Some of the World's Rarest (and Strangest) Creatures

The world is full of wonders that few humans have ever seen. Even now, with the human race spreading across the planet and occupying every corner of the globe, there are living creatures so unusual, that few have laid eyes on them. Here are some of the most uncanny.

Laotian Rock Rat (Laonastes aenigmamus), the living fossil

Some of the World's Rarest (and Strangest) Creatures

The biologists thought this creature had gone extinct at least 11 million years ago, but in 1996 some specimens were found for sale as a meat at a Laotian market. And then on June 13, 2006 a live specimen was photographed and videotaped by David Redfield and a Thai wildlife biologist Uthai Treesucon in the village of Doy in Laos.

(via Florida State University Research In Review)

Visayan Spotted Deer (Rusa alfredi) and the Visayan Warty Pig (Sus cebifrons), Philippines

Some of the World's Rarest (and Strangest) Creatures

Some of the World's Rarest (and Strangest) Creatures

In April 2009 a team of British and Filipino scientists discovered evidence (the first for over 25 years) of two groups of Visayan spotted deer in a natural park. Three years later, a team of British scientists set up 20 camera traps and spent more than 4,000 hours monitoring the devices over two weeks. They were able to capture the spotted deer and the warty pig in the wild for the first time.

Some of the World's Rarest (and Strangest) Creatures

Rusa alfredi at Newquay Zoo, Cornwall, England

Some of the World's Rarest (and Strangest) Creatures

Visayan warty pig

(via Photo blog on NBC News, Newquay Zoo and faunus)

The world's rarest whale, the spade-toothed beaked whale (Mesoplodon traversii)

Some of the World's Rarest (and Strangest) Creatures

Some of the World's Rarest (and Strangest) Creatures

This is the first time this whale has been seen as a whole creature. It was first named, based on a partial jaw found on Pitt Island, New Zealand in 1872. Since then, two partial skulls were found, one in New Zealand in 1950, and the other on the Robinson Crusoe Island (Chile) in 1986. But in 2010, two of them washed up on a New Zealand beach. Maybe these were the last of their kind.

Some of the World's Rarest (and Strangest) Creatures

(via vistaalmar and Current Biology PDF)

Terror skink (Phoboscincus bocourti)

Some of the World's Rarest (and Strangest) Creatures

It was only known from a single specimen, collected in the 1870s, but in December 2003 another one was found by specialists from the Muséum national d'historie naturelle (National Museum of Natural History, Paris, France). This skink only lives on the Île des Pins in New Caledonia.

(via Carnivora Forum)

The Braken Bat Cave meshweaver (Cicurina venii)

Some of the World's Rarest (and Strangest) Creatures

Only two specimens of this species have been collected since its discovery in 1980, but the female one is now lost. The Braken Bat Cave (located on private property) has been filled in, and cannot currently be accessed. In August 2012 one of these creatures was found in a natural hole in Northwest San Antonio, and caused a highway construction project to grind to a halt.

(via My San Antonio)

The giant squid (Architeuthis)

Some of the World's Rarest (and Strangest) Creatures

The first image of a live adult giant squid, January 15, 2002, on Goshiki beach, Japan

Some of the World's Rarest (and Strangest) Creatures

First-ever observations of a live giant squid in the wild, 30 September 2004

Filmed in natural habitat for the first time in 2012:

And a better recording from January 2013:

(via TED and Royal Society Publishing)

The tasmanian tiger or the Thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus)

Some of the World's Rarest (and Strangest) Creatures

The last known Tasmanian Tiger to be killed in the wild was shot in 1930 by a farmer named Wilf Batty, but the last living thylacine was captured in 1933 by Elias Churchill and sent to the Hobart Zoo where it lived until 7 September 1936. Maybe they aren't extinct, since there were 3800 sightings since 1936, according the Australian Rare Fauna Research Association.

Here are two videos about the last living Thylacine:

(via Australian Geographic)

Pygmy tarsier or mountain tarsier (Tarsius pumilus)

Some of the World's Rarest (and Strangest) Creatures

It was believed to have become extinct in 1921 — but in 2000, Indonesian scientists accidentally killed one while trapping rats. And then, the first tarsiers seen alive since the 1920s were discovered by a research team from Texas A&M University in Indonesia in August 2008.

Some of the World's Rarest (and Strangest) Creatures

(via Wikimedia Commons, Wildlife Extra and NBCNews)

The Short-footed Luzon Tree Rat or Greater dwarf cloud rat (Carpomys melanurus)

Some of the World's Rarest (and Strangest) Creatures

It was seen by biologists only once in 1896, before a team of Filipino and American scientists rediscovered it in 2008, for the first time in its natural habitat.

(via ScienceDaily)

Woolly flying squirrel (Eupetaurus cinereus)

Some of the World's Rarest (and Strangest) Creatures

Some of the World's Rarest (and Strangest) Creatures

It has not been since 1924, and was believed to be extinct — until an American zoologist rediscovered it in 1994 in a small valley of Kashmir, Pakistan. Ten years later, in 2004, Vladimir Dinets recorded a living woolly flying squirrel at night near Nanga Parbat, Pakistan.

Some of the World's Rarest (and Strangest) Creatures

(via News For Squirrels, Pakistan's Wildlife, Wikimedia Commons and Vladimir Dinets)