Sunday, March 07, 2010

New Orangutan Population in Sumatra

A new population of orangutans has been discovered in the Batan Toru forest in northern Sumatra. (News source.)

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More Florida Monkey Capers

It's been tranqued twice, but still escaped capture... (News source, and here.)

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

OOPAs: Escapees and Accidentals

What is thought to be a macaque was seen again in the Tampa Bay area. (News source.)

A Mexican wolf is loose in Minnesota after vandalism at a science center. (News source.)

A mongoose was trapped in Samoa. (News source.)

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Gorilla Escape

Tufani the gorilla briefly escaped before being recaptured at the Dallas Zoo. How she got out is unknown yet. (News source.)

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Going out on a Limb...

I'm going to say the human-headed snake is a fake...

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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Australia: OOP Monkey

What appears to be a monkey is roaming around Darwin. (News source.)

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Monday, December 07, 2009

Gorillas in Somaliland?

Two gorillas were allegedly seen in the mountainous area "about 20-kms east of the town of Sheikh in Somaliland." (News source.)

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Thursday, December 03, 2009

Texas Primate Sighting

Actually, there appear to be two separate alleged primate-like sightings from the San Antonio area, one a six-foot Bigfoot type report, and another baboon-like sighting. News reports here, and here.

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Florida Monkeyshines

A few primate sightings (baboon, monkey, etc.) have been reported in the Tampa and Hillsborough areas. (Here, and here.)

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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Lemur Refuge

The highly endangered greater bamboo lemur has been found in an eastern Madagascar location where it had been thought extinct. (News source.)

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Belarus Ape Hunt Off

Police have called off a search for a strange apelike creature spotted in the Belarus marshes near the Latvian border.

"Farmers living in Belarus' northern Grodno province last Summer reported dozens of sightings of an ape-like creature in neighbouring swamps. Witnesses usually described what they saw as close to man-sized, and moving on two or four limbs. It most often often was sighted eating corn in farm fields in the Lidsky district of the Grodno province. Accounts varied widely on the creature's hair color, some observers recounting it had white or light grey fur, and others saying the animal was dark grey or black." (News source.)

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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

New Saddleback Tamarin

A new monkey, a subspecies of saddleback tamarin, has been described. (News source.)

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Fossil Mystery Ape

Russell L. Ciochon has an interesting essay in the latest Nature:

The mystery ape of Pleistocene Asia
Nature 459, 910-911 (18 June 2009)

Available here.

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Alabama: Monkey on Loose?

The Baldwin County Sheriff's Office noted "a caller reported seeing a monkey at about 6 a.m. today along Baldwin County 12, east of Baldwin County 65, near the Pleasant View Baptist Church." Species indeterminate. (News source.)

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

California Lemur Sighting

Two boys near Calabasas Lake spotted what they believe to be a lemur. It was three feet in length with a foot long tail. "'It was giant,' Noah confirmed. 'I thought it was a squirrel at first but then he looked right at us. He was orange and had black on his tail. He had a lemur face and giant yellow eyes.'" (News source.)

Actually, I'm wondering if it wasn't a ringtail, native to California.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Giant Fossil Lemur

Another species of giant fossil lemur has been found in Madagascar. "Baptised Palaeopropithecus kelyus, this new specimen is smaller than the two species of these 'large sloth lemurs' already known and its diet made up of harder-textured foodstuffs." (News source.)

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

More Siberian "Bigfoot"

"The local Shor people in Kemerovo Region, Siberia, are reporting that something is snatching up the wild leek crop that is a staple of their diet, Itar-Tass Siberia reports. The onion-lovers leave behind abundant large footprints with clearly defined toes, similar to the prints found in the area earlier this year, the news service continues." (News source.)

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Is the Kipunji a Baboon?

A paper (available in full here) tries to determine the systematic relationship of a recently (2005) described primate, the Tanzanian kipunji.

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Sunday, April 12, 2009

New Orangutan Population

A new population with estimates up to 2000 orangutans has been discovered in a remote area of Borneo. (News source.)

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Siberian Rumors Lead to Hunt

Expedition is setting off in search of a wildman. (News source.)

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Monday, March 09, 2009

Premeditated Actions in a Chimp

Current Biology has a new article about "a male chimpanzee calmly collecting stones and fashioning concrete discs that he would later use to hurl at zoo visitors." (Eurekalert.)

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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Termite Fishing

More field research results on chimps fashioning basic tools (sticks for termite fishing), here.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

More Siberian Yeti News

Take it for what it's worth...

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Lemur Article

Discovery of Sympatric Dwarf Lemur Species in the High-Altitude Rain Forest of Tsinjoarivo, Eastern Madagascar: Implications for Biogeography and Conservation
M. B. Blanco, et al.
Folia Primatologica, vol. 80(1): 1-17, 2009

Abstract:
The number of species within the Malagasy lemur genus Cheirogaleus is currently under debate. Museum collections are spotty, and field work, supplemented by morphometric and genetic analysis, is essential for documenting geographic distributions, ecological characteristics and species boundaries. We report here field evidence for 2 dwarf lemur species at Tsinjoarivo, an eastern-central high-altitude rain forest: one, from a forest fragment, displaying coat and dental characteristics similar to C. sibreei (previously described only from museum specimens) and the other, from the continuous forest, resembling individuals of Cheirogaleus found today at Ranomafana National Park, further to the south. This study represents the first confirmation of a living population of grey-fawn, C.-sibreei-like, dwarf lemurs in Madagascar.

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Giganto Articles

Here are a few abstracts to somewhat recent papers pertaining to Gigantopithecus (of interest to some in cryptozoology):

Molar enamel thickness and dentine horn height in Gigantopithecus blacki
A. J. Olejniczak, et al.
American Journal of Physical Anthropology, vol. 135(1): 85-91 (2008; online Oct. 2007)
Download PDF
[Also see paper on Australopithecus and Paranthropus enamel: PDF]

Absolutely thick molar enamel is consistent with large body size estimates and dietary inferences about Gigantopithecus blacki, which focus on tough or fibrous vegetation. In this study, 10 G. blacki molars demonstrating various stages of attrition were imaged using high-resolution microtomography. Three-dimensional average enamel thickness and relative enamel thickness measurements were recorded on the least worn molars within the sample (n = 2). Seven molars were also virtually sectioned through the mesial cusps and two-dimensional enamel thickness and dentine horn height measurements were recorded. Gigantopithecus has the thickest enamel of any fossil or extant primate in terms of absolute thickness. Relative (size-scaled) measures of enamel thickness, however, support a thick characterization (i.e., not "hyper-thick"); G. blacki relative enamel thickness overlaps slightly with Pongo and completely with Homo. Gigantopithecus blacki dentine horns are relatively short, similar to (but shorter than) those of Pongo, which in turn are shorter than those of humans and African apes. Gigantopithecus blacki molar enamel (and to a lesser extent, that of Pongo pygmaeus) is distributed relatively evenly across the occlusal surface compared with the more complex distribution of enamel thickness in Homo sapiens. The combination of evenly distributed occlusal enamel and relatively short dentine horns in G. blacki results in a flat and low-cusped occlusal surface suitable to grinding tough or fibrous food objects. This suite of molar morphologies is also found to varying degrees in Pongo and Sivapithecus, but not in African apes and humans, and may be diagnostic of subfamily Ponginae.


Comparative observations on the tooth root morphology of Gigantopithecus blacki
K. Kupczik and M. C. Dean
Journal of Human Evolution, vol. 54(2): 196-204 (Feb. 2008)

The extinct great ape Gigantopithecus blacki from the middle Pleistocene of China and Vietnam is known only from dental and mandibular remains, and its dietary specializations remain contentious. Here, for the first time, we describe the root morphology in G. blacki using computed tomography and three-dimensional image processing. We quantify the tooth root lengths and surface areas of the female G. blacki mandible No. 1 from the Liucheng Cave and compare it to a sample of extant great apes and humans, as well as the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) and the American black bear (Ursus americanus). The results show that, in G. blacki, the pattern of mandibular root numbers—particularly that of the premolars—corresponds with that of Gorilla gorilla, Pan troglodytes, and Pongo pygmaeus. However, G. blacki can be distinguished from the extant hominids by having relatively higher values for postcanine root length and surface area, both absolutely and relative to mandibular size (except for premolar root lengths of humans). The relatively large postcanine root surface areas, which are most similar to A. melanoleuca, suggest that the dentition of G. blacki was adapted to sustaining relatively large occlusal forces needed to fracture mechanically resistant foods such as bamboo.


Geochronology of Ailuropoda–Stegodon fauna and Gigantopithecus in Guangxi Province, southern China
W. J. Rink, et al.
Quaternary Research, vol. 69(3): 377-387 (May 2008)

Pleistocene faunas from south China are difficult to subdivide based on the long temporal ranges of many taxa and a reduced number of genera in comparison to faunas from temperate north China. In south China, the Ailuropoda–Stegodon fauna is a very general one and includes a relatively stable suite of genera that apparently persisted for long periods of time. These attributes have made constraining its time range difficult. Application of electron spin resonance (ESR) dating of tooth enamel constrains the ages well where uranium uptake was minor. Where uranium uptake into teeth was significant, an approach combining ESR and 230Th/234U isotopic analysis also yields excellent ages. Previous estimates of early, middle and late Pleistocene time ranges previously determined by biostratigraphic seriation for the Ailuropoda–Stegodon fauna are confirmed in all cases but are made more precise with our approach, including specific time ranges for certain archaic taxa. Absolute dating also yields an extended time range for Gigantopithecus blacki of 1200 to 310 ka.


Assessing mandibular shape variation within Gigantopithecus using a geometric morphometric approach
S. F. Miller, J. L. White, and R. L. Ciochon
American Journal of Physical Anthropology, vol. 137(2): 201-212 (Oct. 2008)

This study provides a survey of mandibular shape in a sample of extant hominoids (Pan, Gorilla, Pongo, and Hylobates), as well as extinct Asian and Eurasian taxa (Ouranopithecus, Sivapithecus, and Gigantopithecus) in order to compare overall shape similarity. Results presented call into question differences in mandible shape recently used to distinguish Gigantopithecus giganteus from Gigantopithecus blacki and to justify resurrecting a different generic designation, "Indopithecus," for the former. It is concluded that while the two large-bodied Asian taxa may have been adapted to slightly different dietary niches with different geographic and temporal ranges, the unique mandibular/dental characters that the two taxa share should not be viewed as independent evolutionary developments.

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Cheeta Cheater?

Was "Cheeta" a fictional persona foisted on a number of hapless chimpanzees? Details...

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Friday, January 30, 2009

Whatever Happened to the 15th Monkey?

Finally, the story is told...

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Papers: Civets and Lemurs

Via Kevin Stewart, a couple of new papers to mention:

Lemur Diversity in Madagascar
Mittermeier, et al.
International Journal of Primatology (2008) 29: 1607-1656

This is a review of the taxonomic status of lemurs, recognizing 99 species and subspecies. It also notes several controversial areas, and points to potential new species (as yet undescribed).

The taxonomy of the endemic golden palm civet of Sri Lanka
Colin P. Groves, et al.
Zoological Journal of the Linnaean Society (2009) 155: 238-251

This is the citation for the golden palm civet paper noted in a previous blog posting. Paradoxurus stenocephalus, a new species, is described, and a possible new species is identified but not yet described.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Macaque Roaming Clearwater Area

FL F&W is trying to capture a rhesus macaque roaming the Clearwater area. They don't know where it came from, and are waiting the next tip to go looking for it. (News source.)

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

2008 Abstracts: The Munzala

A Voucher Specimen for Macaca munzala: Interspecific Affinities, Evolution, and Conservation of a Newly Discovered Primate

Charudutt Mishra and Anindya Sinha

International Journal of Primatology
Vol. 29, no. 3 (June 2008): 743-756

Abstract: Sinha, A., Datta, A., Madhusudan, M. D., & Mishra, C. (2005. Macaca munzala: A new species from western Arunachal Pradesh, northeastern India. International Journal of Primatology, 26, 977989) discovered Arunachal macaques (Macaca munzala), a species new to science, in the eastern Himalaya of Arunachal Pradesh in northeastern India. They depicted the holotype and paratypes of the species in photographs, and a specimen of the species had been unavailable for preservation and examination. In March 2005, we obtained an entire specimen of an adult male Macaca munzala, which we propose as a voucher specimen for the species. We provide detailed morphological and anatomical measurements of the specimen and examine its affinities with other macaques. Macaca munzala appears to be unique among macaques in craniodental size and structure, baculum, and aspects of caudal structure, while exhibiting affinities with the other members of the sinica-group to which it belongs. We summarize our insights on the origins and phylogeny of Macaca munzala. Finally, we review the current conservation status of the macaques, which are threatened by extensive hunting in the only 2 districts of Arunachal Pradesh where they are documented to occur.

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In search of the munzala: distribution and conservation status of the newly-discovered Arunachal macaque Macaca munzala

R. Suresh Kumar, Nabam Gama, R. Raghunath, Anindya Sinha and Charudutt Mishra

Oryx
Vol. 42 (2008): pp. 360-366

Abstract: The recently-described Arunachal macaque Macaca munzala is so far known only from western Arunachal Pradesh, north-east India. Here we present the first conservation status assessment for the species. Our surveys enumerated a total of 569 individuals in the Tawang and West Kameng districts of the State. The species seems to be tolerant of anthropogenic habitat change but is vulnerable to hunting. A low infant to adult female ratio suggests that not all adult females reproduce at any given time, and females do not give birth every year. The macaques are persecuted largely in response to crop damage, with the practice of keeping them as pets providing an added incentive to hunting. The species is, however, able to attain remarkably high densities in the absence of hunting. Crop damage by the macaque is widespread; patterns of crop damage are similar across altitudinal zones and do not seem to be correlated with macaque density. The species will need to be protected in human-modified landscapes, and the issues of crop damage and retaliatory persecution need to be addressed urgently.

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Puerto Rico: Monkey Hunts

Introduced patas and rhesus monkeys are the target now in Puerto Rico, as authorities are trying to stop their spread across the entire island. Primate researchers don't think it's likely they'll be successful. (News source.)

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Escaped Monkeys Rounded Up

The last of the escaped Patas monkeys from a Florida park have been captured. The political/legal fallout continues... (News source.)

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Rediscovered Pygmy Tarsier

A Texas A&M anthropologist has rediscovered a pygmy tarsier in the wilds of Lore Lindu National Park, Sulawesi. "The pygmy tarsiers, furry Furby/gremlin-looking creatures about the size of a small mouse and weighing less than 2 ounces, have not been observed since they were last collected for a museum in 1921. Several scientists believed they were extinct until two Indonesian scientists trapping rats in the highlands of Sulawesi accidentally trapped and killed a pygmy tarsier in 2000." (News source.)

Not specifically noted, it appears they mean
Tarsius pumilus, according to the EDGE site. (Which notes, "Some researchers doubted the continued existence of Tarsius pumilus or in fact that it ever represented a separate species, as only two specimens were ever found and it had not been unambiguously identified in the wild since 1930.")

The anthropologists notes on
NG: "There have been dozens of expeditions looking for them—all unsuccessful. I needed to go and try to see for myself if they were really there or if they were really extinct."

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Saturday, November 08, 2008

1931 New York "Ape" Sighting

From the news: "In June 1931, Nassau County police officers armed with shotguns combed the woods of Albertson, searching for what newspapers called an ape-like animal that was frightening residents. The animal was described as four-feet tall with a chest covered in brown hair."

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Still on the Loose...

Those remaining Patas monkeys roaming Polk Co., Florida, have settled on a ranch. (News source.)

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Blog Monkey Project

There's an effort to raise money for Dr. Marc van Roosmalen, with the intent of describing a recently discovered woolly monkey as the "blog monkey." Details here.

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Moe Probably Didn't Survive

No trace of Moe, the escaped chimpanzee in California, for three months, and a new article suggests that he probably didn't survive.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Monkey Recaptured

A Japanese macaque loose in Ontario was returned to its home at an exotic animal sanctuary, 11 days after it escaped. (News source.)

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Toronto: Monkey Loose

A Japanese macaque is on the loose, having escaped from the Bergeron Animal Sanctuary. (News source.)

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Monday, September 08, 2008

Ugly Bearded Creature?

A Brunei nature documentary on Temburong has a "touch of mystery" to it. No real details, but the news article notes:

"The mystery started when one of our production crews fainted after she saw an ugly bearded creature in the jungle before we even started to climb.
"We have to leave her behind to be looked after by one of the guides."

Lots of known primates in Brunei, so would need better details to determine if this is an actual "mystery" or not.

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

More Monkeys Than Expected

WCS surveys found new large populations of two rare Cambodian primates: (Eurekalert)

"A WCS report reveals surprisingly large populations of two globally threatened primates in a protected area in Cambodia.
"The report counted 42,000 black-shanked douc langurs along with 2,500 yellow-cheeked crested gibbons in Cambodia's Seima Biodiversity Conservation Area, an estimate that represents the largest known populations for both species in the world.
"WCS scientists conducted the surveys with the Royal Government of Cambodia's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries across an area of 300 square miles (789 square kilometers) within a wider landscape of 1,150 square miles (3,000 square kilometers), which is about the size of Yosemite National Park. The scientists believe total populations within the wider landscape may be considerably greater."...
"The two primate species are found in much lower numbers at other sites in Cambodia and in Vietnam. Prior to the recent discovery in the Seima Biodiversity Conservation Area, the largest known populations were believed to be in adjacent Vietnam, where black-shanked douc langurs and yellow-cheeked crested gibbons hover at 600 and 200 respectively. The total population of the two species remains unknown."

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

FL: Monkeys Spotted

A Dade City, FL, woman saw a couple of monkeys in her backyard; it's unknown whether they are the remaining escapees from Safari Wild. (News source.)

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Still Waiting for DNA Results...

The UK scientist investigating the "India yeti" hairs is still awaiting DNA results. (News source.)

The guy's logic is a bit strained, though, here:

"'The DNA will tell us if it's a primate and may unveil a new species. If that's the case, it'll still be a mystery and we need to get resources to the Indian scientists.
"'If it's a new species, it's likely to be small and, therefore, could well be under threat. If they're the size people have said they are, you would expect a lot more of them to be seen in the area.
"'The sightings are in secluded villages where there are no cars or telephones so news travels by word of mouth.'"

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Monday, August 11, 2008

More Mande Burung

Another article on the "yeti" of India.

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Saturday, August 02, 2008

Search for Moe Called Off

With no luck so far, the California search for the missing chimpanzee has been postponed until further sightings appear. (News source.)

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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Yeti Hair Update

From the news:

"Ape expert Ian Redmond, who is coordinating the research, said they had ruled out the hairs belonging to Asiatic black bears, macaque monkeys, humans, dogs, and wild boar." ...
"Zoe Forbes, a spokesman for Oxford Brookes, said: 'The testing of the hairs is a three-stage process, involving microscopic analysis, analysis under a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), and then the extraction of DNA.
"'The SEM analysis is also taking place at Brookes, but if it confirms the original findings, the hairs will be sent to other laboratories for DNA extraction.'"

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Monkey from Mars

An interesting old UFO hoax using a dead monkey is reviewed here.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Big Fossil Lemur

Research is being done on the skull of a now-extinct lemur that was as large as a baboon. (Eurekalert.)

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

India's "Yeti" Hair Investigated

From the news:

"Hair strands thought to be from a yeti-like creature living in India are to be tested in Oxfordshire.
"Scientists at Oxford Brookes University will study the sample, which was found in the state of Meghalaya.
"The hair was found and handed to BBC reporter Alastair Lawson during an expedition to try and find the animal after a number of reported sightings."

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Greater Bamboo Lemurs

A new population of the rare greater bamboo lemur has been discovered in Madagascar. (Eurekalert.)

"Researchers in Madagascar have confirmed the existence of a population of greater bamboo lemurs more than 400 kilometers (240 miles) from the only other place where the Critically Endangered species is known to live, raising hopes for its survival.
"The discovery of the distinctive lemurs with jaws powerful enough to crack giant bamboo, their favorite food, occurred in 2007 in the Torotorofotsy wetlands of east central Madagascar, which is designated a Ramsar site of international importance under the 1971 Convention on Wetlands." ...
"For years, scientists believed but were unable to prove that greater bamboo lemurs (Prolemur simus) lived in the Torotorofotsy area. A collaborative effort between the Malagasy non-government organization MITSINJO and the Henry Doorly Zoo in the United States supported by the Margot Marsh Biodiversity Foundation and Conservation International (CI) resulted in researchers finding and immobilizing several to attach radio collars for further monitoring.
"The researchers believe there are 30-40 greater bamboo lemurs in the Torotorofotsy wetland, which is far to the north of the isolated pockets of bamboo forest where the rest of the known populations of the species live. Habitat destruction from slash-and-burn agriculture and illegal logging threatens the previously known populations that total about 100 individuals, making the existence of the newly found lemurs in a distinct region especially valuable."

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Not Moe; Another Primate?

A lost hiker, later rescued, in the San Bernardino Mountains claimed to see a primate, which some thought could be the missing chimpanzee, Moe. (News source.)

"'I saw a monkey,' said Grace Carlos Hilario, 21, of Corona. 'It was dark gray and brown and it ran like a monkey.'
"Hilario became separated from her group while hiking in the San Bernardino Mountains last Thursday. She was rescued Saturday morning by helicopter near the Riverside County line, about 20 miles from where the celebrity chimp was last seen June 27.
"'She was lucid,' said San Bernardino sheriff's spokeswoman Jodi Miller. 'There was never any discussion that she was hallucinating at the time of her rescue.'"

But, the sanctuary owner says that this is unlikely: (News source.)

"The search party is taking all reports seriously, Camp said, but several factors raise doubts about whether Hilario saw Moe.
"Moe is about twice the weight Hilario described and black in color. The area where she was found is almost on the other side of the San Bernardino National Forest from where Moe escaped.
"'For him to get there, he would have to cross over numerous highways,' Camp said.
"Moe also is more likely to approach a person than run away, he said.
"Still, Camp said volunteers will pay more attention to that area of the forest, including possibly sending a helicopter to search the area if Moe's owners, St. James and LaDonna Davis, decide it is necessary."

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Monday, July 14, 2008

Patas Escapees, Cont.

2/3 of the Patas monkeys that escaped from Florida's Safari Wild have been recaptured so far, with 5 remaining loose. (News source.)

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Another Mouse Lemur

A new species of mouse lemur has been described from Madagascar. (News source.)

"The small nocturnal mouse lemur species has been named Microcebus macarthurii, MacArthur`s mouse lemur. The animals live in eastern Madagascar in the dense, evergreen mountainous rainforests of the Makira region. They were discovered by the Malagasy scientists when inventorying the lemur fauna of the area. Since the project is being supported by the MacArthur Foundation from the USA the new species has been named after the Foundation."

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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Gibbon Survey

A survey of the rare Cao Vit gibbon in Vietnam has doubled the number of the known population (now about 110 gibbons) of the critically endangered ape. (News source.)

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Thursday, July 03, 2008

Search Contines for Chimp

Moe the chimp is still missing, but tracks may have been found... (News source.)

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Monday, June 30, 2008

Moe Escapes

Moe, the chimpanzee, has escaped from Jungle Exotics in San Bernardino County, California. (Moe's former owner was the guy mauled by two chimpanzees while he was visiting Moe at an animal sanctuary.) (News source.)

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Monday, June 23, 2008

Monkey Loose

A monkey was reported roaming Lafayette, Indiana. (News source.)

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

More on India's "Bigfoot"

There's an article here (with several embedded on-location videos) on the Mande Barung in Meghalaya, India.

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Monday, June 16, 2008

More on "Borneo Bigfoot"

From the news:

"The giant footprints found in a fishing village in Daro are a fake.
"'It's man-made and a hoax,' Sarawak Museum anthropologist Dr Charles Leh said last Saturday while dismissing news reports that the two sets of footprints found in a village in Mukah division were those of 'Bigfoot', an ape-like creature said to be found in North America.
"He said the hoax may be an attempt to attract people to Daro.
"Leh, who is also the assistant director of the museum, based his opinion on an analysis of the published photographs." More at the site.

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Big Feet?

Reports from Borneo of 47 inch long footprints... (News source.)

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Chimps Catch Human Virus

Chimpanzees at Mahale Mountains National Park (Tanzania) are suffering from a respiratory disease that is likely a variant of a human paramyxovirus. The apes are "human-habituated," and may have caught the virus from scientists or tourists. (News source.)

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Monday, May 26, 2008

Monkeys Still Loose

The Patas monkeys that escaped from SafariWild near Lakeland, FL, are still on the loose. A woman reported seeing a monkey recently, but it turned out to be a large fox squirrel. (News source.)

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Article Review: Images of the Wildman...

Images of the Wildman Inside and Outside Europe
Gregory Forth
Folklore 118(December 2007): 261-281.

Forth's article is a folkloric treatment of the medieval European wildman, comparing it with representations of the wildman motif in Asian and, to a lesser extent, elsewhere. This is one of the first such treatments that I've seen that considers cryptozoology with more than a throwaway line or a few negative mumblings. Forth, instead, approaches it carefully and with interest.

Forth begins with an examination of the European wildman folklore, noting that there are significant differences from wildman folklore elsewhere. He suggests that this may result from sighting discontinuity (few alleged sightings in Europe over the last century), while in Asia, North America, etc., there continue to be reported encounters which contribute to the shaping of folkloric representations. Also, he points out something that may surprise many academic folklorists: the wildman in non-European regions cannot be simply downplayed as a colonial artifact or just the influence of Western ideology.

Forth then notes the transformation of European wildman representations over the centuries, particularly as science and colonization brought Europeans into greater contact both with the great apes and with native peoples in other lands.

Finally, Forth discusses the modern phenomena of cryptozoology, and its interest in (particularly non-European) "wildman" accounts. Keeping in mind that this is a folkloric treatment, it isn't surprising that Forth's source materials in cryptozoology are a few older works (Manlike Monsters on Trial, Heuvelmans, and Napier). His primary point is that the European wildman does not appear to be a direct folkloric influence on non-European cryptids, but rather the folkloric descriptions are far more influenced by paleoanthropological discoveries and the like. (Within the field of cryptozoology, that is; obviously, indigenous people groups in Asia, for example, would have little influence in their native folklore from such.)

Conclusion (or part of it): "Virtually all scientific concepts are partly derivative of non-scientific ideas. Representing modern crypto-species, or for that matter the categories of palaeoanthropology, as a simple survival of the European wildman obscures both the radical transformation of the mediaeval figure and the emergence of approaches that, engaging with evolutionary biology and other scientific disciplines, provide evidence against the existence of a crypto-species, as well as evidence in support." Forth also notes that while most anthropologists may view wildman imagery as by-products of a culture or social system, this perspective "has typically been assumed rather than advanced or defended," and so is basically undeveloped.

In all, it's worth reading. Yes, there are a few areas (i.e., his noting of the Jacko account) where he may not have caught up with current cryptozoological speculations, but it is a better treatment of cryptozoology in an academic setting than we normally see. Forth is currently in Indonesia for several months, but has a book coming out this fall (assuming Kegan Paul/Routledge keeps on track), Wildman: Images from Flores, Southeast Asia, and Elsewhere.

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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

India's "Bigfoot"

An odd little review here of the Mande Barung, of India's Galo Hills in Meghalaya.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Giant Sloth Lemurs

Genetic investigation reveals that the giant "sloth" lemurs of Madagascar were a sister group to the living indriid lemurs. Paper can be downloaded here.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Monkeys Can Swim

Lowry Park Zoo (FL) imported a troop of Patas monkeys from Puerto Rico and placed them on an island surrounded by a 50-foot wide, 8-foot deep moat. They just forgot to check on whether the monkeys could swim. The monkeys are currently on the lam. (News source.)

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Hoax?

An odd little story out of Mississippi: (News source.)

"According to police, two postal workers and two parents picking their children up from school claimed to have seen a huge primate run into the woods behind the post office shortly after 2 p.m.
"Because all the accounts were separate instances, School Resource Officer Lt. Terry Sanford said he doesn’t doubt that people saw something, but he’s almost sure it wasn’t a gorilla.
"'We got a few calls about the gorilla, but we didn’t see anything,' said Sanford. 'People said they saw the animal run into the woods. I think what they saw was a person dressed in a suit trying to get a reaction out of people.'
"A local costume dealer said a man and a woman bought a gorilla head and hands Tuesday, stating that they already had a suit."

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Old Lemur

Bones of a 2,000 year old lemur found in a Madagascar cave have an intriguing anatomical distinction on the little finger. (News source.)

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Friday, February 22, 2008

Two Lemurs Described

Two new species of "cryptic" nocturnal lemurs have been described after phylogenetic analysis. The paper (pdf) includes photos of the new species. (via Kevin Stewart)

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Ethnoknowns from the Philippines

There's a report of species newly recorded from Mindanao island, which includes two folkloric accounts of animals that may or may not be recognized species (and may or may not be something as yet undescribed). The first is a "red-faced monkey":

"
A group of red-faced monkeys that can mimic human laughter has been sighted in the mountain ranges of Sal-dab, a sacred mountain in Northern Mindanao, The STAR learned recently.
"The monkey that mimics human voice is known to natives as Uma-ay and is believed to bring a curse on whoever sees it.

"According to local folklore, whoever sees the creature will lose his way in the jungle or may encounter misfortune, accident or even death along the way." ...
"
A tribal trapper interviewed by The STAR last year said the Uma-ay looks human because they do not have hair on their faces and can mimic the human voice. They grow up to the size of the native monkeys in the area.
"'The laugh of an Uma-ay is an ominous sign, it means misfortune or even death,' the tribal hunter said in the Hiliga-onon dialect.

"The hunter declined to name the location of the place where the Uma-ay can be found but said it is sacred ground where tribal elders offer sacrifices and perform yearly rituals to appease their gods."

Now, Mindanao has one recognized monkey species, the common crab-eating macaque. That species isn't known for a bright red face (though that trait is known in the related Japanese macaque). So, might these red-faced monkeys be something new? A variant of the recognized macaque species? Or just a bit of local folklore? Another ethnoknown is briefly noted:

"
Aside from the Uma-ay, the tribal folk also mentioned that they sighted an unnamed feathered bird that has mammal’s hair.
"Just like the Uma-ay, the bird also mimics the human voice but its favorite sound is the cry of a newborn baby.

"The natives call the creature Ukang (owl) or gulus (ghost). This nocturnal bird is often heard making noise at night but only a few elders have actually seen it.

"Tribe members believe that the Uma-ay mimics the human voice to drive away the Kalumbata (monkey-eating eagle), which regularly hover in the area in search for food.

"It is said that Uma-ays would simultaneously sound their laughter to confuse the marauding eagles."

Not enough details, and most of this might be superstition masking the description. Whenever you have strange nocturnal calls, there's a potential for mistaking the identity. (News source.)

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

New Uacari

A new primate, a uacari species, has been discovered in northwestern Amazonia, and described as Cacajao ayresii. (News source.)

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Chimp Geophagy

An interesting press release here, on geophagy (soil eating) in chimpanzees. An excerpt:

"The deliberate ingestion of soil, or ‘geophagy’, has important health benefits for chimpanzees, according to Sabrina Krief and her colleagues from the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris, France. Far from being a dysfunctional behavior, geophagy has evolved as a practice for maintaining health amongst chimpanzees. In this particular study (1), to be published online this week in Springer’s journal Naturwissenschaften, geophagy increases the potency of ingested plants with anti-malarial properties."

1. Krief S, Klein N & Fröhlich F (2008). Geophagy: soil consumption enhances the bioactivities of plants eaten by chimpanzees. Naturwissenschaften

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Monday, December 31, 2007

Hunting Skunk Apes (And, Then, Quitting...)

Here's an article about a guy who spent a great deal of time over two decades searching for a skunk ape, allegedly having some close encounters, and then giving it up when he suddenly realizes that skunk apes are wild animals and might actually be dangerous. (And, of course, not allowing further research by offering his data to other legit investigators. But, hey, at least he's got a book coming out...)

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Friday, December 28, 2007

New Gigantopithecus Fossils

Only sparse details so far, but NG News states:

"The 400,000-year-old fossils of a giant panda were uncovered alongside the remains of a titan-sized, ancient ape called Gigantopithecus blacki, said Huang Wanbo, a paleontologist at Beijing's Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology.
"Excavated from a limestone cave on the island province of Hainan, the fossils suggest that both the giant pandas and the Giganto apes survived on a mostly bamboo diet, said Huang." ...
"Russell Ciochon, a professor at the University of Iowa who has joined several fossil digs in China but was not involved in the Hainan excavation, said the findings expand the known geographic range of nine- to ten-foot (three-meter) Giganto, which he called 'the largest ape that ever existed.'"

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Gorillas Throwing Sticks

Interesting point regarding the Cross River gorillas, and their behavior towards humans:

"In the wake of a study that documented for the first time the use of weaponry by Cross River gorillas to ward off threats by humans, the Wildlife Conservation Society announced today new field surveys to better protect this most endangered great ape.
"The study, published earlier this year in the Journal of Primatology, found several instances of gorillas throwing sticks and clumps of grass when threatened by people. Gorillas usually flee and rarely charge when encountered by humans.
"Cross River gorillas are restricted to Nigeria and Cameroon. They number only around 300 individuals, making them the most endangered of the four gorilla sub-species." (Eurekalert)

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

More from Baker Co., FL

The sighting of an "orangutan" or some other odd critter in Baker County, FL, has brought out more witnesses. (News source.)

"The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission sent investigator Ken Holmes to the scene. No positive identification of the animal was made at the time. Mr. Holmes later stated that he would “be astonished if the animal were an orangutan” since its reported nocturnal behavior was not like that of a primate.
"'More than likely it’s a large fox squirrel,' he said.
"Tell that to Windy Tyson, who lives in the Hills of Glen development. She initially reported being awakened during the early morning hours to hear loud screeching and howling outside her home. To her, it sounded like a monkey.
"About the same time, another Baker County resident whose property backs up to the Little St. Marys River reported hearing something in the darkness outside her home about 12:30 am. Startled and curious, she raised her second-floor bedroom window, hoping to hear it again. The creature shrieked once more." ...
"The Baker county resident who first reported seeing the creature and prefers to remain anonymous, spotted the animal on his property the morning after Ms. Tyson heard its nocturnal calls. While working out in his barn, he saw it from about 20 yards away beside a dog pen.
"He believes the animal may have been attracted to the scent of several boxes of donuts in the back of his truck. He went to investigate and watched as it climbed to the top of a tall tree nearby.
"'I can tell you that it was not a squirrel,' he declared. 'It absolutely was a red spider monkey. Some of them get really large. It weighed between 40-50 pounds and had a very long tail.'" ...
"More reports of strange noises in the night have followed, as recent as November 14. One resident, who doesn’t want his identity or location revealed to discourage trespassers and curiosity seekers on his property, reported something 'calling' from the tree behind his home. He has heard similar sounds before made by monkeys in the jungles of Central and South America where he has spent time. To him, what was up his tree was no animal native to the woods of Baker county.
"'My dogs were going crazy in their pens. I could tell something was moving around in the tree branches,” he said. “It jumped from the branches and landed on the tin roof of a dog pen directly underneath. Only something large and heavy could have made the noise it did when it hit the roof.'" ...
"Sightings of unusual animals are not unheard of in Baker County. Several years ago, numerous Glen St. Mary residents reported seeing a strange creature crossing Hwy 125 late at night. One resident, Mark Lyons, described the creature as having reddish, orange fur, short forearms and walking upright."

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Chinese Wildman Sighting

More large bipedal apelike creatures reported from China:

"Two giant ape-like creatures were spotted in the afternoon of November 18, 2007, in Shennongjia, an area famous for the legendary "bigfoot" wild man located in central China's Hubei Province. Four independently traveling tourists claimed that they were almost face to face with two wild men while touring around the Licha River, at the northern foot of Laojun Mountain. If their words prove to be true, the tourists will be the first eyewitnesses of "bigfoot" in southeast Shennongjia Nature Reserve in recent years.
"According to a Changjiang Times report on November 20, Zhang Jinxing, a scientist conducting investigations in the Shennongjia Nature Reserve, reported the thrilling event to relevant local authorities in the afternoon of November 19. When Zhang had finished his investigation that morning, he came across four independently traveling tourists, two men and two women, in a land-rover. These tourists told him that they had seen two wild men around the Licha River in the morning of November 18. They were near a sharp curve on the mountain road when three of the four, two men and one woman, spotted two giant, dark figures standing behind a tangled mass of shrubbery some 50 meters away from their car. It seemed that the two creatures didn't see the car at first, but they soon fled into the dense forest."

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Ape or Squirrel?

A Florida Fish & Wildlife investigator thinks the "orangutan" seen in Baker County was just an orange-phase fox squirrel. From the news:

"Fish and Wildlife investigator Ken Holmes said the creature is not behaving like a primate, especially with its nocturnal activity." ...
"
On Oct. 30, Holmes said he got a call about the mystery animal stealing the sweet snacks from a bear hunter who lives near Macclenny. Holmes looked into the tall pine tree and saw something 100 feet up moving around but couldn't confirm if it was an ape, squirrel, monkey, raccoon or even a cat.
"So Holmes decided to lay doughnuts at the base of the tree to lure the creature out. The animal left but wasn't seen or captured.

"From the way he was eating the doughnuts, Holmes said it probably wasn't an ape.

"'Orangutans are messy eaters. If the animal were an orangutan, you would expect to find pieces of donuts or fruit scattered all over the place, rather than just neatly nibbled,' Holmes said."

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Florida Mystery Ape

There have been sightings of an "orangutan" around Glen St. Mary, Florida, a small Baker County town along the northern border of the state. From the news:

"A handful of folks say they've heard the call of an escaped ape.
"One family even found the grand prize: what looked to be an orange ape, nesting high in a tree.
"We talked on the phone with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission investigator who actually answered the original complaint call.
"He said there was definitely something up in the top of the tree, but he really couldn't be sure what it was."

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

DeBrazza's Monkeys

A new population of the rare DeBrazza's monkey has been discovered in Kenya. Primate researcher Iregi Mwenja investigated reports of the species in the Mathews Range (sightings given by a tour operator), even when others (other primatologists?) told him that they likely weren't there. (News source.)

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