Category Archive 'Cryptozoology'
01 Dec 2017

Yeti is Apparently a Bear

, , ,


Himalayan brown bear

Science:

Hikers in Tibet and the Himalayas need not fear the monstrous yeti—but they’d darn well better carry bear spray. DNA analyses of nine samples purported to be from the “abominable snowman” reveal that eight actually came from various species of bears native to the area.

In the folklore of Nepal, the yeti looms large. The creature is often depicted as an immense, shaggy ape-human that roams the Himalayan hinterlands. Purported sightings over the years, as well as scattered “remains” secreted away in monasteries or held by shamans, have hinted to some that the yeti is not merely a mythical boogeyman.

But science has not borne this out so far. Previous genetic analyses of a couple of hair samples collected in India and Bhutan suggested that one small stretch of their mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA)—the genetic material in a cell’s power-generating machinery that’s passed down only by females—resembled that of polar bears. That finding hinted that a previously unknown type of bear, possibly a hybrid between polar bears and brown bears, could be roaming the Himalayas, says Charlotte Lindqvist, an evolutionary biologist at the State University of New York in Buffalo.

To find out for sure, Lindqvist and her colleagues took a more thorough look at the mtDNA of as many samples of supposed yeti remains as she could get her hands on. Some were obtained when she worked with a U.K. production crew on the 2016 documentary Yeti or Not?, which sought to sift fact from folklore. The filmmakers got hold of a tooth and some hair collected on the Tibetan Plateau in the late 1930s, as well as a sample of scat from Italian mountaineer Reinhold Messner’s museum in the Tyrolean Alps. More recent samples included hair collected in Nepal by a nomadic herdsman and a leg bone found by a spiritual healer in a cave in Tibet. The team also analyzed samples recently collected from several subspecies of bears native to the area, including the Himalayan brown bear, the Tibetan brown bear, and the black bear. Altogether, the scientists analyzed 24 samples, including nine purported to be from yeti.

Of the nine “yeti” samples, eight turned out to be from bears native to the area, the researchers report today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The other sample came from a dog.

RTWT

17 Sep 2016

New Loch Ness Monster Photo

,

lochnessmonster3

The Express:

Amateur photographer Ian Bremner, 58, was driving around the Highlands in search of red deer – but stumbled instead across the remarkable sight of what appears to be Nessie swimming in the calm waters of Loch Ness.

The father-of-four spends most of his weekends in the region taking photographs of the stunning natural beauty.

But it was not until he got back to his home in Nigg, Invergordon, that he noticed three humps emerging from the water which he thinks could be the elusive monster.

The picture shows a two-yard long silver creature swimming away from the lens with its head bobbing away and a tail flapping a yard away, preparing to swim further on.

The likely creature was spotted coming up for air close to the banks of the loch on Saturday afternoon midway between the villages of Dores and Inverfarigaig.

Whole thing.

These tend to fakes.

02 Sep 2016

Wessie Identified as Green Anaconda

, ,

WestbrookSnakeskin
National Geographic reports that the Westbrook, Maine snakeskin has been identified as coming from a Green Anaconda.

August 21st — Snakeskin story

Westbrook officials sent a sample of the snakeskin off to John Palcyk, a biologist at the University of Texas at Tyler, for genetic analysis. Placyk then sequenced the skin’s mitochondrial genome and found that it belonged to an anaconda—a shocking find that officials announced on August 30.

“It was pretty unexpected, I’ll tell you that,” Palcyk said to Steve Annear of the Boston Globe. “This was a 100 percent match to an anaconda.”

To refine the ID, Placyk sent along his sequence to Jesús Rivas, an anaconda expert at New Mexico Highlands University, who compared it to a genetic database of anacondas from across South America.

In a phone call, Rivas says that the skin belongs to a female green anaconda (Eunectes murinus) that’s at least 10 to 12 years old, based on the skin’s size. The snake’s genetic quirks also suggest that its ancestors were most likely from Peru or Bolivia, though the snake probably was bred in the United States. (Find out more about green anacondas—the world’s largest snakes, pound for pound.)

So how did the snake end up in Maine?

First, it’s still not clear whether the skin’s placement was an elaborate hoax meant to stoke Wessie hype. But if Westbrook is legitimately home to a loose anaconda, Lally thinks that it was released into the wild by its owners, perhaps because they could no longer care for it.

“It would have had to come from someone who either caught it or bought it somewhere, brought it here, and then decided to let it go, for some reason,” he says.

The green anaconda can grow up to 20 feet long and weigh a whopping 200 pounds. That’s a big body to feed. And the world’s largest rodent, the capybara, is the perfect entree.

This sort of reptile buyer’s remorse is rare in Maine, says Lally, but it happens elsewhere in the United States. In Florida, the phenomenon has contributed to a booming—and ecologically disastrous—population of Burmese pythons in the Everglades, an invasive group seeded mostly by the 1992 destruction of a reptile breeding facility by Hurricane Andrew. (Find out how pythons have wreaked havoc on Florida’s native wildlife.)

But given the snake’s size and age, Rivas suspects that its owners were dedicated, and he maintains instead that the anaconda got out of its enclosure. “People who have a snake of this size normally are responsible keepers, [and] it’s very unlikely that they don’t have the awareness that the snake won’t survive in the wild,” says Rivas. “I doubt that it was released; more likely, it escaped.”

If Wessie’s owners accidentally lost her, however, there’s a good reason why they aren’t putting up “lost pet” signs: It’s illegal in Maine to own an anaconda.

Regardless, Maine’s bitterly cold winter ensures that the snake’s escape will be brief, one way or another. In the wild, Rivas says that anacondas aren’t found in areas with temperatures below 72°F. Temperatures below 50°F are considered fatal, and night temperatures in Maine are poised to cross that threshold.

“If there is an anaconda, it’ll be dead pretty soon,” says Lally.

Lally adds that the snake doesn’t pose a major public safety threat, though he recommends that people not let their dogs and cats loose along the Presumpscot River. In the meantime, officials continue to look for the snake—and Rivas remains hopeful that they can catch it alive and unharmed.

“It’s a curiosity, not a crisis,” says Rivas. “The only one in danger here is the anaconda.”

Full story.

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

21 Aug 2016

Giant Snakeskin Found in Maine, Confirming June Sighting of Huge Snake “Wessie” Eating a Beaver

, , ,

PresumpscotSnakeskin

Bangor Daily News:

Westbrook police are warning residents after a large snake skin was found near the Presumpscot River on Saturday.

Police said a resident reported finding a shed snake skin along the Presumpscot River around 3 p.m. near the carry-in boat launch in the area of Riverbank Park.

Westbrook police officers photographed, collected and tagged the skin, which will be examined in attempts to determine what type of snake it came from and what risks this type of snake poses to public safety. …

This comes after two Westbrook police officers spotted a 10-foot snake eating a large mammal along the riverbank in Riverbank Park in June.

——————————

Since June, the snake has developed a following. It’s been named “Wessie.” It has a Twitter page. And the local Mast Landing Brewery created a “Wessie” IPA in its honor. Wessie beer was so popular that Mast Landing had sold out of it as of August 4th.

14 Mar 2016

La Bête du Gévaudan

, , , ,

BeteduGevaudan
La Bête du Gévaudan (Aquatint engraving), 1764.

Wikipedia:

The Beast of Gévaudan [was] the man-eating gray wolf, dog or wolfdog which terrorised the former province of Gévaudan (modern-day département of Lozère and part of Haute-Loire), in the Margeride Mountains in south-central France between 1764 and 1767. The attacks, which covered an area stretching 90 by 80 kilometres (56 by 50 mi), were said to have been committed by a beast or beasts that had formidable teeth and immense tails according to contemporary eyewitnesses.

Victims were often killed by having their throats torn out. The Kingdom of France used a considerable amount of manpower and money to hunt the animals; including the resources of several nobles, soldiers, civilians, and a number of royal huntsmen.

The number of victims differs according to sources. In 1987, one study estimated there had been 210 attacks; resulting in 113 deaths and 49 injuries; 98 of the victims killed were partly eaten. However, other sources claim it killed between 60 to 100 adults and children, as well as injuring more than 30.

05 Oct 2015

Heavy Rain in South Carolina

, , , ,

SouthCarolinaNessie

14 Aug 2015

Tall Tale From the Old West

, , , ,

MountainRats1876

New Falcon Herald:

Pikes Peak was the scene of a fraud perpetrated in 1876 by John O’Keefe, whose job was to take weather readings on the summit and signal them to the city below.

O’Keefe’s tall tale about rats on the peak’s summit was first printed in the Pueblo Chieftain newspaper. The tale then spread to the Rocky Mountain News, which published an articled entitled “Rodents on the Rampage – an Awful and Almost Incredible Story, a Fight for Life with Rats on Pikes Peak.”

In the Rocky Mountain News story, O’Keefe claimed the top of Pikes Peak was overrun by rats the size of cats that fed on “saccharine gum that percolates through the pores of the rocks.”

The story continues:

    “Since the establishment of the government’s signal station on the summit of the peak, these animals have acquired a voracious appetite for raw and uncooked meat, the scent of which seems to impart to them a ferocity rivaling the fierceness of the starved Siberian wolf.”

O’Keefe claimed that on his first night at the station, he and his wife were attacked by rats and would have been overwhelmed had they not electrocuted them using electrical wire powered by a battery.

When the battle was over, they discovered the rats had eaten their infant daughter, Erin.

O’Keefe claimed he buried all that was left of Erin (her skull) under a pile of rocks with a marker and this inscription, “Erin O’Keefe, daughter of John and Nora O’Keefe, who was eaten by mountain rats in the year 1876.”

The grave became a popular tourist attraction, and O’Keefe charged 50 cents for tourists to have their picture taken at the site.

O’Keefe was eventually revealed as a fraud. He didn’t have a wife or daughter, and probably buried his dead burro under the rocks.

Via Ratak Monodosico.

09 May 2015

Cryptozoological Map & T-Shirts

, ,

CryptozoologyUSA

Disinformation links the Hog Island Press Cryptozoological Map of the United States, which is at least amusing.

Some states haven’t got any imaginary monsters. Connecticut and Rhode Island, for instance, are out of luck. Pennsylvania gets Thunderbirds, which I and Wikipedia have never heard of.

11 Apr 2015

Alligator Seen in Monongahela River

, , ,

alligator-walking

When Pennsylvanians refer to an “Allegheny alligator,” they normally mean Necturus maculosus, a foot-and-a-half long dark salamander, with external, Christmas-tree-like red gills. But this week there have been two sightings reported of a real six-to-seven foot alligator (Alligator mississipiensis) in Western Pennsylvania’s Monongahela River, the one which joins the Allegheny River at Pittsburgh to form the Ohio.

WPIX:

The Southwest Regional Police Department is investigating an unconfirmed sighting of an alligator in the Monongahela River in Belle Vernon, Fayette County.

Authorities said a man on a boat reported that he saw what he believed was an alligator around midnight Tuesday.

He described the animal as approximately 6 to 7 feet long, swimming upstream against the current.

“He saw what he believed to be a log, going upstream about 10 or 15 feet from the shoreline,” Southwest Regional Police Chief John Hartman said. “He took his spotlight out and shined it on the log. He said he saw the head of an alligator, about 7 inches out of the water, two eyes and a tail.”

Upon investigation, police determined that a possible earlier sighting of the animal was made at approximately 2 p.m. Tuesday.

“I didn’t see teeth or anything. I didn’t think it was an alligator or nothing,” said Josh Adams.

Adams said he was applying for a job when he experienced the interesting sighting.

“After I put in my application, I went for a little walk. I seen a little duck and thought, ‘Awe, that’s cool,’ then it went under real fast and it didn’t come back up,” said Adams.

Southwest Regional Police Department is working with the U.S. Coast Guard, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and the Pittsburgh Zoo.

Neighbors said they’re glad authorities are taking this seriously, because they are, too.

But how the heck could a gator survive the bitter cold winter we just had in Pennsylvania?

20 Oct 2014

Icelandic Panel Confirms Authenticity of 2012 Lake Monster Video

, ,

Lagarfljot

A 13-member truth committee appointed by the municipality of Fljótsdalsherad, Iceland recently voted seven to six that a video (see below) taken by Hjortur Kjerulf at a river near his farm in February of 2012 was a real image of the Lagarfljótsormur, an Icelandic equivalent of Scotland’s Loch Ness Monster first described in the Icelandic Annals of 1345.

As the result of the vote, Hjortur Kjerulf received a 500,000 Icelandic kroner (equivalent to $4163.20 at today’s exchange rate) prize established in 1997 as a reward for any real film or image of the wyrm.

The good faith of the panel’s decision was questioned by people contending that their decision was influenced by prospects of profits from cryptid tourism, and Finnish skeptic Miisa McKeown dismissed the video, contending that it was really an image of a stationary ice-covered fishing net undulating in the current.

03 Jul 2014

No Yeti, But a New Bear

, , , ,

HarryandtheHendersons

“7 Daughters of Eve” DNA researcher Brian Sykes and his Oxford team decided to look into Bigfoot-Yeti legends from many continents.

IFL Science:

In 2012, they put out a call to museums and individuals for cryptid hair samples. What usually happens is a person hears one howling, and “then they see a clump of hair caught in a bush, and say ‘Aha, that’s come from the Bigfoot,’” Sykes tells National Geographic. They received 57 samples.

After weeding out plant matter and glass fibers, they selected 36 for genetic analysis. Over half came from the US; the rest are from Russian and South Asia. The team methodically cleaned 2-4 centimeter shaft samples, and then amplified the ribosomal mitochondrial DNA 12S fragment — a snippet commonly used for species identification. Some failed to yield DNA sequences, and the team ended up with 30 recovered sequences, which they compared with GenBank data. They got a 100 percent match for each one.

Most samples attributed to hairy beast-men were identified as known species living in their normal geographical range: 10 were brown or black bears, four came from some canine, and the rest were raccoons, horses, cows, sheep, deer, a goat-like serow, and a porcupine. One Texan sample came back as human (very unlikely Neanderthal). The sample that supposedly came from the Sumatran orang pendek (Indonesian for “short person”) turned out to be Malaysian tapir.

But there’s more! Two Himalayan yeti samples — one from Ladakh, India, and the other from Bhutan — came from a mystery bear whose closest genetic affinity is to an ancient polar bear, based on DNA from the jawbone of a Paleolithic Ursus maritimus who lived 40,000 years ago. The golden-brown Ladakh sample was collected by a hunter four decades ago when he thought he shot an abnormally aggressive brown bear. The reddish-brown Bhutan sample came from what was known to be a migyhur (or yeti) nest in a bamboo forest 3,500 meters in the air. The researchers suspect these hairs came from unrecognized bear species, color variants of polar bears, or maybe a polar bear x brown bear hybrid (pizzlies!), though they can’t know for sure without genomic sequence data.

19 Apr 2014

Loch Ness Monster Visible Late Last Year on Apple Maps

, ,

LochNessMonster1

LochNessMonster2

The Daily Mail reports that, late last year, an ordinary Briton playing with Apples maps decided to check out the satellite images of Loch Ness and found the above catfish-like image.

Andrew Dixon, 26, a charity worker for the Great North Air Ambulance, from Darlington, County Durham, said: ‘It was a total fluke that I found it. I was looking at satellite images of my town and then just thought I’d have a look at Loch Ness.

‘The first thing that came into my head when I saw it was, “That’s the Loch Ness Monster”. It was the shape of it, I thought it had to be something more than a shadow.

Read the whole thing.

More at Computer Magazine.

————————————————–

I think commenters at Gizmodo have successfully debunked this one.

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

19 Oct 2013

Genetic Testing of Yeti Hair

, , , ,

Geneticist Bryan Sykes may have identified the mysterious Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas.

BBC story with video.

Research by a British scientist has concluded that the legendary Himalayan yeti may in fact be a sub-species of brown bear.

DNA tests on hair samples carried out by Oxford University genetics professor Bryan Sykes found that they matched those from an ancient polar bear.

He subjected the hairs to the most advanced tests available.

He says the most likely explanation for the myth is that the animal is a hybrid of polar bears and brown bears.

Prof Sykes told the BBC that there may be a real biological animal behind the yeti myth.

“I think this bear, which nobody has seen alive,… may still be there and may have quite a lot of polar bear in it,” he said.

“It may be some sort of hybrid and if its behaviour is different from normal bears, which is what eyewitnesses report, then I think that may well be the source of the mystery and the source of the legend.”

Prof Sykes conducted the DNA tests on hairs from two unidentified animals, one from Ladakh – in northern India on the west of the Himalayas – and the other from Bhutan, 1,285km (800 miles) further east.

The results were then compared with the genomes of other animals that are stored on a database of all published DNA sequences.
Suspected yeti footprints in Nepal Suspected yeti footprints – such as these in Nepal – are regularly photographed

Prof Sykes found that he had a 100% match with a sample from an ancient polar bear jawbone found in Svalbard, Norway, that dates back to between 40,000 and 120,000 years ago – a time when the polar bear and closely related brown bear were separating as different species.

The species are closely related and are known to interbreed where their territories overlap.

The sample from Ladakh came from the mummified remains of a creature shot by a hunter around 40 years ago, while the second sample was in the form of a single hair, found in a bamboo forest by an expedition of filmmakers around 10 years ago.

Prof Sykes said that his results were “completely unexpected” and that more work needed to be done interpreting them.

Read the whole thing.

05 Aug 2013

Megalodon Returns (Just in Time For Shark Week)

, ,


Alleged Nazi archives photo, dated 18 December 1942, of U-boats and very large shark off Capetown

The Discovery Channel happens to be reporting, by the strangest kind of coincidence, just at the beginning of “Shark Week,” several pieces of evidence suggesting that the giant Megalodon shark (fl. roughly 28 to 1.5 million years ago, during the Cenozoic Era, late Oligocene to early Pleistocene) is still with us.

Grind TV

I promise that I will provide updates featuring the debunking of the WWII photo as soon as I find it.

Hat tip to Anne Ryan Dempsey [FB].

Your are browsing
the Archives of Never Yet Melted in the 'Cryptozoology' Category.

















Feeds
Entries (RSS)
Comments (RSS)
Feed Shark