Saturday, December 23, 2006

Architeuthis - The Kraken - Giant Squid, even !! - - found

Formally called Architeuthis, the giant squid can grow up to 60 feet in length. Little was known until recently about the creature that inspired the myth of the "kraken," a tentacled monster blamed for sinking ships off Norway in the 18th century.

"Nobody has ever seen a live giant squid except fishermen," said team leader Tsunemi Kubodera of Japan's National Science Museum. The giant squid was caught on a baited hook laid 2,150 feet under the sea. Scientists captured it off the Ogasawara Islands, near Tokyo, on Dec. 4.

From: TOKYO (22 Dec. 2006) -- Its mass of reddish tentacles flailing, a giant squid fought a losing battle to evade capture in a video unveiled by Japanese scientists on Friday.Images of the squid -- a relatively small female about 12 feet long and weighing 110 pounds -- were the ultimate prize for zoologists at the National Science Museum, who have been pursuing one of the ocean's most mysterious creatures for years.Team leader Tsunemi Kubodera of the museum's zoology department said in an interview on Friday, "We believe these are the first ever moving pictures of a giant squid."The Japanese research team tracked giant squid by following their biggest predators -- sperm whales -- as they gathered to feed near the Ogasawara islands, 620 miles south of Tokyo between September and December.They succeeded in taking the first still photographs of a living giant squid in 2005, observing that it moved around in the water more actively than previously thought, and captured food by entangling prey in its powerful tentacles. The latest specimen, whose formalin-preserved carcass was displayed at a news conference at the museum in Tokyo, was caught on a baited hook laid 2,150 ft under the sea off the Ogasawara islands, on December 4, the scientists said.A squid about 22 inches in length had been attracted by the bait and the giant squid was hooked when it tried to eat the smaller squid, the scientists said.12/22/06 03:40 ET

Monday, December 18, 2006

New Beasts Discovered !

Wonderful new Weird Beasts !

More than 50 new species of animals and plants that have never been seen before have been discovered in a 'Lost World' on the island of Borneo in just 18 months, say scientists.
Among them are two tree frogs, a whole range of plants and trees and 30 brand new types of fish including a tiny one less than a centimetre long and a catfish with an adhesive belly that allows it to stick to rocks.

Bioluminescent Bacteria: Milky Sea

At a bioluminescent web site, "milky seas" are discussed. This is where bioluminescent bacteria in the trillion-billions and beyonds cluster together and can actually be seen from space. (See blue streak next to Ethiopia in picture above). These are miles across and dozens - maybe hundreds of miles long.
This makes them - in aggregate - one of the largest organisms on Earth.
This is even mentioned in Jules Verne's 20,000 leagues under the sea.
By the way, the bright streaks are the glowing lights of cities in tis area of the world - i.e. light pollution.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Aochan (the Snake) and Gohan (the Hamster): Pals

A rodent-eating snake and a hamster have developed an unusual bond at a zoo in Tokyo. October last year, when zookeepers presented the hamster to the rat snake, it refused to eat the rodent. The two now share a cage, and the hamster sometimes falls asleep sitting on top of his natural foe.

"I have never seen anything like it," a zookeeper at the Mutsugoro Okoku zoo said. (The hamster was initially offered to Aochan, the two-year-old rat snake, because it was refusing to eat frozen mice. )

As a joke, the zookeeper said they named the hamster Gohan - the Japanese word for meal.

"Aochan seems to enjoy Gohan's company very much," said zookeeper Kazuya Yamamoto.
The apparent friendship between the snake and hamster is one of many reported bonds spanning the divide between predator and prey.

Hurrah for Tommy the Cat!! Saves Gary Rosheisen of Columbus

Owner: Cat Called 911 To Help Him
(KDKA/AP) COLUMBUS A Columbus man who fell out of his wheelchair and was unable to call for help says his cat did it for him.Officers say Gary Rosheisen's cat Tommy was lying by a telephone on the living room floor when they arrived at the house Thursday.Fifty-year-old Rosheisen says Tommy must have hit the right buttons to alert authorities.Rosheisen suffers from osteoporosis and ministrokes that disrupt his balance. He says he wasn't wearing his medical-alert necklace when he fell.Police received a 911 call from the apartment, but no one was on the phone.Rosheisen says he tried to teach Tommy to dial 911, using a speed dial button. But he wasn't sure if the cat ever picked up the training.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Bao Xishun, World's Tallest Man Saves Dolphins

Bao Xishun, 54, was recognized as the world's tallest man by the Guinness Book of World Records. In a picture below, he pulls plastic from inside a dolphin's stomach Wednesday (13 December 2006). In another photo, the herdsman from Inner Mongolia, observes the dolphins at their home in an aquarium in China's Liaoning province. He was called to help two dolphins after surgery on them failed.

New White Buffalo

Assiniboine Park Zoo Gallery
For White Buffalo in Shelbyville, KY that Chrispy took, see archives below.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Tales of the Cryptids

Lots of fun weird beasts,

Saturday, December 09, 2006


"The octopus his big-hooded eye followed me, a single five-foot-long arm reached out, the incredible arm inched up past my wrist, it's suckers like cold kisses tasted my flesh with tens of thousands of chemoreceptors. I couldn't help feeling as if I were being studied, that a measured intellignece lay behind that intent eye and exploring arm." (1)

The octopus is a big-brained invertebrate - cognitive, behavioral, and affective. These are mollusks - but what creatures. Psycholgist Jenifer Mather studied an octopus vulgaris snatch some crabs, drag them back to a crevasse, cover the entrance with rocks, eat the crabs, and takes a siesta. They solve mazes, learn, remember. The brain wraps about the espophagus. They only spend 7% of their time hunting, and the rest of the time is engaged in recreation and communicating with others of their species. (2)

(1) slightly enhanced from a portion of "Through the Eye of the Octopus", Eric Scigliano, Discover, 2003, pp. 47 ff. (2) condensed from same article.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Whale Sounds!!

By Charles O. Choi: Special to LiveScience: posted: 27 November 2006
Humpback whales possess a vastly more elaborate vocabulary than was known ... Scientists had previously known of a very narrow range of sounds involved in humpback communication. These include calls associated with hunting for fish and long complex songs from male humpbacks linked with mating.

Researcher Rebecca Dunlop at the University of Queensland in Australia monitored humpback sounds from the whales along the east coast of Australia.

"The most surprising thing was there were 35 different types of sounds found.

Underwater sounds included "thwops," "wops," "grumbles," "snorts," "cries," and what are likely underwater blows. Sounds produced at the surface include those generated via breaching or repeated slaps of the tail or fins.

The scientists discovered these sounds have a variety of social uses including to help mothers and calves stay in contact, or as competitive calls among large groups of adults. The whale calls might also be be specific to one sex.

At times humpbacks used sounds specific to male songs for social interactions, mainly when single males joined females. This could mean the song units are the key sexual signals in the male songs [audio], as opposed to song length or loudness, as is the case in some bird species, the researchers said.

Research earlier this year found humpback whales to use grammar, in their love songs. Interestingly, the new study found that a number of sounds were made by lone animals. This suggests their use is not limited to social interactions.

This research could help understand the impact noise from ships and other manmade sounds have on whales. This noise "is increasing in the ocean," Dunlop said. "We don't know how this will affect individuals and populations of whales without first knowing how they communicate in a relatively 'noise-free' environment."

The researchers will report their findings Dec. 1 in Honolulu at a joint meeting of the Acoustical Society of America and the Acoustical Society of Japan.

Chrispy Goes to the Bats - Who try to take a bat sized bite out of him.

(c) 2006 Chris Perridas

I pulled over to the park to watch the sunset and see if I could get a picture to go with Lovecraft's prose-poem ode to a sunset (see below, another blog entry). I saw a bat, and watched. It did it's usual bat thing, flitting to catch mosquitoes, moths, and what not. I got out and took a few pictures of the moon, the sunset, and then walked closer. The bat was joined by companions, so I thought - go for it. Being dusk, I set the digital camera and flashed away.

That's when I discovered two things. My camera is not made to take bat pictures, and bats do NOT like their pictures taken by flash papparazzi. They started to zip at me and I decided to move away - quickly. Here are a couple of surrealistic bat pictures for you.

My good friend and fellow writer from sent this to me. He is sure this is what I tried to take a picture of!!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

In the howl of insanity comes a small ... meow

The entire article will be in "comments" below.

On a trip throiugh Louisville, a family who rescued and kept precious a toothless, clawless cat lost it. Heartbroken, that the nervous feline bolted in a blur of a moment, they frantically tried to find it. They left, but asked a number of people to help, and in a miracle that may have used 3 of the cat's 9 lives, it was found.


Astanax Mexicanus

This excerpt from Science News:

Did Cavefish trade eyes for Good Taste? A certain cavefish seems to have thrown away its eyes for a bigger jaw and a more sensitive palate. The cave fish {Astanax Mexicanus, hereafter A.M.) in Mexico (according to William R Jeffrey of University of maryland: College Park). Its seeming ancestor is a terrestrial dweller. The A. M. has eyes as an embryo, but quickly degenerate. The bigger jaws, more teeth sort of push out the eyes, but the nervous system is enhanced in the taste buds. A special protein drives eye degeneration in cave fish and also enhances the jaw and taste bud enhancements. The enzyme - or lack of it - modifies both A.M. and its surface dwelling ancestor. It seems that to survive, the enzyme was selected so that the cave fish can more appropriately detect its food supply.

Lamark might have found this interesting. In this case, it appears that Darwin and Lamark are both needed to make the case of this evolutionary pathway.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Whooping Crane Chick Flies!

MILWAUKEE (25 Nov 2006) -- One of the first whooping crane chicks hatched in the wild in more than a century is making more history as it migrates south with its parents from a Wisconsin refuge. The chick, whose sibling apparently was killed by a predator, hatched in June at the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in central Wisconsin, according to Operation Migration, the group coordinating an effort to establish a second migrating flock of the birds in North America.

Weird Giant Catfish

British fisherman Carl Smith (pictured with friend, Dave Jones) caught a giant wels catfish, dubbed "Jaws," measuring 8 ft in length and weighing a record-breaking 226 lbs. Two friends held tightly onto Smith as he battled the monster fish for 35 minutes. After Jaws was weighed, measured and photographed, he was released back into the River Ebro in Spain.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Amazing bereaved squirel: Strange Maine

Read the entire story on Strange Maine. Click here.

As a teaser, you must know there is a great deal of weird action, and people chased by squirrels.

Armadillo Rumored sighted in Kentucky

On Thanksgiving break, I hear a comment that an armadillo was sighted. It was killed on a road in LaRue county (birthplace of Abraham Lincoln, by the way). Global Warming is here! The amadillos are on the move north.

Ross Gull sighted: Global Warmng?

The Salton Sea, a 35-mile-long lake stretching across the Imperial and Riverside county line, is a popular stop for birds heading south, and Guy McCaskie, co-author of "Birds of Salton Sea," believed he spotted a Ross' gull there a week ago. The appearance of the arctic bird nearly 100 miles east of San Diego would be the first reported in California and would place it hundreds of miles farther south than it had ever been seen. The gull, which normally breeds in Siberia or Greenland, rarely appears south of Alaska, and is only spotted in even the northern part of the lower 48 states every few years.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Weird Octopus

In an article by Jaron Lanier, we read, "This video is so shocking ... shot in 1997 by my friend Roger Hanion ... off Grand Cayman Island {a researcher at Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole} he swims up to examine an unremarkable rock covered in swaying algae. Suddenly, astonishingly, one-third of the rock and a tangled masss of algae morphs and reveals itself ... the waving arms of a bright white octopus. Its cover blown, the creature squirts ink at Roger and shoots off into the distance - leaving Roger, and the viewer slack-jawed."

April 2006, "Why Not Morph", Discover, p. 26.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Raccoon Story

Story that I believe is true.

My friend, Larry, took scouts camping. One of the folks said they were sleeping, and heard a "zzzzzip". The tent was unzipped, and a raccoon walks in. She jumps up and yells. The raccoon quickly scurries out, then stops and "zzzzzip" zips the tent flap back up.

Next day everyone claims that the person is insane. She dreamed it.

They go out, and come back. Another tent, completely zipped up, has been raided, everything turned topsy turvy and food eaten in a way only raccoons can.

Clearly, the raccooons have somehow learned to be clever. They unzip, eat, and rezip so as to camouflage their tactics.

You be the judge is this incredible and true.

Raccoons Attack!!

Family in California assaulted. See "comment".

I'll attach the entire order in "comments" to save space. Raccoons are clever and highly intelligent. When I moved into my house, the previous owner thought they were cute (they are) and fed them dogfood. Oh no! We moved in and they were trained to come to the back door (and since a generation of raccons in only a few years they had been trained for 3 or 4 generations) and were quite insistent. We cut off the food, trained them to be afriad of us - be very afraid - and now they have migrated to other food supplies and stop offs. They still patrol out of racial memory, but no food, so they move on.

The small raccoons are quite cute - don't we love baby mammals!! I do every now and then leave a watermellon rind out so that I can take aphoto of the young ones inside the melon rind. They do look cute sticking their head up.

One more thing. We've learned that raccoons have a sweet tooth. Leave some m&m's out sometime, and they will go insane. They love them.

If you feed the birds, they will attack bird feeders with a vengeance and they are more dexterous and better problem solvers than squirrels - and you know how insidoous squirrels can be. When all else fails, raccoons will smash a steel bird feeder.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Box Elder Bug

For years, we have been plagued by a red and black bug at our church property. They seem harmless, but they do tend to get inside. Outside, however, they have a weird pattern. They crawl, fly, and proceed to get in every nook and crevice. You drive away after service and its the invasion of the bugs - they hang on tenaciously to the windshield and mirrors and dare you to blow them off. When they tend to breed, which is seemingly often, they congregate in piles of thousands.

So, what the heck are they?

When it crossed my mind, I looked through my reference books. No luck. No luck on the net under "ornage and black bug". Then Friday I happened to think to ask our work place exterminator. He has not failed us yet, and so I mentioned it. He was stumped. Then as he walked away, he said catch a few and I'll look at them. Then, he came back and said, you think they could be a box elder bug?

How did I know. We looked on the net together, and sure enough my old mystery stared at me.

I called my minister right away who was very amazed. Then we wondered what a box elder was. Off to the net again. Then today at church, I felt like an idiot. I caught a few frigid bugs (they are practically industructible) in the 40 F weather. And it dawned on me. Our property is filled with box elders. The seeds matched perfectly, and even though all the leaves are gone, I found a few desicated brown specimens that agreed closely with sketches. No wonder.

Anyway, thanks for sharing my "duh" moment with me. !!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Bigfoot Scientist Under Fire

Jeffrey Meldrum holds a Ph.D. in anatomical sciences and is a tenured professor of anatomy at Idaho State University and is one of the world's foremost authorities on Bigfoot, the mythical ape-man of the Northwest woods. He firmly believes the lumbering, shaggy brute exists.
That makes him an outcast on campus, where many scientists are embarrassed by what they call Meldrum's "pseudo-academic" pursuits.

Meldrum, 48, spends days in his laboratory in the Life Sciences Building, analyzing jumbo plaster casts of Bigfoot footprints. He is convinced he has produced a body of evidence that proves there is a Bigfoot.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Weird Pelican?

Eastern White Pelican Saint James Park in England, 2006
From International News Story

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Rhinos at Indianapolis Zoo

(c) Chris Perridas, 2006

These Rhinos on October 21 were striking in how they blended into their surroundings.

Black Cats Banned for Halloween

BOISE, Idaho (Oct. 28) - A black cat won't cross your path this Halloween, not if a northern Idaho animal shelter can help it. Like many shelters around the country, the Kootenai Humane Society in Coeur d'Alene is prohibiting black cat adoptions from now to Nov. 2, fearing the animals could be mistreated in Halloween pranks - or worse, sacrificed in some satanic ritual.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Atlanta Aquarium

All images courtesy and by permission of Casper Kelly. (c) 2006.
Atlanta Aquarium taken 21 October 2006.



Whale Shark


Jelly Fish


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Octopus In Ohio River

Octopus pulled from Ohio River

By Grace Schneider
The Courier-Journal

David Stepp was fishing for catfish with friends on the Ohio River Monday night when he reeled in a bizarre catch — an octopus.

It was dead, but only recently.

Recognizing that nobody would ever believe he had actually caught the creature, the 20-year-old Jeffersonville man loaded it into the trunk of his car and showed it minutes later to a Clarksville police officer and Bill Putt, a park ranger at the Falls of the Ohio State Park.

Putt snapped photos, and Stepp and his surprised companions posed with the purplish-brown animal, which measured six feet from the tip of one tentacle to the other.

It was three and half feet tall when dangled like mop above the ground.

“It was really pretty big,” said Putt, who later deposited the octopus in a park freezer, figuring a marine biologist might want to examine it.

Although he’s seen more than his share of exotic animals turn up at the Southern Indiana park across from downtown Louisville, Putt said he was extremely skeptical when a fellow angler said that someone had caught an octopus below the dam.

“I thought, ‘This guy’s got to be drunk,’ ” Putt said. But “we looked at it and that’s what it was.”

The octopus might take the prize for weird discoveries at the falls, where park crews and visitors have found crocodiles and piranha-like tropical fish over the years — animals probably kept as pets and released by owners into the river and onto river banks.

Octopods are highly intelligent as invertebrates go, according to an article on the National Wildlife Foundation’s Web site.

They are sometimes kept as pets and surprise their owners by escaping from seemingly secure tanks “due to their intelligence and problem-solving skills,” the entry said.

Because they live in salt water oceans, they don’t survive long in fresh water such as the Ohio River, Putt said.

It’s not illegal to own the animals, but releasing it into the wild is, said Mark Farmer, a spokesman for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

“Who’s to say somebody didn’t toss it into the river?” Farmer said. “I found out a long time ago, you never know what’s going to turn up.”

Reporter Grace Schneider can be reached at (812) 949-4040.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Tigger and Pooh??

Submitted by Casper Kelly ...

Sunday, May 14, 2006

White Alligator

From the Louisville Zoo. The albino alligator.

(c) Chris Perridas, 2006


Not weird, but interesting. It's Spring in the Ohio Valley.

(c) Chris Perridas, 2006

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Wooly Mammoth DNA nearly deconstructed

Michael Hofreiter of the Max Plank Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany has nearly completed the DNA analysis of these noble behemoths. The mitochondrial gene is easiest, and that is what the team started with.

Many of these pachyderms were fast frozen still with contents intact in their stomachs. This should be a fascinating study - and will we one day be able to implant a clone and grow a new mammoth?

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Tasmanian Devils prone to face cancer

The classic animal - unlike the WB Taz cartoon - is very mortal. They do have a flash temper, and often lash out and claw other TD's. The scratches are transmitting some new virus, however, since face cancer is spreading among the beasts rapidly and hideously. It was first noticed int he 1990's and is getting more prevalent.

p. 67, February 24, 2006 in Science News.

Up, Down, Sooner, Later ...

Global warming has caused artic birds to breed earlier, but antarctic birds to breed later. p. 252, April 22, 2006 in Science News.

Th-ree bli-ind mi-ice can see again?

Blind mice can see shades of light again when implanted with a special algae gene. p. 211, April 8, 2006 of Science News.

Desperate Coral.

Corals are propagated by larvae who travel only short distances - not much more than 2 kilometers. There seems to be grave doubts that the movement to create coral gardens to rescue coral reefs will work, now. They are probably set too far apart.

Keep hoping.

p. 142 of March 4, 2006 Science News.

Ick! Cannibal crickets.

The mormon crickets swarm the landscape of the American West. When they dehydrate, are low on salt, and protein, the weakest of the swarm are cannibalized by the stronger ones.

p.131 of the March 4, 2006 Science News.

super sticky bacteria

In April 17, 2006 Chemical and Engineering News it's reproted that the caulobacter crescentus - a common aquatic bacteria - has glue more powerful than any known superglue. Four times stronger than superglue, this bacteria won;t move unless it wants to!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

White Giraffe

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Mount Everest Biodiversity

A recent trip to find biodiversity in the shadow of Mount Everest teaches us more about our planet. Here are a few more photos and much more here.