This Is What Monitor Lizards Do With Their Babies When They Run Out of Food

This Is What Monitor Lizards Do With Their Babies When They Run Out of Food

you know the story a huge meteorite
collided with our planet caused a global
catastrophe and most species disappear
there’s one interesting thing about this
story among all the creatures that
overcame extinction there were animals
that chose a very strange path they
began to exterminate each other in order
to survive
how can you survive by killing your own
kind and at a time of general extinction
well of course the monitor lizards
resorted to many ways but cannibalism
was among them and that seems absurd
other species around are rapidly
disappearing what’s the point of
speeding up the process for themselves
unless one hopes that it will somehow
give them strength but only very
superstitious people followed such logic
you’ve probably heard something like eat
the beast and get its powers it even has
a name sympathetic magic and you can
find examples of it anywhere even in
ancient greece the logic is pretty
simple if you snack on a nightingale
that stays awake at night you can stay
awake for a long time too if your
eyesight’s ruined you need to smear
eagle bile on your eyes and then you’ll
start to see as well as it does this was
supposed to work even with premature
gray hair the greek suggested using
crow’s eggs to combat it and only to us
it seems to make little sense i think it
was as obvious then as the function of
mushrooms in mario now
[Music]
and imagine how weird our lives would be
if sympathetic magic really worked you
eat a shark you learn to breathe
underwater you eat a bear you become
super strong you eat a dinosaur and you
go extinct
but you can’t eat a monitor lizard and
become more of a monitor lizard since
sympathetic magic doesn’t work in the
real world what do animals even get when
they start eating their own relatives
actually a bunch of problems at a
minimum they spend much more energy than
when they hunt normally let’s imagine a
lion would feed on lions instead of
antelopes how much harder would that be
but the biggest disadvantage of
cannibalism is that at some point the
animal loses control and with it the
ability to distinguish between its own
children and those of others this in
turn interferes with every creature’s
main goal of leaving offspring and
passing on its genes it breaks nature
cannibals remove their own genes from a
population and can often do so by
accident it’s like spending a bunch of
time doing your homework and then going
into berserk mode and eating it not the
best plan try explaining what happened
to the teacher and don’t think that
cannibalism is something characteristic
of predators even animals that are hard
to suspect of such a thing can lose
control of themselves such is the case
with chickens in the early 20th century
a product appeared in the united states
that seems to make no sense at all and
yet it was sold by the thousands chicken
eyeglasses i’m not kidding mass
production was set up and farmers
actually bought their birds these tiny
accessories and they weren’t glasses
that would help chickens see better they
were actually kind of like sunglasses
only they didn’t protect from the sun at
all even though they had pink lenses
yeah chickens wearing rose tinted
sunglasses i’ll give you a couple of
seconds to think about this historical
fact but it wasn’t just a fashion trend
it was an attempt to solve the problem
of chicken cannibalism birds usually
behave more or less normally in the wild
or inside a small chicken coop gentle
pecking is normal behavior in a flock
used by dominant individuals as a way of
reminding everyone around them who’s the
boss but when thousands of birds are
close to each other nature just fails
and this innocent practice turns into a
horror movie as a result several of the
inferior birds are simply eaten it was
suggested to put rose-colored glasses on
the chickens to avoid this supposedly if
chickens looked at the world painted in
shades of red they wouldn’t notice the
blood and would stop going crazy did it
help i don’t know some people think it
was just a myth a publicity stunt to
sell more glasses i hope the ultimate
goal was a big chicken rave otherwise
what was it all for are you ready to lay
some eggs
yeah
wait a minute cannibalism isn’t just for
chickens it also happens in the wild and
it leads to serious problems evolution
figured out a long time ago that if
animals eat their own relatives there
would very quickly be no one left on the
planet and then we would have to start
all over again perhaps this is why
cannibalism is a last resort for many
animals however there’s another
participant in the process who only
waits for some animal to make a mistake
these are parasites viruses and other
sources of disease that use such
failures in the system as a way to
infect and they know how to wait during
the spanish flu epidemic in the early
20th century 25 to 50 million people
died this made it one of the deadliest
in human history but the scariest thing
is that there are still places in the
world where the virus could return in
the norwegian settlement of longyearbyen
there’s a law that bans burials in the
town’s cemetery you’ve probably heard of
it it’s often called the prohibition of
dying but that’s not quite right since
1950 no one has been allowed to bury the
dead here that’s when it was discovered
that the bodies of residents who died in
the spanish flu pandemic had not yet
begun to decompose today scientists fear
that bodies preserved by the permafrost
in which they were buried may still
contain live strains of the same virus
and the strains persist even though more
than 100 years have passed i don’t think
we need to release them now but let’s go
back to cannibalism it does cause a lot
of problems so what’s the point of
eating your own kind in fact animals get
much more problems than any benefit or
is there some after all well not so much
really besides the obvious chances of
surviving in the absence of other food
sources scientists also speak about a
special diet that allows animals to get
all sorts of nutrients without any extra
admixtures let me explain how this works
for example a cow is eating some grass
but in order to squeeze out all of the
most useful things from it and then
remove the unnecessary from the body
they need to waste energy at the same
time the cow that eats another cow will
get all the same nutrients but they’re
ready made
damn i hope cows don’t do that by the
way some animals show miracles of
regeneration why don’t they start eating
themselves or aren’t tails nutritious
enough for lizards what they do eat them
yup lizards easily get rid of their
tails when necessary because they can
grow new ones but that doesn’t mean they
just toss the spare body part afterwards
first it’s better to clean up after
yourself so as to not give predators a
clue as to where you are and second the
tail is a source of healthy fats some
lizards even use it as a kind of storage
so there’s no point in just losing their
tail and it’s pretty handy to always
carry a supply of snacks with you but
eating a tail wouldn’t be enough for
komodo dragons let alone they use it as
a hunting tool however even if the
dragons could lose their tails just as
easily as some lizards it still wouldn’t
be enough for them in times of famine if
you’ve ever seen a komodo dragon you
know what i’m talking about they’re huge
9.8 feet in length 154 pounds in weight
of course one tail would not be enough
for such a dragon and they still need to
waste energy to grow it back and this is
why the komodo dragons eat the young of
their species the diet of adults
sometimes consist of 10 percent of
cannibalism apparently they’re simply
hostage to their size there are too few
large and medium-sized prey around to
get enough to eat and a large body needs
to be fed all the time however
everything is much more complicated than
it may seem at first glance yes dragons
need to feed just like any other animal
but that’s not the only reason for their
cannibalism the komodo dragons live on
four indonesian islands that is in a
confined space this is why they’ve grown
so big but it also means that the
available space and resources on the
island are finite and that’s where
cannibalism comes to the aid as strange
as it sounds it helps control the
population by keeping it from growing
too large predators usually do this but
the dragons are at the top of the food
chain so there’s no one to hunt them
they have to use their own resources so
that they have somewhere to live in the
animal kingdom beasts deal with
territorial disputes in a quite peculiar
way
however while there are benefits to
cannibalism in the wild the animals
themselves don’t really want to become
victims of it nor do they want to
sacrifice their babies so they’ve
developed defenses many amphibian eggs
are gelatinous and toxic which reduces
their edibility adults often lay their
eggs in crevices holes or empty nesting
places hiding their young from hungry
relatives but some amphibians decided to
go even further they became viviparous
so that no one would eat their eggs
convenient well the most known way to
protect the offspring is the presence of
their parents nearby but sometimes
animals get completely lost and can eat
their own children what to do in this
case well it seems to be the same as in
all others when the parents turn into
dangerous predators for their offspring
protection starts working against them
too does it help probably not always but
going against nature is not easy even
when it comes to its failures see you
later

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