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Amber-trapped lizard fossils reveal ‘lost world’

amber trapped lizard

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.

amber traps lizard fossil

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.”

lizard trapped in amber

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.

Giant lizard

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


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

really spooky. Alien, apparition

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.


Lost Predator Thylacoleo – The Marsupial Lion

Thylacoleo

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.

 

New cattle mutilation mystery

UFO Mystery

New Cattle Mutilation Mystery




New cattle mutilation mystery

From GainsvilleTimes.com

Kathy Cooper was tending to her cattle this week when she discovered another cow had been killed and mutilated — approximately one year from the first time it happened.

Cooper and her husband, John, have lost more than 20 cows on their 200-plus acre South Hall farm to a mysterious crime over the past year.

Despite their best efforts and help from the Hall County Sheriff’s Office and the University of Georgia’s veterinary school, they are no closer to finding out who is killing their cows and removing only their udders and genitals.

“Detectives don’t have any clues what they do with these parts,” Cooper said. “It’s very obvious that’s what they’re after. That’s all they cut off.”

The 5-year-old cow Cooper discovered dead Monday exhibited the same surgically precise, almost spherical, incisions on its belly where its udders and milk bag had been cleanly removed.

Cooper found just one trace of whoever killed the cow left in the soft dirt caused by Monday’s rain, but no footprints leading anywhere.

“You could see where they went in there on their knees and elbows and lifted her tail up and just cut it off,” she said. “That’s the first sign of any kind.”

Cooper said the mutilated cows are typically found in a gully or wooded area rather than open pasture. The first week of May, seven cows were killed and mutilated on their property. Several more were killed last fall.

Cattle mutilations have been reported across the country with little explanation despite extensive studies. The mutilations are often attributed to a variety of causes, including everything from extraterrestrials and cults to natural predators and decomposition.

Col. Jeff Strickland of the Hall County Sheriff’s Office said investigators have been working on the case for the past year with little luck.

“This has been an ongoing investigation. At this time we don’t have any suspects in the case,” Strickland said.
“We’re going to continue to investigate the case and follow any leads.”

Strickland said there have been no other reports of cattle mutilations in the county.

“It is very bizarre and very unusual. We’ve had no incidents in the adjoining pastures owned by different people,” Strickland said.

Cooper said she is ready to catch whoever is behind this.

“It is a big thing to lose that many cows,” Cooper said. “That’s how we make our living.”

Cattle mutilations have been going on for decades all over the world.

This video reports some of them.




 


From the Cutting Room Floor – Mothman

Flying Monsters

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

https://youtu.be/8zlVrFK47K8




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.

octopus

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.

tentacle

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.





The Ore Fish, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Monster?

The Ore Fish, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Monster?

Is the Ore fish San Francisco’s Golden Gate Monster as filmed by Bill and Bob Clark and featured in Animal X Natural Mystery Unit episode Monsters of the Deep? Could the mystery at last be solved?

This 18-foot-long (5.5 meters) oarfish was found off a beach in Southern California and is being held by staff from the Catalina Island Marine Institute.

 

They saw and video taped the monster on a number of occasions. In fact 9 times they have seen it. The footage Bill & Bob shot is controversial. Many people think it’s a monster but others think it’s just a flock of birds.

Here’s their story.

Now some people are suggesting it could have been a school of Ore fish especially in the light of two ore fish being washed up on Californian beaches.

This from CNN. By Alan Duke.

(CNN) — Marine biologists have a mystery to solve: Why have the carcasses of two rare oarfish washed up on Southern California shores within a week?

Sightings of the huge deep-sea creatures — dead or alive — are unusual, because they typically swim thousands of feet below the surface.
A dead 14-foot-long oarfish came ashore in Oceanside, California, on Friday afternoon, according to an Oceanside police dispatcher. A representative of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was called to haul the serpent-like fish away for study, she said.
A group of third-graders on a beach study trip made the discovery, according to CNN affiliate KGTV.
The incident is especially puzzling because of the discovery made five days earlier by a marine science instructor while snorkeling off Catalina Island. Jasmine Santana was about 15 feet underwater when she found an 18-foot-long oarfish floating nearby. “I was first a little scared,” said Santana, who has been working for Catalina Island Marine Institute since January. “But when I realized it was an oarfish, I knew it was harmless.”

It took Santana 15 minutes to drag the dead fish ashore, where 14 others helped lift the 400-pound carcass out of the water.
“I was really amazed. It was like seeing something in a dream,” said Mark Waddington, the senior captain of Catalina Island Marine Institute’s sailing school vessel the “Tole Mour” who gave Santana a hand. “It’s the first time I ever witnessed an oarfish this big.”

 

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