks to deforestation.

Cutest Animal Red Panda

Red Panda Photograph

Cute Animal Red Panda

Adorable Red Panda

Cutest Red Panda Photo

Red Panda

Red Panda Pic

Baby Red Panda Photograph


Long Tailed Chinchilla

Cutest Animal Ever Long Tailed Chinchilla

These cute and cuddly critters are native to South America. In the 1950s, the species was considered to be extinct, but they were rediscovered in the late 1970s. Since then, they have, unfortunately, appeared consistently on the most endangered species list. Conservation efforts are in effect, but numbers continue to dwindle.

Adorable Long Tailed Chinchilla

Cute Animal Long Tailed Chinchilla

Cutest Animal Chinchilla Photograph

Chinchilla Picture


The Tree Kangaroo

Tree Kangaroo Picture

Closely related to the Aussie native, kangaroos, the tree kangaroo is found in rainforests across Australia and Papua New Guinea. There are 10 different species of the tree kangaroos. Though clumsy on the ground, tree kangaroos, naturally are very adept and agile on trees. Their powerful hind legs are used for climbing and enable them to drop down from great heights.

Tree Kangaroo Photograph

Cutest Animal Tree Kangaroo

Tree Kangaroo Picture

Cute Animal Tree Kangaroo

Cute Baby Tree Kangaroo

Cutest Animal Ever Tree Kangaroo

Adorable Tree Kangaroo

Tree Kangaroo Cute Picture


Baiji Dolphin

Baiji Dolphin Picture

Known as the “Goddess of the Yangtze”, the Baiji dolphin was a species that frolicked in China’s Yangtze River. They were recognizable by their stocky body, long, thin snout, small eyes and tiny ear openings where other dolphin’s eyes should be. Unfortunately, the species was declared extinct in 2006. The species rapidly declined due to China’s heavy industrialization and frequent use of the river. Although there was a sighting of a lone Baiji dolphin in 2007, the species is still considered functionally extinct because a few are not enough to save the whole species from full extinction.

Baiji Dolphin Photograph

Cutest Animal Ever Baiji Dolphin


American Pika

Cute American Pika

The American Pika is the smaller relative of rabbits and hares. They are typically found in rocky areas in western United States and southwestern Canada. They are distinguished by their grayish brown fur, short, round ears and no visible tail. Pikas generally collect and store food to last them throughout the winter months and are sometimes seen gathering wildflowers. Unfortunately, global warming is playing a huge part in their dwindling numbers.

Cutest Animal American Pika

Adorable American Pika

American Pika Picture

American Pika Photograph

American Pika Pics

American Pika Photograph


Black-footed Ferret

Cute Animal Black-footed Ferret

The black-footed ferret is the only ferret species native to North America. They beautiful creatures were brought back from near-extinction in 1986, and now thrive (albeit in small numbers). The furry ferrets live off a diet of prairie dogs, can sleep up to 21 hours and are solitary creatures.

Cutest Animal Black-footed Ferret

Cute Animal Black-footed Ferret

Black-footed Ferret Picture

Adorable Black-footed Ferret

Black-footed Ferret Photo


Kinkajous

Baby Kinkajous

Kinkajous are adorable little seen, often heard nocturnal species also known as the honey bear. They are native to Central America and South America. They are closely related to the raccoon and look so furry and cute thanks to communal grooming. They are blessed with a long tail that doubles as an extra hand and sometimes blanket and their feet can turn in both directions for easy running.

Cutest Animal Kinkajous

Kinkajous Picture

Kinkajous Photograph

Cute Animal Kinkajous

The Bizarre Hanging Coffins Of China

December 10, 2011

Hanging Coffins Of China Picture

The hanging coffin is a unique Chinese funerary custom that began in the 8th century BC. As the name suggests, families would place the deceased into wooden coffins and hang them on the side of cliffs.


Origins of the Hanging Coffin

Hanging Coffins Picture

Although no one knows exactly how or why the hanging coffins came to be, there are various hypotheses about their origins. Most commonly, they are attributed to the Bo people, an ethnic minority who resided in Matangba, China over 3000 years ago. Expeditions to the coffins and scientific dating corroborate these assertions. During the height of the Bo people, hanging coffins were the most widespread form of burial in ancient southwest China. The practice ended with their unexplained disappearance.


The Ritual Behind Hanging Coffins

Hanging Coffins Photograph

It is posited that the practice of hanging rather than burying the coffins has to do with placing the body closer to heaven and that the hanging coffins were considered auspicious for both the deceased and living.

Chinese Hanging Coffins

Hanging coffins came in three distinct types:

• Cantilevered on wooden stakes
• Left inside caves
• Rested on projections on rocks

For the coffins dangling from cliffs, a form of pulley device was used to lower the coffins or a timber scaffold was used to raise them.


Where Hanging Coffins Are Found

Pictures of Hanging Coffins

Most hanging coffins can today be found in China, but there are other iterations of the phenomena around the Philippines and Indonesia. Despite their precarious locations, the sites are sometimes accessible for tourists – so much so that some have been known to come back with bones from the coffins.

Hanging Coffin