The koala bear is a marsupial (meaning that it’s a non-placental mammal that has a marsupium that serves as a ‘baby carrier’) native to Australia, is a convinced herbivore and rarely ever gets down from its tree of choice. It typically resides in open eucalyptus forests and feeds mostly on the leaves it is surrounded by. Much like your cat, the koala bear also sleeps twenty hours a day, making your weekend sleep marathon seem weak.
Koalas are also about the most adorable marsupials on this here Earth. It has been discovered that we have more in common with this eucalyptus chewing tree lover than we thought.
Fingerprints. We humans have them, chimps have them, gorillas have them. No surprise there. But one of the most interesting funny facts is that koalas have fingerprints as well. But why? Humans and koalas parted ways, from an evolutionary viewpoint, around 150 million years ago, so it makes little sense that koalas have fingerprints. Do not be mistaken, our fingerprints are not just similar to koalas, they are identical. So much so that an expert with years of experience in the field would have trouble telling the difference between your fingerprints and a koalas, even if he uses a microscope.
This begs the question: if so few animals have fingerprints, why do we have them at all? Well, it turns out that the common denominator is tree climbing. Koalas, as well as chimps, gorillas (not all primates) and humans (or rather, our ancestors), climb trees by climbing vertically and grabbing hold of the branches. Once there, the furry critter grabs as many eucalyptus leaves and then shoves them in its tiny cute little mouth. Researchers concluded that this could help explain the reason why fingerprints evolved at all. Additionally, koalas are rather picky eaters. They only eat leaves of a certain age, which requires a good amount of dexterity. That kind of adaptation to grasping and the need to selectively grab only certain things, influences the skin of our fingers. And that is why koalas have fingerprints.
So, next time you decide to rob a bank, you can blame a koala for it, provided you’ve never been fingerprinted before. On the other hand, an innocent little koala can do the same to you. It would probably be more successful because who would believe that a cute koala used a .45 caliber gun to support its gambling issues? No one. That’s who.