EDIT: bah humbug, the formatting is all screwed up...sorry, trying to fix that!

I am watching the second Blue Planet (very disappointed in the Humboldt squid eating each other, I thought it would be cooler than it was...I know) and once again am floored by how amazing nature is. One of my favorite things to do when I can’t sleep is to browse Wikipedia or r/The Depths Below reading about all the cool extant and extinct creatures that have roamed our oceans and lands through the millennia.

Humboldt squids are particularly nasty and so they fascinate me! They are straight up antagonistic and as previously mentioned, have no problem eating one another when the food runs out. Vampire squids, on the other hand (pictured above) are gentle in comparison—and also, they are not really squids, but a living fossil of sorts.

My favorite marine creature has to be the octopus, though, because of their intelligence. “Other Minds: The Octopus, The Sea, and The Deep Origins of Consciousness” is one of my favorite books. How cool is it that we all came from the sea? A single cell in the ocean. I find that so comforting.

Their biological engineering is also impressive. Like, here is this squishy thing, and in the center is this incredibly hard beak so they can feed themselves.

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For extinct creatures, the Irish Elk is so, so majestic. (RIP the book depiction of Cold Hands, for Got fans). The skeleton (I don’t know if it’s a recreation or actual bones) of an Irish Elk is in my local natural history museum, and it’s the display I look forward to seeing most when I visit. Look at this lovely creature (native to Ireland, if IRC, and beautifully preserved in peat bogs).

And I thought I was in pain before my breast reduction! :P

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Finally, the short-faced bear is pretty badass. I read somewhere that they prevented migration further south of Alaska for awhile because it just kept eating people. No idea if that’s true or not though!

The other incredible thing about nature and our planet is its ability to preserve evidence of past life, no matter how seemingly small. The La Brea tar pits are particularly fascinating.

One day I hope to volunteer with a paleontologist on a dig in the Bad Lands. Can’t decide if I want to help dig up dinosaurs or ancient sea creatures, though. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/11/travel/north-dakota-badlands-fossils-dinosaurs-prehistoric-public-digs.html

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In conclusion: Nature is awesome, and we need to do a way better job of being stewards of it.

What are your favorite marine and/or pre-historic creatures?