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Animals
Darren asks, is this real?



I can't name the species (any ideas, Big Gary?), but it doesn't look implausible to me. So I'm going to say, Yes, it's probably real. But I won't upgrade that to definitely real until someone can identify the species.

Source: acreditesequiser.net

Update: It's a model of an ancient sea scorpion (a eurypterid from the Ordovician era) made by Crawley Creatures for the BBC show Sea Monsters. The man posing with the model is the founder of Crawley Creatures, Jez Gibson-Harris.

I should note that the picture, in its original context, was not fake. It only became misleading once it was removed from this context and the creature was mistaken for a living specimen.

Thanks to Aryn, Andrew, and Big Gary for the quick identification.
Categories: Animals
Posted by Alex on Thu Nov 13, 2008
Comments (9)
Problem: the Cleveland Bay, the breed of horse used to pull the Queen's Royal carriage, was dying out. Solution: a fake horse dressed in PVC clothing which is being used to seduce the few stallions that remain. The fake horse is named "Doris."

"The scientists who designed and built Doris quickly discovered her partner - much like certain humans - performed better if she wore PVC." That's another factoid to add to my ever-growing fund of useless trivia.
Categories: Animals, Sex/Romance
Posted by Alex on Wed Sep 17, 2008
Comments (3)
Axonoid.com promises that they'll eventually have a list of 11 cat hoaxes. In part 1 they have five:
  1. Elvis the Robo-Cat
  2. Bonsai Kittens
  3. The one-eyed kitten (which was real!)
  4. Painted Cats
  5. Snowball the Monster Cat
The article is worth a look if only to rewatch the video of Elvis the Robo-Cat.
Categories: Animals
Posted by Alex on Wed Sep 17, 2008
Comments (3)
Most people, when they lose their dog, put up flyers around the neighborhood. When Dov Charney, founder of American Apparel, lost his dog recently, he placed two billboards at Sunset and Alvardo in LA to let people know. The billboards showed his dog, HedKayce, dressed in American Apparel fashions.

This made everyone suspicious that the billboard was some kind of publicity stunt. In fact, there were rumors that his dog may have been missing since April.

But as of yesterday, the billboard has been altered to say "Found Dog." So that's the end of the story, I guess. But it still doesn't mean it wasn't a publicity stunt.
Categories: Animals
Posted by Alex on Thu Aug 14, 2008
Comments (4)
Killer whales do eat penguins, but I'd say this has been photoshopped. For a start, if you look closely it appears that the killer whale already has something in its mouth.

I have no information about who created the photo or where the original images came from.

Categories: Animals, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Sat Aug 09, 2008
Comments (16)
The internet was already home to dogcondoms.com, which I posted about back in 2005. But for someone out there, one version of the joke was not enough, because there is now also doggycondoms.com (registered in May 2008).

It's the exact same joke, just more elaborately fleshed out.

It looks like it's the creation of the humor website DailyContempt.com, which is also responsible for a slew of other hoax sites including (but not limited to) puppybeef.com, puppyprofits.com, and childtrader.com (which I posted about a few months ago).
Categories: Animals, Sex/Romance, Websites
Posted by Alex on Fri Aug 08, 2008
Comments (1)
Not to be outdone by Christian fundamentalists, Islamic fundamentalists have come out with their own anti-evolution treatises. Among the most prominent of these is the Atlas of Creation by Harun Yahya. It's a long work (and more is on the way) consisting primarily of page after page of examples showing that modern-day species can be found in the fossil record. This is supposed to demonstrate that evolution hasn't occurred.

Volume 1 contains the example of the Caddis Fly. The illustration in the book shows the modern-day fly in the foreground. Circled in red in the background is the fossil analogue, preserved in amber. (No, they don't look similar to me either).



But look again at the modern fly. Skeptics noticed it had a steel hook coming out the bottom of it. In fact, it's not a Caddis fly at all. It's a fishing lure created by Graham Owen. Harun Yahya lifted the image (right) from Owen's site, apparently not realizing it wasn't a living creature, and pasted it into his book. Other fishing lures by Owen are scattered throughout the Atlas of Creation.

You can download the entire text of the Atlas of Creation, free of charge, from Yahya's site. So I did, but I couldn't find the Caddis fly in there. (It's supposed to be in Vol 1, p 244). I'm assuming Yahya must have removed it. However, I did notice that in Part 2 of the pdf (page 282 of the text) the Mayfly has a steel hook coming out of its belly. (Thanks, Jona!)
Categories: Animals, Photos/Videos, Religion, Science
Posted by Alex on Thu Jul 24, 2008
Comments (6)
It's not a hoax, but I feel compelled to note any news story even vaguely similar to Hippo Eats Dwarf. From the Rocky Mountain News:

A veteran worker at the Denver Zoo suffered a hand puncture today when a hippopotamus chomped down during routine dental training.
The woman keeper was bitten about 9:45 a.m. in the outdoor hippo exhibit as she and colleagues were doing desensitizing training on Mahali, a 5-year-old male, to make dental work more comfortable for the hippo.
"Mahali was doing this training where we ask him to hold his mouth open and while he holds his mouth open another keeper will tap on the teeth or do something to kind of desensitize the animal," said zoo spokeswoman Ana Bowie.
The training helps condition the animal "so he's more comfortable having hands or any dental tool in his mouth," she said.
"For unknown reasons, Mahali decided to close his mouth while one of our keepers had her left hand in his mouth," Bowie added.

It sounds like the keeper is doing okay. The hippo is totally oblivious that anything even happened.
Categories: Animals
Posted by Alex on Wed Jul 16, 2008
Comments (4)
Horse thievery used to be a huge problem. After the American Civil War it became so rampant in the West that it inspired the creation of a vigilante group that called itself the Anti Horse Thief Association. This group had, at one point, 30,000 members.

But horse theft is something I thought became obsolete with the widespread adoption of automobiles. Apparently not. Authorities in Tennessee are warning of a modern-day horse theft scam. People are showing up at farms claiming to be from Horse Haven (a humane organization for horses). They say they're there to take away the horses. Horse Haven does occasionally seize horses, if the horses are being neglected or harmed, but a Horse Haven spokesman says, "Horse Haven representatives always have ID, we operate within the law, and we never try to seize horses without law enforcement present."

If you have a horse, be on the lookout for these guys.
Categories: Animals, Con Artists, Scams
Posted by Alex on Tue Jul 15, 2008
Comments (4)
The BBC is on the hunt for a two-headed pheasant, after a photo of one, supposedly taken on the grounds of Himley Hall, near Dudley, was sent to them. The problem is, there are no one-headed pheasants living at Himley Hall, let alone two-headed ones. The BBC suspects a hoax:

an artist from Birmingham said the bird looked remarkably similar one of her creations. Annabel de Vetten, who used stuffed birds for the works, gave one away as a present and another has gone missing. She said the one given away could be in the hands of the people responsible for a hoax in 2004 which led people to believe a crocodile was loose in nearby Kingswinford.
Categories: Animals
Posted by Alex on Tue Jul 08, 2008
Comments (4)
I came across another picture of a horse in a sewer. I guess when it rains sewer horses, it pours. The previous sewer horse was pretty implausible. After all, you had a horse sticking its head out of a sewer, and no one was even looking at it.

This sewer horse is more believable. I could imagine a horse wandering around in an open field, which happens to back into an open hole. And at least the firemen are looking at this horse.

However, the shadows seem wrong. The angle of light hitting the firemen looks slightly different than the angle of light hitting the horse. And based on the length of the mens' shadows, shouldn't the horse's shadow be longer? But I'm not good enough at interpreting shadow angles to call this one a definite fake.
Categories: Animals, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Tue Jul 01, 2008
Comments (21)
I was working in my backyard this weekend, when I turned over a rock and discovered this creepy-crawly. Anyone have an idea what it is? I wasn't about to mess with it. Looked like it had a stinger on its tail.



Update: Thanks to Robin Bobcat for identifying it as a Jerusalem Cricket. According to the San Diego Natural History Museum: "this nocturnal cricket is actually non-aggressive and possesses no poison glands, although its jaws can inflict a painful bite." Even if it's non-poisonous, I'm glad I stayed away from it. And it's still out there in my backyard somewhere.
Categories: Animals, Science
Posted by Alex on Sun Jun 29, 2008
Comments (24)
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