Friday, March 6, 2009

Boggle Sniffer

The Boggle Sniffer is that rarest of creatures, an animal that communicates entirely through scent. The Boggle Sniffer lacks the ability to make noise, the ability to hear, and has virtually no sensory input or taste buds. The Sniffer interprets the entire world through its nose. Fear, hunger, anger, sadness, happiness, sexual desire, and revulsion are all expressed through the generation and interpretation of scent. (Interestingly enough, Boggle Sniffer fear smells like cheeseburgers.)

If that wasn’t amazing enough, the Boggle Sniffer, an ancestor of the ant eater, lives virtually its entire life in the water, where, ironically enough, it can’t smell anything. The Sniffer survives by eating virtually anything on the bottom of the ocean. In 1972, a dead adult Boggle Sniffer washed ashore on the coast of Australia - its stomach contents included a case of coke, a deep-sea diving helmet, a machete, and 250 plastic shopping bags.

Not surprisingly for a large, slow, sensory deprived fish, the Boggle Sniffer has difficulty surviving for long periods of time. Most Boggle Sniffers are eaten by sharks by the time they reach adulthood. Only its incredibly prolific reproductive system allows the Sniffer to survive. Sniffers have the ability to lay eggs almost from birth, and don’t hesitate to do so. Marine biologists estimate that the entire Earth would be covered knee deep in Boggle Sniffers (27 inches, to be exact) within the year were it not for natural predators like sharks, killer whales, barracudas and every other imaginable predatory sea creature working overtime. Marine biologists often joke that the reason that sharks continually swim is that they must - in order to keep up with the Boggle Sniffer population.

Although in the abstract a poetic and even romantic figure, in real life the Boggle Sniffer is remarkably ugly and lives a desperate, brief, and pathetic existence eating whatever deep-sea trash it can blunder into through the impenetrable darkness of its own personal sensory deprivation tank. Its pathetic life is almost always snuffed out by a random shark before it reaches adulthood. Perhaps as a result of this reality, the Boggle Sniffer does not appear prominently in the arts, although it has proven to be very popular with evolutionary biologists, who spend vast amounts of time studying it.

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