Saturday, June 27, 2009

Parasites Lost

This isn't new, but I just ran across mention of this article from 2002, reprinted on biologist Rob Dunn's website, on the lice of the extinct passenger pigeon.

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The "Giant Prehistoric Minnow"

Years ago, I came across Lost Legends of the West, by Williams & Pepper (1970). They briefly mention the story of a man in the early 1960s who caught a "giant prehistoric minnow" in Lake Mojave, which excited wildlife officials. The story is repeated in the 2007 book, Weird Las Vegas and Nevada. When I posed the question of the species of the fish on the old CZ list in 1999 (actually, I see that Matt Bille had previously queried on the subject there), Jack "Rabbit" noted that it was probably the Colorado squawfish, Ptychocheilus lucius (now called the Colorado pikeminnow). With recent advances in search capabilities, it's now possible to confirm this identification, and I can point to a closer source to the story. Desert Magazine from August 1963 gives a few details in its article on Lake Mojave. The court battle (with victory for the fisherman) for the 1960s fish's remains (noted in Lost Legends) isn't mentioned, so I am uncertain as to whether it is apocryphal. Today, of course, there would be no legal grounds for possession of an endangered fish, but as Federal protection wasn't even available until the ESA in 1973, I suppose such a court case could have happened.

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Perception and Reality

A good example of why critical examination of stranger stories is necessary, here with a Kentucky man's confused perception of local herpetofauna, and how that affected his interpretation of events he witnessed.

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New Bat in Comoros

A new small bat, named Miniopterus aelleni, has been discovered in the Comoros. (News source.)

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UK: Dolphin Superpod

Hundreds of dolphins were spotted migrating through the Moray Firth. (News source.)

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"Stoned" Wallabies Make Crop Circles

Tasmanian wallabies have been getting into medicially-grown poppy fields, and end up high and hopping in circles. (News source.)

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Oklahoma Bigfoot

A letter to the editor on Oklahoma Bigfoot sightings, here.

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Fun with Genetics

An interesting article in Wired on the T. rex protein research.

Lampreys lose about 20% of their genes as they develop. (News source.)

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Fossil Mystery Ape

Russell L. Ciochon has an interesting essay in the latest Nature:

The mystery ape of Pleistocene Asia
Nature 459, 910-911 (18 June 2009)

Available here.

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Montague "Mouse" Mystery

Sightings of a strange rodent on Montague island, a nature preserve off the coast of New South Wales, after a massive pest rat/mouse eradication effort, has instigated a search to determine if it is a native rodent. (News source.)

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Giant Out-of-Place Arapaima?

Sightings of a giant fish ("the size of a baby elephant") in Tasik Kenyir, Malaysia, supposedly to blame for the drownings of two men, suggest the South American Arapaima to one local fish biologist, who suggests it may be an introduction. (News source.)

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Another Mangey Coyote?

A man in Bandera County, Texas, shot what appears to be another coyote with mange. (News source.)

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Alabama: Monkey on Loose?

The Baldwin County Sheriff's Office noted "a caller reported seeing a monkey at about 6 a.m. today along Baldwin County 12, east of Baldwin County 65, near the Pleasant View Baptist Church." Species indeterminate. (News source.)

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Cougar Attack

A three-year old girl was saved by her mother from a cougar attack along the Squamish River in British Columbia. (News source.)

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Red Hairy Snail Hunt

A biologist is surveying King Island (off Tasmania) for red hairy snails after recent fires. The snails were rediscovered in 1996, thought extinct before then for some decades. (News source.)

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Planktonic Superorganism

Picture here. General info here.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Swedenborg Whale Bones?

Old bones possibly from a controversial fifth species of right whale, the "Swedenborg whale," have been discovered. (News source.) (Via Kevin Stewart)

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Ecuador: Possible New (Small) Species

A team from Conservation International has come up with a number of possible new reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates in the forested mountains of Cordillera del Condor. Photos here. (Via Kevin Stewart)

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Snake Causes Hysterical "Sickness" Outbreak

55 children in India became sick after they learned that an 18-inch snake had been found in the cooked rice of their noon-day meal. The snake didn't cause the illness, of course. (Snakes are routinely cooked and eaten in other parts of the world.) More of a case of the power of suggestion... (News source.)

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Beast of 'Busco Festival

The legendary giant snapping turtle is getting its own festival this week, in Churubusco, Indiana, for its 60th anniversary. (News source.)

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Odd Felines

A black leopard has been spotted in India's Sindhudurg district, the first time since 1942. (News source.)

A North Carolina farmer says he saw a female lion. (News source.)

Even after a third sighting, Georgia officials have no actual evidence of a big cat. (News source.)

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NJ Monk Parakeets

A feral population of monk parakeets in New Jersey has won over some of the populace, but a bill protecting them has stalled in the state Senate committee. Probably because of the high attention that invasive species are getting elsewhere... (News source.)

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Friday, June 12, 2009

More on Japanese Falling Tadpoles

About 70 more dead tadpoles have been found in Ishikawa Prefecture, on a bridge walkway. (News source.)

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OT: Mystery Rock in Ohio

The Ohio man who found the rock thinks it looks like a turtle head, and may have been carved by the Moundbuilders. A Cincinnati museum archaeologist thinks it is just a natural artifact, not carved. A Muskegum College geologist thinks he sees tool marks on the rock. The debate continues... (News source, and here.)

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Pink-Winged Moth

New insects aren't uncommon, but an Arizona entomologist has discovered a new moth among a genus of normally dull moths that has pink underwings. (News source.)

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Bigfoot Sightings

Apparently, there are recent (and controversial) Bigfoot sightings along the Pearl River in Mississippi. (News source.)

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Georgia: Another Lion Sighting

Another sighting of a lion has been reported near the Hall-Lumpkin County line. (News source.)

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Falling Tadpoles

A Japanese coastal town (Nanao) has experienced a fall of tadpoles. A similar fall was reported from Hakusan. (News source, and here.)

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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Name a Jellyfish

You can submit suggestions for the species name of the Bonaire Banded Box Jellyfish. (News source.)

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Giant Elephant Fossil

Researchers have dug up an enormous elephant fossil from a sand quarry in East Java.

"'It is one of the most complete elephant skeletons recovered in Indonesia,' Dr van den Bergh said in a statement.

"'(It) is of an extinct species and is of enormous size - much bigger than modern-day Asian elephants, with a femur alone being 1.2 metres long.'" (News source.)

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Georgia: "Lion" Sighting

Not sure if this indicates a maned lion, or a mountain lion.

"The Hall County Sheriff's Office responded to Dahlonega Highway near the Lumpkin County line Tuesday morning after receiving a call from a motorist who said he had seen a lion on the shoulder of the road." (News source.)

Probably a maned cat, as deputies checked with a local game preserve. No sign of the cat was found.

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Monday, June 08, 2009

Photo Galleries

A hyena takes down a flamingo, here.

Camera traps in the Amazon show a few rare species.

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Saturday, June 06, 2009

Giant Anaconda?

A father and son team out of the UK claims that they have photographic evidence for a giant anaconda. The pic shown at the url doesn't look like a giant snake, though, (too thin, looks to be within the range of known anacondas), so I'm not sure what that's doing there, or if it is in fact the claimed evidence. (News source.)

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Thursday, June 04, 2009

New Tree Kangaroo?

A California man may have discovered a new species of tree kangaroo in New Britain, and is going back to collect physical evidence. (News source.)

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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Cougar News

Virginia officials say the Wight game cam images are not of a cougar. They say they visited the site, and estimates show the cat was too small. (They'd probably be more convincing if they actually published the data and methodology. Seriously, if you are presented with what isn't the typical bobcat photo, and this isn't a bobcat, put a little more effort into it and present the results professionally. Independent cougar researchers would find it easier to back up game officials this way.) (News source.)

Wisconsin state biologists say that tracks found of an alleged cougar probably are cougar. (News source.)

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Thylacine Sighting?

An Australian man says he saw an animal that might be a thylacine. He says it wasn't a dog, cat, or fox. (News source.)

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Ratfish

Not particularly strange, but an interesting find off Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

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Lake Champlain Sighting Allegations

It's a rather poor video, but a "strange animal" has been reported from Lake Champlain.

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Jaguar Research

An interesting article here on jaguar research in Central America.

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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Another Neofelis diardi Paper

Zootaxa has a new paper describing the neotype of the recently distinguished Neofelis diardi.

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New Shark

A small one, but still, a new species: Hemitriakis indroyonoi, a houndshark. (Zootaxa)

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New Viper

Atheris mabuensis, from northern Mozambique. (Zootaxa)

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Monday, June 01, 2009

Malaysian Tapir Research

An interesting article in the New York Times on research into the rarely glimpsed Malaysian tapirs.

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New Yorker: Palisades Panthers

An article in the New Yorker on the black cat sightings near Palisades, New Jersey.

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