It’s easy to be awed by things that are larger than ourselves: the Grand Canyon, the Large Hadron Collider, the Chicago River dyed green for St. Patrick’s Day. But what about all the wonder to be found in things that are too small for us to see? Whether it’s the built-in biological compass of monarch butterflies or the colony of bioluminescent bacteria that make female anglerfish glow, the world is filled with beautiful and strange processes taking place on the micro-scale, or otherwise outside normal human parameters.
In a new series of super-short videos, Atlas Obscura is highlighting some of the delights to be found by taking a closer look at nature. As site co-founder Dylan Thuras explained to mental_floss, the series aims to share "the strangeness, bizarre natural wonders, [and] occasionally frightening beauty that exists around us hidden out of human view. Locked into our human size and timescales, it is easy to miss how strange and magnificent the world around us is."
Many of the videos focus on how plants, animals, and bacteria interact to sustain life in strange ways. The series features haunting music, eerily glowing graphics, and plenty of amazing facts (one favorite: the sea squirt eats its own brain). The videos are created and animated by animator and designer Michelle J. Enemark, and co-written by Enemark and Thuras. The video above focuses on the slightly terrifying way that lima bean plants and parasitic wasps work together; you can also check out the whole playlist here.
Header images: Michelle Enemark via YouTube