You thought you'd seen it all. And then the Strandbeests come along...
What is a Strandbeest you ask? A Strandbeest is a kinetic creature that lives on the beach, eating wind to survive. It is made to resist the elements and can actually live on its own after it is released into the wild. Theo Jansen has been making these new life forms out of plastic tubes since 1990. ("Strandbeest" is Dutch for "beach animal," by the way.)
Jansen's life forms have adapted to their environments over time, increasing their survival skills and mobility. The incredible triumphs of the imagination shatter divisions between art and physics and open the door to artificial forms of life.
The Strandbeests look like a mixture of a mutant crab-jellyfish and a Burning Man installation. Yet they move with an organic, wind-blown flow rather than a mechanical step. Their insect-like legs are more efficient than wheels; they do not need to touch every inch of the ground on their path. Some animals can detect water and turn around when they encounter it. One animal can even anchor itself to the earth if it senses a storm approaching.
Check out these jaw-dropping life forms in the videos above and below, or catch them roaming around on a beach near you. Let us know what you think of these bizarro creatures in the comments section.