Known as a "living fossil," the coelacanth is an order of fish thought to have been extinct for 65 million years until one was caught in 1938 in a fisherman's net off the coast of South Africa and identified by museum curator Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer. This wonderful paper animation tells the story of the curious creature and its rediscovery.
(hhmi BioInteractive via The Kid Should See This)
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Champ, the lake monster that reportedly lives in Lake Champlain, may soon appear on Vermont license plates. Representative Dylan Giambatista (D-Essex Junction) introduced legislation to create the plate to raise money for the state's clean water fund and raise awareness about water conservation. From WCAX:
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"For me, it involves thinking out of the box about how are we gonna fund our challenges," (Giambista says). One way we could do it is to offer a license plate. I would call it a 'Be a Champ' water license plate..."
The bill creates a conservation plate -- several styles already exist that feature deer and loon. But Giambatista says it could also be a special issue plate. like the Vermont Strong ones issued after Tropical Storm Irene that helped raise a million dollars for recovery efforts.
"We would want to put Champ on it because we want folks to be a water champ and to focus the conversation about water quality in this state. We gotta go to what people know, so let's start with a beloved figure like Champ. Let's get the conversation started and let's raise money for a good cause," Giambatista said.
Several years ago, radio journalist Laura Krantz read an article about anthropology professor and pioneering Bigfoot researcher Grover Krantz who died in 2002. Laura was surprised to find out that Grover was her grandfather's cousin. Her interest sparked, she began her own cryptozoological quest. The result is Wild Thing, a fantastic podcast about Bigfoot researchers, Sasquatch and science, legend and myth, pop culture, and other fascinating threads. From the Los Angeles Times:
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Krantz, a self-identified skeptic, says she approached the story from a scientific standpoint like Grover would. For instance, she opted not to talk to people who thought Bigfoot was brought to Earth by aliens or had the ability to move through different dimensions of space and time. Instead, she delves into topics such as evolution, e.g. where Bigfoot would fit on the tree of life. Ultimately, it was the steady stream of wildlife biologists and seasoned outdoorsmen recounting their own Bigfoot sightings that moved the believability needle for Krantz...
The nine central story episodes of “Wild Thing” will be supplemented with intermittent bonus installments, which include in-depth conversations with writer Virginia Wade, who — at her peak — made about $20,000 a month writing Bigfoot erotica, says Krantz. She also talks with William Dear, writer and director of feel-good family flick, “Harry and the Hendersons.” Krantz traveled to Northern California for the 50th anniversary of the quintessential Patterson-Gimlin film, in which grainy imagery captures an up-close Bigfoot sighting that’s long been the source of debate. She also headed back to Los Angeles to speak with experts about the psychology of belief and the “business of Bigfoot” — like why companies use its name and imagery for branding.
Lisa Stout of Bellvue, Ohio was exploring Loch Ness via Google Earth when she found this fantastic shot of Nessie. The Scottish cryptid has previously been spotted on Google Earth but this a much more compelling image. From the Official Loch Ness Monster Sightings Registry
"I had been searching for Nessie on and off for the past few weeks, spending an hour or so a week on Google Earth as well as other places I like to visit in the app. I had seen some of the latest Nessie sightings and thought that I can definitely find a better image of her than that which I used for motivation to challenge myself to find her. On the 13th at 9.45am, I had got my daughter off to school and began to search for Nessie when I noticed a cluster of pictures taken by an Underwater Earth Contributor all in one area near the Loch Ness Highland Resort in Fort Augustus. I noticed what I believe may be the creature known as Nessie – or at the very least what makes up for most of the accounts of Nessie sightings that residents/tourists are seeing and reporting.”
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Move aside Fail Whale, now the internet has a Snail Whale (and other strange beasts).
Digital Culture's interactive Hybridizer app allows you to digitally create cryptozoological creatures using the 17th c. art of engraver Matthäus Merian. His work has been digitized, split in half, and animated by the team of Kajetan Obarski, Igor Hardy and Tukasz Kozak.
Give it a whirl.
(Nag on the Lake) Read the rest
Real or not, the Loch Ness Monster brings in $54 million to the Scottish economy each year, an increase of $14.4 million from four years ago. The data comes from accountant Gary Campbell who also happens to be the official keeper of the Nessie sightings register. From the UK Press and Journal:
“We analysed the number of people that visit the attractions around the loch, along with those who took to the water to try to get a closer look for Nessie and then took other research into tourism spend on overnight accommodation and food,” said Mr Campbell.
“We then added in the day trippers and from this we conservatively estimate that the draw of the monster is adding £40.7m to the local economy each year...."
The research has been endorsed by tourism ambassador and director of Loch Ness Marketing, Willie Cameron.
“From my perspective and from the numbers and spend we see at the loch, I’d say that this is a very conservative estimate but at over £40m per annum, it shows that Scotland’s rural economy can make a significant contribution to the health of the overall Scottish economy,” he said.
Image: "The Surgeon's Photograph" of 1934, known to be a hoax. Read the rest
Former Air Force spy Denver Riggleman is the GOP Congressional candidate for Virginia's 5th district, and he's caught flack for campaigning with the notorious white supremacist Isaac Smith, co-founder of Unity & Security for America.
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In 2001, the Scottish Natural Heritage drew up a plan of action if the Loch Ness Monster were ever to be found. The code-of-practice is in the news again due to a a recent big effort to collect skin and scale samples from Loch Ness and compare those DNA sequences against known animals. From the BBC News:
It stipulates that a DNA sample should be taken from any new creature, and then it should be released back into the loch...
Nick Halfhide, of SNH, an organisation that promotes Scottish wildlife and natural habitats, said the 17-year-old code of practice remained relevant today.
He said: "There was a lot of activity on the loch at the time about Nessie.
"So, partly serious and partly for a bit of fun, we drew up a contingency plan about how we would help Nessie if and when she was found."
Mr Halfhide said: "Some of the lessons we learned then have been relevant when we have reintroduced species like sea eagles, and were used when, a couple of years ago, four new species were found in the sea off the west coast."
Above, "The Surgeon's Photograph" of 1934, known to be a hoax. Read the rest
In 1835, Davy Crockett reportedly wrote a letter to his brother-in-law Abner Burgin telling him of a rather strange experience in the Mexican province of Texas just six months before Crockett was killed at the Battle of the Alamo. From the letter:
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“William and I were pushing through some thicket, clearing the way, when I sat down to mop my brow. I sat for a spell, watching as William made his good and fine progress. I removed my boots and sat with my rations, thinking the afternoon a fine time to lunch. As the birds whistled and chirped, and I ate my small and meager ration, I tapped my axe upon the opposite end of the felled tree I rested upon.
“Whether it was the axe’s disturbance or possibly the heat of the sun which caused an apparition to slowly form in front of my eyes, I know not. As a Christian man, I swear to you, Abe, that what spirit came upon me was the shape and shade of a large ape man, the likes we might expect among the more bellicose and hostile Indian tribes in the Territories. The shade formed into the most deformed and ugly countenance. Covered in wild hair, with small and needling eyes, large broken rows of teeth, and the height of three foundlings, I spit upon the ground the bread I was eating.
“The monster then addressed a warning to me. Abner, it told me to return from Texas, to flee this Fort and to abandon this lost cause.
For more than a century there have been reports of a strange sea "monster" living in Loch Ness yet hard evidence is, er, lacking. Now, evolutionary biologist Neil Gemmell of the University of Otago is hoping that DNA testing could perhaps shed some light on what people claim is Nessie. For two weeks, Gemmell and his team will collect skin and scale samples from Loch Ness and compare those DNA sequences against known animals. Here's what Gemmmell told the BBC News:
"I don't believe in the idea of a monster, but I'm open to the idea that there are things yet to be discovered and not fully understood. Maybe there's a biological explanation for some of the stories."
"While the prospect of looking for evidence of the Loch Ness monster is the hook to this project, there is an extraordinary amount of new knowledge that we will gain from the work about organisms that inhabit Loch Ness - the UK's largest freshwater body..."
"There is this idea that an ancient Jurassic Age reptile might be in Loch Ness. If we find any reptilian DNA sequences in Loch Ness, that would be surprising and would be very, very interesting."
Above, "The Surgeon's Photograph" of 1934, known to be a hoax.
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A resident of Santa Fe, Argentina snapped this photo of a horrific beast that allegedly is killing dogs in the town. It's said to be 7-feet-tall and resemble a cross between a horse and El Chupacabra. YouTube channel UFOmania reported on the creature so perhaps the most reasonable explanation is that it's an evil extraterrestrial that hates doggos.
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Over the weekend, Jeff Warren and his family spotted this mysterious sea monster washed up on the shore of the Wolf Island National Wildlife Refuge near Darien, Georgia. It is either:
• Altamaha-ha (aka Alty), a cryptid, said to live near the mouth of the Altamaha river, that reportedly looks very similar to what's in the photo
• A frilled shark, according to a marine science educator at the Tybee Island Marine Science Center
• A basking shark, in the opinion of a Savannah State University marine scientist
• Or a hoax, according to scientists at Georgia Southern University.
Either way, the story ends well.
“My son, who is twelve, thinks it is the child of the legendary Altamaha-ha and has now decided he wants to be a marine biologist,” Warren said.
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In 1997, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recorded "the bloop," a one-minute sound emanating 1,500 miles west of Chile's southern coast. The unexplained sound was never recorded again. Read the rest
This video and the photos below reportedly depict a 60-foot dragon skeleton unearthed in the city of Zhangjiakou in Northern China's Hebei province. Some observers insist it's a hoax, but we know better. From Mysterious Universe:
A translation of the story at wukong.com says the skeleton measured about 60 feet long with a horned skull and two tiny arms at the neck-body joint. The long thin serpentine body matches the Chinese version of dragons rather than the Game of Thrones or flying lizard types.
However, the skull seems more like an antelope and some witnesses thought the bones looked like they were from multiple cows and pieced together to fool the public or be used in a movie or TV show.
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In Alor Setar, Malaysia, married couple Zul Hanif Anip, 25, and his wife Puteri shot this video of a strange slithering creature emerging from their toilet. Anip insists that it didn't look anything like any snake he'd ever seen. He claims they captured the creature and release it into the river.
"I think the creature grew up inside the pipe works connected to the toilet hole, because I have checked and there is no entry point for it to have got inside," Anip said. "He was about two meters [6.5 feet] long with a very fat, thick body. I'm not sure if it was a snake or a kind of tidal creature or from the swamp.
"Its head was very small and it had a short tail, which did not look like a snake."
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Sea Monster YouTube is the best YouTube.
SPOILER: It's just a jellyfish. But is it gold or blue? Read the rest
Loch Ness Monster researcher Mikko Takala presents Nessie on the Net livestreams from cameras on Scotland's famed loch. Did I just see a tree branch or was it a plesiosaur?
Remember, what you're seeking may look something like this, the hoaxed "Surgeon's photograph" (1934):
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