Between 1746 and 1792, seventeen students of Carl Linnaeus set out across the globe to collect plant and animal samples for his new taxonomy. Seven of these apostles died on the trip, and one would betray Linnaeus.
The loneliest tree in the world was knocked over by a drunk driver in 1978. The new loneliest tree in the world is very close to the southernmost point of New Zealand.
In 1875, trillions (yes, trillions) of Rocky Mountain locusts swarmed over the western United States. Thirty years later, they were extinct.
Some breeds of chicken – like the Kadaknath of India and the Ayam Cemani of Indonesia – are extremely black. Their feathers, beaks, skin, meat, internal organs, and even bones are black.
Something creepy for your Friday: attaching electrodes to animals’ brains so their movements can be controlled remotely.
Some Australian birds make compost heaps.
Animals have some of the best old-timey disease names, including heartwater, foulbrood, bluetongue, glanders, scrapie, camelpox, and bumblefoot.
A tree in New Zealand grows downwards-facing spikes for the first 15 or 20 years of its life; this is thought to be a remnant defence against gigantic now-extinct birds.
Several bird species have been implicated in the spread of wildfire in Australia.
When he arrived in London in 1850, Obaysch was the first hippopotamus in Europe for more than a millennium.
What are the fastest plants? The Morus alba comes with a natural catapult that moves at half the speed of sound.
The use of the anti-inflammatory drug Diclofenac on cattle led – very indirectly – to the rise of rabies and leopards in India. And it’s all because of vultures.
Polydactyly – the presence of extra fingers and toes – is especially common in cats. And it’s all thanks to Ernest Hemingway and Sonic the Hedgehog.
The quagga became extinct in 1883. Since 1987, the Quagga Project has been trying to bring them back.
In the United States, prisoners used to be chained to trees. In Australia, prisoners used to be put inside trees.