10 Unique Things in the World

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

10 Unique Things in the World

The world is full of amazing unique things that are made special BECAUSE of this particularity. They are worth knowing because, someday soon, they might disappear and it would be sad not to be ever acknowledged. This is not applicable to all the items on the list: some are already gone and are worth knowing for their historical or symbolic value and as a lesson for the future.

1.  George the tortoise

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The last survivor of his species, Lonesome George is a Pinta tortoise, which is a subspecies of the Galapagos tortoise. Apparently, it is the rarest living creature on Earth and was found on Pinta Island in 1972. Aged somewhere between 90 and 100 years, George is looking for a “girlfriend” of the same species since many years but with no success. Researcers sent dozens of letters and searched every square inch of the island, but no female Pinta tortoise was found so far.

2. The Bili ape, an unique and controversial species

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The Bili apes are an interesting, unique species of ape, which was recently discovered in the Bili Forest, in the Republic of Congo. They puzzled the scientific world with their unique features that could not be totally attributed to the chimpanzee, or to the gorilla.  The researchers thought that they may be a new species, a hybrid gorilla species or a lost species, but they turned out to be merely eastern (ordinary) chimpanzees. However, they are still special, with their large size, their custom of sleeping on the ground, as if they were not afraid of predators, and with the proven fact that they actually reversed roles and they killed and ate large felines.

3. The Man of the Hole

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The Man of the Hole is the last surviving individual of an unknown Amazonian tribe which was exterminated by another tribe.  Unnamed, never contacted, probably speaking a language we cannot understand,  the man lives alone with the memory of his lost family and friends.  The local government respects his self- imposed solitude and enlarged the protected area in which he resides, so that he may have enough hunting space.
4. The only Diamond planet ever discovered
4. diamond-planet

The only known diamond planet is 4,000 light years away from us, in the Serpens constellation, within the Milky Way Galaxy. It orbits a millisecond pulsar which was called PSR J1719-1438 and was discovered by means of the Parkes 64-meter radio telescope. The scientists figured that this planet must be a huge space diamond because it is made out of carbon and it is very dense- and of what we know, diamonds are formed when carbon is put under great pressure. The planet, which is 5 time the size of Earth and 300 times heavier, would definitely satisfy our thirst of diamonds, if ever reached!

5. The last uncontacted people on Earth

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The last uncontacted people on Earth are the Sentinelese , inhabiting the North Santinel Island, in the Bay of Bengal. They are believed to be direct descendents of the earliest migrations from Africa and live even now as they were thousands of years ago, meaning as gatherers and hunters. The Santinelese  are very aggressive and refused any contact with the outside world. In 2008, after the great tsunami that devastated the surrounding area, a helicopter was sent to see if the Sentinelese people were still alive. A sole warrior rushed from the bushes and shot an arrow at the helicopter. They were ok, thus.

6. The only speaker of Wichita

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“Once a language disappears, a vision of the world disappears” , said Jean-Michel Filippi, a linguist who was trying to save a disappearing language. This is true in the case of the Wichita language as well, as only one fluent speaker of Wichita remains in the world: Doris Jean Lamar McLemore ,the 83 year-old illegitimate daughter of  a Wichita woman and of a white man, who used to speak only Wichita at home.She is trying to preserve the language by recording it and writing it.

7. The only remaining wonder of the ancient world

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The only remaining wonder of the Ancient World which still stand is the Great Pyramid of Gaza. All the other wonders were sadly destroyed by all sorts of calamities, but mainly by earthquakes. This amazing monument which was built for pharaoh Khufu, around 2560 BC is the last remaining symbol of a fascinating world.

8. The Tree of Ténéré

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The Tree of Ténéré was considered the most isolated tree on Earth. It was the only remaining tree of a group of acacia which thrived in an area of Sahara, when the desert was not as dry as it is today. Over the decades, many people wondered how  that tree survived in the heart of the desert, 400 km away of any other bush or tree, with no water around. The mystery was solved in 1939, when researchers discovered that the roots of the tree had increased to a length of 33-36 meters,so that it could reach the water table below the surface! Sadly, the Tree of Ténéré, a landmark for all the caravans passing through the area and a religious Bedouin symbol, was knocked down in 1973, by a drunken Libyan. The tree of Ténére was replaced with a metalic structure trying to reproduce it.

9. The only known photo of Billy the Kid

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Billy the Kid(1859-1881) was a reputed American outlaw but also a folk hero who started his “career “at an early age, when he shot a man who had insulted his mother. Billy the Kid killed more than 21 people and was shot at 21, after a long hunting and a failed execution, when he escaped by killing 2 people. The only known picture of him was sold for 2,3 million $ at an auction. It dates from1979 or 1880, thus one or two years before Bill the Kid was killed.

10. The only disease in humans that was completely eradicated

10small pox

The only disease that was ever eradicated concludes this list of unique things in the world. The small pox was so devastating that killed enormous amounts of people in history: Only in the 20th century,  this horrible disease killed 300 to 500 million people in the world!  This disease is recorded only in humans and it is believed to be as old as 10.000 BC. By means of intense vaccination campaigns, small pox was  eradicated in 1978, the last naturally occurring case being that of a two year-old girl named Rahima Banu. The case was acknowledged by the World Health Organization, which send a team to help the little girl. Fortunately, due to their skills and dedication, she recovered entirely and is still living today.
Two samples of the deadly virus are still in existence at two laboratories in different parts of the world: “The center for disease control and prevention” in America and the “State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology” in Russia. Scary to know that, don’t you think?
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