Cryptozoology, BioForteana, and Remarkable Species
Monday, November 30, 2009
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.
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.)
Scotland Big Cat Research
Catalina Island Rattlers Distinct?
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Alberta Bison Restoration
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.)
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.
Coral Eats Jellyfish
New Chameleon Almost Dinner
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.)
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Another "Hobbit" Paper
Another Lungless Caecilian
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."