Want a crunchy fact for your sci-fi novel? A little something that gives a sense of place, science, or culture?
How about this: your extraterrestrials always give birth to twins.
In humans twin births are rare, happening about 4 times to 1,000 births, but get this: Clawed New World monkeys (Callitrichidae) — tiny wee creatures between 4 to 21 ounces – rarely have one baby, instead they nearly always have fraternal twins (or triplets when in captivity) and they can do so with greater ease than humans in part because they develop their placenta a lot longer than we do – meaning there's more nourishment there to support the babies as they grow.
So right there's a crunchy fact your xenobiologist can share for why this alien race seems to be able to produce so many twin and triplets.
But wait, there's more!
Nine-banded armadillos give birth to four identical pups at a time and here's your crunchy fact: some think one reason may be so the animals can't interbreed, meaning they must leave the nest to find a mate.
Side fact: while only one dog is known to have given birth to twins, some vets think it might be a bit more common than thought.
Next time: why there's no such thing as a cold, dead body
LOVE THIS James, just love it.
I see your clawed monkey, and I raise you one mantis shrimp.
A mantis shrimp is a little crustacean that has the unique ability to punch so hard it literally BREAKS THE FRAKKING SOUND BARRIER underwater. To humans, it sounds like a cute little “pop!” But to the recipient of said punch, it’s a one way ticket to Davy Jones’ Locker, with connections to Pain and Agony.
(Humans can also get a nasty bruise from these critters.)
The reason they can do this is because they have muscles that reach from their forelimbs to their lower abdomen that act like the cocking mechanism on a pistol. Think about that: they “cock” their fists with their gonads. That’s how serious these guys are.
But that’s not all. Oh no, my friends, not by a long shot.
While humans have eyes that see in three channels of light, red, green and blue, mantis shrimp have eyes that see the world in TWELVE channels of the EM spectrum. Basically, imagine nine colors that you can’t even imagine and you’ll have an idea of what their world looks like.
Sometimes the coolest animals on Earth are the ones smaller than your hand. So next time you go diving, be careful, or else the Chuck Norris of the sea will one inch (sorry, one CENTIMETER) punch you into the middle of next week with his testicle fists.