Sunday, February 28, 2010

Future Changes

Just a note, I may have to make some changes about blogging due to Google (who owns Blogger) deciding they were not going to continue supporting FTP service for self-hosted blogs. As I have no intention of moving to Blogger's hosting, this means that a) I will have to migrate to something like WordPress, which I'm not sure I want to fool around with, or b) drop the blogging and just continue to send the news bits to the StrangeArk email list, while focusing on building up the StrangeArk site. (Though, at present, don't really have time to do much more article creation -- too many irons in the fire. Actually, I was working on an article for BioFortean Review today on an overlooked mystery animal, then realized how long it was going to be, so decided to save it for a chapter in a book. Guess I'll have to start coming up with more lesser-known cryptids for a general mystery animal collection.)

Ticks & Disease

An interesting article on tick-borne diseases here.

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Javan Leopards

A new population of Javan leopards has been discovered in one of the island's parks. (News source.)

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Komodo Dragon Attack

A Komodo Island park ranger somehow got involved when a Komodo dragon chased a monkey, and ended up getting bit himself. (News source.)

[Additional: A bit more info here.]

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New Maskray

A new species of ray has been discovered in Ningaloo Marine Park. (News source.)

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Eagle vs Deer

A photographer managed to get a series of shots of a golden eagle attacking a deer. (via Kevin Stewart.)

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Pitcher Plant Used by Tree Shrew

A species of pitcher plant doubles as a lavatory for tree shrews in Borneo. (News source.)

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Carnivores in the News

Was a Florida panther photographed in Sarasota County? (News source.)

Cougar sightings are coming out of Virginia. (News source.)

A large cougar was killed after it attacked a bull in Washington State. (News source.)

The Mexican wolf that escaped in MN recently was recaptured. (News source.)

The highest diversity of cat species in the world has been discovered in a forest in the Indian state of Assam. (News source.)

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Florida: Brindle Cat from the Past

From 15 years ago, a story of a "brindled" cat about the size of a dog from the Lake Wales region. (News source.)

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OOPAs: Escapees and Accidentals

What is thought to be a macaque was seen again in the Tampa Bay area. (News source.)

A Mexican wolf is loose in Minnesota after vandalism at a science center. (News source.)

A mongoose was trapped in Samoa. (News source.)

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Jaguar

Sky Island Alliance released photos of a jaguar from Sonora, just 30 miles south of the US/Mexico border. (News source.)

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Monday, February 15, 2010

More on Scat Dogs

A paper available for download: (PDF)

Comparing Scat Detection Dogs, Cameras, and Hair Snares for Surveying Carnivores
R. A. Long, et al.
The Journal of Wildlife Management

71(6): 2018-2025.

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Gorilla Escape

Tufani the gorilla briefly escaped before being recaptured at the Dallas Zoo. How she got out is unknown yet. (News source.)

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Mokele-Mbembe

Now available:

Mokele-Mbembe: Mystery Beast of the Congo Basin

William J. Gibbons


Details here.

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Science Fiction Cryptids

Now available:

Bestiarium Cryptozoologicum: Mystery Animals and Unknown Species in Classic Science Fiction and Fantasy

23 stories, details
here.

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A Mammoth Hoax

I've uploaded the latest article to BioFortean Review, reprinting a newspaper hoax from 1873 about living mammoths being seen in Siberia.

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Shark Parthenogenesis Paper

Here's a downloadable paper of interest to shark enthusiasts:

Shark Virgin Birth Produces Multiple, Viable Offspring (PDF)
Journal of Heredity

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Fallow Deer Espionage

Interesting story on how a few Persian fallow deer were smuggled into Israel before the Iranian shah's government collapsed in 1978. (Via Kevin Stewart.)

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Cape Lion Resurrection Attempt

A Siberian zoo is using a liger to cross with what could be a descendant of Cape lions (an extinct subspecies) to try and resurrect the subspecies. Exactly why they are using a liger is unexplained. (News source, via Kevin Stewart.)

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Australian Camel Cull?

Feral camels in Australia continue to cause problems, and one suggestion is to cull for meat for croc farms. (News source.)

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Ivorybills

"We don't believe a recoverable population of ivory-billed woodpeckers exists" ... (News source.)

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Going out on a Limb...

I'm going to say the human-headed snake is a fake...

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Sundaland Clouded Leopard

Caught on video.

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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Potential Canine Tool?

Scat-detection dogs are at work in mainstream zoology -- perhaps some possible use in future cz or biofortean investigations?

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Giant Short-Faced Bears

A paper (in the Journal of Paleontology) recently published a range expansion of Arctodus simus, finding late Pleistocene fossils in Florida.

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Cryptozoology and the "High Table" of Science

I recently read over a copy of the following paper (thanks to Kevin for locating it for me), and am pleased to see a positive response to the late Bernard Heuvelmans' writings in an academic journal. The paper is:

Cryptozoology, Archaeology and Paleontology: Histories Near the High Table
Keynyn Brysse
Annals of Science
January 25, 2010, iFirst article

This is actually an essay review of three books published in 2007. One is on O'Connor's Finding Time for the Old Stone Age: A History of Palaeolithic Archaeology and Quaternary Geology in Britain, 1860-1960, another is Turner's Making Prehistory: Historical Science and the Scientific Realism Debate, and the third is Heuvelmans' The Natural History of Hidden Animals. The perspective of this journal is more history of science than actual science (which may be one reason it is a bit more objective about cryptozoology), and the review underscores both the reluctance of anthropology to accept archaeology, and that of evolutionary biology to accept paleontology. It also points out the foibles of certain historical scientists who were averse to self-critique, as well as highlighting the value of historical (vs experimental) sciences in scientific endeavors.

Now, I don't have the Heuvelmans book in question. It's on my list... but as I have most of his other English material, I'm familiar with his arguments, and of course as the "father of cryptozoology" these should be carefully considered by all cryptozoological investigators. I don't necessarily agree with everything Heuvelmans wrote, however, specifically when it comes to separating cryptozoology as a distinct discipline from zoology itself. Cryptozoology is methodology, not a discipline. That, I think, is what may confuse Dr. Brysse when she writes:

"The designation of cryptozoology as a unique scientific discipline distinct from zoology proper is, however, more problematic. Heuvelmans lambasts critics of cryptozoology ... for thinking cryptozoologists are only interested in monsters. Such accusations may be unfair, but if Heuvelmans' s own definition is used instead, then every zoologist who ever discovers a new species of animal, however small, unexciting, and similar to known species, is doing cryptozoology, whether he or she knows it or not. This definition is so broad as to be virtually useless."


The confusion comes because Dr. Brysse doesn't recognize here that cryptozoology is the investigation of "ethnoknown" mystery animals. Heuvelmans usually pointed this out in his material, and as I said, I don't have this volume, so I don't know how well he emphasized the point. But in order to be of interest to (and within the purview of) cryptozoology, the mystery animal (whether strange and monstrous, or small and uninteresting) had to have enough salience to be recognized as unusual, strange, or different from known and recognized species, prior to its discovery.

In other words, if a field biologist in Madagascar catches a brand new lemur out of the blue in a field trap, that would not be cryptozoology. If that same biologist hears rumors of another possible new lemur, and deliberately searches out and finds that it is a new species, that is cryptozoology. Cryptozoology, as a discovery science, is a targeted-methodology for ethnoknown species. It is well within the boundary of mainstream zoology as a methodology (regardless of the weirdness of its potential targets), and has been used (if unrecognized as distinctive) since the beginnings of modern natural history.

In any case, this is a positive mention of cryptozoology within academia, and hopefully will lead to more informed interest by those in the history and philosophy of science, if not science itself.

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Oarfish Filmed in Wild

Interesting footage of an oarfish has been captured. News details here, and video without annoying commercial here.

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Australia: OOP Monkey

What appears to be a monkey is roaming around Darwin. (News source.)

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Sunday, February 07, 2010

Indy Grassman Movie

A trailer of The Legend of the Grassman ("the Ohio version of the Sasquatch") can be seen here. [It's an independent horror flick, not a documentary.]

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Feline Sighting

Two women in New York reported seeing a large animal they thought was a cougar: "very muscular and a grayish color with short hair and estimated its weight between 100 and 120 pounds by comparing it to her 90-pound Rottweiler." (News source.)

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Thursday, February 04, 2010

Some New Species

A new killifish from Mozambique has medical research potential. (News source.)

A new frog from Vietnam is named after a Hong Kong hedge fund manager. (News source.)

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Aurochs

Italian scientists are trying to recreate the extinct giant cattle, the aurochs. (News source.)

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Titanoboa Neighbors

Smaller crocodyliforms were probably prey to the huge Titanoboa, being found in the same fossil site. (News source.)

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