Flying T-Rex fossils found in Australia, because of course they were

Scientists in Queensland, Australia have pieced together the most complete pterosaur fossil collection yet—a big-headed reptile  with a 12-foot wingspan they've named Ferrodraco lentoni, or "Butch's Iron Dragon."

"It’s kind of scary when you think their heads are disproportionately large, it would have had a skull maybe 60cm," Adele Pentland from Swinburne University, the lead author on the study, told The Guardian. "To see it walking around on the ground it would have walked on four legs and looked really different to any kind of animal we have today." You can check out an artist's rendering of the derpy-looking lizard-bird here.

The field of dinosaur research is in a bit of a renaissance period, with some three dozen new species discovered this year alone. More importantly: of course a flying mini-T-Rex was found in Australia of all places. After all, this is the land of such natural wonders as mutant eel-sharks, birds that weaponize fire, projectile bull semen, human-sized jellyfish, and more strange spiders than anyone ever wants to hear about, except for that guy who was bit on the penis not once but twice (and still hasn't gained any spider-penis super powers).

In that context, it's frankly surprising that a flying T-Rex hadn't been discovered there until now.

(Image via Luis Rey/Wikimedia Commons) Read the rest

Baby fox shows up to say hello at grandma's house

Firefox encounters issue with Windows. Read the rest

Rare giant bird kills Florida man

Marvin Hajos, 75, of Gainesville, Florida, fell in his backyard and was then attacked by his pet cassowary, a giant bird from ratite group that also includes emus and ostriches. Native to northeastern Australia and tropical forests of New Guinea, cassowaries have three-toed feet with long, sharp claws. From CNN:

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission considers cassowaries Class II wildlife, meaning they pose a danger to humans and are subject to specific cage requirements. Owners must also have "substantial experience" with the animals, the commission says...

They can grow more than 5 feet tall and the heaviest females can weigh more than 160 pounds, the (San Diego Zoo) says. Males weigh up to 120 pounds.

"The cassowary is rightfully considered the most dangerous bird in the world!" the zoo says. "Each 3-toed foot has a dagger-like claw on the inner toe that is up to 4 inches (10 centimeters) long! The cassowary can slice open any predator or potential threat with a single swift kick."

image: "Southern cassowary" by Scott Hamlin/CC BY-SA 2.0

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Poachers eaten by lions

Lions ate at least two rhinoceros poachers trespassing on a game preserve in Kenton-on-Sea, South Africa. Along with the poachers' remains, rangers found a high-powered rifle and axe.

"They strayed into a pride of lions - it's a big pride so they didn't have too much time," Sibuya reserve owner Nick Fox was quoted as saying. "We're not sure how many there were - there's not much left of them."

More in this press release from the Sibuya Game Reserve.

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Important elephant road safety tips

If you see an elephant on the road and do anything but breathe, you're gonna have a bad day. Read the rest

There could be as many as 7000 tigers living in American backyards

If school shootings, the former leader of the free world's alienation of long-time allies in favor of getting cozy with dictators, or the systematic destruction of the environment and the norms of human decency aren't enough to keep you awake at night, this ought to do it: America may have a tiger problem. In many states, no one has a clue of how many tigers are being kept as pets or in private animal sanctuaries.

From the BBC:

Taj was a four-month-old tiger cub when purchased at a Texas truck stop by the driver of an 18-wheeler lorry. But after Taj began tearing up the truck's cab, the driver contacted Austin Zoo to get the animal off his hands. The zoo now looks after the fully grown 17-year-old Bengal tiger male.

Taj is one of as many as 7,000 tigers living in the US either in zoos or privately owned, according to some estimates. That's nearly double the estimated 3,890 tigers still prowling in the wild around the world.

Tigers. Being sold at truck stops.

To be fair, given the number of calories, sugar and sodium in a single 52-ounce refill of Coca Cola available at any Flying J travel center, an apex predator is pretty far down the list of dangerous things you can buy at a truck stop these days.

According to the BBC, the biggest problem going, where tigers in America are concerned, isn't that no one has a bead on how many are being kept as pets. Read the rest

Owning a pet raccoon sounds like an exhausting pain in the ass

Even if you live in an area where keeping a raccoon as a pet is totally cool,  a raccoon is a wild animal that shouldn't be kept as a pet. They've got needs, habits and instincts which, even if you were to raise it from a kit, you won't be able to rid it of. Still interested in claiming one of the fuzzy buggers as your own? Then you'll want to watch this video of this gent who, after a year of raccoon ownership, has a solid, informed opinion on whether a raccoon makes a good pet.

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