Monday, February 27, 2006

Mountain Lion Terrorizes California Grade School!

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A mountain lion that wandered into an Altadena neighborhood was tranquilized Monday and removed by authorities, a state wildlife official said.

The lion was first spotted around 7 a.m. after ambling a mile and a half from Angeles National Forest, California Department of Fish and Game spokesman Steve Martarano said.

No one was attacked, but a nearby elementary school was placed on lockdown.

The 2-year-old, 65-pound male cat slept beneath bushes at one point before ducking into a backyard, where a Fish and Game department official shot it with a tranquilizer blow dart, Martarano said.

"It tried to run away, and then it just pooped out" next to a row of trash cans, he said.

Fish and Game officials removed the sedated cat in a blanket to transport it by truck back to the forest.

"There have only been 15 attacks on humans, by about 13 lions, since 1890," Martarano said. "They're pretty rare. People aren't their primary prey, thankfully."

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Strange Tremors Shake Maine!

Down East Tremors leave Mainers puzzled

SKOWHEGAN, Maine -- People in Somerset County are seeking answers after feeling earthquake-like tremors this week.

The Somerset County Communications Center got calls Thursday morning from at least a dozen residents who reported tremors in a 15-mile radius in Anson, Madison, Skowhegan, and Norridgewock. But state officials said there weren't any earthquakes that were documented by the New England Seismic Network, which tracks earthquake activity.

Robert Higgins, director of Somerset County Emergency Management, said he wants a second look. People in Solon the previous week reported hearing an unexplained loud explosion that shook homes, he said. ''I'd like them to relook at what they may have," Higgins said. ''This is the second occurrence in less than a week of such magnitude."

Norridgewock Town Manager John Doucette said Thursday's event sounded and felt like a dumpster had fallen off a truck or a truck had hit the town office building, but that nothing could be found when employees went outside to see what happened.

More than a mile away, Jeffrey McGown said he felt the shaking in his office. But he, too, couldn't find the cause. ''It felt like somebody with a delivery type of vehicle had backed into our building," McGown said.

Six miles away in Anson, the boom and shaking were so strong that off-duty dispatcher William Crawford called the county's dispatch center. He thought maybe his chimney collapsed or his furnace exploded, but he couldn't determine the cause, either.

State geologist Bob Marvinney of the Maine Geological Survey said if an earthquake occurred, it wasn't recorded by any of the instruments in Maine or elsewhere in New England.

Marvinney said he contacted the New England Seismic Network in Massachusetts, which hadn't picked up on any seismic activity in the area.

''I'm surprised we didn't pick up anything," he said. ''There are other kinds of explanations, like quarry work and roadwork."

Higgins said he checked with Guilford Industries to see if the company had been doing any quarry work, but was told there hadn't been any blasting since last fall. ''It's just unexplainable, I guess," he said.

Alien "Jazz" spotted in night sky over Kathu, Phuket!

(I-Newswire) - A UFO was reportedly sighted last night taken off from Patong Hill. At 3am Kathu locals claim that a metallic silver spaceship that looked similar to a Honda Jazz speeded off the Patong Hill road and headed off into the sky. These accusations were later called into question when a crate of empty Chang bottles was found near the scene. However determined locals led the Patong Times to a house where they claimed an alien had taken refuge. Upon further investigation we found that the person in question was actually Belgian, which is halfway there.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Bigfoot vs. Hantu Semawa in Pahang death match!

Bigfoot Sighted In Endau-Rompin National Park
(Eastern Region News Service)

ROMPIN (Pahang), Feb 20 (Bernama) -- Orang Asli living along the Johor-Pahang border claim they too have seen "Bigfoot" in the Endau-Rompin National Park while collecting forest produce in the area.

They call the hairy man-like creatures standing over four metres (12ft) tall as "hantu siaran gigi" or "hantu hutan".

But those are not the only creatures they have seen for they have also sighted "hantu semawa" -- a creature whose body size is similar to an ordinary human -- and "hantu bojok" which is much smaller.

Tok Batin (tribal chief) Sati Pak Burut, 48, said his men had told him several times of their encounter with such creatures in the Johor forest.

"My men often go into the forest for up to two or three weeks. When they return, they will tell lots of stories like seeing hantu hutan, hantu bojok and hantu semawa," he said.

Tok Batin Sati, who heads over 300 families in Kampung Guri, said no untoward incidents had happened so far involving his men and the creatures.

"Normally, when seeing such a creature, they just leave the area. They do not want to disturb it. It knows that we are poor, the creatures and us depend on the forest for our livelihood," he said.

Villager Alias Kuwi, 32, said he had seen a hantu hutan catching fish while looking for fragrant wood in the forest.

"We looked at it and it looked back at us, then we continued walking. It did not bother us," he said.

On hantu bojok, he said, the one he had seen was not as hairy as a Bigfoot.

"Hantu bojok is small. We've seen it many times. It looks like a dwarf. Once, we saw it catching fish and when it saw us, it ran away," he said.

Prehistoric Beaver!

Chinese discover fossilized skeleton of creature with fur and flat, scaly, paddle-shaped tail

From Friday's Globe and Mail

More than 164 million years ago, when dinosaurs dominated the Earth, a small beaver-like creature with a tail most Canadians would recognize was holding its own in world of Jurassic giants.

The discovery in China of a fossilized skeleton of a creature with a flat, paddle-shaped tail is significant because, until now, scientists believed the mammals that lived alongside the dinosaurs were tiny, shrew-like generalists.

This animal, with webbed hind feet, strong arms for digging and otter-like teeth, shows that mammals became highly specialized long before the dinosaurs disappeared 65 million years ago.

"We now know that early mammals are really far more diverse. They got into the water. They were good diggers. Previously, we thought this would be possible only with far more advanced mammals," says Zhe-Xi Luo, curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh.

He and his colleagues named it Castorocauda lutrasimilis, but say the animal isn't the direct ancestor of the North American beaver or European beavers. Dr. Luo says its line appears to have died out long before the ancestors of modern beavers emerged, about 25 million years ago.

It caught and ate fish, and had molars that resemble those of modern seals or otter. Canadian beavers are vegetarians, they eat trees and shrubs, and their buck teeth can gnaw through a tree.

The ancient beaver-like creature also had a poisonous spur on its ankle, similar to the one a modern platypus has on both legs.

"Its lifestyle was probably very similar to the modern-day platypus," says Dr. Luo, who published his findings in today's edition of the U.S. journal Science. "It probably lived along river or lake banks. It doggy-paddled around, ate aquatic animals and insects, and burrowed tunnels for its nest."

But its scaly tail was remarkably similar to that of a modern beaver, and appears to have been used in the same way, helping to propel it through the water. The creature may have even slapped it on the surface to warn family members that a meat eater was coming.

Dr. Luo said Canadians should be proud and amused that a national symbol has such an ancient look-alike. ("Is it true you have a beaver on your money?" he asked.)

The fossil was found by peasants in a lake bed in Inner Mongolia, he said. They took it to the Northern Jinzhou Museum of Paleontology, which let him examine it. He is planning an expedition to the region this summer, and hopes to discover other previously unknown Jurassic mammals.

Dr. Luo is an expert in ancient mammals. Five years ago, he was part of a team that identified the closest known relative of modern mammals, a shrew-like creature that weighed no more than a paper clip and lived 195 million years ago.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Super Evolved Monster Crocodile Discovered!

(National Geographic News)
Researchers have unearthed fossil evidence of a 135-million-year-old "sea monster" they're calling Godzilla.

A large skull of the animal was found in southern Argentina in an area that was once part of the Pacific Ocean.

Named Dakosaurus andiniensis, the creature is an entirely new species of ancient crocodile. It had a head like a carnivorous dinosaur and a tail like a fish. With its massive jaws and serrated teeth, it preyed on other marine reptiles.

Totally unique among marine crocodiles, "it is one of the most evolved members of the crocodilian family and also one of the most bizarre," said Diego Pol, a paleontologist at Ohio State University in Columbus, who served on the research team.

The research, led by Zulma Gasparini, a paleontologist at Argentina's Universidad Nacional de La Plata, was funded by the National Geographic Society.

Man Wades Into Hammerhead Feeding Frenzy!

POSTED: 8:14 am EST February 13, 2006
The shark feeding frenzy off eastern Australia hasn't kept everyone out of the water. An 18-year-old man was bitten in the leg Monday as he waded in water about a foot deep. It was a small shark but the man needed 11 stitches. Several beaches along Queensland's popular Gold Coast were closed over the weekend as more than 100 hammerhead, gray nurse and bronze whaler sharks fed off massive schools of fish moving along the coast. Officials have urged people to stick to beaches protected by shark nets or where lifeguards are on patrol.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Giant Lily Scented Worms Invade Washington!

Feb. 10, 2006 — A gigantic white worm that smells like lilies was recently unearthed in the state of Washington.

The invertebrate, called the giant Palouse earthworm because it can grow to around three feet long, had not been seen in nearly two decades and is believed to be extremely rare, according to a University of Idaho press release.

The worm may be suffering from competition from non-native species, revealing that even underground soil dwellers are vulnerable to ecosystem disruption.

UI soil science doctoral candidate Yaniria Sanchez-de Leon found the worm while digging in a 10-inch-square and 12-inch-deep pit of dirt located at Washington State University's Smoot Hill Ecological Preserve near Palouse, Wash.. The area is part of the Palouse prairie, which covers approximately two million acres across north central Idaho and southeastern Washington.

Sanchez-de Leon noticed the worm immediately because "it's very white and the anterior part is pink near the mouth."