Cryptozoology, BioForteana, and Remarkable Species
Saturday, February 28, 2009
UK: Big "Snakes"
Friday, February 27, 2009
New Species Paper
Kevin Stewart passes this along:
Discoveries of new mammal species and their implications for conservation and ecosystem services
Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci.
February 19, 2009, published online (abstract)
From the abstract: "In light of recent discoveries of many new species of poorly-studied organisms, we examine the biodiversity of mammals, a well known “charismatic” group. Many assume that nearly all mammal species are known to scientists. We demonstrate that this assumption is incorrect. Since 1993, 408 new mammalian species have been described, ?10% of the previously known fauna. Some 60% of these are “cryptic” species, but 40% are large and distinctive. ..."
You can download the list of 408 new mammal species here.
And, you can download a 2007 paper (Global Trends and Biases in New Mammal Species Discoveries) here.
Labels: new species
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Komodo Dragon Attack
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
They're Getting Smarter...
Sunday, February 22, 2009
New Amphipod in Ohio
Reports of a "black panther" by two different witnesses caused an Oconee County, GA, elementary school's officials to delay school recess. (News source.)
Arizona Game and Fish officials captured and released a jaguar southwest of Tucson, fitting it with a satellite tracking collar. (News source.)
Visitors to a Naples, FL, swamp sanctuary were able to photograph a young Florida panther stalking a deer. (News source.)
Friday, February 20, 2009
OT: PIJAC Python Alert
Oregon Sea Otter
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Yes, They're Fake
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Someone caught a big rat (possibly a bamboo rat) in China, six pounds with a 12 inch tail. The image is the standard "hold it close to the camera so it looks bigger" style, but still interesting. (News source.)
A new species of mountain rat was discovered in Mindanao island, Philippines. (News source.)
Monday, February 16, 2009
Giant Snake Reported
Journey to Description
It took almost 10 years from the first photograph of an undescribed species of Grammonus in Hawaiian waters before an actual specimen could be placed in a museum collection and described. The fish was photographed and even collected in the interval, but one circumstance or another prevented its examination by experts. The paper:
Grammonus nagaredai, a New Viviparous Marine Fish (Ophidiiformes: Bythitidae) from the Hawaiian Islands
John E. Randall and Marc James Hughes
Pacific Science 63(1): 137-146 (2009)
Another Classic Cryptofiction Reprint
Now available, a 2-novel omnibus, Frank Aubrey's A Queen of Atlantis and its (loose) sequel, The Devil-Tree of El Dorado. This is typical "lost race" fiction, with strange people, and stranger creatures. Each novel has its primary "creature" antagonist (the first has a deadly flying monster, the second a man-eating tree) along with additional imaginative beasts (several pulled from the annals of cryptozoology). Details at Coachwhip Publications.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Discovery of Sympatric Dwarf Lemur Species in the High-Altitude Rain Forest of Tsinjoarivo, Eastern Madagascar: Implications for Biogeography and Conservation
M. B. Blanco, et al.
Folia Primatologica, vol. 80(1): 1-17, 2009
The number of species within the Malagasy lemur genus Cheirogaleus is currently under debate. Museum collections are spotty, and field work, supplemented by morphometric and genetic analysis, is essential for documenting geographic distributions, ecological characteristics and species boundaries. We report here field evidence for 2 dwarf lemur species at Tsinjoarivo, an eastern-central high-altitude rain forest: one, from a forest fragment, displaying coat and dental characteristics similar to C. sibreei (previously described only from museum specimens) and the other, from the continuous forest, resembling individuals of Cheirogaleus found today at Ranomafana National Park, further to the south. This study represents the first confirmation of a living population of grey-fawn, C.-sibreei-like, dwarf lemurs in Madagascar.
Here are a few abstracts to somewhat recent papers pertaining to Gigantopithecus (of interest to some in cryptozoology):
A. J. Olejniczak, et al.
American Journal of Physical Anthropology, vol. 135(1): 85-91 (2008; online Oct. 2007)
[Also see paper on Australopithecus and Paranthropus enamel: PDF]
Comparative observations on the tooth root morphology of Gigantopithecus blacki
K. Kupczik and M. C. Dean
Journal of Human Evolution, vol. 54(2): 196-204 (Feb. 2008)
The extinct great ape Gigantopithecus blacki from the middle Pleistocene of China and Vietnam is known only from dental and mandibular remains, and its dietary specializations remain contentious. Here, for the first time, we describe the root morphology in G. blacki using computed tomography and three-dimensional image processing. We quantify the tooth root lengths and surface areas of the female G. blacki mandible No. 1 from the Liucheng Cave and compare it to a sample of extant great apes and humans, as well as the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) and the American black bear (Ursus americanus). The results show that, in G. blacki, the pattern of mandibular root numbers—particularly that of the premolars—corresponds with that of Gorilla gorilla, Pan troglodytes, and Pongo pygmaeus. However, G. blacki can be distinguished from the extant hominids by having relatively higher values for postcanine root length and surface area, both absolutely and relative to mandibular size (except for premolar root lengths of humans). The relatively large postcanine root surface areas, which are most similar to A. melanoleuca, suggest that the dentition of G. blacki was adapted to sustaining relatively large occlusal forces needed to fracture mechanically resistant foods such as bamboo.
Geochronology of Ailuropoda–Stegodon fauna and Gigantopithecus in Guangxi Province, southern China
W. J. Rink, et al.
Quaternary Research, vol. 69(3): 377-387 (May 2008)
Pleistocene faunas from south China are difficult to subdivide based on the long temporal ranges of many taxa and a reduced number of genera in comparison to faunas from temperate north China. In south China, the Ailuropoda–Stegodon fauna is a very general one and includes a relatively stable suite of genera that apparently persisted for long periods of time. These attributes have made constraining its time range difficult. Application of electron spin resonance (ESR) dating of tooth enamel constrains the ages well where uranium uptake was minor. Where uranium uptake into teeth was significant, an approach combining ESR and 230Th/234U isotopic analysis also yields excellent ages. Previous estimates of early, middle and late Pleistocene time ranges previously determined by biostratigraphic seriation for the Ailuropoda–Stegodon fauna are confirmed in all cases but are made more precise with our approach, including specific time ranges for certain archaic taxa. Absolute dating also yields an extended time range for Gigantopithecus blacki of 1200 to 310 ka.
Assessing mandibular shape variation within Gigantopithecus using a geometric morphometric approach
S. F. Miller, J. L. White, and R. L. Ciochon
American Journal of Physical Anthropology, vol. 137(2): 201-212 (Oct. 2008)
This study provides a survey of mandibular shape in a sample of extant hominoids (Pan, Gorilla, Pongo, and Hylobates), as well as extinct Asian and Eurasian taxa (Ouranopithecus, Sivapithecus, and Gigantopithecus) in order to compare overall shape similarity. Results presented call into question differences in mandible shape recently used to distinguish Gigantopithecus giganteus from Gigantopithecus blacki and to justify resurrecting a different generic designation, "Indopithecus," for the former. It is concluded that while the two large-bodied Asian taxa may have been adapted to slightly different dietary niches with different geographic and temporal ranges, the unique mandibular/dental characters that the two taxa share should not be viewed as independent evolutionary developments.
Identical Species at Both Poles
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Big Cats in UK
Big Cats in UK
Fossil Croc with Tusks
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Jaguar in Central Mexico
Dholes Loose in UK
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Hot Spots, New Species, Etc.
Some research here on locating hot spots of species diversity for conservation focus.
408 new mammal species have been discovered since 1993, according to a new paper. The authors then go on with dire warnings for humanity.
And, new birds are waiting to be discovered in the eastern Himalayas.
Sunday, February 08, 2009
Friday, February 06, 2009
Black Cat Mis-ID
Wednesday, February 04, 2009
A giant fossil snake (Titanoboa cerrejonensis) has been described from Columbia.
Researchers "used the ratio between vertebral size and the length of existing snakes to estimate that this boa-like snake must have reached 13 meters (42 feet) in length and weighed more than a ton." (Eurekalert; also, here)