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Animals
Fred Freer sent in the following press release. I'll let everyone form their own conclusions about this "roosterfish."

Fossil Find of the Century?
Local artist and stonescaper, Fred Freer, discovers unique fossil in Chena Ridge hills. While teaching his sons the art and process of hand-splitting stone (for landscaping purposes), Freer Uncovered what seemed to be fossil remains of a birds head and beak. But upon further examination and cleaning the tail and fins of a fish also began to appear. Coined "roosterfish", and an amazing find it is, Freer states that "this is really gonna mess with the 'chicken and the egg hypothesis'".
Unveiling of "the fossil" and artistic renderings of "the creature" will be presented at Well Street Art Gallery, Fairbanks, Alaska on April 5th from 5-8pm. (Alaska time).







Categories: Animals
Posted by Alex on Sun Mar 31, 2013
Comments (2)
Word got out this week that the Ukrainian military had lost three dolphins in the Black Sea after the dolphins swam away from their trainers, apparently to search for mates. The problem: these were trained attack dolphins "equipped with firearms."


The source of the story was a document that appeared online that seemed to be a scan of a letter from the head of a Ukrainian military research institute to naval command warning of the dolphin escape. The story took off when it got picked up by RIA Novosti (the Russian International News Agency) and from there spread to the western media.


However, Ukraine's Defense Ministry has denied the story is true, pointing out that the scanned document wasn't on letterhead and lacked an official stamp. And, more importantly, it points out that Ukraine doesn't have a military dolphin program. The Soviets used to have one, but that ended long ago. [links: en.ria.ru, alaskadispatch.com
Categories: Animals, Military
Posted by Alex on Fri Mar 15, 2013
Comments (0)
Over in Perth (home to a couple of MOHers!) there's a rumor going around about an organized dog fighting ring that's stealing pets and using them in fights. The larger dogs are supposedly starved and turned into fighters, while smaller animals are used as "bait." A flier (below), posted on Facebook, is helping to spread the warning.


People are also being warned that the pet thieves are tagging the homes of potential victims with red dots, as shown in this picture:


However, the police and animal welfare authorities insist there's simply no evidence that any of this is happening. Social media expert Tama Leaver is quoted as saying, "To go from dog missing to dog fight is a long bow."

Perth's vicious dog fighting hoax
watoday.com.au

The internet has been flooded with chilling tales of an organised underground dog fighting ring operating out of Perth's suburbs. Family pets have been systematically stolen from their yards to be trained as fighting dogs, according to reports appearing on social media and online classified websites this week. While many in Perth claim to know somebody who knows somebody whose pet has fallen prey to a kidnapping, authorities and social media experts have dismissed the warnings as a viral hoax.
Categories: Animals
Posted by Alex on Wed Feb 27, 2013
Comments (0)
Horses, of course, do produce milk. And horse milk is considered a delicacy in some cultures. However, this site extolling the virtues of horse milk seems pretty clearly to be tongue-in-cheek:

taste test show that consumers clearly prefer horse milk to dog and cat milk, and we know that consumers are tiring of ordinary bovine lactation.  Clearly, horse milk is no flash in the pan. As a gourmet food, horse milk is very expensive but worth the extra cost. Unlike cows, horses have only two teats and a 1,400 lb. mare will produce less than a quart of the precious liquid each day... In the dairy industry it has long been observed that there is a correlation between the number of mammary glands and profitability, the less the teats, the higher the revenue.
 

The strange thing is that almost the same text can be found over at horsemilk.org, which appears to be a serious site representing a Mongolian firm that sells powdered horse milk. So who copied from whom? Did the Mongolian company write the text that was then tweaked by the other site to highlight its humorous elements? Or did the Mongolian company cut-and-paste the article, not realizing it was intended as a joke?
Categories: Animals, Food
Posted by Alex on Fri Feb 22, 2013
Comments (1)
I don't care what the skeptics say. The House Hippo is real!

Categories: Animals
Posted by Alex on Mon Feb 18, 2013
Comments (2)
Prosecutors say John Rosenbaum wanted to become famous as the man who was bitten by a black mamba snake and survived. Instead, he'll be famous as the guy who pretended to be bitten by a black mamba. But he really was bitten by a deadly snake (a cobra), so you have to give him credit for that!

Man accused of faking bite by deadly black mamba
news4jax.com

John K. Rosenbaum Jr. of Jacksonville, Fla., is accused of touching off a desperate search for the snake in south Georgia after telling authorities he was bitten in November 2011... Rosenbaum was hospitalized after a bite from his pet Egyptian banded cobra, prosecutors say, but no black mamba was involved. 

He showed up at a hospital in St. Mary's with two puncture wounds from a snake bite. He had the words "black mamba" and the name of the antivenom to treat the bite written in black marker on his arm... 

Rosenbaum told hospital workers he was bitten in the parking lot of a Wendy's restaurant at Exit 3, when the reptile got away from an animal seller he was meeting.
Categories: Animals
Posted by Alex on Fri Feb 15, 2013
Comments (2)
There's some monkey business going on in Iran's space program:

Iran's Space Agency Confirms Reports on Launch Used Images of Two Different Monkeys
thelede.blogs.nytimes.com

A senior official at Iran's space agency confirmed on Saturday that state media reports on the launching of a monkey into the thermosphere had used images of two different monkeys. The official insisted, however, that the monkey had survived the journey and that Iran was not trying to cover up a failed flight... doubts about Iran's claim that the monkey had survived the journey spread after journalists noticed that the monkey pictured in the first reports from state-run news organizations had a prominent mole over its right eye, before the launch, but had clear skin when it showed up at postflight celebrations broadcast on Iranian television the next day.


Iran insists there's an innocent explanation for this. You see, the monkey with the mole was acting nervous, and so they substituted another monkey at the last minute. However, as the NYT points out, "The space agency did not, apparently, offer to disprove rumors that one of the monkeys had died by showing them both to the A.P. reporter on Saturday."
Categories: Animals, Technology
Posted by Alex on Tue Feb 05, 2013
Comments (1)
The latest news from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is that a tortoise was found alive after being locked in a closet for 30 years. The story goes that the Almeida family lost their tortoise, Manuela, 30 years ago. They looked everywhere for her, but eventually concluded that she had run away. But when the father of the family, Leonel, died recently, the kids (now adults) were clearing out his room, and there, in the closet, was Manuela. Somehow she was still alive. [telegraph.co.uk]

How could this be? A Brazilian vet is quoted as saying that red-footed tortoises (Manuela's species) can go up to 2 or 3 years without food. But not 30 years! To explain this, the vet suggests that perhaps Manuela was eating termites off the wooden floor.

Nature can pull some amazing surprises, so I wouldn't say the story absolutely cannot be true. But I do have some questions:
  1. How does the family know it's the same turtle? Did they have old pictures of Manuela for comparison? If not, then how could they remember what the turtle looked like after 30 years? They may think they remember, but memories can deceive.
  2. How do they know the father wasn't feeding the turtle?
  3. Assuming the turtle was locked in the closet eating termites, how was it getting water?



Categories: Animals, Death
Posted by Alex on Sun Jan 27, 2013
Comments (2)
The Nigerian Nation reports that a woman gave birth to a horse during a service at the World Liberation Ministry in Edo State:
It was gathered that the woman whose identity was not yet known started screaming during the prayer session and began to bleed from the vagina before the horse came out.
The General Overseer of the church, Evangelist Silva Wealth, said he was still amazed at what came out of the woman.
He told Journalists that during prayers a revelation came that there was a woman with an issue and that something was blocking her womb. 
Silva said as prayers intensified, the woman started screaming and bleeding started when the object came out.
The cleric said he couldn't confirm whether the horse was dead or alive because he didn't go near it.  
 "I can't describe the object. We have seen people that vomited several things during our service but not this type of thing. God has been blessing our ministry with prophesies and miracles," he said.


Assuming that the story is true — to the extent that a horse fetus really did emerge (or appear to emerge) from a woman during the church service — then we have to assume the incident was faked. That is, a horse fetus didn't really grow inside the woman's womb, because that would be impossible.

So what we have is a modern-day version of Mary Toft, the Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits (back in 1726).

Mary faked giving birth to rabbits in the hope of receiving a pension from the King. But why this Nigerian woman has faked giving birth to a horse is not yet known. Perhaps she's trying to help the World Ministry Church acquire a reputation for miracles.
Categories: Animals, Birth/Babies
Posted by Alex on Tue Sep 18, 2012
Comments (9)
Indian newspapers are reporting the exposure of a major scam involving emu farming. Thousands of people were promised that in return for a modest investment in an emu farm, they soon would be earning thousands of rupees every month. They were led to believe this on the basis of the supposedly massive demand for emu meat and emu-oil cosmetics. The scam was exposed when investors realized that their monthly payments were failing to materialize. [thehindu.com, indiatimes.com]
Categories: Animals, Scams
Posted by Alex on Sun Aug 12, 2012
Comments (2)

When I saw this photo online a few days ago, I thought, "that koala looks pretty vicious." It didn't occur to me that the image might be fake.

But the reality, I now know, is that the image is fake. Koalas don't have wolf-life jaws.

The original photo (below) was taken in January 2009 by Flickr user Oz_drdolittle, who explains that the koala was wet because he had sprayed it with water:

The poor thing was really hot. (We had a long heatwave recently). I had 3 hanging around the house that I watered twice a day while I was watering the garden. They loved it! 
Koalas dont often drink water (they usually get their fluids from the gum leaves), but they certainly lapped it up recently!

I don't know who added the wolf fangs to the picture. Link: NowPublic.com

Categories: Animals, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Fri Jul 27, 2012
Comments (1)
On April 13, 1986, at 5:15 AM, Douglas Arling of Warwick, Rhode Island went out to the chicken coop in his yard and checked on his 9-year-old Araconda chicken. To his astonishment, he found she had laid a massive egg measuring 5x3 inches, and weighing half-a-pound. As he watched, the chicken tumbled to the floor, apparently exhausted by the effort she had just gone through.




Ruth Arling (Douglas's wife) with the giant egg and the chicken she thought laid it

When word of the giant egg reached the press, it made national news. But the egg wasn't all it was cracked up to be. Two weeks later, Arling's neighbor, George Sousa, confessed that the giant egg was his handiwork.

The egg, Sousa explained, was really a hard-boiled goose egg that a co-worker had brought to work. "I had never seen such a big egg," he told a Providence Journal reporter, "and knowing Dougie raises chickens, I thought it would be funny if he went out in the morning and found the giant egg — never realizing he would think it was a production from one of his chickens."


According to worldrecordsacademy.org, the current holder of the title of the World's Biggest Chicken Egg is an egg laid in June 2009 by a chicken owned by Chinese farmer Zhang Yinde. The egg weighed 201 grams (.44 pounds), and measured 9.2cm x 6.3cm (3.6 x 2.4 inches). So the Rhode Island goose egg was a bit bigger.

Categories: Animals, Food
Posted by Alex on Sun Jul 15, 2012
Comments (1)
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