SCIENCE: Crazy Powers Animals Based Super-People SHOULD Have

If you’ve been keeping up with my columns you may have noticed a trend. I’ll do a few lofty speculative articles about the role of science in comics or some other grandiose idea. Then, every once in a while, I just write about funny powers and science. Comics should be fun, sometimes powers are silly, and when I get busy it can be nice to unwind with these kinds of posts.

As a kid I absorbed facts about the natural world as readily as I did facts about superheroes. The totemistic nature of many of our heroes is undeniable, even if it’s statistically unlikely that so many people would get powers based around a single animal. Regardless, I want these heroes to reach their full potential and have a true understanding of the abilities afforded them. I crowd-sourced this one so thanks to everyone who responded with suggestions! Without further ado I present: powers the animal superpeople should have (how useful each power would be is another matter entirely)


Squirrel Girl – power of ever growing incisors!

I love rodents because I love teeth and rodents have some cool teeth. The two front teeth on you upper and lower jaws are incisors. As you can see Squirrel Girl has some pretty significant chompers right there which is familiar to the incisors seen among rodents. Rodent incisors are highly specialized, enamel on the front, dentine on the back. Your teeth have enamel on the outside, dentine on the inside. Rodent incisors also keep growing your entire life, you only get 2 sets, brush every day! So when rodents gnaw on stuff they wear down the dentine faster than the enamel creating a wicked sharp edge. A beaver could bite straight through your hand, believe it!


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
– power of anal breathing!

It’s true. Turtles have both an oral and an anal respiratory system (sort of). When you live life in the water it’s easier to get a breath of “fresh” air with a few options for sticking parts out of the water. If you’re keeping an eye out for sharks why not use your butt? (This is a grossly simplified view of how a trait like this may have evolved, I admit that; don’t tear me apart in the comments.)

– power of non-existence!

This one is a bit tongue in cheek, in the Marvel Universe it’s clear such things as dragons, dirty mutants and yes, even cryptid apes, all do exist. Unfortunately in our world there’s just not a lot of reliable evidence that there are wild giant apes running around the forests. A few years back I went to a Bigfoot “Museum” and chatted to the proprietor for a bit about what he believes and why. It wasn’t the most productive afternoon in my life but it was illuminating. Bigfeet have many powers beyond those of mere mortal apes, according to him they can turn invisible (no wonder I never see them!), they have stink glands (and I thought that was just a hobo) and they have the power of mass hypnosis (these are not the cryptids you’re looking for). They evolved these powers in the last few hundred years to better avoid white people. And the previous two sentences really are just reporting what I was told, special pleading, anyone? So Sasquatch should really be kicking some serious butt up in the wilds of the Canadian north.

– power of leprosy!

Armadillos carry leprosy. Not sure if that’s a power except it doesn’t seem to both them, so maybe he’s immune too? That’d be cool. Sure, Deadpool can regrow a hand, but can he be immune to a pathogen that would make it fall off in the first place? He can? Oh, ok, moving on…


Cheetah – power of incest!

Sure she’s hot and fast, but have you seen her brother? A little while ago Cheetah’s underwent an extreme genetic bottleneck, a real-life Noah’s ark event where an entire species is reduced down to a very small group of invdividuals. So all modern cheetah’s are really really close related. You know how when you need a new liver, Conor? Well it can be a pain in the butt to find a close genetic match for you even in a sibling or parent. No so for the Cheetah, basically any of the 12,400 or so living Cheetah could donate organs to any other Cheetah and they wouldn’t even need immunosuppressant drugs. I know what you’re thinking: why don’t we just build a gigantic super-cheetah? There’s some mad scientist probably working on that but this level of genetic homogeneity is actually pretty bad for a species as a whole. It’s much harder to evolve when there’s barely any difference between individuals.


The point to all of this is that when you find yourself with animal powers, as you almost certainly will, it’s important to do some research otherwise you might not know you can breathe out your ass.


Ryan Haupt wastes way too much time looking at animals on the internet, as Agent M can attest. If he sounds distracted during his podcast Science… sort of, you now know why.


  1. dude

  2. Looks like somebody found their stride.  Awesome.

  3. Wow. Awesome.


  4. I never thought I’d read the words "anal breathing" on this site.  Well done.

  5. The cheetah bottleneck has always really fascinated me.  It is really crazy how closely related that population is and how recent the bottleneck occured.

  6. Donatello must know about this anal breathing thing. He does machines, after all. He’s super science-y! Is he just too ashamed to tell his brothers about this power or is this a stealth move on their part? Do they fear that mentioning anal breathing will mean that Shredder may overhear them and be suspicious when they poke their butts out of a room filled with deadly gas? Write this story, Nickelodeon!

  7. Home come cheetahs aren’t all redneck inbred morons with buck teeth? And banjos? Hmmm?

  8. BAHAHAHA who is squirrel girl?????

  9. Always wanted the power to poop pellets like rabbits or gerbils. Instead of that smelly mess, just poop out a nice little compact pellet, stick it in my pocket for later, and get on with my life.

  10. @wangman31888 She beat Thanos!

  11. Wow. I just wikipediad Squirrel Girl and I am shocked to see she really beat all those people, even DOOM and Ego the Living Planet. Wow.

  12. @MountNJ-Yeah, not really strong editorial decisions there

  13. I believe you can take medication nowadays for "anal breathing".

    Or maybe this is a side-effect of that new asthma-suppository-inhaler.  Of course, it’s vitally important to remember which body location you last used your meds.