Nature's weirdest news quiz 2012


Chris Packham examines some of the world's freakiest natural phenomena in Nature's Weirdest Events on BBC Two, Tuesday 1 January at 2000 GMT. Find out how much attention you've paid to the weird wonders of nature in 2012 with our quick news quiz.

Chris Packham on Nature's Weirdest Events (c) BBC

1.) Question 1

Which dainty discovery earned the title of "world's smallest vertebrate" back in January?

  1. Chameleon (Brookesia micra)
  2. Frog (Paedophryne amauensis)
  3. Snake (Leptotyphlops carlae)

2.) Question 2

Pygmy sharks were found to use which trick to disguise themselves from predators under the waves?

Adult smalleye pygmy shark (c) J Mallefet
  1. Change shape
  2. Glow in the dark
  3. Fly

3.) Question 3

Conservationists battling invasive snakes on the island of Guam employed which unusual tactic in the spring?

Brown tree snake (c) James Stanford
  1. Covering trees in toilet roll
  2. Training monkeys to catch snakes
  3. Dropping mice from helicopters

4.) Question 4

Eyebrows were raised in June by this fossil discovery. What are the prehistoric turtles doing?

Turtle fossil discovered in Germany (c) Naturmuseum Senckenberg
  1. Copulating
  2. Defecating
  3. Fighting

5.) Question 5

Bone-eating worms drill with *

  1. teeth
  2. tools
  3. acid

6.) Question 6

Whose conservation work inspired researchers to name this frog, discovered in Ecuador?

Frog named for a famous fellow (c) AARK
  1. The Pope
  2. Prince
  3. Prince Charles

7.) Question 7

Which members of the clever corvid family were found to hold funerals for their dead this year?

  1. Scrub jays
  2. Rooks
  3. Crows

8.) Question 8

This fish, discovered in Vietnam, sports which part of its anatomy on its head?

A new species of fish from Vietnam (printed with permission of Magnolia Press)
  1. Stomach
  2. Genitalia
  3. Heart

9.) Question 9

Turtle passes * through mouth

  1. young
  2. waste
  3. test

10.) Question 10

Which human talent linked headlines about a beluga whale and an elephant?

Koshik the elephant
  1. Dancing
  2. Speaking
  3. Driving

11.) Question 11

According to US scientists, which of these mammals can learn to sing in a similar way to birds and humans?

  1. Beavers
  2. Koalas
  3. Mice

12.) Question 12

Light shed on * millipede

  1. Laziest
  2. Longest
  3. Leggiest


  1. At just 7mm long, tiny frogs found in Papua New Guinea are thought to be the smallest of all organisms in the group that includes mammals, birds, fish and amphibians.
  2. Researchers in Belgium found that the tiny sharks effectively become invisible to threats from below by lighting up their stomachs to match the light sky above.
  3. The US Department of Agriculture dropped paracetamol-laced mice onto the island in a bid to eradicate brown tree snakes, which have devastated the island's native wildlife.
  4. Experts found that the 47 million-year old animals were overcome during mating. They suggest the turtles sank in lake water made toxic by the release of volcanic gases.
  5. US scientists reported this summer that deep sea worms, known as "zombie worms", use acid to eat the bones of seabed skeletons.
  6. Hyloscirtus princecharlesi was named after Prince Charles in recognition of his charity work to protect the frog's rainforest home.
  7. When western scrub jays encounter a dead bird, they call out to one another, stop foraging and gather around the body, according to US researchers.
  8. In Phallostethus fish both males and females have their reproductive organs behind their mouths. Scientists have yet to find an explanation for the unusual adaptation. P. cuulong was described in the journal Zootaxa in July.
  9. Researchers discovered that the Chinese soft-shelled turtle passes waste urea through its mouth, making it the only animal currently known to do so.
  10. Scientists reported that an elephant could speak Korean and a beluga whale learned to mimic humans in San Diego, California, US.
  11. Researchers suggest that male mice learn ultrasonic songs from others in order to serenade females.
  12. Illacme plenipes, a species with 750 legs, was analysed following its rediscovery in California, US, this year.

Your Score

0 - 4 : Normal narwhal

5 - 8 : Odd ocelot

9 - 12 : Weird wombat!

Related Stories

Join BBC Nature on Facebook and Twitter @BBCNature.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More from nature

  • Cardinal fish and ostracodFish filmed spitting 'fireworks'

    Film crew captures ostracods' spectacular defensive lightshow that makes predatory fish spit them out.

  • Arapaima'Locally extinct'

    A giant fish which used to dominate the Amazon river is now absent in many areas

  • DragonflyRapid reactions

    Dragonfly's super quick reactions recorded in slow motion by BBC film-makers

  • Wingless adult male of the midge Belgica antarcticaExtreme survivor

    Antarctic midge's small genome may be an adaptation to its extreme environment

  • Myotis midastactus specimen (previously identified as Myotis simus)Golden discovery

    A bat from Bolivia is described as a new species by scientists

  • Dinosaurs 'shrank' to become birds

    Huge meat-eating, land-living dinosaurs evolved into birds by constantly shrinking for over 50 million years, new research shows.

  • Would we starve without bees?

    Honey bees are under threat, and as pollination significantly contributes to the food we eat, what would we do without them?

  • Eggshells may act like 'sunblock'

    Birds' eggs show adaptations in pigment concentration and thickness to allow the right amount of sun for embryos, scientists say.

  • Female shrimps are more aggressive

    Female snapping shrimps are more aggressive than males when defending their territories despite their smaller claw size, a study shows.

BBC iWonder

  • Honey bee close-upInsect intelligence

    Are honey bees as smart as your sat nav?

  • Tyrannosaurus rex skull (c) Mark Williamson / Science Photo LibraryDinosaur dynasty

    One group of dinosaurs survived and their descendants can be seen all around us today

  • Brown rat cluse upRise of the rodent

    Reports of giant, 'super rats' are filling the headlines. But why are we being overrun by rats?

  • Cuckoo portraitHoliday hotspot

    What makes the UK such an attractive destination for visiting wildlife?

There have been 75 solar eclipses and 167 major volcanic eruptions in my lifetime

Nicole Malliotakis on Twitter comments on the events that have happened since she was born by using our personalised Your Life on Earth interactive infographic.

Get Inspired


More Nature Activities >

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.