Cryptozoology, BioForteana, and Remarkable Species
Friday, November 30, 2007
15-foot Snake Reported
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Barbary Lions Born
North Carolina Predator
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Bigfoot in SciAm
South China Tiger Born
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Utah Wolf Sighting
Chinese Wild Man Footprints
Chinese investigation into "wild man" reports has come across some footprints. From the news:
"The team discovered a series of irregular footprints, averaging one meter apart, along the riverbank. They also found three branches believed to have been broken by the 'wild men' in the shrubbery beside the footprints. Two barefoot prints of different sizes were discovered behind a stone. Pointing in the same direction, these adjacent footprints were both identified belonging to left feet. The bigger one was 30 centimeters long with a width of eight centimeters at the heel and 12 centimeters at the sole. The smaller one was 18 centimeters long with an arch-like outside edge.
"Veteran forest rangers rooted out the possibility that the footprints belonged to known animals such as bears, antelopes or deer.
"The team then reached two of the witnesses, a local resident Wang and his friend Zhang from Xiangfan, Hubei Province. They recalled their encounter with the two mysterious creatures on the morning of November 18. Zhang, along with his guide Wang and other friends, was driving along the Licha River, heading for Laojun Mountain. They were approaching a sharp curve in the mountain road when they spotted two giant, dark figures standing behind a tangled mass of shrubbery some 50 meters away from their car.
"According to the witnesses, the two 'wild men' were skinny and covered with black hair. The taller one was about 1.7 meters high and the other one was approximately 1.3 to 1.4 meters. Both were quite agile because they quickly fled into the dense forest as soon as they saw the car."
Sunday, November 25, 2007
NY Cougar Sightings
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Looking for a cryptozoology-related gift for the investigator who has everything? Here's a plush Sarcoptes scabei mite (responsible for all those mangey coyotes and bears...)
Friday, November 23, 2007
Grizzly Search Planned
Federal and state officials plan a grizzly hunt for bears in north-central Idaho and western Montana, following the shooting of a grizzly along the border by a mistaken black bear hunter. That was the first confirmed sighting in the area since 1946. Hair traps and motion-sensitive cameras would be used. The $60,000 hunt is as yet unfunded. (News source.)
"But even if bears are in the area, Nadeau said, confirming their existence will be difficult.
"'These animals are very good at hiding and living their lives unbeknownst to humans,' he said."
The Natural History Museum in Milan, Italy, has received fossil Tanystropheus bones from the Alps that are "exceptionally well-preserved." (News source.)
"The fossils belonged to three younger 'reptile giraffes,' so nicknamed because of their long neck which the animal used to approach its prey unnoticed.
"Tanystropheus lived in shallow waters but went ashore. On land, they dined on insects and small reptiles while in waters they would feast on fish and mollusks, the researchers said."
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."
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Butterfly Name Auctioned
Florida Museum of Natural History researchers auctioned off the naming rights to a new Mexican owl butterfly for $40,800, with the funds to help further butterfly research. (News source.)
"The species’ new common name is the Minerva owl butterfly and its scientific name is Opsiphanes blythekitzmillerae, named in honor of Margery Minerva Blythe Kitzmiller of Ohio on behalf of her five grandchildren." ...
"The discovery of this new butterfly is significant because the species is large and colorful, and is the first butterfly from this group to be named in more than 100 years. Most newly discovered species are small and unremarkable because the more noticeable ones were discovered long ago."
Giant Sea Scorpion
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
An Oregon scientist has discovered the first known species of gilled underwater mushroom, Psathyrella aquatica, in the cold waters of the Rogue River.
From the news:
"Coffan says he didn't set out to find a new species, in fact, he says he was just playing in the water on a family outing.
"'I was up in the middle of July, 90 degrees outside, wading around in the water, enjoying myself, and I saw mushrooms growing underwater,' he said.
"After making the discovery, Coffan and a team of biologists from SOU spent nearly three months observing the mushrooms.
"He says they develop and mature near other aquatic vegetation and remain constantly underwater. He says he's seen the mushrooms spread over about a quarter-mile stretch, growing on wood, gravel and the silty riverbed."
False Gharial in Thailand
It appears that a false gharial has been reported (and photographed) in Sattahip Lake, Thailand. The species hasn't been reported in that country since 1970. The photographs are not great, but it is a crocodilian, and has a profile consistent with Tomistoma schlegelii. (News source.)
Note, this is not the same species as the true gharial, Gavialis gangeticus, which the news source confuses.
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."
Monday, November 19, 2007
Almost two years ago, Mike Singleton contacted me with some stills from video of what he thought might be a black panther, taken along the North Santee River in South Carolina. (Mike was videotaping alligators.) The pics at that time were a bit difficult to see, but Mike has since cleaned up the original video and now has put a section of the animal in question. The stills show a black animal, with what appears to be a feline-like tail. Unfortunately, there isn't a clear head shot, it is hidden behind underbrush, so I can't make a positive identification. Clearly, though, that area would be worth some fieldwork.
Labels: black panther
Early Pennsylvania Bigfoot
For those who have picked up a copy of The Historical Bigfoot, add a note. The latest issue of Daniel Perez's Bigfoot Times has an interesting account from an 81-year old Pennsylvania woman who relates a couple of incidents involving a large hairy apelike creature when she was young (circa 1936), that she now thinks may have been a Bigfoot. She grew up on a farm in Fayette County. Pennsylvania, of course, has a fair number of early Bigfoot-like accounts. Along with those noted in HB, I have further details on a lengthy central Pennsylvania flap in the 1920s in Cryptozoology: Science & Speculation. Perez's newsletter is interesting, worth a subscription (available here).
Saturday, November 17, 2007
The Passenger Pigeon Trap
I've added another old-time radio program to that (so far rather small) section of the cryptofiction library. This one is an episode of the long-running Fibber McGee & Molly show, from 1948, titled, "The Passenger Pigeon Trap." Despite being told that the passenger pigeon is extinct, Fibber claims he sees one every day. As the story unfolds, Fibber learns he had an unfortunate hand in the demise of Molly, the last passenger pigeon, held at the Cincinnati Zoo... The show is corny, but fun if you have an interest in classic radio humor.
More from Texas on Flying Creature
There's another report of a large flying creature from south Texas, but the description is rather vague, and I don't see a sketch that was reportedly made by the eyewitness. (News source.)
Massachusetts Coyote Study
Friday, November 16, 2007
A Missouri hunter believes he saw two timber wolves in Saline County. (News source.)
"Daughtry was bow hunting on land owned by Saline County farmer Velma Bacon near the intersection of county roads 206 and 215 when he saw the pair of animals trot past." ...
"Daughtry said the animals' fur was greyish in color and guessed they were tall enough to reach nearly to his hip."
"He hasn't seen the animals since, but he thinks they may have a litter of young because he has heard yips and whining sounds that pups might make.
"Saline County Conservation Agent Tom Davidson said he had received a report on the sighting but had not yet visited the site.
"He noted that the presence of wolves in Missouri is exceedingly rare -- reports of wolf sightings are much less frequent even than reports of mountain lion sightings.
"He said there was one report of a wolf sighting further west of Bacon's property late in the spring, but investigation of the sight did not yield conclusive evidence. Tracks there did not appear to be big enough to be made by wolves, he said.
"The only definite case of a wolf in Missouri recently that Davidson could remember was from several years back when someone in Grundy County shot what they thought was a coyote and it turned out to be a radio-tagged wolf from a northern state that had wandered south."
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."
Whale in the Tapajos
Canadian Big Black Cat
Thursday, November 15, 2007
UK Black Cat
A large black feline has been reported at Wolds, in the UK. From the news:
"The Wolds giant black cat has been spotted for the first time this year - at Thimbleby Lakes by a Horncastle fisherman. Pensioner Paul Smith was enjoying his monthly fishing trip when he spotted the mysterious creature lurking on the other side of the bank.
"'I watched it go all the way round from one side of the lake to the other,' he told the News.
"'It was definitely a big black cat without a doubt.
"'It was the size of a labrador and was very graceful.
"'I was rather surprised, it was a bit eerie,' said Mr Smith of Spilsby Road."
Labels: big cat
Ethnoknown Viper Hunt
A news article from the Telegraph (Calcutta) notes that a year-long hunt in Arunachal Pradesh, in search of a large dangerous snake was successful, with the capture of two specimens.
"Barta, as the local Nyishi tribesmen call the six-foot-something reptile, is the most-feared creature among the tribes in Arunachal Pradesh.
"According to Nyishi folklore, sighting of a barta, meaning the deadliest of all the snakes, is a bad omen." ...
"'Going by the colour, count and patterns of the newly-found snakes which differ from Protobothrops kaulbacki, another species of pit viper snake spotted by Ronald Kaulback in the forests of Upper Myanmar in 1940, it can be said that it is probably a new species found never before in the forests. Although at a glance they look similar to the snake found in Myanmar, their features differ from Protobothrops kaulbacki. The blood samples of the snakes have been sent for DNA tests to a Hyderabad-based laboratory this month. We are awaiting an official confirmation,' Bhatt told The Telegraph."
Korean Scientist on the 'Tianchi monster'
A North Korea scientist has suggested that the images of the 'Tianchi monster' captured by a Chinese photographer are large trout, the offspring of fish introduced into the lake by North Koreans 40 years ago. From the news:
"77-year-old Kim Li-tae said during an interview with the Choson Shinbo, a newspaper published by the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, that he was one of the North Korean researchers who released nine trout into Tianchi Lake, located on Changbai Mountain, on July 30, 1960. At a later date they released other species of fish such as carp and mosquito fish into the lake." ...
"In 2000, the Korean researchers did experimental tests on 'Tianchi trout' found in shoal waters that measured 85 centimeters in length and weighed 7.7 kilos, but they've never been able to test trout from the deeper waters of Tianchi Lake. The 'Tianchi monster' that Chinese photographer Zhuo Yongsheng, who works for a local TV station run by the administration office of the nature reserve at Mount Changbaishan, Jilin Province captured on film last month, might be a 'Tianchi trout' from the deep of the lake, Kim said."
An unusual canine-like taxidermy piece that has been of some cryptozoological interest has been relocated. From the news:
"A bullet from a Mormon settler's rifle ended the animal's life and triggered stories of the creature that were passed along through generations of family history and local folklore.
"The only evidence of the creature's existence was a missing taxidermy mount and a grainy black-and-white photograph of that mount - which fueled strange speculation about what kind of animal it really was.
"Now after 121 years, the taxidermy mount has been found. The creature that once spooked some of the Madison Valley's first white settlers has come home."
The grandson of the settler who shot it tracked the mount down, finding it in the Idaho Museum of Natural History. They have loaned it to him to exhibit at the Madison Valley History Museum.
The animal "strongly resembles a wolf, but sports a hyena-like sloping back and an odd-shaped head with a narrow snout. Its coat is dark-brown, almost black, with lighter tan areas and a faint impression of stripes on its side.
"It measure 48 inches from the tip of its snout to its rump, not including the tail, and stands from 27 to 28 inches high at the shoulder.
"The mount is in amazingly good shape, showing no signs of wear and tear and retaining the color of the fur." ...
"The mount will be displayed in the Madison Valley History Museum when it reopens in May."
Tropical Hummingbird Relocated
Another BF Horror Flick
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Australian Coupan (Big Cat) Sighting
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Spider Woman Interview
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."
Monday, November 12, 2007
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Ontario Cougar Sightings
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
More on Giant Earthworm
Big Cat Roundup
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.)
Saturday, November 03, 2007
Latest issue is out.
Snowshoe Mystery Solved
Biologists were uncertain if the native snowshoe hare was still found in lower mainland British Columbia, and survey methods are expensive (they have to be distinguished from the European snowshoe hare and the eastern cottontail), so they asked wildlife rehabilitators to keep an eye out for them. Animal rescuers provided evidence and genetic samples of 20 of the hares that were found injured, including both sexes and different life stages. (News source.)
Friday, November 02, 2007
Texas Canine Identified
More on WV "Lion"
Fox on a Bed
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Short Cryptofiction: Yeti-Chasing Nazis
A collection of short stories by Jim Shepard, Like You'd Understand, Anyway, includes a yeti-themed story titled "Ancestral Legacies."
From the LA Times:
"There are also quests in this collection, foolhardy expeditions for political or sociological reasons, yet driven by foolhardy inner demons as well. Ernst Schafer, who narrates 'Ancestral Legacies,' has been sent by the Third Reich to search for the 'Nordic-Aryan legacy' while stirring up British-Tibetan tensions in the Himalayas; he's skeptical of Himmler's bogus theories but happy to exploit those state-provided funds. A self-proclaimed man of science -- "I'm interested in the racial origins of inventiveness. . . . [B]efore this mission I myself had begun branching out into the more positive aspects of eugenics" -- Schafer is more intent on justifying his quest for the mythical yeti: 'I've been mocked for devoting my life to a legend. But legends have moved whole nations, and held them together.'"
From the NY Times:
"'This is the roof of the world. An immense, sequestered place, the highest of the high plateaus, many times the size of the Reich. I'm still sick. The porters still gesticulate and exchange private jokes when they assume my attention is elsewhere. Beger's bad ankle is still swollen. Somewhere I've misplaced my certainty.'
"So opens 'Ancestral Legacies,' with Shepard's trademark sucker punches displayed to full effect: an attention-getting opening sentence (nicked from Mingtao Zhang's 'Roof of the World,' and 10 bucks for anybody who knew that already), a sneaky reference ('the Reich') that slips in a setting and a point of view while ostensibly describing the scenery, the establishment of internal and external conflict in a few short phrases -- we've met several other characters and learned that the narrator is both watchful and ill -- and a paragraph closer that works in a lovely turn of phrase while establishing our hero's state of mind, then and now. All this in the tale of two Nazi scientists trekking through Tibet on a search for the yeti as a way of proving racial theories beloved by Himmler. I can think of six writers offhand, myself included, who might drag that idea through a 400-page first draft tentatively titled 'Misplaced Certainty.' Shepard gets the job done in 15 pages, tipping his hat to H. P. Lovecraft and M. R. James and still coming out ahead."