Saturday, May 31, 2008

Indiana Cougar

From the news: "Several people have spotted a mountain lion or cougar in the Shrine Hill area of northern Terre Haute."

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FL: Huge Snake Spotted

A large "black" snake was spotted eating a crane along Bear Creek River (Tampa area), Florida. A wildlife trapper called to the scene wasn't able to find it, but suggested it was a Burmese python or a green anaconda that had darkened as it aged. (News source.)

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Danville, Illinois: Black Cat

From a news source:

"Perry Janes, a life long Danvillian says his neighbor saw the panther during a mushroom hunt a few weeks ago. He says, The wind blew his hat off and when he reached for it he saw this black object. It was a huge black cat. Across town more of the same, in fact everywhere we went someone knew the story. Jeff Rushin who's lived in Danville his whole life says he remembers his brush with the cat like it was yesterday. He adds, 'It's been almost 30 years since Iíve heard that sound and it's still there.' He says he had his run in during a fishing trip in the 70ís. 'I heard that sound and I looked at my friend and was like what was that?'"

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New Mollusk Genus

A Key West predatory bivalve turns out to be a new genus of mollusk. (News source.)

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Frog Makes Own Claws

Trichobatrachus robustus, and at least 9 of the 11 species of Astylosternus frogs in Africa (mostly Cameroon) have the ability, when attacked, to break the small bones on which their claws are held in their toes, contracting a muscle to push the claws through their skin for defense. (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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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Cougar Death Sparks Arson?

The killing of the Chicago cougar may have sparked someone's anger, leading to arson near the mayor's home. (News source.)

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Swiss Steal Nessie

A Swiss tourism brochure has added a pic of Nessie to Lake Lucerne. The UK is not amused. (News source.)

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Shark Eaten by Croc

9-foot croc eats a small shark, here.

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More Skunk Ape Stuff

Shealy is back in the news with an alleged skunk ape track. (News source.)

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More on the NC Cobra Scare

A woman claims to have seen one of the alleged roaming cobras, but a search by a reptile rescue group comes up empty. (News source.)

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Top New Species of 2007

The International Institute for Species Exploration at Arizona State University and other taxonomists released their Top 10 list of new species for 2007. Details here. Pics here.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Killer Behavior

A group of people at Indian Beach (Trinidad, CA) reported seeing a killer whale ride a wave onto the beach and munch a harbor seal. This is the first time this behavior has been reported in the US, though it is known to (rarely) occur elsewhere. (News source.)

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Australian Black Cat Sighting

A man staying over with a family in Guyra, Australia, saw a cat-like animal described as "jet black in colour, around 500 mm high, 800mm long with a sleek long straight backed body and a feline shaped head. It had a tail around 400mm long which was slightly upturned as it ran. Its gait was smooth and it ran quickly with its head at about the same level as its back." (News source)

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Black Cat Killed in Missouri

A large black feline tried to get into a Newton Co., MO, woman's home, prompting her to call the sheriff's office. A deputy shot the animal after it charged him. Species is undetermined (and no details given), but the conservation officer suspected it was a black leopard or jaguar. It's claws had been surgically removed, so it was obviously a former pet. (News source.)

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

OOP Cobra?

A North Carolina man reported seeing an 8-foot snake that reared up beside him while he was on an ATV in Cumberland County. A wildlife rehabber suggests it was a king cobra. Police are checking it out. Not enough of a description is given for me to determine whether or not the identification matches, but given that kings run about a grand (give or take), I doubt someone would just release one into the woods. Too easy to find a buyer. (News source.)

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BF Recreation

A Manitoba man has recreated the "neanderthal man" that he saw on his property, in a 13-foot tall, 400-lb statue. (News source.)

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Mystery Larvae

From the Eurekalert:

"First identified in 1899, y-larvae have been one of the greatest zoological mysteries for over a century. No one has ever found an adult of these puzzling crustaceans, despite the plethora of these larvae in plankton, leading generations of marine zoologists to wonder just what y- larvae grow up to be. A study published in BioMed Centralís open access journal, BMC Biology, reports the transformation of the larvae into a previously unseen, wholly un-crustacean-like, parasitic form.

"Y larvae, or facetotectans, are found amongst marine plankton in oceans from the poles to the tropics. In coral reef areas they occur dizzying diversity, even though they are ubiquitous and similar to the larvae of barnacles, not one adult y-organism has been identified in over 100 years of considerable searching.

"'Facetotectans are the only crustacean group with a taxonomy based solely on larval stages', say Henrik Glenner and Jens Hoeg (University of Copenhagen) and colleagues from Japan 'but the great species diversity indicates that the adults play an important ecological role.' Supported by the Carlsberg Foundation in Denmark and the Lake Biwa Museum in Japan, the study authors collected the study authors collected over 40 species of y larvae from one site at Sesoko Island near Okinawa, Japan, and exposed many of them to a crustacean moulting-hormone to encourage them to mature. The free-swimming y-larvae shed their articulated exoskeleton, and a simple, slug- like, pulsing mass of cells emerged.

"The authors explain 'The musculature and compound eyes that you might expect to see in adult crustaceans were in a state of degeneration, and from our observations of the live, and also preserved specimens, we conclude that the adults of these larvae must be parasites Ė but of what we do not know.'"

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Beetle Biomimicry

The "champion" photonic crystal has been found in an iridescent beetle, and may have application in optical computers. (News source.)

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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Brittlestar City

Here is an interesting underwater discovery...

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Old Account of Lake Monster

The Nevada Appeal has an interesting note published 120 years ago:

"For some years past there has been a tradition among the Indians that there was some strange reptile in Washoe Lake, and none of them will ever fish there. A few nights ago several people fishing heard a bestial croak in the tulles which was much too loud for a frog and Deputy State Controller Holbrook said it sounded exactly like an alligator. Schneider, the baker, vows that he has seen a monster at least 18 feet in length."

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Beast of Bay (UK)

Another black cat seen in the UK, this time in a field with a bunch of sheep. Cat and sheep ignored each other. (News source.)

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Scandinavia's Parrot Fossil

A fossil parrot has been found on the Isle of Mors... (News source.)

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Flatworm-like Jellyfish

A new species of jellyfish was found in the seahorse tank at the Townsville Aquarium in Australia. (News source.) It is described:

"'It's up to about a centimetre long, it doesn't swim, it glides along the bottom,' she said.
"'It's found on algae and seagrass and it's just a real thin film, real mucusy like a flatworm but it's got these two tentacles sticking out and it's actually genetically a jellyfish that looks like a flatworm.'"

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

More on Lake Hickory Gator

It's confirmed as a small alligator, through witness photographs, but still hasn't been caught. (News source.)

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Lizard in a Chicken Egg

No, not a story from one of Fort's books, an Australian doctor was cracking eggs for his meal, and found a dead gecko inside of one. He relates how this may be happened here, with pictures here.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

White Tadpoles

Albino tadpoles have been reported from a pond in Wales. (News source.)

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NC Crocodilian Report

A small crocodilian was seen in Lake Hickory, NC, but as it is the wrong part of the state to be part of the known alligator population, it's a suspected release, possibly a caiman. (News source.)

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Pennsylvania Housecat Mis-ID

A large well-muscled orange tabby housecat (farmcat?) was photographed and thought a cougar by a Landenberg, PA, man. (Story and photos here.) Brandywine Zoo took a look and immediately recognized it as a domestic cat. The man isn't so certain, and now his neighbor says he's seen the feline and also thinks it's a cougar. (That story here.) The problem is that it is obviously not a cougar. It's nowhere big enough, it's the wrong profile, and it's a tabby. (Stripes are obvious on the tail, somewhat apparent on the body, and they aren't the same as what you might see on a juvenile cougar.) But, people see what they want to see...

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IBW Back in News

No new sightings, but another article on the so-far futile search for more ivorybill woodpeckers. (News source.)

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Ebooks

Printable, downloadable ebook versions (PDF) of The Historical Bigfoot, Boss Snakes, and The Great Sea-Serpent are now available. For these three titles, pricing is at $9.95, and an affiliates referral fee of $3.00 for each referred ebook purchase of these titles is available. Links with details at CoachwhipBooks.com, on the individual title pages.

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Friday, May 09, 2008

Feline News

"Black lions" are reported from South Africa. (News source.)

Sightings of a big black cat in Tynedale (UK). (News source.)

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Thursday, May 08, 2008

Big Bacteria Stores Genome Aplenty

The large (up to 600 micrometers) bacteria Epulopiscium, found in the gut of the unicornfish, carries up to 200,000 copies of its genome, far more than is found in any other organism. (News source.)

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Ontario Cougar Sightings Continue

More stories here on cougar-like sightings from Ontario.

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New Fish in West Virginia

A new species of darter has been discovered in West Virginia. (News source.)

"A new species of fish has been discovered in the lower Elk River near Charleston by a West Virginia University professor. Stuart Welsh, assistant professor in the Wildlife and Fisheries Resources Program in the Davis College of Agriculture, Forestry and Consumer Sciences, named the new species Crystallaria cincotta, or 'diamond darter.'
"His findings were recently published in Zootaxa, an international journal for animal taxonomists. The diamond darter is a close relative of the crystal darter (Crystallaria asprella), a small fish found in the drainage basins of the Mississippi River. Diamond darters are translucent; adults range from 3-5 inches long."

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The Carraguar

Just added to BioFortean Review:

The Carraguar, or Night-Tiger, of Colima, Mexico
Chad Arment

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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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Monday, May 05, 2008

OOP Python

A dead 12-foot python was found in a channel of Nippersink Lake (near Chicago, IL). It's thought that snappers may have eaten the head. (News source.)

(I'm thinking retic morph, as it's oddly patterned, but it looks like it is badly decomposed, so can't be certain from the poor images shown... doesn't appear to be a boa or Burmese.)

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Cryptofiction Novel

Found this one while browsing on Amazon, released in March 2008: Ancient Lake, by David Coleman. Looks more like straight horror with a cryptozoological creature (Bigfoot-related, from what I gather on the details page), but could be interesting.

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Saturday, May 03, 2008

Kraken Papers

I've just added a couple of downloadable papers (from 1813 and 1814) on early accounts of giant squid to the BioFortean Review PDF Archive.

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Glacier Island "Sea Monster"

An Alaska newspaper recounts the story of the 1930 Glacier Island carcase. (If I'm not mistaken, this is the first time the whole story was been given.) (News source.)

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Spain: Black Cat

A black feline in Spain is being blamed for attacks on pigs. (News source.)

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California Black Cat Photo

A California man caught a black feline on a digital camera trap, and wonders if it might be a black mountain lion. Experts note that the feline is too far away, and the picture too blurred, to be identified. (News source.)

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Friday, May 02, 2008

Lake Pepin

The Lake City (MN) Tourism Board is offering a $50,000 reward for "undisputable photographic and scientific evidence" of their local lake monster, from Lake Pepin. Of course, they don't want DNA evidence, as they don't want to "hurt" the creature, whatever it is. Just what we need, more stupid publicity ploys exploiting cryptozoology for tourism dollars. (News source.)

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Giant Earthworm Expands Range

Two new localities are now suspected for the rare giant Palouse earthworm. Specimens are thought probable for this species, though not conclusively identified. (News source.)

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More on Colossal Squid

Some interesting details about the bioluminescence of the colossal squid at NatGeo.

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Thursday, May 01, 2008

New Fly is Salmon Buffet

Biologists knew that when the Yolo Bypass flood corridor between Sacramento and Davis floods, the juvenile chinook salmon "grew like gangbusters," but they didn't know why, until they discovered that the fish were feasting on midges. After taking these small flies to an expert, he realized that the flies were a new species that lies dormant in the soil until flooding occurs. (News source.)

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Largest Gecko in India?

A new species is being described in the news as the largest gecko yet found in India, at 250 mm. (I'm a bit leery of this claim; the Tokay gecko, for example, is found in northern India, and can surpass that length in at least parts of its wide range.) The new species has been named Hemidactylus aaronbaueri, after lizard expert Dr. Aaron Bauer of Villanova. (Dr. Bauer, of course, should be a familiar name, as he has written on the cryptozoological giant gecko and other unusual cases.) The lizard was first photographed two years ago, and the photos forwarded to the Bombay Natural History Society for identification, where they realized it was a new species. Since then, about 20 more have been found on rocky cliffs in north west Ghats. (News source.)

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