Monday, July 30, 2007

CT Cougar

Sightings of a "large animal, about 75 to 80 pounds, with a very, very long tail" have been reported from a nature preserve near a Colchester, Connecticut, neighborhood. (News source.)

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Sunday, July 29, 2007

More on van Roosmalen

Another article has come out on Marc van Roosmalen, at the Chicago Tribune.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Various Cougar Sightings

Cougar sightings have recently hit the news:

New Jersey: "Welch said her neighbor last week saw a mountain lion, also called a cougar, puma or panther, sitting on a rock in a grove of trees at the center of the circular street and notified the authorities. While the sighting was being investigated, word made its way around the local area. At least one nearby preschool kept its young students inside for a day as a precaution."

Maine: "The Cooks say they saw their mountain lion around 6:30 in the evening — and weeks before the spate of sightings made news in the state. They knew it wasn't a house cat - they have one of those themselves. And as a licensed animal technician and former owner of a biotechnology company, Holly Cook says she wouldn't be easily fooled. But despite the fact that she wasn't taken entirely seriously by officials, Cook says she's still thrilled by seeing the big cat."

Ontario: "Wednesday, Quinte West OPP were called by a resident living in the area of the Oak Hills Golf Course along Highway 33 reporting a possible cougar sighting. Officers visited the area and while the sighting wasn’t confirmed by the officers who attended, the information was passed along the animal control officers."

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Large-Antlered Muntjac

Via Kevin Stewart:

The large-antlered muntjac, discovered in 1994, has been photographed for the first time, in Nakai Nam Theun National Protected Area in the Annamite Mountains, Laos. (News source.)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Pterosaurs Didn't Skim (Probably)

New research suggests that most, if not all, pterosaurs would have been incapable of lengthy "skimming" for food from water's surface (due to heavy drag, or the wrong skeletal structure). From the Eurekalert:

"Big was beautiful for the pterosaur, with evolutionary trends towards giant sizes. However, Humphries et al. show that the size of these colossal animals would have prevented them from feeding as previously described, as the drag experienced by a pterosaur over a ton would have imposed too great an energetic cost. The authors also reveal that the smaller, lighter pterosaurs that may have been able to overcome this drag barrier make equally unlikely skim feeders, as they lack the many adaptations of the neck and skull shown in modern skimming birds."

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

Loveland Pond Monster T-Shirts

A Loveland, Colorado, enterpriser has created t-shirts depicting the "pond monster" recently in the news. (Assuming that the pond monster is not, in fact, a released crocodilian -- the t-shirts depict a sea-serpent like critter.) (News source.) (T-shirt site)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Chinese Lake Monster

From the Telegraph:

"A rare video, filmed by a tourist in remote Western China, has captured what appears to be several huge creatures swimming across Lake Kanasi." ...
"Two years ago, two 10 metre-long black creatures were spotted on the surface of the lake, swimming from the shore to the centre - but this is the first sighting since that time.
"Chinese Central Television did not attempt to identify the animals seen in the video, simply saying: 'This time a large number of unidentified creatures emerged, bringing more mystery to Lake Kanasi.'"

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Colorado Pond Creature Hunted

Wildlife officers have set up mountain lion traps on the banks of Jayhawker Ponds to see if they can trap whatever the creature is (crocodilian, perhaps) that has been reported in the water. (News source.)

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Australia Feline Sighting

Two Australian truckers are reported to have seen a large black cat-like animal that crossed the Hamilton Highway near Inverleigh. It was "the size of a labrador and had a distinctive long looping tail." ... "The sighting, in open farmland near the Shelford turnoff, 4km west of Inverleigh, triggered a police inspection of the site and will grow the mystique of big cats in the Inverleigh district." (News source.)

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Zanzibar Coelacanth

Fishermen have caught a 4.4-foot coelacanth off the northern tip of the Zanzibar archipelago, which makes it the third spot in Tanzania the species has been found. (News source.)

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Rediscovered Echidna

Researchers exploring the Cyclops Mountains in Papua were able to gather ethnodata from local peoples about the rare (and until then, considered extinct) Attenborough's echidna. The animal was seen as recently as 2005 by some locals. Nose poke holes were also found in the soil, offering further circumstantial evidence. (News source.)

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Saturday, July 14, 2007

OOP Gator?

Jayhawker Ponds in Loveland, CO, is the site of reports of a "giant reptile," five to seven feet in length, over the last few weeks. Officials think it may be a released caiman or gator. (News source.)

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Bili Apes Again

Another news article on the Bili apes:

"The most detailed and recent data comes from Cleve Hicks, at the University of Amsterdam, who has spent 18 months in the field watching the Bili apes - named after a local town - since 2004. His team's most striking find came after one of his trackers heard chimps calling for several days from the same spot.
"When he investigated he came across a chimp feasting on the carcass of a leopard. Mr Hicks cannot be sure the animal was killed by the chimp, but the find lends credence to the apes' lion-eating reputation." ...

"Mr Hicks reports that he found a unique chimp culture. For example, unlike their cousins in other parts of Africa the chimps regularly bed down for the night in nests on the ground. Around a fifth of the nests he found were there rather than in the trees." ...
"Mr Hicks said the animals also have what he calls a 'smashing culture' - a blunt but effective way of solving problems. He has found hundreds of snails and hard-shelled fruits smashed for food, seen chimps carrying termite mounds to rocks to break them open and also found a turtle that was almost certainly smashed apart by chimps."

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Friday, July 13, 2007

Canadian Black Panthers

Interesting sightings from Ontario:

"Black panthers are roaming around Bonfield and Rutherglen, witnesses say." ...
"John Wilson said he was driving his pickup truck down Trunk Road in Bonfield about a week ago when he spotted what he believes was a panther.
"'I saw this rabbit running straight for my truck like something was chasing it,' he said Thursday.
"'All of a sudden this black thing came out of the bush. At first I thought it was just a dog, but when it turned sideways I saw its long curvy tail,' he said." ...
"Tilson said she was skeptical about the presence of panthers in the area until her husband and several area residents confirmed what many had suspected for years.
"'A few weeks ago my husband went out in the back field to feed the horses and he said he saw something big and black,' she said.
"'At first he thought it was a bear, but it had a long tail and was about the size of our Labrador retriever. You can hear it at night, it has a loud, high pitch, like a screeching sound.'
"Tilson said when she walked over to the spot where the animal was spotted, its paw prints were as big as a 'bread and butter plate.'" (News source.)

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Canadian Elephant Escape

Three elephants escaped from a circus north of Toronto, wandering through a neighborhood before residents called police. (News source.)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Feathers and Radiation

Turns out that colorful feathers (due to carotenoid-based pigments) use up antioxidants, which makes the birds vulnerable to ionising radiation. (Antioxidants would help protect the birds from free radicals.) Colorful birds around the Chernobyl nuclear plant have declined, as have other birds with activities that reduce their natural antioxidants (birds that lay large eggs and birds that migrate longer distances). From the Eurekalert:

"Among the brightly coloured species most affected were orioles, blackbirds and blue tits, while drab species like tree pipits, coal tits and chaffinches were much less affected. Long distance migrants or dispersers that were most affected included quails, orioles, hoopoes, blackbirds and robins, while non-migrant or short-dispersing species like great tits, coal tits and song thrushes were much less affected."

Architeuthis

A large giant squid was found washed up on a remote Tasmanian beach. It had a mantle approximately 1 meter wide by 2 meters long, and an overall length of about 8 meters. The tentacles were damaged, so exact length couldn't be determined. (News source.)

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Clouded Leopard Revisited

Kevin Stewart passes along notice of another paper on clouded leopards, supporting the recent species-level split, and suggesting that the populations on Borneo and Sumatra should also be managed separately.

From Frontiers in Zoology.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Anne Marie Macar Poem on Steller's Sea Cow

Steller's Sea Cow is a poem written by Anne Marie Macar that appeared in the American Poetry Review (Mar/Apr2007, Vol. 36 Issue 2).

We all need a little culture with poems and song from time to time.

It is suggested that if you can access the journal it is a worthwhile read. The poem is a warning and a parable of life, humanity and extinction. An all true reminder of the world around us.

Below, therefore, are the opening two sections of this poem:

Even as they killed them
to extinction, the sea cows
drifted and swam in arctic waters
unafraid of the stranded men.

In the sea cows' parables it was foretold
that extinction comes
into the mind before the body,
a kingdom of oblivion

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Monday, July 09, 2007

New Crab from Madagascar

A new species of freshwater crab from Madagascar has been described in Zootaxa (1524: 61-68, 2007). This new species, Hydrothelphusa vencesi was collected under the supervision Dr. Muguel Vences from the Vevembe Forest in the Fianarantsoa Province of Madagascar.

Authors Neil Cumberlidge, Saskia Marijnissen and Jonelle Thompson examined the specimens collected by Dr. Vences and based on morphological and molecular differences assigned this crab to a new species.

In total Madagascar now has 14 native species of crab.

Hydrothelphusa vencesi is a maximum (known) size of 52 mm (just over 2 inches) and has a purple-brown shell (carapace). It is known from three (3) locations in the southeastern part of Madagascar, the Mananara River, the Sahavatov River and the Sahambano River.

For more details read Hydrothelphusa vencesi, a new species of freshwater crab (Brachyura: Potamoidea: Potamonautidae) from southeastern Madagascar

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Sunday, July 08, 2007

Bader, Moneymaker and Beckjord - Upper Peninsula Letters to the Editor

Most people who read this type of entry are all to familiar with the internal bickering and name-saying that goes on in Bigfoot and related studies.

Most are also familiar with the BFRO (Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization) and their work and expeditions, including the one from July 12-15, 2007 in Michigans Upper Peninsula. It has been in the news, and mentioned at various Internet locations.

On July 3, 2007 a Paul Bader had a letter to the editor of the Daily Press posted. Entitled There's no bigfoot in the U.P. . Within this editorial letter, Bader explains his background and briefly why he feels no Bigfoot exists in the Upper Peninsula. He concludes his letter with the following:

I feel Matthew Moneymakers’ search for bigfoot in the U.P. is a folly. The real people to ask about bigfoot are the lumberjacks and the foresters, as they are in the woods a lot and know the difference between a bear and bigfoot or any other animal.

If there were bigfoot in the U.P., I would have found a track or some sort of evidence during that time as I have walked many miles of muddy and dry logging roads of all sorts, new and old ones, or would have heard from other foresters of a bigfoot sighting or track.

Mathew Moneymaker in response has a letter to the editor published on July 7, 2007. His letter, Why bigfoot hasn't been seen offers a challenge to Bader as follows:

My questions to Mr. Paul Bader: How many times has he explored the U.P. woods at night? Has he seen at least one specimen of every mammal species that is known to live in the U.P.?

This is all well and good. Freedom of speech, freedom to speak ones mind and challenge others to express or follow-up on their viewpoints.

Also on July 7, 2007 Erik Beckjord had a response letter printed as well. Beckjord's letter, Bigfoot, elusive, is still here touched on the non-flesh and blood mindset within some Bigfooters. Beckjord states at the letter start the following:

It is our experience at the National Cryptozoological Society that a special type of bigfoot exists in Michigan, either upper or lower, but it is more of a space-time creature, ala Einstein and parallel universes, rather than a trappable being.

Bigfooters attack each other, there is a sense of ownership to the work to the methodologies and to the collected reports. The theories bounce around, and holy grails are held to a flame ala the Patterson-Gimlin Film (read Darren Naish's well put together entry Frame 352, and all that at Tetrapod Zoology).

It is good, in a sense, to see newspapers (even if they may not all be paper based now) use the age old method of letters to the editors to demonstrate civic debate. It may not be the most common public debate, but none-the-less the venue is beneficial and it reaches an audience.

We have, therefore, in three (3) small letters to a regional press, the context of Bigfoot and his kingdom. The skeptic, the challenger and the non-mainstream challenger. Who is correct?

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Roosmalen and Those Who Are Trying to Help

Marc van Roosmalen's plight in a Brazilian jail has not been forgotten by the world.

Various support structures have been set up to share his plight, his donations to the world, and also work towards a potential release.

Roosmalen was jailed in June 2007 for 14 years due to various penalties associated to keeping monkeys at his home in Brazil. The actual reported offense having taken place several years prior.

One of the more thorough new virtual support sites is called Help Marc Van Roosmalen . It is presented in primarily Dutch with some German areas. Within the context are some history pieces, a place for sympathies for the Roosmalen family and an early interview with Roosmalen himself.

One additional site, in a variety of languages, is at http://www.global-dvc.org/Marc%20van%20Roosmalen.htm . This breaks down some of the details and also some of the wider Internet postings on this scientist.

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Saturday, July 07, 2007

Exploration isn't Dead

You too can be an explorer...

Althought, some believe we are running out of true wilderness...

(Thanks to Kevin Stewart for the latter story.)

Friday, July 06, 2007

Another Suspected Gator

West Virginians suspect that a 6-foot alligator has been released into Twelvepole Creek, Wayne Co., WV. From the news:

"Gina White, a 26-year-old Wayne resident who lives along Twelvepole Creek, was out fishing with members of her family. It was about 2 a.m. The chicken livers they were using as bait attracted something that started swimming across the water.
"At first it looked like a huge snake. Then, as the creature got closer to view, the family members scrambled up the riverbank.
"'You could tell it was an alligator,' White said. 'It was coming straight toward us.'
"White stayed up until dawn, distressed by what she had seen -- and because nobody seemed to believe her. At daybreak, she got up and crept down to the riverbank. She saw it again.
"'It was kind of laying in the water, just lounging,' she said.
"She said she aimed her camera and snapped the fuzzy picture that has everyone in Wayne County talking."

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Mountain Lions (or Something Else)

A few "big cat" reports have been in the news recently. First, an Oakland, Maine, resident has turned over some fur for DNA testing to state biologists. From the news:

"He said a big cat shed the fur while grooming itself on a snowy rock in his wooded backyard in April.
"'I'm not 100 percent sure it was a mountain lion, but it was a big cat, believe me,' Higgins said, pacing across the mown grass and peering off into the nearby undergrowth.
"Higgins' lawn extends a little more than 30 yards from his back porch, from which he said he spotted the cat at the edge of the woods." ...

"Higgins said the cat's body and tail each were about 4 feet long, and he estimated its weight at around 100 pounds.
"Higgins later collected a pinch of fur from the rock, but didn't turn it in to biologists until reading a Morning Sentinel account last week about a possible sighting in Sidney."


And, from Grand Island, New York:

"In the past month there have been three sightings in a woodded area on Baseline and Bush roads of what could be a mountain lion." ...
"The State DEC tells 2 On Your Side, they investigated the calls about two weeks ago but, their search has stopped because they couldn't find any proof there was a mountain lion. They looked for any type of evidence including: paw marks, scratch markes or even dead prey."

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Wild Cat or Maine Coon?

Reports of wild cats on Hayling Island (UK) might be rooted in a pair of Maine coon cats owned by one of the islanders. Back in the 1980s, an African swamp cat was hit by a car on the island. (News source.)

Monday, July 02, 2007

Exotic Pet Ownership More Expensive

As of July 1, 2007 the state of Florida has assigned new laws regarding exotic species.

Class I Animal Owners must now have a $10,000 bond or $2 million insurance policy, while non-native reptiles (such as pythons) require an annual fee of $100.00 to own.

Will we be seeing an increase in releases in the near future?

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New Cryptofiction - LEE MURPHY'S HERETOFORE: UNKNOWN


Lee Murphy's newest cryptofiction novel has been released. Entitled Heretofore: Unknown . The synopsis, from Amazon.com , is as follows:


The world can be a dangerous place. Just ask George Kodiak. When a strange and extremely aggressive animal is shot and killed by police inside a local Voodoo priestess' family mausoleum, who better to identify the thing than "the guy who caught Bigfoot"? In this, the third installment of "The Kodiak Books" series, cryptozoologist George Kodiak comes to Louisiana to confirm an identity for what could possibly be the legendary Honey Island Swamp Monster. When a necropsy fails to nail down a specific species for the seven-foot, fur-covered beast with claws like a bear and double rows of very sharp teeth, Kodiak becomes embroiled in the world of Voodoo to investigate why this woman was keeping the animal inside her mausoleum. To find the answer, he will risk losing his sanity... and his life.


This is Murphy's 3rd fictional novel with the character of George Kodiak. In his previous entries, Where Legends Roam and Naitaka, the character has investigated cryptids such as Sasquatch and Ogopogo, and yes found them. Murphy has also carried the character of George Kodiak into at least two short stories. Remember the Coelacanth in Elementum Bestia and Throwback in Hominology Special Number II

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