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Amber-trapped lizard fossils reveal ‘lost world’

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Scientists say this fossil dates back 90 million years



Amber-trapped lizard fossils reveal ‘lost world’

Lizards locked in amber for 99 million years give a glimpse of a “lost world”, say scientists.

The ancient reptiles are preserved in “superb detail” down to scales of skin, the tip of a tongue and tiny claws.

Two of the fossils are related to modern-day chameleons and geckos, revealing how features such as sticky toe-pads evolved.

The lizards inhabited tropical forests in what is now Myanmar during the Mid-Cretaceous Period.
Researchers in the US have published their assessment of the specimens in the journal Science Advances.

“The fossilised amber provides a view into a lost world, revealing that the tropics of the Mid-Cretaceous contained a diverse lizard fauna,” Dr Edward Stanley of the Florida Museum of Natural History told BBC News.

Claw of lizard

Some of the lizards are representatives of modern groups such as geckos, while others have no modern equivalent and eventually died out.

One of the fossils appears to be a transitional form between the “standard” lizard form and chameleons, said Dr Stanley.

“This ‘missing-link’ is roughly 80 million years older than the next oldest chameleon fossil, and shows that features like the chameleon’s projectile tongue was present deep in its ancestry,” he added.

“But its strange fused toes (adaptations for climbing along branches) evolved later.”

Snapshot of the past

The amber fossils were obtained by private collectors and were acquired by museums in the US. They have now been collated and studied for the first time.

“They provide details of external morphology, which is something that is pretty rare to find,” said Juan Diego Daza, of Sam Houston State University in Texas, who led the research.

“These fossils represent most of the diversity of lizards with a superb amount of detail.”

The whole picture

Soft tissues and internal organs – as well as bones – can persist in amber for millions of years.

“We can pretty much see how the animals looked when they were alive,” explained Prof Daza.

“They provide a really nice snapshot of the past. To me it is like going back in time and doing a lizard collecting trip when we can see what these animals looked like.”

Some of the smaller specimens are whole lizards but others are fragments of animals.

Together, they could resolve some of the gaps in the family tree between ancient reptiles and their modern relatives.

From one of the smallest and oldest to one of the largest

Ever heard of the Megalania?

Megalania is a giant lizard that used to live in Australia. Part of the Mega Fauna that used to roam the continent. In fact it was the largest land-living carnivorous lizard that ever walked the the planet. It was top of the food chain in Australia.

Megalania

Megalania has been extinct for tens of thousands of years.

It’s not the sort of animal you’d like to meet on a dark night, or bright day for that matter.

But one man from Sydney Australia claims to have come across one in the Blue Mountains outside Sydney.

Reg Gilroy, a fossil hunter, claims one day while walking in the bush he came across a megalania. He wasn’t the only one. As this story says.



https://youtu.be/ujkT8izw5jc?t=8m48s


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This is really spooky. Alien, apparition, or what?

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Reptoid




This clip is from Turkey

This is really spooky. Alien, apparition, ghost or what? It was filmed at about 15 minutes to 2 in the morning on 12 February 2016, on a lonely street in Turkey.

It was captured on a public security camera and then recorded on to a camera phone.

It’s a bit grainy, but it shows something or someone walking down the street.

This someone or something walks around for quite some time, but we have cut that bit off as it’s a bit boring.

But then this someone or something just floats off into the air.

That’s where we pick it up.

It floats slowly up and out of frame. It stays aloft and out of frame for about 30 seconds. Then it suddenly descends to the ground again.

There’s no doubt about it, it’s pretty spooky.

What is it? Who Knows?

It’s difficult to tell what it is. Alien, apparition, ghost or what.

Its size is difficult to determine. Its form is difficult to make out. Some people say a penguin! Penguins in Turkey? Anyway penguins don’t fly.

Others say an alien, a shapeshifter or a dimensional traveller, even a demon.

What do you think. Any guesses?

There is some dialogue towards the end – in the Turkish language if anyone can translate. Though I suspect they are discussing the apparition.

https://youtu.be/zP_s7E_1DnY

Sightings in Mexico

Here’s another. Two strange flying creature this time from Monterey in Mexico.

From Animal X Natural Mystery Unit Mothman and Other Winged Creatures, it was seen by dozens of people including a number of police officers.

There are strange things flying in the sky down Mexico way. Check this out Witchy-woman and Bird Man aka Hombre Pajero.

What do you think these things are.

Put your thoughts in the comments box below.


Emotional Horses

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Emotional Horses.

Do animals have emotions. Is there such a thing as emotional horses?

That’s something scientist have been debating for years and for just as long arguing with animal owners and lovers.

If you ask anyone who has a dog, cat, bird, or horse for that matter they will tell you yes their pets do have emotions; and a lot more going on in their tiny brains.

But scientists being scientists want empirical proof of such claims. Well as far as horses are concerned one group of scientist have done just that proven that horses have emotions and in fact can read our emotions.

Here’s a short story about Sussex University who have been experimenting with photographs of angry and happy faces and believe they have proven that horses do have emotions.

What about other animals

If after watching that story there’s another video that looks at the wider question of other animals emotions, like dogs cats and primates.





Lost Predator Thylacoleo – The Marsupial Lion

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Marsupial Lion



Bone Diggers: Mystery of a Lost Predator, Thylacoleo – The Marsupial Lion

Australia is known for its cute marsupials, the koala, the kangaroo and the wombat among others. Very few people are aware that there was once a marsupial that was a deadly “creep up and get ya” predator that was more ferocious than a sabre tooth tiger. It was Thylacoleo Carnifex — the Marsupial Lion Australia’s lost predator.

The Nullarbor Plain is a remote treeless desert resting between the Great Australian Bight and the Great Sandy Desert. It is hard, stony country…flat and featureless.

In May of 2002 an group of cavers, in an Indiana Jones style operation, discovered three caves, which had never been entered by man. The entrance to one of the caves was mere shoulder-width, vertical tube that rapidly expanded to cathedral proportions. In the first cave their head torches illuminated a sight that caused scientific wonderment and a world-wide media frenzy.

At the far end of a side tunnel the cavers discovered the pristine and complete skeleton of the fabled marsupial lion, Thylacoleo. It lay there as if it had died only a year ago. The skeleton was bleach white against the red earth and not a speck of dust on it. Their immediate reaction was to take a photo and get out – their main concern was to preserve the site for scientific analysis.

The photo of Thylacoleo and the cave coordinates ended up on the desk of Dr John Long, vertebrate palaeontologist a world renowned Bone Digger with the Western Australian Museum. Within a matter of weeks funding and an expedition to recover the remains had been arranged. It would prove a journey full of surprises both during the expedition and later as the remains were studied. The first surprise to take John and his team by surprise was the age of the remains. He was sure the skeleton could only be about 40,000 years old — several dating techniques later and a shattering date of at least 500,000 years suddenly propelled the find into mega-star status.

Bone Diggers – Mystery of a Lost Predator is the amazing story of the dangerous recovery mission and how the remains of the marsupial lion allowed science a unique opportunity to reconstruct the beast and it’s behaviour.

From recreating its brain to morphological analysis, the life and form of Thylacoleo began to take shape – this is science at its best!

A co-production between Storyteller Media and the Western Australian Museum.

 

Storyteller produce and distribute documentaries and factual programming specialising in animals and nature; from endangered species and what’s being done to save them to mysterious animal and monster stories.

 

Music to Soothe Cats

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Music to Soothe Cats

Would you believe this, music especially composed to help your cat relax.

This hour long compilation is specially designed to help soothe your cat in any situation.

Relax My Cat are experts in creating relaxing music to help calm your cat and help them sleep. Our music is composed in-house by our team of producers, and uses binaural technology designed to relax and calm your cat. If your cat has sleeping problems or anxiety problems or is even stressed during construction, fireworks or other loud noises, you should try our music.

Relax My Cat’s music will help to calm and soothe your cat or kitten in a variety of situations. Minimise separation anxiety, reduce hyperactivity, minimise fear of thunderstorms or fireworks, stop unwanted whining, comfort sick or injured cats and calm your cat on car journeys – Relax My Cat does it all!

Our music is based on feline vocal communication and environmental sounds that pique the interest of cats; it is written in a musical language that is uniquely designed to appeal to the domestic cat. All of the music is recorded on traditional instruments and the human voice. No actual cat, mouse, or bird calls are used (although it may sound like it).

Relax My Cat’s music is unique, and will help in a variety of situations as a substitute for medication. We have helped thousands of cats and kittens worldwide to sleep and reduce their anxiety. Music therapy for your cat can keep them calm, happy and healthy, and it is a great way to rehabilitate rescue cats – or just get your kitten or cat used to their new home.

Being re-homed is an incredibly stressful time for cats – as they have to get used to a lot of different sights and sounds, as well as their new family and any other pets in the household. We recommend that you play Relax My Cat during this time, and it will help reduce their heart rate and relax them while they explore their new surroundings. No more whining kittens – they will get used to your home in no time at all with the help of Relax My Cat’s music.

♫♫♫ Relax My Cat Music on iTunes:

Here’s a story about a ghostly cat from Ireland. The story of the Black Cat of Killakee.

 

 


From the Cutting Room Floor – Mothman

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Mothman




From the Cutting Room Floor

Animal X is pleased to announce a new series of clips.

From the Cutting Room Floor is a series of clips we are producing that looks at some of the material that didn’t make it into the completed episodes.

Over the years we have shot a shed-load of interviews, sightings, artwork and other stuff that just wouldn’t fit into the programmes. After all you can only fit so much material into half an hour, or even an hour’s television.

So we have decided to release this material through our Animal X website and YouTube channel www.youtube.com/animalxtv.

We have video of all kinds of things including the latest sighting of the San Fransisco Bay Monster. UFO sightings and Bigfoot information and mysterious eyes and faces in the bush.

If you’re into cryptozoology, the supernatural, paranormal or just plane mysteries than make sure you join Animal X to be kept informed of new stories. Either by entering your email address in the box on the right, or through our YouTube channel, FaceBook or Twitter.

Here’s the first in the series. Spotlighting for Mothman, from Animal X Natural Mystery Unit episode 3. Mothman and other Winged Creatures.

In this clip from the cutting room floor Daniel and Natalie are out spotlighting looking for anything that could be mistaken as Mothman.


Video of rare giant squid in Japanese harbour

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Video of rare giant squid in Japanese harbour

A giant squid provided a rare treat for onlookers in Toyama Bay when one swam into the harbour.
The 3.7m (12ft) cephalopod was much smaller than the 13m they can grow to.

It spent several hours in the harbour on Christmas Eve and was filmed by local divers.

Professional underwater cameraman Takayoshi Kojima told the BBC he rushed to the harbour when a marina manager called and he helped guide the squid to the exit to the sea, where it finally disappeared.

Japanese researchers took pictures of the elusive creature hunting 900m down, enveloping its prey by coiling its tentacles into a ball.

giant squid

The images show giant squid, known as Architeuthis, are more vigorous hunters than has been supposed.

The images, captured in the Pacific Ocean, appear in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Documentary companies have invested millions of dollars trying to film adult giant squid in their natural environment. These efforts have met with little success – though one team has managed to capture a juvenile on film.

Japanese fishermen have taken snaps of an adult at the surface but, until now, no one had obtained images of the animal in its deep-sea hunting grounds.

Slippery customer

In their efforts to photograph the huge cephalopod, Tsunemi Kubodera and Kyoichi Mori, have been using a camera and depth recorder attached to a long-line, which they lower into the sea from their research vessel.

Below the camera, they suspend a weighted jig – a set of ganged hooks to snag the squid – along with a single Japanese common squid as bait and an odour lure consisting of chopped-up shrimps.

At 0915 local time on 30 September 2004, they struck lucky. At a depth close to 1km in waters off Japan’s Ogasawara Islands, an 8m-long Architeuthis wrapped its long tentacles around the bait, snagging one of them on the jig.

Kubodera and Mori took more than 550 images of the giant squid as it made repeated attempts to detach itself.

The pictures show the squid spreading its arms, enveloping the long-line and swimming away in its efforts to struggle free.

Finally, four hours and 13 minutes after it was first snagged, the attached tentacle broke off, allowing the squid to escape. The researchers retrieved a 5.5m portion with the line.

Severed appendage

“It was exciting to get a live Architeuthis tentacle. It was still functioning when we got it on the boat,” Dr Kubodera told BBC News.

giant squid tentacle

The large suckers repeatedly gripped the boat deck – and Dr Kubodera’s fingers when he prodded the severed appendage.

“The grip wasn’t as strong as I expected; it felt sticky,” he explained.

But while other researchers have suggested that Architeuthis is a rather sluggish creature, the images show it is in fact an energetic predator.

Dr Steve O’Shea, of the Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand, told the BBC News website that he was extremely pleased for the researchers.

Kubodera, he said, had “ever-so-quietly been working away in the background on this for a number of years”.

And Dr O’Shea, a world renowned expert on giant squid, added: “From the point of view of the public, who believe this squid is the largest, the meanest, most aggressive squid that we have – it is hugely significant.”

Trawling threat

The Auckland-based researcher said now that the squid had been caught on camera, researchers could focus on other, lesser known squid species and on conservation.

Bottom-trawling by fisheries is destroying squid egg masses on the seabed, Dr O’Shea claimed. Evidence for this comes from an efficient squid predator – the sperm whale.

“Five of the species of squid that were staple in the diet of the sperm whale are recognised in New Zealand as threatened solely as a consequence of the effects of deep-sea bottom-trawling.”

“[Sperm whales] are returning from the Antarctic on their historic migratory route to one of the richest regions on Earth in terms of squid diversity. But the larder is bare and the poor things are washing up on the beaches here starved.”

The giant squid is by no means the largest known. Several other species, including the colossal squid Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni, are thought to grow larger.





Conspiracy theorists claim that ‘800-year-old cell phone’ was brought here by time traveling aliens

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From Fox 8

Conspiracy theorists claim that ‘800-year-old cell phone’ was brought here by time traveling aliens



Conspiracy theorists are claiming that an “800-year-old cell phone” was left behind by time traveling aliens.

The London Daily Mail reported that an object which resembles a cell phone with cuneiform characters was reportedly found in Austria.

MysteriousUniverse.org reported that the object was recently found by archaeologists digging in Fuschl am See, an Austrian municipality.

But little is known about the apparent dig, leading many to believe the story is an elaborate hoax.

Conspiracy theorists and “alien hunters” have been discussing the object online and some seem to believe the object proves that aliens exist.

“It is evident from this cell phone like device that someone with an advanced knowledge of the future created it,” wrote Scott Waring, editor of UFO Sighting Daily.

The markings on the “phone” resemble that of Cuneiform, a system of ancient writing developed by the Sumerians of Mesopotamia.

“Researchers unearthed a mysterious artifact from the thirteenth century with cuneiform writing that strangely resembles a cell phone,” according to the conspiracy website tothedeathmedia.com.

The YouTube channel Paranormal Crucible posted a video about the alleged finding asking, “What is it? Is it evidence of an advanced civilization or time travel?”

“Until further analysis of this Cuneiform tablet is completed we can only speculate at what it truly represents,” according to Paranormal Crucible. “Maybe one day, our true history will become clear and the bright light of truth will finally reveal its secrets.”

Many people claim to have had an alien encounter. Even to have been abducted by aliens.

Here’s an interview with two such people who claim to have been abducted by aliens.




 


Maggie the dog made honorary primary school teacher

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Maggie the dog made honorary primary school teacher

From the BBC

A dog has become so successful in helping children to read, that she’ has become an honorary member of staff at a school in the British West Midlands.

The idea of getting pupils to read to dogs in order to improve their literacy (the pupils that is) was first tried out in the UK five years ago, but Maggie, a 10-year-old Shih Tzu, has become so successful that she now has her own staff badge at Earls High school in Halesowen.

Phil Mackie went along to meet Maggie, and Grace, another Shih Tzu, who’ is training to take over when Maggie retires.

Teaching Assistant Toni Gregory spoke on behalf of the two literary pups.

However, Maggie won’t start work until after she shares a bacon sandwich with the schools librarian.

Here’s another story about a dog. This time it’s a Silky Terrier. And this dog is a bit of a hero. It saved it’s owner from one of the world’s most deadliest snakes. An Australian brown snake.

World’s first IVF puppies born to surrogate mother dog

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World’s first IVF puppies born to surrogate mother dog

By Helen Briggs
BBC News

World’s first surrogate puppy

The world’s first “test tube” puppies have been born after years of attempts, say scientists in the US.
The in-vitro fertilisation success paves the way for conserving endangered breeds and could help in the fight against human and animal diseases, say researchers at Cornell University.

The seven beagle and cross-bred beagle-spaniel puppies were born to a surrogate mother.

They were from the same litter but have three sets of parents.

Frozen embryos were implanted in a female dog using techniques similar to those used in human fertility clinics.
Problems with freezing embryos have caused difficulties in the past, but the group say they have perfected this and other techniques.

Rare breeds

Lead researcher Dr Alex Travis, from Cornell’s college of veterinary medicine, said: “We have seven normal happy healthy puppies.”

He added: “Since the mid-1970s, people have been trying to do this in a dog and have been unsuccessful.
“Now we can use this technique to conserve the genetics of endangered species.”

Surrogate puppies

The researchers say IVF is a powerful tool to help endangered species of dog such as the African wild dog.
It could also be used in the study of inherited human and dog diseases.

Dogs share many similar diseases with humans – almost twice as many as for any other species.

Dr Travis said the work was an important milestone.

“In vitro fertilisation is a really powerful tool to help preserve endangered species of dog,” he told the BBC.
“IVF is also important for the health of our pets because it opens up the possibility that we could identify certain genes that cause disease and then fix those.”

Secret birth

The puppies were born in the summer.

Their existence was kept secret until the findings were formally announced to the scientific world this week.
They have reportedly been named Ivy, Cannon, Beaker, Buddy, Nelly, Red and Green, and all but one has gone to a new home.

The research, published in the journal PLoS One, has been described as a “major step forward” in medicine.

Prof David Argyle, head of the school of veterinary medicine at the University of Edinburgh, which was not part of the study, said the new techniques would help understanding of inherited diseases in both dogs and people.

“Importantly, it is becoming apparent that dogs and humans share many common biology, diseases and syndromes, and it is likely that these new techniques could have significant benefit for the study of human diseases as well as canine diseases,” he added.

 


 

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