Here's a link to a lovely story about an absolutely ginormous insect that was discovered under unusual circumstances, then made "extinct" under unusual circumstances, then rediscovered alive and well in a different location - under unusual circumstances.
The photo of the creature itself is NSFE (not safe for entomophobes), so it is after the jump. As a teaser, here is a picture of the discovery site - the remains of an extinct volcano, rising out of the Tasmanian Sea. As Robert Krulwich, the original author says, "no, this is not a make-believe place":
The story is so awesome and so well-written you should just click on the link above and read it for yourself.
But if you want to view, right now, the photo of the beastie itself, and also read a (very) tenuous link to George Will's exasperation with Republican phoney outrage about gas prices, continue on --->
It's a stick insect, a critter that masquerades as a piece of wood, and the Lord Howe Island version was so large — as big as a human hand — that the Europeans labeled it a "tree lobster" because of its size and hard, lobsterlike exoskeleton. It was 12 centimeters long and the heaviest flightless stick insect in the world.And, as promised, your tenuous link to the American political scene:
Will blasts West for complaining about gas while driving a HummerSo, is there a chance that Allen West will use this story to support his demand that President Obama should intervene in the otherwise-sacred free market and engineer below-cost gas prices? Probably not - you see, this is a story about science. So the chance of any Republican member of Congress - much less Allen West - ever hearing about it is absolutely nil.
“Allen West from south Florida, a Republican, said he was outraged this week because it cost him $70 to fill his car,” Will pointed out. “He drives a Hummer. Newt Gingrich said the American people have a right to demand $2.50 gas. They have a right to demand to lobsters grow on trees. I mean, this is economic nonsense.”
UPDATE: On the day Andrew Breitbart died, the Blunt Amendment was killed, and Mitt Romney once again insulted not-rich people, this story about huge-but-strangely-endearing-bugs is second top in the rec list. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why we love DK.