Star Wars creatures and their Earthly counterparts

By Nikki Galovic

14 December 2017

Everyone is talking about the undeniably cute porgs from Star Wars: The Last Jedi Credit: Lucasfilm/AP

From wookies to ewoks, there are lots of cute and strange creatures of the Star Wars universe. But you don’t have to leave the galaxy to find some pretty wacky creature right here on Earth.

Puffins

four puffins standing on a rock

Puffins are like our very own porgs here on Earth

The latest darling of Star Wars fame is the bug-eyed Porgs who have made their debut in the just-released Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Closer to home, we have our own adorable little-winged creatures, that will make you goo and gah. Puffins!

There are actually three types of puffins. Two species, the tufted puffin and horned puffin, are found in the North Pacific Ocean, while the Atlantic puffin is found in the North Atlantic Ocean.

All puffin species have predominantly black and white plumage, a stocky build, and large beaks. They shed the colourful outer parts of their bills after the breeding season, leaving a smaller and duller beak. Their short wings are adapted for swimming with a flying technique under water, much like a penguin. Unlike penguins though, puffins can also fly.

Saiga antelope

The nose is strong with this one. Image: Darwin Initiative

The eopie from the Star Wars planet Tatooine is suited to travel across vast deserts carrying cargo much like a camel. Although unlike a camel, the eopie has a characteristic elongated nose which is more like the Saiga antelope found around Russia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan. The Saiga antelope is also easily recognized thanks to its large and flexible nose. Its gigantic schnoz helps to filter out dust and regulate its blood temperature. Unfortunately, due to habitat loss, disease and poaching, these beautiful creatures are critically endangered.

Bhupathy’s purple frog

Photograph by Jegath Janani

This little critter is certainly familiar with the dark side spending most of its life underground. Image: Jegath Janani

This newly discovered purple pig-nose frog definitely looks like it belongs in a galaxy far, far away. You would be forgiven for thinking it could be a relative of Jabba the Hutt. But in fact they call the Western Ghats mountain range in India home.

While the new amphibians may appear odd, each quirk of the purple frog’s anatomy is the result of countless years of evolution. Small eyes, a long snout, and short limbs equipped with hardened ‘spades’—each enables the frog to spend almost its entire life below ground.

Giant isopod

close up of a giant isopod face

The frighteningly alien like giant isopod has more armour than Darth Vader. Giant isopods are bottom-dwelling crustaceans. Their shells are comprised of overlapping segments which help protect them. Typically, giant isopods are between 8 to 15 centimetres long and “supergiant” species adults are generally between 17 and 50 centimetres long. Scientists believe that they have deep-sea gigantism where the deep sea conditions they live in where the pressure is great and the food is scarce has caused them to evolve to be better suited to their environment.

Pygmy marmoset

A pygmy Marmoset

Ewoks and pygmy marmosets, two cute furballs in trees. Image: Adam.zolkover

Pygmy marmosets are the smallest monkey and one of the smallest primates in the world. These adorable mini monkeys are native to the rainforests of South America. Much like the Ewok’s of the Star Wars universe, they live in colonies and have complex social systems. While they might not look too much alike, they are both super cute and we wanted to Google pygmy marmosets because who wouldn’t want to do that?