Monday, November 30, 2009

Guyana Biodiversity

An expedition into Guyana to look for giant river otters ran across a number of interesting species. Plenty of pics here, with interview. (via Kevin Stewart)

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Ohio Spider Survey Wrapping Up

After 15 years, a biologist at Ohio State Univeristy is wrapping up his state spider survey. (News source.)

While I know that it would be practically impossible to do a full guide to the state's spiders, I hope that their proposed book on common species really does cover most recognizable arachnids in the state; I'd like to see them do as well with this book as the Ohio Biological Survey did with their salamander book.

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Smallest Orchid

The smallest orchid in the world has been discovered in Ecuador, nestled in the roots of a larger plant.

"The plant is just 2.1mm wide, and instantly supercedes the species Platystele jungermannioides as the world's smallest orchid. The petals are so thin that they are just one cell thick and transparent." (News source.)

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Scotland Big Cat Research

A profile here on mystery cat researchers in Scotland.

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Catalina Island Rattlers Distinct?

Researchers are investigating whether the rattlesnakes on Santa Catalina Island may be a different subspecies from their California mainland kin. (News source.)

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Alberta Bison Restoration

Kevin Stewart passes along his letter to the editor about the controversy over restoring bison to the wild in Alberta.

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Stereo-view Hammerheads

Some interesting research on the vision of hammerhead sharks, via the Eurekalert.

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West Virginia Ostrich (Egg)

A guy in the West Virginia woods found a giant egg; the closest ostrich/emu farm is about three miles away, and they haven't lost any birds, though apparently there are rumors of loose ostriches in the region. And, yes, it does appear to be an ostrich egg. (Sorry, thunderbird enthusiasts...) (News source.)

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Books: Anthro/Archaeo Mysteries

Slightly OT, but two books I recently published of interest to Fortean readers:

The Dwarfs of Mount Atlas: Collected Papers on the Curious Anthropology of Robert Grant Haliburton
This book collects the papers and letters to publications that Haliburton (a Canadian lawyer) wrote while building a case for a legendary tribe of pygmies in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. (Letters by critics and supporters are also included.) Haliburton used the folklore he collected to theorize generally on dwarf survival elsewhere, including Europe and South America.

Iron Age America Before Columbus, by William D. Conner
Conner has continued the legacy of the late Arlington Mallery (author of Lost America) in investigating the origins of the unusual iron furnaces found in southern Ohio and elsewhere. Conner argues that the evidence points to a pre-Columbian Old World visitation as a source for these sites.

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Coral Eats Jellyfish

A mushroom coral has been photographed eating a moon jellyfish. (News source.)

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New Chameleon Almost Dinner

A new chameleon, Kinyongia magomberae, was discovered after a researcher ran across a twig snake that regurgitated the lizard. (News source.)

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African Wildcat in UAE

Though not rare as a subspecies in its normal range, the presence of Felis silvestris lybica in the mountains of Wadi Wurayah is apparently of interest to researchers there, as there is concern that African wildcats in the UAE have regularly hybridized with feral domestics. (News source, via Kevin Stewart.)

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Florida Monkeyshines

A few primate sightings (baboon, monkey, etc.) have been reported in the Tampa and Hillsborough areas. (Here, and here.)

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Another "Hobbit" Paper

A new study argues, through statistical analysis of a female skeleton, that Homo floresiensis is a distinct species. (eurekalert)

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Another Lungless Caecilian

A new species of caecilian, Caecilita iwokramae, has been determined to be lungless. While not the first such caecilian, apparently it is distinctly different from the other lungless caecilian. (News source.)

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Sea Serpents in Academia

Sort of... Ran across a mention of this book, published by the State University of New York Press:

Species, Serpents, Spirits, and Skulls: Science at the Margins in the Victorian Age
Sherrie Lynne Lyons
Published October 2009, $75

Blurb says: "Science permeates nearly every aspect of our lives, and yet, as current debates over intelligent design, the causes of global warming, and alternative health practices indicate, the question of how to distinguish science from pseudoscience remains a difficult one. To address this question, Sherrie Lynne Lyons draws on four examples from the nineteenth century--sea serpent investigations, spiritualism, phrenology, and Darwin's theory of evolution. Each attracted the interest of prominent scientists as well as the general public, yet three remained at the edges of scientific respectability while the fourth, evolutionary theory, although initially regarded as scientific heresy, ultimately became the new scientific orthodoxy. Taking a serious look at the science behind these examples, Lyons argues that distinguishing between science and pseudoscience, particularly in the midst of discovery, is not as easy as the popular image of science tends to suggest. Two examples of present-day controversies surrounding evolutionary psychology and the meaning of fossils confirm this assertion. She concludes that although the boundaries of what constitutes science are not always clear-cut, the very intimate relationship between science and society, rather than being a hindrance, contributes to the richness and diversity of scientific ideas. Taken together, these entertaining and accessible examples illuminate important issues concerning the theory, practice, and content of science."

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hippos vs Croc

A lone crocodile didn't have much chance against a group of hippos, here.

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More on Belgian Black Panther

Another sighting near Malmedy.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Aussie Hippo

Hunters in the Northern Territory thought they were shooting a large pig, but it turned out to be a pygmy hippo, left behind or escaped from a now-closed wildlife sanctuary. (News here, and here.)

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Deep Fish

Photographs of the deepest-living fish (a species of snailfish) in the Southern Hemisphere were taken by scientists in the Kermadec Trench, over 7km down. (News source.)

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Steve Irwin's Tree Snail

A new tree snail with a colorful shell (including khaki highlights) has been named after the late Steve Irwin. Crikey steveirwini is found in northern Queensland. (News source.)

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lioness was a Dog

Spanish police shot what they thought was a female lion, after a massive search for the animal. It turned out to be a dog. (News source.)

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Australian "Panther"

An alpaca farmer lost a female and her young when they were attacked by an unknown animal. (News source.)

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Strange Animal Roundup

Just so I don't have to make more posts than necessary:

Conservationists are working with Ethiopian wolves, here.

Another brown-and-white giant panda has been found. (News source.)

A giant stingray has been filmed. (News source, with video)

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Andean Bears

A paper from 2008 on a survey for rumored Andean bears in Panama.

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Introduced Toucans in Grenada

A brief paper (2001) on the introduction of channel-billed toucans on the island of Grenada.

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"Spirit Bear" Research

White phase black bears have an advantage over normal black bears while fishing for salmon. (News source) [Via Kevin Stewart]

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Friday, November 06, 2009

Bay Cat Video

A brief video of the endangered bay cat in the wild has been posted online.

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Australian Panther-Like Creature

Another panther-like animal has been reported from near Logan, Australia. (News source.)

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Thursday, November 05, 2009

Great White Research

Researchers have discovered that great white sharks in the northeastern Pacific are a distinct population. (News source.)

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Monday, November 02, 2009

Jellyfish Capsize Boat

A Japanese fishing trawler capsized after its nets were filled with a giant Nomura jellyfish swarm. (News source.) More info here.

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Falkland Wolf Research

Looks like the extinct Falkland wolf's closest relative was the South American maned wolf. (Eurekalert.)

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