Sunday, August 31, 2008

"Kind of looks like a mangy coyote..."

Two "mystery animals" shot in Terryville, Texas. (News source.)

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Virginia Cat Stories

Cougar sightings continue in Scott County, Virginia. (News source.)

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Thylacine Hunt

Infrared camera traps are planned for a location with recent unknown predator attacks in Victoria, Australia. Sightings of thylacines are discussed. (News source.)

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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.'"

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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.

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New Giant Clam

Researchers have discovered a new species of living giant clam, Tridacna costata, in the Red Sea. Fossil evidence suggests that the species once accounted for 80% of giant clams in the Red Sea, but now makes up less than 1% and is probably endangered. (Eurekalert.)

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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 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.

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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.'"

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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."

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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.

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Little People Larger Than Thought

Research suggest the small Palau skeletons weren't so small... (News source.)

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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.)

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Oddballs

An albino whale shark was photographed off the Galapagos islands. (News source.)

A mangey fox was photographed in New York. (News source.)

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Yeti

A generic travel article on the yeti in Nepal here.

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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)

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Australia: Another Black Cat

A Kenthurst boy reported seeing a large black feline, as big as a Labrador, capture a large crow. (News source.)

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sumatran Rhino Rescued

A Sumatran rhino on the island of Borneo was rescued from a plantation after it had been injured. (News source.)

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Pupfish Might Go Extinct

The endangered Devils Hole Pupfish might finally go extinct, at least at that location, as the population seems to be declining... (News source.)

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Feline News

A new population of clouded leopards has been found on Borneo. (News source, courtesy Kevin Stewart)

More searching for the European wildcat in the UK here.

And, a reported "leopard" roaming Floyd Co., Indiana. (News source.)

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PA Bigfoot

An article here on reported Bigfoot sightings in Pennsylvania.

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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.'"

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Canadian Bigfoot Sighting

A report here of a "pitch-black, sleek, hairy, approximately 8-and-a-half foot sasquatch."

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Dog Might Be Panther

Republic, Missouri, police think a Great Dane known to them is probably responsible for a panther sighting in the area. (News source.)

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Invaded 100 Years Ago...

Some Italian snails snuck in to a country home in the UK with some marble almost 100 years ago, and have been living there ever since, only now being discovered. (News source.)

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

New Giant Grouper

A new species of giant grouper was discovered when genetic research showed that Atlantic and Pacific populations were different species. (News source.)

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NG on Bolivian River Dolphin

NG has a brief note on the "new" species here.

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Colossal Squid Grow Docile?

New theory: as the colossal squid grows, it becomes less of an active predator. (News source.)

"... as the colossal squid grew bigger, they grew shorter and wider. This was likely to impact their behaviour and their ability to hunt, Dr O’Shea said"

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Ebaying for Species Discoveries

An entomologist bought an insect in amber off Ebay, which turned out to be an undescribed species. (News source.) [Note: If you want to try this yourself, have fun; just don't buy amber from China. Most of it is fake.]

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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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Australian "Panthers"

Another sighting of large ("bigger than a labrador") black-brown feline in Australia here.

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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Marc von Roosmalen Names New Species

Two new species described on Marc von Roosmalen's website:

The black dwarf lowland tapir (Tapirus pygmaeus), here.
The fair brocket deer (Mazama ochroleuca), here.

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Friday, August 15, 2008

Berkshires Cat

Mountain lion sightings in Massachusetts... (News source.)

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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."

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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."

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Gabon: New Bird

Smithsonian scientists have published the description of a new bird, the olive-backed forest robin (Stiphrornis pyrrholaemus), from Gabon in Africa. (Eurekalert.)

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Cannock Weirdness

Over in the UK:

A "black panther" sighting in Cannock. (News source.)

Theories of "cave men" under Cannock Chase. (News source.)

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Good Way to Get Run Over

Jump out in the road, dressed in a gilly suit, trying to scare people... (News source.)

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Yeti Hunt

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...)

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"Giant Lizard" Caught

Sightings of a "six or seven foot giant lizard" in Jasper County, Georgia, turned out to be a 4-foot water monitor finally captured in a barn. (News source.)

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Big Mystery Spider

An Illinois woman photographed a large spider in her garage that specialists think might be a South American wandering spider; the spider is still on the loose. (News source.)

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OT: New Atmospheric Molecule

Scientists have discovered a new atmospheric molecule with two hydrogen bonds, unusual properties, and that helps the atmosphere break down pollutants. (News source.)

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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."

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Vegetarian Spider

A jumping spider, Bagheera kiplingi, has been found (in populations in Mexico and Costa Rica) to feed on bits of acacia tree sprouting leaflets, dodging resident acacia-tree ants. (News source.)

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Submarine to the Abyss

An exploration of the Cayman Trough in search of new species is part of the 3-year plan for some British scientists, using a robotic submarine and a remotely-operated vehicle. (News source.)

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Texas Hairless Canine

Might as well be the state mammal. (Or state disease.) Some DeWitt County Sheriff's deputies photographed what looks like a short-limbed hairless dog, so obviously it must be a chupacabras. (News source.)

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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

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.

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Three Mussels Extinct?

Three mussels formerly found in Arkansas, Alabama, and Tennessee are likely extinct, according to the USFWS. These include the turgid-blossom pearly mussel, the yellowblossom pearly mussel, and the green-blossom pearly mussel. (News source.)

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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.)

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More Mande Burung

Another article on the "yeti" of India.

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Florida Skeleton is Big Fish

A family's skeletal find a few months back on a Florida beach turns out to be part of a large fish. (News source.)

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Giant Catfish Tales

A Virginia columnist notes the spread of "giant catfish" stories. (News source.)

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Indiana Cougars, or Not...

Stories of big cats in two Indiana counties aren't enough to convince experts that cougars exist there. (News source.)

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Saturday, August 09, 2008

Yeti in Bhutan

A long article in the Washington Post on cultural changes in Bhutan, with an emphasis on yeti sightings.

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UK Manatee?

An interesting case here of a potential manatee sighting in Pembrokeshire waters...

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Nationalism Arises over Snake Description

Some folks on Barbados are upset that a University of Pennsylvania herpetologist has named a tiny thread snake from that island after his wife. (News source.)

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Friday, August 08, 2008

UK Feline

The "Walton Wildcat" has been sighted. (News source.)

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Glowing Mushrooms

An article here on mycologists searching for bioluminescent fungi.

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Alaskan Island Carcass

Photos of a beached carcass on a western Alaskan island are stirring some debate. Some local residents are suggesting it's an animal from Cup’ig lore. (News source.)

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Bumblebee Extinctions?

Several species of bumblebees in North America are declining... (News source.)

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Thursday, August 07, 2008

Texas Coyote Folklore

An outdoors columnist discusses stories of giant coyotes in east Texas. (News source.)

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Illinois Cougar

More sightings of large brown cats here.

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Yucca Valley Canid

A strange canine seen in Yucca Valley, California, is likely a mangy coyote. (News source.)

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"Dino" Sightings in PNG

Creation Ministries International has published an article by an Australian man who collected sighting reports of large reptile-like (or dinosaur-like) creatures in PNG.

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OT: Auditory Synesthesia

Interesting research here on individuals who "hear" movement.

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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.)

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Australian "Big Cat" Sightings

Stories from near Berowra Heights and from the South Australia/Victoria border (I haven't looked on a map -- they may or may not be the same region).

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Monday, August 04, 2008

SC Feline Sightings

Sightings of cougar and black felines in South Carolina noted here.

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Sunday, August 03, 2008

Smallest Snake Discovered

A tiny threadsnake discovered in Barbados appears to be the smallest snake species as yet discovered. Adults average just under four inches in length. (News source.)

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New Zealand Moose?

Recent hair samples given to a NZ Wildlife Forensics lab suggest that introduced moose might still survive in New Zealand forests. (News source.)

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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.

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Saturday, August 02, 2008

Ontario: Cougar Sighting?

A big tan cat is reported roaming around Lambton... (News source.)

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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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Friday, August 01, 2008

Snubfin Dolphins Filmed

A group of the recently described snubfin dolphin was filmed off Australia's northwest coast. (News source.)

Genetic testing (via dart gun) is being done; there seems to be some speculation that this group may represent a new subspecies or even a new related species. (News source.)

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BioFortean Review

New article is available:

An Account of a North American Bipedal Reptile from Wyoming


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