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Cryptozoology and Rare Animals


This Topic is about some of the most exciting creatures of the world – after eagles!

Some in fact, those defined under the heading “Cryptozoology” are not yet defined by science. This does not mean they do not exist nor that they are not relatively known to humankind. It only means that they are unknown or undocumented by science. And of course the “known to science” is a bit misleading for the very tenant of science is that the world is there to be explored and understood - the 'unknown to become known'!.

That what is known today will be questioned and tested to probe a deeper understanding. Science strives to make the 'known' unknown and then better known.

So it is clear, the term “Cryptozoology” is a scientists term to define those species not adequately known to scientists - to be defined and given a scientific name - the ‘binomial nomenclature’ by which all scientifically known living and past creatures are defined.


But very often a species is well known to local native populations for eons of time – it is just that science has not yet caught up with the local knowledge. The Mountain Gorilla was obviously known to local natives – but was for years denied its existence by scientists who 'knew a a great ape could not live in the cloud-covered mountains'.

This is always an exciting field to explore. The rigidly minded, the purists, the dogmatic – and I might even add the unimaginative - have difficulty accepting or understanding something or some creature that is not accepted by science at large.

But as this Topic will likely reveal to many, this false position has had to give way time and time again. Over the past 100 years, the past 25 and even over the last 5 years, many species, thought not to exist have “suddenly appeared”, or at least become “accepted” to science.

These “lost” or “mythological” creatures were finally ‘found’ by a scientist. Another ‘Cryptozoological’ species becomes a 'real species'. And the story goes on.

David Hancock

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Hancock Sidney Update 6



(Written 3/1/11 at 8:38 a.m. PST)

Catching Pa -- or not catching Pa!

Well Pa is fine but I am deflated.  I screwed up but at least I have now seen Pa performing in the wild and I am very relieved.  The ground crew was able to call Pa up to the beach offering of sockeye salmon but I had miscalculated on a simple element and the catch was not successful.  In fact, as we discussed at the start, catching the eagle would be about a 50% chance on each attempt the eagle made at the bait.  Each grab by the eagle would only succeed if a talon actually got entangled in a noose.  The eagle took the bait but did not get noosed.

The intended eagle capture method is certainly a well proven technique and one I had personally used to catch many eagles in the past.  I could leave the story there but, the eagle would not have been retained due to an error I made, even if a noose had snared the talon.  Fortunately, since he did not get snared, my error did not have a major impact  -- other than momentary heartbreak.    Thank goodness.

But the good side.  We all got to watch Pa on and off in his family duties, bringing in nesting materials and carrying off a pound of fish -- our fish.  The vigor with which Pa hit the dead branch to dislodge it from the tree was impressive.  Then how he carried that branch, which was nearly 5 feet long, over a kilometer and eventually, after circling the nest to gain enough height, to drop the branch into the nest, was exceptional.  This was the flight and effort of a very healthy bird.

Then, when Pa took our bait and flew another 1.5 to 2 kilometers, toting the more than 500 grams of fish nearly to nest height, it was apparent that he had even more stamina.  As Lynda said, "He was out to impress Ma -- what else at this time of year!"  This was all impressive but finally with the viewing scope on him for about 15 minutes enabling close view of his neck, head and particularly his behavior, all of us present gave him full marks for health.  The point became why bother subjecting him to any risk due to capture or any risk due to being frightened due to the capture.  Maybe even Ma would have experienced angst at seeing Pa caught.  Our observations confirm the observations of several of the local ground crew who already gave him 'O' for outstanding.  Pa was very vigorous and healthy so let's not bother the natural cycle.

Initially there is no doubt that our group of enthusiasts were divided on whether to intervene or not.  Without the personal observations of today I defaulted to a safe position, one of good insurance, that we try and catch Pa to make sure of his neck injury.  But in the meantime, since we started considering this insurance policy, over 3 weeks have passed and Pa has not gotten worse.  In fact, as today revealed to many of us through our live observation of him, he is doing very very well, thank you.  So the decision has been to leave well enough alone.  If the ground crew sees any deterioration we are now even more confident he will cooperate in being caught.  I will be sharper.

Thanks to all who attended and gave their moral support and to all the viewers, who probably sat strongly in either camp -- to catch and insure or to leave and wait and see -- we are happy to report that Pa and Ma remain steadfast in Pat Bay, Sidney hunting and fishing as before.  And they do so now with our personal observation and confirmation that they do this with full strength and optimism for eggs in the coming week -- or two.


David Hancock

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Moth man's important discovery at Devon's Hembury woods


By Jemima Laing
BBC Devon
Wednesday, 28 April 2010

A Devon amateur naturalist who has discovered a moth previously unknown to science has been rewarded with having it named after him.

Bob Heckford first spotted the tell-tale signs of mines made by the caterpillars in oak leaves at the National Trust's Hembury Woods.

Now the micro moth has officially been recognised as a new species and named Ectoedemia heckfordi, after Bob.

"Hembury Woods holds a rich seam of natural treasures, and I'm sure that there are yet more wonders to be uncovered," said Bob from Plymouth.

The moth is tiny with a wingspan of about 6mm

The discovery of a new species of micro moth is extremely significant as it has not been found anywhere else in the world.





"For most of my life I've had a passion for the natural world, and been privileged enough to have beautiful wild places on my doorstep," said Bob, who has known Hembury Woods - near Buckfastleigh - for years.

He spotted the unusual bright green caterpillars of this tiny leaf-mining moth on oak saplings, the moths themselves are tiny - with a wingspan of about 6mm.

The trust says the find is important because the specimen is now acknowledged by the scientific world as the 'type' for that species, against which any future finds will be compared and then determined.


Discoveries, however great or small, are deeply rewarding and vital to our understanding of an ever-changing world
Bob Heckford


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New species of fish discovered in ocean's deepest depths

By Hilary Duncanson
Friday, 15 October 2010

A new species has been discovered in a part of the ocean previously thought to be entirely free of fish, scientists said yesterday.

Mass groupings of cusk-eels and large crustacean scavengers were also discovered living at these depths for the first time, scientists said. The findings, in one of the deepest places on the planet, were made by a team of marine biologists from the University of Aberdeen and experts from Japan and New Zealand.

Click Picture for larger viewThe snailfish was found living at a depth of 7,000m in a trench in the South East Pacific Ocean, which was previously thought to be free of fish


 The team took part in a three-week expedition, during which they used deep-sea imaging technology to take 6,000 pictures at depths between 4,500m and 8,000m within the trench.

The mission was the seventh to take place as part of HADEEP, a collaborative research project between the University of Aberdeen's Oceanlab and the University of Tokyo's Ocean Research Institute, supported by New Zealand's National Institute of Water and Atmospheric research (NIWA).


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Why do we need to look for Bigfoot?


By Elizabeth Landau, CNN
June 21, 2010 9:50 a.m. EDT
The Abominable Snowman was thought to have made this footprint in
1951 near Mount Everest.
The Abominable Snowman was thought to have made this footprint in 1951 near Mount Everest.


(CNN) -- Watch out! It's 10 feet tall and hairy, and it could be coming to get you -- or your dogs!

Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch, is said to be an ape-like monster but has never been proved to exist. Still, reported sightings never stop: Tim Peeler of Cleveland County, North Carolina, says he saw a giant, hairy "man-looking person" with six fingers that was going after his dogs June 5 and told it to "git." On Thursday, a large, muddy footprint in Burke County, North Carolina, stirred up more Bigfoot speculation.

Across human societies, variations on mythical creature stories like that of Bigfoot have persisted for thousands of years, and accounts of seeing or hearing them still abound. There may be some basic culture-based need for these fantastical tales, said Todd Disotell, professor of anthropology at New York University.

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Close encounter with a bizarre venomous beast

Dr Richard Young gets up close with one of the world's weirdest mammals

Conservationists are in the Dominican Republic to save one of the world's strangest and most ancient mammals - the Hispaniolan solenodon.

After days of searching, the team finally tracks down one of the bizarre beasts.

A shout from the forest sounds, bursting through the night chorus of frog tinks and cricket chirrups.

"They've got one, they've got one," someone yells.

It is the middle of the night, and local research assistants Nicolas Corona and Lleyo Espinal have been trawling the dense forest vegetation, attempting to track down the elusive Hispaniolan solenodon.

They need complete silence to find the animals: they pinpoint them by listening for the sounds of rustling leaves as the little creatures scuttle across the forest floor.



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Scientists find tiny wallaby, spiky nosed frog in Asia

1 hour, 39 minutes ago

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Scientists exploring a remote Indonesian forest say they have uncovered a collection of new species, including a Pinocchio-nosed frog, the world's smallest known wallaby and a yellow-eyed gecko.



An international group of scientists found the species in the remote Foja Mountains on the island of New Guinea in late 2008 and released the details, including pictures, on Monday ahead of the International Day for Biological Diversity on May 22.

Many of the species found during the survey are believed to be new to science, Conservation International and the National Geographic Society said, including several new mammals, a reptile, an amphibian, and a dozen insects.

The discoveries come just as scientists warn of the growing threat of accelerating loss of species as the planet warms and forests and other habitats are destroyed to feed a growing human population.

"While animals and plants are being wiped out across the globe at a pace never seen in millions of years, the discovery of these absolutely incredible forms of life is much needed positive news," said Conservation International's Bruce Beehler, a participant on the expedition.

"Places like these represent a healthy future for all of us and show that it is not too late to stop the current species extinction crisis."


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