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Killer Whale

KILLER WHALE ( Orcinus orca ) Image adapted from Wikipedia Original image by Robert Pittman This one is going to be a little more biased than usual because the killer whale was my favourite animal up until I was six and some asshole kid at school told me they were "stupid", crushing my self-esteem and love of Free Willy  in one fell swoop. After that, my favourite animal for a long time was grey wolves, the killer whales of the land. But, deep down, I still harbour  a special place in my heart for these big glorified dolphins. Appearance Killer whales are known for their distinctive and cool black and white look. Nobody says it, but in a lot of ways they really rock the goth aesthetic. Orcas from different parts of the world can be differentiated by their colour pattern, and humans can recognize individuals within groups by their unique markings. That's pretty neat! They're also big fucking animals. For some reason, probably because most people's exper

Ankylosaurus

ANKYLOSAURUS MAGNIVENTIS Image modified from Wikipedia. Original image by Tim Evanson Dinosaurs! Like most children, I devoted a sizable portion of my brain activity between the ages of 6 (when Lost World: Jurassic Park  came out) and 10 (when the light finally died from my eyes) to thinking about dinosaurs. For whatever reason, Ankylosaurus  was not one of my favourites or even one of the dinosaurs I thought about a lot (probably because it was not prominently features in the Jurassic Park movies). How do I feel about them now? Let's find out. Appearance Ankylosaurus  was a heavily armuored, and heavily armed, motherfucker with plates on the back and sides, and a club-like tail. Their skulls were covered with small bones, and they had horns on both the top and bottom of the head because having only one pair of horns is for dorks. The knobs on their bodies, as well as their clubs, were made of bony protrusions called osteoderms, which, incidentally, are present on moder

Giraffes

GIRAFFE ( Giraffa camelopardis ) Modified from Wikipedia; original image by Muhammad Mahdi Karim (2011) Giraffes are freaky looking super-goats endemic to sub-Saharan Africa and found in zoos all over the world ( IUCN ). Despite looking like long-neck dinosaurs, they are in fact mammals - you can tell because they have fuzzy skin, and udders. Appearance Giraffes look really cool from a distance but up close they are all kinds of weird. They have creepy long tongues like Gene Simmons, and stubby little antlers called ossicones. Why do they bother having ossicones? It's not like they can butt heads with them, and they're too small and dorky to fend off predators. The answer to that question is probably heat release, since they're chock full of blood vessels (Mitchell & Skinner 2004), but that makes them even less likely to be weaponized. On the other hand, they have cool spotted coats and, unlike the patterning on leopards and zebras, their spots are not tot