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The Most Unique Animals Ever Discovered
[Image via Geza Farkas/Shutterstock.com]

Mangalitsa Pig

  • Discovered: Wasn’t, As It Was Created
  • Location: Europe

The Mangalitsa Pig is certainly one of the most unique animals around, especially when it comes to the overall pig species. The reasoning for this might be obvious to see. Our pig friend here is covered in hair, unlike any other pig species. How did this happen? The story goes that in the 1830s, Austria-Hungary Prince of Serbia Miloš Obrenović wanted to cross-breed a European wild boar with a Serbian breed. He sent off 12 pigs to do this, 10 of them being sows and the other two being boars. The pigs were initially sent to the Prince’s farm near Belgrade. That was where the black Mangalista version of the species was created.

However, the Prince eventually sent the pigs to Archduke Joseph, who was the Palatine of Hungary at the time. That was officially the estate where the new breed of the Magalista Pig was created. Why was this cross-breeding done? Apparently, it was assumed that the pig would become larger and carry more fat. That turned out to be true, as it’s up to 70% fat. The species was initially formed by breeding Hungarian pigs from Nagyzalonta and Bakony with the European and Serbian Šumadija wild boars. The only other pig species to have a coat of hair like this species was the now-extinct Lincolnshire Curly Coat pig native to England.

The Most Unique Animals Ever Discovered
[Image via DIVE Magazine]

Greenland Shark

  • Discovered: Unknown (Estimated To Be The 1200s)
  • Location: Northern Arctic Waters

The Greenland Shark is certainly one of the most unique animals on the planet. They have the distinction of being one of the longest living creatures on the planet today, with an average lifespan of between 250 to 500 years! They are also one of the largest sharks still living today. They’ll get to around 21 feet long and weigh around a ton, literally! As you might have guessed by its name, these sharks tend to be found in the waters of Greenland. But you can also find them in many other colder or arctic waters.

The natives of Iceland and Greenland tend to enjoy eating this type of shark, as it is considered a delicacy. The real problem with this is that the shark had to adapt to live at lower depths over long periods of time. To do this, it developed a high concentration of trimethylamine N-oxide in its tissues. That causes its meat to be toxic to humans, but it is also toxic to other animals that could possibly even try to prey on it. This makes the Greenland Shark relatively untouchable, on top of the fact that it is incredibly large. For humans to eat it, they have to reduce the toxin levels, which can take a while sometimes.

The Most Unique Animals Ever Discovered
[Image via Mental Floss]

Sparklemuffin Spider

  • Discovered: 2015
  • Location: Australia

The fearsomely named Sparklemuffin Spider has somehow become a beloved species as of late. Clearly, it is one of the most unique animals in the world right now if not for its name, certainly its appearance. This is a type of jumping spider or “peacock spider,” and is really only found in Australia around the Queensland area. The name truly comes from its coloration, as it certainly makes you do a doubletake when you view it. There is a difference between the coloration of males and females, which is good to remember and helps you tell them apart.

Females have a slightly colored back but the males have a very noticeable colored back. The males will have vibrant and unique patterns of color. This often reminds people of other spider types within the same family. However, what sets them apart from those other spiders is the opisthosomal flap that happens to extend and cover the opisthosomal plate. They’ll also spread those flaps as they inflate the opisthosomal plate, which will then reveal beautiful blue scales. The scales will be accompanied by transverse bands of red to orange pigmented scales. Thus giving us the unique look of the spider.

The Most Unique Animals Ever Discovered
[Image via Alina Wegher/Shutterstock.com]

Patagonian Mara

  • Discovered: 1780
  • Location: Argentina & Patagonia

If you want to discuss one of the most unique animals we’ve ever discovered, one could not forget about the Patagonian Mara. The species looks a lot like a rabbit or hare when you see it at first glance. However, it is actually a large rodent species. It pretty much has the same diet as rabbits and even moves around just like one. However, it is larger and more muscular than the jackrabbit and even your average hare. Of course, you can find the species in Patagonia as well as other areas in Argentina. However, it is likely that some of these were taken across the pond to the Middle East years ago as some were spotted in the United Arab Emirates.

It is possible that they were being kept as pets and simply got out, then mated heavily. Regarding the lifestyle of the species, it happens to be completely monogamous, unlike other rodent species. Yet this might be a misnomer about it, as it will breed in the same warren but it’ll be shared by several pairs. It truly will stay with the same mate, but after their mate dies, they will move on to another like humans. Which is pretty compelling when you think about it. On top of this, the male is really responsible for maintaining the relationship as it will follow the female wherever she goes.


Where Do We Find this Stuff? Here are Our Sources:

United States Department of the Interior

National Institutes of Health

National Geographic

University of California – Berkeley

Smithsonian Magazine

International Society for Endangered Cats

San Diego Zoo