The world is full of unique objects, creatures, and world events. Many foods are naturally radioactive and bananas contain a particularly high dose of radiation. The banana equivalent dose is a scale used to measure radiation exposure. The scale is based on the radiation levels humans receive by eating a single banana. In fact, bananas are radioactive enough to regularly cause false alarms on sensors used to detect possible illegal smuggling of nuclear material in world ports. Brazil nuts also contain a small amount of radioactive radium. It has been estimated that the Brazil nut is 1,000 times more radioactive then other foods.
Between April 1953 and August 1955, Puerto Rican Thoroughbred racehorse Camarero won 56 consecutive races, setting a world record that still exists today. The first horse to make $1 million in earnings was the 8th American Triple Crown winner Citation. The racehorse with the most grade one victories in his career, which is a test of true endurance, is John Henry (16 wins). Kincsem (1874-1887) was the most successful racehorse ever, having won 54 races for 54 starts. She is a national icon in Hungary. For over four seasons, Kincsem won all her races against both female and male competitors at various race tracks across Europe, a record that is still unbeaten. This article will document ten more unique world occurrences.
10. Lonesome George
Rarest Creature in the World
Lonesome George is the last known living individual of the Pinta Island Tortoise, which is a subspecies of Galápagos tortoise, native to the Galápagos Islands. He is regarded as the rarest creature in the world. George has become an international symbol of survival and is an important leader in the animal conservation effort. He is estimated to be 60-90 years old and is currently in good health. George was named after the 1950s American comedian George Gobel. On December 1, 1971, he was recovered from the Island of Pinta by the American malacologist Joseph Vagvolgyi.
One of a Kind
During the 20th century, Pinta Island’s vegetation was devastated by the introduction of feral goats. The indigenous tortoise population (Geochelone nigra abingdoni) was reduced to a single identifiable individual, George. After his recovery, George was penned with two females of a different subspecies. Many attempts to produce an offspring have been made, but so far no babies have been hatched. The effort to exterminate goats from Pinta Island is complete and the vegetation on the island is starting to return to its former state. Recent discoveries made on the neighboring Isabela Island have revealed a species of tortoise that is a mixed race of Pinta ancestry.
This suggests the presence of at least one Pinta tortoise near Wolf Volcano on Isabela Island. More research needs to be conducted in order to identify this tortoise among the 2,000 living on Isabela. Another possible pure breed Pinta Island Tortoise candidate named Tony lives in the Prague zoo. Peter Pritchard, one of the world’s foremost authorities on Galápagos tortoises has found the shell on Tony to be extremely similar to that of George and the Pinta shell specimens. To date, the official classification of Tony has not been released by the scientific world. There is currently a reward of $10,000 for the discovery of a female Pinta Island Tortoise.
9. Club 33
Disneyland’s Private Club and Bar
Disneyland is a theme park located in Anaheim, California, that is owned and operated by The Walt Disney Company. The theme park is one of the most successful establishments in the world and has serviced over 600 million customers since it opened on July 18, 1955. By 1964, Walt Disney had recognized the popularity of his VIP lounges and decided to construct a lavish and private structure in Disneyland. He named it Club 33. The club was placed in the heart of the New Orleans Square section of Disneyland. It is officially maintained as a secret feature of the park. The entrance of the club is located next to the Blue Bayou Restaurant at 33 Royal Street. The door is recognized by an ornate address plate with the number 33 engraved on it.
One of a Kind
Club 33 is a unique feature of Disneyland and the structure is the only privately housed organization in the park. The group’s members have exclusive access to the club’s restaurant. The premises are not open to the public and you will be asked to leave if you don’t belong. Club 33 is the only location within Disneyland that offers alcoholic beverages. The wine list includes vintages priced at $1000 and the restaurant holds a full bar. Club members get free access to both Disney parks whenever they are open, plus early admission several days a week. Members are also provided with valet parking and access to Lilly Belle, the presidential caboose car on the Disneyland Railroad.
Club 33 opened in May of 1967, only five months after Walt Disney’s death. Walt was responsible for a large majority of the custom design and antique furnishings used in the club’s overall design. One of the buildings most lavish features is an antique-style glass lift, which is an exact replica of a lift from the Parisian hotel in France. A staircase to the second level wraps around the rise. The second level has two dining rooms. One room is named the Trophy Room and has dark wood paneling, while the Main Dining Room is more formal. The rooms are decorated with antique artifacts, paintings, murals, lavish furniture, and Disney memorabilia.
Club 33 has a famous harpsichord which has been played by Elton John and Paul McCartney, and can be used by anyone who sits at it. The dining room holds a walkway that leads to the balcony. The balcony overlooks the water in the New Orleans area of the park. As of 2011, there is a 14 year waiting list for membership to Club 33 and the group is currently closed to new additions. It only allows 487 members. Members pay an initiation fee of $27,500 (if they are a corporation) or $10,450 (for individuals). They also pay an annual fee of about $6,100 or $3,275 respectively.
8. Dock Ellis
Pitched a No-Hitter on LSD
Dock Ellis was a professional baseball player who pitched for a number of Major League teams, most notably the Pittsburgh Pirates. His best season was 1971, when Ellis won 19 games for the World Series champion Pirates and was the starting pitcher for the National League in the All-Star Game. Dock Ellis is best known for a series of on-field incidents during his career. He was a ruthless competitor and is often noted for his erratic behavior.
One of a Kind
On June 12, 1970, Dock Ellis pitched a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres. In 1984, he admitted to being under the influence of LSD during the course of the game. Before the contest, Ellis had been visiting friends in Los Angeles and was under the impression that he had the day off. Despite not being able to feel the ball or clearly see the batter, Ellis was able to retire 27 batters without a hit. He walked eight players and was aided by excellent fielding plays by second baseman Bill Mazeroski and center fielder Matty Alou. In an interview, Ellis admitted to remembering only bits and pieces of the contest. He described the feeling of euphoria as he performed the remarkable feat.
“The ball was small sometimes, the ball was large sometimes. Sometimes I saw the catcher, sometimes I didn’t. Sometimes I tried to stare the hitter down and throw while I was looking at him. I chewed my gum until it turned to powder. I started having a crazy idea in the fourth inning that Richard Nixon was the home plate umpire, and once I thought I was pitching a baseball to Jimi Hendrix, who to me was holding a guitar and swinging it over the plate. They say I had about three to four fielding chances. I remember diving out of the way of a ball I thought was a line drive. I jumped, but the ball wasn’t hit hard and never reached me.”
On May 1, 1971, Dock Ellis attempted to hit every batter in the Cincinnati Reds lineup. It was an effort to prove a point to teammates. Ellis hit Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, and Dan Driessen in the top of the first inning. The clean-up batter, Tony Perez, avoided Ellis’s attempts, instead drawing a walk. Next up was Johnny Bench and Ellis was removed from the game by manager Danny Murtaugh after throwing two pitches at Bench’s head. HIs box score for the game reads: 0 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, and 0 K. In 1975, while playing for the Texas Rangers, Ellis led a player revolt against manager Billy Hunter and his authoritarian coaching style, declaring that Hunter “may be Hitler, but he ain’t making no lampshade out of me.”
7. Maine Penny
Rare Pre-Columbian Norse Artifact Discovered in America
The Goddard site is an archeological location that holds the remains of an old Native American settlement. It is located at Naskeag Point, Brooklin, Maine on Penobscot Bay. A 1978 article in Time Magazine called the discovery an ancient Indian rubbish pile located near the coastal town of Blue Hill. After an intense study, a collection of 30,000 items from the area were donated to the Maine State Museum. Among these artifacts was an ancient Norwegian silver penny. The penny is unique because it has been traced to the reign of Olaf Kyrre (1067–1093 AD). This has intrigued scientists and raised questions surrounding the penny’s arrival in America and Pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact.
One of a Kind
Pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact describes the interaction between the indigenous people of the Americas and people from other continents, which occurred before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492. Many such occurrences have been proposed over the years, based on historical accounts, archaeological finds, and cultural comparisons. However, these claims are controversial and strongly debated in the scientific world. The Maine Penny is unique because it has been described as “the only pre-Columbian Norse artifact generally regarded as genuine found within the United States.” It is not debated that the object is a real Olaf Kyrre silver penny that was minted between the years 1065 and 1080 AD.
The Goddard archeological site has been dated to 1180-1235, which is within the circulation period of the Olaf penny. During this time in history, the Norse lived in Greenland and could have potentially visited North America. The penny’s coastal origin has been offered as evidence that the Vikings traveled further south than Newfoundland or that the coin might have been traded locally. However, the penny was the only Norse artifact found at the site. It was discovered by a local resident, Guy Mellgren, who claimed that he found the coin on August 18, 1957.
Since that time, Mellgren has been accused of creating an elaborate hoax. The general scientific opinion is that the artifact should be considered “not proven.” and may have been planted by Guy Mellgren. It has been suggested that the coin could have traveled to Maine via native Viking trade channels in Labrador or Newfoundland. The Maine Museum and the Smithsonian website favor the opinion that the artifact was discovered at the Goddard site and is therefore evidence of a Viking presence on the North American continent. It has been determined that there are enough questions regarding the Olaf silver penny to leave its archaeological significance as unclear and intriguing.
6. Bili Ape
A Unique Species of Primate
The Bili Ape is a large primate that inhabits Bili Forest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In 2003, a primate specialist named Shelly Williams recorded the first human encounter with the elusive Bili Ape. Williams described her experience with the creatures, “We could hear them in the trees, about 10 m away, and four of them suddenly came rushing towards me. If this had been a mock charge they would have been screaming to intimidate us. These guys were quiet, and they were huge. They were coming in for the kill, but as soon as they saw my face they stopped and disappeared.”
One of a Kind
The Bili Ape has characteristics that are unique to any other primate species. They exhibit behaviors that don’t fit into ape classification. It has been reported that the Bili Ape could be a new species of animal unknown to science, a new subspecies of chimpanzee, or a hybrid of the gorilla and the chimp. At the very least, the creatures are unique and unlike any studied before. Preliminary genetic testing with non-nuclear DNA has indicated a close relationship with the Eastern Chimpanzee, but the animal’s range of behaviors and facial features have greatly intrigued primatologists. The ape’s mixture of traits has led to questions of taxonomic classification.
In some ways, the Bili Ape’s behavior is more like gorillas then chimpanzees. For example, they build their nests directly in the ground, using interwoven branches and saplings. However, the Bili Ape’s diet is decidedly chimpanzee-like, consisting mainly of fruits. In June 2006, British Science Weekly reported that Cleve Hicks and his colleagues from the University of Amsterdam had completed a year-long study of the ape. Hicks reported that upon meeting the animal, including adult males, the creatures would simply surround the human visitors and show curiosity. The Bili Ape did not attack or become aggressive toward the researchers, which is unusual behavior. Reports have indicated that the creature would come face-to-face with their human visitors, stare intently in half-recognition, and then slide away quietly.
The major difference between the Bili Ape and the Common Chimpanzee is the size. The Bili Ape has been reported to walk bipedally at times, with the look of a giant chimpanzee. Their footprints range in size from 28 to 34 centimeters. This is longer than the biggest common chimpanzee and gorilla specimen, which has an average size from 26 cm to 29 cm. The Bili Ape has a very flat face, a wide muzzle and a brow-ridge that runs straight across and overhangs. Bili Ape skulls have a prominent brow ridge and may have a sagittal crest similar to that of a robust great ape. However, the animals other bone measurements are representative of chimpanzees. Bili Apes are currently under threat from poachers, who are taking advantage of the creature’s gentle nature.