Cryptozoology, BioForteana, and Remarkable Species
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Virginia Cat Stories
UK Gray Panther
From the news:
"Will Cattrell was driving in the early hours of Sunday morning when he spotted the big cat.
"He was driving away from Uppingham towards Wardley Hill and had just passed the two turnings for Belton-in-Rutland when his headlights caught the animal's trolling off the road.
"Will, of Leicester Road in Uppingham, said: I didn't see its head but the body was totally visible and it was definitely a large wild cat with ash grey fur like a puma.
"'I had a clear view of this, the muscles in the rear legs and the swagger that large cats have. The body and the colour leave me in no doubt whatsoever that my description is precise, and I am a country lad so I know what animals are what.'"
Labels: unknown feline
Swedes Film "Sea Monster"
A film crew has supposedly filmed "Sweden’s legendary Great Lake Sea Monster (Storsjöodjuret), which is said to lurk in the waters of the Storsjön outside Östersund in northern Sweden." (News source with blurry image.) It sounds as if this is one of MonsterQuest's episodes -- "The effort to find the monster has generated a great deal of interest, with the American television network NBC planning to document the hunt." NBC owns part of the History Channel, which of course shows MQ.
New Giant Clam
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."
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
That Fiji Blind Snake
Apparently, blind snakes are big right now...
A blind snake was first reported from Vuna, on Taveuni, back in 1897 (source), but has only recently been rediscovered and confirmed as a new species. (News source.)
There are, of course, probably many more blind snakes that haven't been properly evaluated, around the world. Given that some are invasive, only a specialist would be able to determine whether a specimen is a known endemic, an introduced species, or an undescribed species.
Ontario: Black Feline
Another case of a black feline on an Ontario farm: (News source.)
"But as soon as she crossed the road to the hobby farm, west of Campbellville, she knew something was up. It was Saturday, Aug. 16 at about 10 a.m., and the animals -- goats and horses -- that normally move about freely weren't in their usual places." ...
"It was then that she saw a large feline she estimated to weigh about 100 pounds.
"'Right away, I thought it was a panther because it was black, large and slinking toward the barn,' Rogers said. 'It looked right at me and I looked at it, not believing what I was seeing.'"
UK: Paw Print?
From the news:
"Heather Ivers, pictured, found the prints after her dog 'went ballistic' outside her rural home.
"She was woken at 1am by her pet barking.
"And the 53-year-old, from Banchory Devenick – just outside Aberdeen – discovered a massive paw print on the ground outside the next day." ...
"Heather, a potter and sculptor, recognised the print as belonging to a cat because the claws were retracted."
Labels: unknown feline
Those Laotian Giant Lizards
A bit more on the story of the Australian hiker who may have encountered some big lizards in Laos: (News source.)
"Mr Adcock's ordeal began on July 31 as a simple, hour-long hike to a waterfall in the Hinboun district of Laos's Khammouane province.
"The experienced walker then decided to go on to a second waterfall, but ran into trouble when confronted by a group of large lizards, his mother says.
"'From what I can gather he saw a beautiful rock formation and it was all colours and really something special,' Ms Sturrock said.
"'It was in a bit of a ravine and he went to have a little look a bit closer and [he's] gone off the path a bit.
"'Then these horrible lizards, almost komodo dragon size, came out of nowhere...and started chasing him and he had nowhere to go but over the cliff so he went over the edge to escape them and of course lost his footing... so he tumbled down and down and down and he said he thought he landed in a creek.'"
Varanus salvator, very possibly.
Little People Larger Than Thought
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Bar Coding Life
A cautionary note has been published, suggesting that those involved in creating "DNA bar codes" need to be very careful in their techniques to accurately choose the correct marker from the mitochondria, rather than non-functional copies from the nucleus. Inaccuracy could lead to mistaken "new species." (Eurekalert.)
Cryptic Species: Manage or Survey
In a study of conservation measures for cryptic species (species not seen in some time), "conservationists should carry on managing the environment as if a seemingly vanished species is still around, rather than rushing to check whether it is extinct, say researchers." (News source)
Monday, August 25, 2008
Australia: Another Black Cat
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Sumatran Rhino Rescued
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Pupfish Might Go Extinct
Friday, August 22, 2008
Giant Lizards? Maybe Not.
From the news:
"Hayden Adcock, 40, an experienced traveller and bushwalker, was in Laos after a trip to Vietnam, and initially set out for a walk to a well-known waterfall in the Hinboun district on July 31.
"His father says he then decided to go to another nearby waterfall when a heavy downpour washed away the tracks, and Mr Adcock became lost.
"'He said to my nephew in hospital that he was looking between some trees and there was a cliff face, and big lizards came out of the rockface of the cliff and they chased him and he ran into the forest and cut himself.
"'He was then saying he'd fell into the river and the lizards chased him into the river and attacked him, but I think it was probably a hallucination.'"
Canadian Bigfoot Sighting
Dog Might Be Panther
Invaded 100 Years Ago...
Thursday, August 21, 2008
New Giant Grouper
NG on Bolivian River Dolphin
Colossal Squid Grow Docile?
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Ebaying for Species Discoveries
FL: Monkeys Spotted
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Marc von Roosmalen Names New Species
Friday, August 15, 2008
OT: Kiffian Culture
A team searching for dinosaur bones found a Kiffian culture archaeological site in the Sahara. (News source.)
"The people were healthy. Several skeletons show signs of healed fractures. One man was nearly two metres tall. But who they were is a mystery. The graves were flooded for centuries and the bones fossilised. They aren't likely to yield DNA that will help answer the question."
Labels: other science
BBC Series Shows Fish Discovery
The BBC series Pacific Abyss shows the discovery of several new species of damselfish. (News source.)
"The most spectacular recovery was of the bright blue damselfish found 120m down off Palau. This was described recently in the scientific literature by team-member Dr Richard Pyle, from the Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii.
"The fish has been named Chromis abyssus in honour of the TV series.
"The story is a more complicated one, however, because Dr Pyle first saw this fish more than a decade ago. Other researchers, too, had sightings, including one from a small submersible and another from a Remotely Oerated Vehicle (ROV).
"It was during the BBC filming, though, that nine specimens were finally captured, allowing for an official scientific submission this year."
Gabon: New Bird
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Good Way to Get Run Over
A 7-man Japanese crew will be setting out soon for the Himalayas, with the intent of getting video evidence for the yeti. (News source.)
An earlier expedition didn't succeed, but this time, with better equipment, they think they'll be able to get clear video proof of the cryptid's existence. (Except, of course, that scientists are unlikely to consider video evidence proof of existence...)
"Giant Lizard" Caught
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Big Mystery Spider
OT: New Atmospheric Molecule
Burmese Pythons Staying in Everglades
A new study shows that climatic changes are likely to limit the invasive Burmese python to southern Florida. (Eurekalert)
"The results of the models suggest that the pythons are restricted to the vicinity of the Everglades in extreme south Florida, so while wildlife authorities will have their hands full dealing with established populations of these snakes, people outside of Florida should not fear an inexorable northward expansion."
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Submarine to the Abyss
Texas Hairless Canine
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.'"
Monday, August 11, 2008
Those California Tarantulas...
The Anomalist notes: "Meanwhile, they haven't announced plans for a survey yet, but state entomologists have already concluded Tarantulas Have 'Invaded' Southern California." Not sure if they realized this, difficult to tell from a blurb, but the tarantulas noted are a native species to North America. (The article mentions a Chilean rosehair, but that's not the species that is swarming San Diego County; it's just noted as a lab worker's pet.) We've got several species of tarantulas in the southwestern states, this just happens to be breeding season.
Now, we do, as noted previously here, have invasive tarantulas in southern Florida. Several years back, some guy down there emailed me to say he had found large black scorpions (either emperors or Asian forests) introduced into one region; but he wouldn't disclose the location as it was his "skunk ape" research area.
Three Mussels Extinct?
Tree Shrew Holds Its Liquor
A small Malaysian tree shrew drinks fermented nectar ("the equivalent of a case of 3.8% beer every night") without getting drunk. I'm guessing ongoing research of "the first recorded chronic alcohol intake in the wild" is likely to be popular among the grad students... (News source.)
Florida Skeleton is Big Fish
Giant Catfish Tales
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Indiana Cougars, or Not...
Saturday, August 09, 2008
Yeti in Bhutan
Nationalism Arises over Snake Description
Friday, August 08, 2008
Alaskan Island Carcass
Thursday, August 07, 2008
Texas Coyote Folklore
Yucca Valley Canid
"Dino" Sightings in PNG
OT: Auditory Synesthesia
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
Big Cat Allegations
An Ohio couple think that a cougar visits their property. "They describe the animal as a large, long-tailed tawny cat, with rounded ears and body about 3 feet long from chest to tail. It weighed '75 pounds . . . maybe a little more.'" (News source.)
Livestock on a New York farm has been killed, and the farmer thinks it may have been a cougar. DEC thinks it was a coyote. (News source.)
Australian "Big Cat" Sightings
Monday, August 04, 2008
SC Feline Sightings
Sunday, August 03, 2008
Smallest Snake Discovered
New Zealand Moose?
Univ. MD "Cougar" Isn't
Police think the feline spotted on University of Maryland's campus was not a cougar, but a "savannah cat," a serval-domestic cat hybrid. This is based on video, which I've not seen, (and I don't see it on the UMD police department website, though reported there by the news). I don't know how accurate the identification is; it's fairly common for a simplistic exotic solution to be "jumped on" by authorities when the evidence is vague. Might just be a large patterned domestic cat, sans hybridization. Of course, in comments on the story, most will overlook the "hybrid" part of the explanation, and freak out over the "African wild cat" part.
Saturday, August 02, 2008
Ontario: Cougar Sighting?
Search for Moe Called Off
Friday, August 01, 2008
Snubfin Dolphins Filmed
New article is available:
An Account of a North American Bipedal Reptile from Wyoming
Labels: BioFortean Review