Palmetto Golf Course, Plametto, Florida, posted May 30. Estimated length: 14-15 feet.
Researchers have confirmed that three Nile crocodiles were captured near Miami, and they say it’s possible more of the man-eating reptiles are still out there, although no one can say for sure.
The big question now: How did they get to Florida?
“They didn’t swim from Africa,” University of Florida herpetologist Kenneth Krysko said. “But we really don’t know how they got into the wild.”
Krysko and his co-authors just published a paper showing that DNA testing proved the three animals captured in 2009, 2011 and 2014 are Nile crocs, a species whose males grow to over 16 feet long and weigh upward of 1,600 pounds.
Nile crocs are believed to be responsible for up to 200 fatalities annually in their native sub-Saharan Africa.
Maybe they’ll eat those Burmese Pythons.
Underwater archaeological investigations in a Florida panhandle pond seem to have established firmly a pre-Bering-Straits-Ice-Bridge human presence in Florida much older than the Clovis Point Culture long supposed to be the oldest.
The project involved years of painstaking excavation in the Aucilla River, a slow-moving, coffee-colored waterway shaded by cypress trees and inhabited by alligators. Underwater archaeologists dug up and dated layer after layer of sediment from the river bottom, sifting through each patch of dirt for evidence that humans had once been there.
They uncovered what co-author Tom Stafford calls a “chronological layer cake.” More than 70 samples of ancient organic material taken from the site and radiocarbon dated at Stafford’s lab showed that each layer was slightly older than the one before it. They prove that nothing had disturbed or mixed up the sediments as they were laid down over time.
By the time archaeologists reached the 14,500-year-old stratum, they began to find objects they say could only have come from humans: five sharpened rocks that were carried in from elsewhere in the region, and a double-sided stone knife, or biface, that would have been among the most advanced technologies of the time. The team then re-examined the mastodon tusk found by Webb and Dunbar (who was also part of this excavation) and determined that it was most likely butchered by humans.
“It’s really exciting,” said Jessi Halligan, an archaeologist at Florida State University and Waters’s fellow principal investigator. “We have these unambiguous cultural artifacts found in an intact geological stratum that dates to more than 1,500 years older than Clovis. That’s why it’s a big deal. That’s why we have to revisit our theory for how the Americas were colonized.”
Read the whole thing.
Sciences Advances, Pre-Clovis occupation 14,550 years ago at the Page-Ladson site, Florida, and the peopling of the Americas, Abstract:
Stone tools and mastodon bones occur in an undisturbed geological context at the Page-Ladson site, Florida. Seventy-one radiocarbon ages show that ~14,550 calendar years ago (cal yr B.P.), people butchered or scavenged a mastodon next to a pond in a bedrock sinkhole within the Aucilla River. This occupation surface was buried by ~4 m of sediment during the late Pleistocene marine transgression, which also left the site submerged. Sporormiella and other proxy evidence from the sediments indicate that hunter-gatherers along the Gulf Coastal Plain coexisted with and utilized megafauna for ~2000 years before these animals became extinct at ~12,600 cal yr B.P. Page-Ladson expands our understanding of the earliest colonizers of the Americas and human-megafauna interaction before extinction.
A South Florida man and his family came across a shocking sight while taking a break at a rest stop on Alligator Alley.
Will James was driving to Naples on Tuesday with his wife and daughter when they stopped at the rest area at Mile Marker 62 in the Big Cypress National Preserve.
James, an experienced hiker, said he heard snarling and barking just off the trail near the rest area and walked back to find what was making the odd noises.
That’s when they discovered a coyote in distress with a boa constrictor wrapped around its neck and body.
James says the coyote was kicking and biting at the snake before the unwelcome slithery friend finally let go, but not before biting the coyote on its hind leg.
The exhausted coyote was able to walk away with a noticeable limp.
Though I’m not normally on any coyote’s side, I think the photographer ought to have intervened out of mammalian solidarity against that snake.
Mid-16th century Spanish artifacts discovered at the site of Tristan de Lunaâ€™s 1559 settlement in Pensacola. (photo: University of West Florida)
The Pulse reports that archaeologists have identified the site of the first European settlement in America.
For centuries, the exact location of TristÃ¡n de Luna y Arellanoâ€™s 1559 settlement in Pensacola â€” the first multi-year European settlement in the United States â€” has been a mystery.
Archaeologists from the University of West Florida announced on Thursday the discovery of one of the most significant historical sites in the nation: the archaeological site of the de Luna settlement, hidden just beneath the surface in the cityâ€™s East Pensacola Heights neighborhood.
â€œOur archaeological team has discovered and can support the statement that the land settlement site of Tristan de Luna has been located within the city limits of Pensacola, Florida,â€ said Dr. Judy Bense, the universityâ€™s current president and founder of its archaeology program. â€œAnd we are telling the world today.â€
In October, Pensacola native Tom Garner discovered Spanish colonial and Native American artifacts at a privately owned residential lot within view of two previously discovered shipwrecks in Pensacola Bay. The so-called â€œEmmanuel Point shipwrecks,â€ located in 1992 and 2006, have also been linked to the de Luna expedition.
The artifacts Garner discovered are definitive evidence of de Lunaâ€™s settlement, which lasted from 1559 to 1561 â€” the earliest multi-year European colonial settlement ever archaeologically identified in the United States. De Lunaâ€™s Pensacola settlement predates the Spanish settlement in St. Augustine, Fla. by six years, and the English settlement in Jamestown, Va. by 48 years.
After collecting several artifacts, Garner brought them to the UWF archaeology lab on October 30. Dr. John Worth, associate professor of historical archaeology, is an archaeology and ethnohistory expert and focuses on the Spanish colonial era in the southeastern United States.
â€œWhat we saw in front of us in the lab that day was an amazing assemblage of mid-16th century Spanish colonial period artifacts,â€ said Worth. â€œThese items were very specific to this time period. The University conducted fieldwork at this site in the mid-1980s, as have others since then, but no one had ever found diagnostics of the sort that Tom found on the surface. People have looked for this site for a long time.â€
Various artifacts, including Native American beads, have been discovered at the site of Tristan de Luna’s 1559 settlement in Pensacola. (University of West Florida/Special to the Pulse)
Various artifacts, including Native American beads, have been discovered at the site of Tristan de Lunaâ€™s 1559 settlement in Pensacola. (University of West Florida/Special to the Pulse)
With the cooperation and support of residents and property owners, UWF began test excavations at the site was able to recover other artifacts. Archaeologists recovered numerous shards of broken 16th century Spanish ceramics found undisturbed beneath the groundâ€™s surface. They are believed to be pieces of assorted cookware and tableware, including liquid storage containers called olive jars. Small personal and household items were also among the findings â€” a lead fishing line weight, a copper lacing aglet, and wrought iron nail and spike fragments. Additionally, the team recovered beads known to have been traded with Native Americans. These items are consistent with materials previously identified in the shipwrecks offshore in Pensacola Bay.
The artifacts were linked to the Spanish expedition led by de Luna, who brought 1,500 soldiers, colonists, slaves, and Aztec Indians in 11 ships from Veracruz, Mexico, to Pensacola to begin the Spanish colonization of the northern Gulf Coast in 1559. One month after they arrived, the colony was struck by a hurricane, sinking many of their ships and devastating their food supplies. After two years, the remnants of the colony were rescued by Spanish ships and returned to Mexico.
A suspected burglar jumped in a Florida lake apparently hiding from law enforcement before an 11-foot alligator killed him, investigators said Monday. His hand and foot reportedly turned up inside the animal’s stomach.
Brevard County Sheriff’s Maj. Tod Goodyear says 22-year-old Matthew Riggins told his girlfriend he would be in Barefoot Bay to commit burglaries with another suspect. Authorities received calls Nov. 13 about two suspicious men in black walking behind homes and investigated. Riggins was reported missing the next day.
Goodyear said sheriff’s divers recovered Riggins’ body 10 days later in a nearby lake, and that the injuries suggested the alligator had pulled him below the surface. “He hid in the wrong place,” resident Laura Farris told Bay News 9.
Authorities said Riggins drowned and the alligator, which behaved aggressively toward divers, was trapped and euthanized.
Taking a break in Daytona, Florida. slideshow
Gator crashes picnic in Homestead, Florida (photos: Rodney Cammauf)
Autoblog has one of those stories of government fiscal irresponsibility which will boggle your mind.
Have you ever bought a brand new cars only to forget where you put it? How about 300 of them? Probably not â€“ unless you’re Miami-Dade County, which was recently reunited with 298 vehicles it bought brand new between 2006 and 2007.
The county “discovered” this fleet of no-mileage vehicles after reading about them in a Spanish-language newspaper there (see the source for more images). Most of the misplaced motorcade is made up of Toyota Prius hybrids whose warranties either expired with very few miles on the odo or will very soon.
Looking to save some face, the county has rushed at least 123 of the hybrids into service. The Toyota warranty covered the hybrid bits for eight years or 100,000 miles, but we’re not sure if that covers cars parked for five of those eight. We’re also not sure what that much time in Miami heat and humidity does to an unused hybrid powertrain, but it can’t be good.
Original Nuevo Herald story.
Hat tip to Iowahawk.
Florida’s Governor Rick Scott responded to inflammatory media reports and public demonstrations demanding an arrest by appointing a Special Prosecutor to second guess the decision of the state attorney normally in charge of prosecutions in that county that insufficient evidence existed to justify bringing charges.
Special Prosecutor Angela Corey, who arrived with a reputation for being “too aggressive,” lived up to her reputation by announcing on Monday that she would not bring the matter of the shooting of Trayvon Martin before a Grand Jury at all, and would decide herself on whether to bring charges.
Corey surprised most observers yesterday by charging George Zimmerman with Second Degree Murder instead of Manslaughter.
The relevant Florida law definition reads:
The unlawful killing of a human being, when perpetrated by any act imminently dangerous to another and evincing a depraved mind regardless of human life, although without any premeditated design to effect the death of any particular individual, is murder in the second degree and constitutes a felony of the first degree, punishable by imprisonment for a term of years not exceeding life or as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
A news agency report predicted that the prosecutor’s job would not be easy.
The prosecutors must prove Zimmerman’s shooting of Martin was rooted in hatred or ill will and counter his claims that he shot Martin to protect himself while patrolling his gated community in the Orlando suburb of Sanford. Zimmerman’s lawyers would only have to prove by a preponderance of evidence – a relatively low legal standard – that he acted in self-defense at a pretrial hearing to prevent the case from going to trial.
There’s a “high likelihood it could be dismissed by the judge even before the jury gets to hear the case,” Florida defense attorney Richard Hornsby said.