Here’s a superpower that you might not expect would be found in nature: Power blasts.
They’re a must-have for any superhero team: Bishop, Havok, etc. The powers themselves stem from some vague “cosmic energy” source invented by lazy science fiction writers. But at least two animals on Earth have the ability to kill using scientifically-qualified sonic blasts.
One is the sperm whale, so named because early whalers believed that the white, viscous liquid that filled the organ in its square-shaped head was sperm. Actually, it’s wax, which helps the deep-diving animal control its buoyancy: when heated by blood, it floats, and when cooled, it sinks, bringing the whale down to the depths where the giant squid swim. But scientists now believe that the spermaceti organ, as it’s called, is more than a flotation device.
All toothed whales and dolphins focus the sonic pulses they use for echolocation with a bulbous, lens-like organ in the head called the melon. But sperm whales, largest of the toothed whales, lack a melon; theirs has devolved into a decidedly un-lens-like organ called the junk. Marine biologists believe that they instead use the massive spermaceti organ to amplify and direct sonic blasts which, given the whale’s size, would be powerful enough to knock out a giant squid. The hypothesis is lent crediblity by the fact that whalers have found old sperm whales with broken jaws, or that are missing all their teeth, yet still have a full belly. (That belly being full of calamari the size of tractor wheels.)
The other animal to use sonic blasts, on the opposite end of the size spectrum, is a shrimp.
Do not miss the video. But I’ll transcribe the basic facts: The Pistol Shrimp has a specialized claw that, when snapped shut, creates a tiny bubble in the water. That bubble collapses under the water pressure, and when it does, becomes momentarily as hot as the surface of the sun. The collapsing bubble then sends a scalding-hot shock wave towards the shrimp’s prey, with the capability of instantly killing fish several times its size. It’s a combination fireball/sonic boom.
I suppose I could muse about the genius of evolution, or the inherent elegance of the biomechanics that gave us the pistol shrimp’s claw. But not today. Today, nature is just fucking awesome.