WTF Fun Fact 12828 – Walking Sharks

You have to be of a certain age to remember Steve Martin’s LAND SHARK! But when we think of walking sharks, this is where our mind goes. Anything else is simply too terrifying.

Of course, you don’t have to worry about a shark walking down the street. They walk underwater. For now…

Are there really walking sharks?

So, yes, there is a shark that can “walk.” But it’s rare, it’s small, and it’s not out to get you. Sorry to ruin the surprise so early in the explanation.

You may have seen the shark on social media since some guy saw one on a trip somewhere in Indonesia, hadn’t watched enough Shark Week, and then posted a video insisting he discovered a new type of shark. Of course, once marine biologists saw the footage they all said “Yeah, duh, that’s so 2006.” They’ve known about these sharks for a while, discovering them in 2006 in the Bird’s Head Seascape of West Papua, Indonesia.

Conservation International’s Mark Erdmann and his team currently study the walking sharks and their evolutionary origin. (Remember, if humans originated in the wet slime and eventually learned to walk on land, seeing a shark evolve to do the same is extra interesting!). And it turns out there are about 9 species of little sharks that can use their fins to both walk and swim.

So, what’s the real deal with these walking sharks?

According to Conservation News (cited below), these bottom-dwelling sharks “walk” using pectoral and pelvic fins. This allows them to traipse around coral reefs and stick their heads under rocks to look for more food.

Another cool fact about the sharks is that shark geneticists (which is definitely not a job we ever heard about during Career Day) have used genetic samples from shark fins to look at the genomes of these sharks, comparing them to older species to see when each branched off into a new species. In case you didn’t know, sharks are actually older than dinosaurs by about 200 million years. But according to these genetic analyses, walking sharks are only about 9 million years old.

If you’re still more freaked out than fascinated, just not that all 9 species “are found exclusively in a ring around Northern Australia, New Guinea and the satellite islands of Raja Ampat, Aru, and Halmahera in Indonesia.”

If you want to see the walking shark in all its glory, check out the video below:

 WTF fun facts

Source: “Discovery afoot: New study cracks mystery of how ‘walking’ sharks split” —

WTF Fun Fact 12678 – The (2nd?) Tallest Statue of Jesus

When we see scenes from Rio de Jeneiro in Brazil, their epic Christ the Redeemer statue is always part of the photo montage. However, it’s not even the tallest Jesus statue anymore – and it’s no longer the tallest one in Brazil! Of course, that all depends on whether or not you want to count pedestals.

The Jesus Buntu Burake statue in Sulawesi, Indonesia stands at 172.4 feet (131 without the pedestal), while Christ the King in Swiebodzin, Poland stands at 172.2 feet (108 without the pedestal). But feel free to correct us in the comments since it’s probably hard to get a tape measure up there and we only know what we read on the Internet (but it was from Architectural Digest)!

Rio’s statue is a mere 98 feet tall (and it’s pedestal adds another 28 feet) by comparison. But a tiny town nearly 1000 miles southwest of the city just took the Brazilan title for tallest Jesus statue away from their Christ the Redeemer.

Cristo Protetor de Encantado was built with funds raised by the Associação Amigos de Cristo, and cost of $350,000. It is also far more detailed than Rio’s (though we’re not sure that matters in the long run).

Mexico now pledges it will build the tallest statue of them all in Ciudad Victoriaat standing at 252 feet. Christ of Peace is currently being constructed.

Holy monument? Pilgramage site? Both? More than 37,500 people have come to visit so far, even before Jesus was “open for business.” When he’s done, he will have interior shops, restaurants, and viewing areas, including a glass heart to view the city from.

You can look at him from his base for $4 on the weekends from 9am to 5pm. He opens fully in early 2023.

Now, there’s a little confusion in the press over the height of all of these status and whether or not the official tally includes the base. Smithsonian Magazine seems to think this new statue will be the tallest, however it will stand at 143 feet (43.5 meters) with the pedestal (making it the largest Jesus, but not the largest full statue. Without the pedestal, the statue is 123 feet (37.5 meters), so by our math, Indonesia’s is still bigger in that sense.

Brazil has the largest Catholic population in the world and Jesus is a big travel draw. It remains to be seen to what extent the people of this small town will benefit financially, but we’re sure it’s quite a sight nevertheless. –  WTF fun fact

Want to see a video about all of this? Here ya go:

Source: “This Statue Is Now the Third Tallest Monument of Christ in the World — and Will Open to Visitors in 2023” — Travel & Leisure

WTF Fun Fact 12591 – The Animal With the Poisonous Elbow

There is only one venomous primate in the world, and it’s not exactly a fierce-looking creature. The slow loris is the poison primate in question, and they’re native to Indonesia. Unfortunately, they’re also going extinct because they are thought to contain medicines and spiritual properties.

We don’t know about any of that, be we do know they pack a poisonous sac in their elbow.

It sounds like something out of a Marvel comic – a character that can deliver a striking blow with a sharp elbow to the face. But they don’t attack with their elbows.

Instead, they suck out the poison, swish it around in their mouths a little, and then deliver the venom through a bite.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t save them. They’re treated pretty brutally, and if someone plans to catch one, they typically remove its teeth. And the slow loris gets its name in part because it can’t outrun predators, especially humans.

Animals rescuers are trying to save them from their brutal fates, but studying them is hard because they’re nocturnal, secretive (and not super keen on humans who have a habit of dismembering and cooking them over fires). Go figure.

Lorises don’t typically attack other species with their poison bites – they’re far more likely to attack other lorises, which certainly doesn’t help those sustainability numbers.

While the loris is the only venomous primate, there are other venomous mammals: vampire bats, two species of shrew, platypuses, and solenodons.

But loris venom is truly gruesome causing necrosis causes necrosis (or tissue death), so victims can lose the limb affected.

This is just one more piece of proof that you can’t just blindly trust a cute face. – WTF fun facts

Source: “Slow loris: the eyes may be cute, but the elbows are absolutely lethal” — The Guardian