The Amazon Jungle is the largest tropical rainforest on the planet. According to scientists, there are over 4,700 different animal species living in this mysterious jungle. However, not everything that has been discovered in the Amazon can be explained by science. Some discoveries that have come out of the jungle, even those with plausible scientific explanations, are downright bizarre.
10. The Amazon Rings
Deep in the Amazon Jungle, spanning Bolivia and Brazil, researchers have discovered a series of large earthen rings. What is truly bizarre about the rings is that researchers have determined that the rings actually predate the Amazon rainforest itself.
Archeologists have been working to determine what the purpose of these rings might have been. What has left researchers baffled is how these rings contrast our perceptions of ancient peoples. Historians seem to agree that most ancient peoples lived in harmony with nature, and would never alter the land in such a significant way as the Amazon Rings suggest. Have we been wrong about these peoples all along? Or is there a more mysterious and unexplainable history behind these rings? Scientists are still struggling to answer these questions.
9. Zombie Ants
Zombies have a prominent place in popular culture, but it turns out that the Amazon Jungle is hiding its very own zombie species.
According to scientists, a specific type of fungus is responsible for creating what they call “zombie ants.” Various species of ant can encounter spores of the fungus on the jungle floor or be coated with them as the spores float through the air. The spores then make their way inside the ant’s body where they begin to grow.
Within a week or so, the spores completely take over the ant’s body, virtually controlling its actions and leading it to bite into leaves in particular locations in the jungle. This is similar to how a zombie in popular culture would be led to feed on humans by the virus controlling it. The ant then dies in a spot that is ideal for the fungus to reproduce, allowing it to create even more zombie insects.
This concept featured in Naughty Dog’s video game The Last of Us, whereby a parasitic fungal infection turns humans into zombie-like creatures intent on spreading the spores further.
8. The Boiling River
The Boiling River of the Amazon was once thought to be a myth. Some said that a serpent spirit called Yacumama, or “Mother of the Waters,” created the scalding waters.
Few scientists or explorers have been permitted to visit the Boiling River, as it is protected by Mayantuyacu shamen who consider it to be a healing site. However, those who have gotten close report that the water’s temperatures can range from 120-200 degrees Fahrenheit. The mud along the river is so hot that if it were to touch your skin, you would receive a painful third-degree burn. Locals report that small animals are sometimes seen boiling in the water, their eyes cooked to a milky white.
No one can explain why the waters of the river have reached these boiling temperatures. The closest volcanic activity is over 400 miles away. There are many theories about the river, but none have proven to be correct, leaving the Boiling River shrouded in mystery.
7. The Walking Palms
There are tens of thousands of plant species in the Amazon Jungle. It is so crowded with fauna, that even in the middle of the day, the rainforest’s floor is steeped in darkness. With so many plants competing for light, the walking palms have developed a bizarre ability to keep themselves alive.
The trunk of these palms is suspended above the earth on a set of aerial roots. When a larger plant starts to steal its sunlight, the walking palm can grow new roots that allow it to slowly relocate to a better spot.
While the movement is too slow to be seen by the naked eye, this bizarre ability has granted the walking palms a somewhat mythical status. Some even compare the trees to the race of tree-like Ents in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series.
Are these trees sentient like the Tolkien’s fabled beings? Probably not, but some people still like to believe that the palms might be a mythical species.
6. The Holadeira
With a dark, mysterious atmosphere, crawling with animals that most of us could never even dream of, it isn’t surprising that the Amazon jungle is home to several spine-chilling cryptids.
One such legendary creature is known as the Holadeira, or the sawtooth dolphin. The creature was spotted by biologist Jeremy Wade in 1993 when he was attempting to photograph the pink river dolphin. Wade photographed the creature twice, once in 1993 and again in 1994.
According to Wade’s description, the Holadeira is similar in appearance to the pink river dolphin; however, it has notches on its dorsal fin that look like the teeth of a saw. Wade spoke to locals, but none reported ever seeing such a creature.
Some biologists attempted to explain away Wade’s bizarre sighting as a pink river dolphin with a damaged dorsal fin, but Wade insists that it was something far more mysterious.