Rare snub-nosed monkey among new species discovered in Eastern Himalayas

Photoshop reconstruction of the snub-nosed monkey. (Credit: Dr Thomas Geissmann/Fauna & Flora International)

Photoshop reconstruction of the snub-nosed monkey. (Credit: Dr Thomas Geissmann/Fauna & Flora International)

Move over, fall allergies.

Today’s hottest sneeze belongs to a rare breed of monkey. And, it’s enjoying viral status on Facebook.

The snub-nosed monkey is one of 211 new species discovered in the Eastern Himalayas, according to a World Wildlife Fund report. In addition to the monkey, the new species include 133 plants, 39 invertebrates, 26 fish, 10 amphibians, one reptile and one bird.

Located in the Eastern Himalayan region of far north Myanmar, the monkeys are known as Rhinopithecus Strykeri. Scientists first heard of the species in that region in 2010 and have taken to nicknaming them “snubby” due to their snub noses.

Related: Tiny flies create zombie honeybees that take night flights, then die

Local legend goes that the species sneezes during rainstorms because water gets into its upturned noses. As a result, the black and white animals are known to sit with their heads between their knees when it rains.

The World Wildlife Federation (WWF) writes that the monkeys were recently encountered by teams of Fauna & Flora International (FFI) and People Resources and Conservation Foundation (PRCF).

“Little is known about the monkey’s behaviour in the wild, its distribution range, or its value to local communities. Not surprisingly, this species is likely to be classified as critically endangered due to its restricted range and significant hunting pressures,” writes the WWF.

Related: Extinct hippolike creature was prehistoric vacuum cleaner

The monkeys were photographed using camera traps placed in the forested mountains of Kachin state, which borders China. Cameras were placed through a joint effort by FFI, Biodiversity And Nature Conservation Association (BANCA) and People Resources and PRCF.

“As with most of Asia’s rare mammals, the snub-nosed monkeys are threatened by habitat loss and hunting,” writes the WWF.

An additional population of these monkeys was discovered in Lushui County, Yunnan, China in 2011.

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Tiny flies create zombie honeybees that take night flights, then die

In this Sept. 1, 2015, photo, a honeybee works atop gift zinnia in Accord, N.Y. While scientists have documented cases of tiny flies infesting honeybees, causing the bees to lurch and stagger around like zombies before they die, researchers don't know the scope of the problem. (AP Photo/Mike Groll, File)

In this Sept. 1, 2015, photo, a honeybee works atop gift zinnia in Accord, N.Y. While scientists have documented cases of tiny flies infesting honeybees, causing the bees to lurch and stagger around like zombies before they die, researchers don’t know the scope of the problem. (AP Photo/Mike Groll, File)

Call them “The Buzzing Dead.”

Honeybees are being threatened by tiny flies that lead them to lurch and stagger around like zombies. The afflicted bees often make uncharacteristic night flights, sometimes buzzing around porch lights before dying.

Well-documented on the West Coast, some zombie-bee cases also have been detected in eastern states by volunteers helping track its spread. This comes as honeybees have already been ravaged in recent years by mysterious colony collapse disorder, vampire mites and nutritional deficiencies.

“We’re not making a case that this is the doomsday bug for bees,” said John Hafernik, a biology professor at San Francisco State University. “But it is certainly an interesting situation where we have a parasite that seems to affect the behavior of bees and has them essentially abandoning their hive.”

Hafernik in 2012 started a project to enlist people to track the spread of zombie bees called ZomBee Watch. Participants are asked to upload photos of the bees they collect and photos of pupae and adult flies as they emerge. They have more than 100 confirmed cases.

The fly had already been known to afflict bumblebees and yellow jackets. Then in 2008, Hafernik made a discovery after scooping up some disoriented bees beneath a light outside his campus office. Before long, he noticed pupae emerging from a bee.

That led to the first of many zombie honeybee cases found in the San Francisco area and beyond. Researchers believe Apocephalus borealis flies attack bees as they forage. The flies pierce the bees’ abdomens and deposit eggs, affecting the behavior of the doomed bees.

A beekeeper in Burlington, Vermont, detected the first zombie case in the East, in 2013. Then this summer, amateur beekeeper Joe Naughton of Hurley, New York, discovered the first of two recently confirmed cases in the Hudson Valley, north of New York City.

Naughton, who has 200,000 or more bees, is not panicking just yet.

“You know, the ‘zombie’ thing is a little bit sensational and some people hear that and they go right into alarm bells ringing,” Naughton said. “Where the state of things are right now is mostly just fact finding.”

And there are a lot of facts to find.

It’s possible that zombie watchers like Naughton are just now detecting a parasite that has been targeting honeybees for a long time, though Hafernik notes that reports of honeybees swarming night lights are a recent phenomenon.

It’s not clear if zombie bees can be linked to colony collapse disorder, a syndrome in which whole colonies fail after the loss of adult worker bees. Scientists have not been able to prove what causes CCD, though some believe it could be an interplay of factors including mites, pesticides and habitat loss. For now, threats like mites are more of a concern to researchers than the spread of zombie fly parasites.

“We have several other stresses on bees and we don’t want any other stress like this one,” said Ramesh Sagili, an assistant professor of apiculture at Oregon State University. “We have to be cautious, but I’m not alarmed that this parasite is going to create a big problem.”


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Doctors find cancer while treating shark attack victim

NOW PLAYINGShark attack saves man’s life

Eugene Finney, of Fitchburg, Mass., has always considered the ocean a big part of his life. But when a shark attack in early July led him to see a doctor, who then discovered Stage 1 cancer in his kidney, the body of water’s significance to Finney took on an even bigger meaning.

“The incident with the shark was a message from God, a message from someone,” Finney told the San Jose Mercury News.

The newspaper reported that Finney, 39, had been at Huntington Beach in Orange County, Calif., with his girlfriend and two children, his 6-year-old son, Turner, and his 10-year-old daughter, Temple, to visit his parents. While his girlfriend, Emeline McKeown, was on the beach with Turner, Finney was in the water with Temple, amid waves that soared 7 to 9 feet high. As he and Temple dove into a crest, Finney clutched his daughter tightly, protecting her from the strong current. As they plummeted 20 feet underwater, Finney felt a strong force pummel into his back.

Dizzy and dazed, Finney mustered up the energy to walk back to shore with Temple, who alerted her father to the long gash in his back that was bleeding. When he looked out into the water, he saw a pair of fins. Lifeguards began pulling people out of the water, the San Jose Muercury News reported.

When Finney returned to work in Massachussets at the Fitchburg Art Museum less than a week later, a coworker told him he didn’t look good and insisted him to go to the doctor.

Finney checked himself into St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Brighton, which is near McKeown’s Newton home, in case his condition was severe, he said.

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Doctors at the hospital conducted an EKG, a chest X-ray and a CAT scan, and then confirmed that Finney’s pain was due to “interior bruising of the thoracic cavity, due to blunt-force drama,” the newspaper reported.

But amid their testing, doctors found something else: a walnut-size tumor in his kidney that indicated Stage 1 cancer. They told him it was genetic, and Finney inferred that he likely inherited the condition from his maternal grandmother, who died of stomach cancer.

“If they hadn’t made this incidental find, I wouldn’t have known until it was too late,” he told the San Jose Mercury News. “I could have ended up with cancer metastasizing all over my stomach area, and you don’t come back from that.”

“It (the shark) could have bitten me, but it nudged me just enough,” Finney added.

Surgeons were able to salvage 80 percent of Finney’s kidney, removing 20 percent to eradicate the cancer. Finney won’t need chemotherapy or radiation— only another CAT scan in one year so doctors can make sure the cancer hasn’t come back. Now, he’s cancer-free.

“My father has always taught me that if you respect the ocean, it will take care of you,” he told the newspaper of the incident. “I think this is that.”

Click for more from the San Jose Mercury News.


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Shark bites surfer on Oahu’s North Shore

NOW PLAYINGSurfer loses leg in shark attack off Hawaiian coast

A 25-year-old Oahu man has been bitten by a shark while surfing on Oahu’s North Shore.

The attack happened near a popular surfing spot known as Leftovers, about 3 miles away from the famed Banzai Pipeline, Honolulu Emergency Services Department spokeswoman Shayne Enright said Friday.

Enright said another surfer was in the water with the man and helped him back to shore after the attack. A kayaker also assisted the injured man back to shore. Once on shore, people put the man on a surf or paddle board and used a leash as a tourniquet on his badly injured leg.

Enright said a 911 call was received at 10:25 a.m. and the victim was already on the beach when rescue crews arrived.

Witnesses told officials the shark was either a tiger or Galapagos about 10-12 feet long, but officials could not confirm the species or size. A fire department helicopter spotted a shark in nearby waters about two hours after the attack. They estimated it was about 8 feet long, but could not confirm it was the same shark that bit the surfer.

The man had an injury to his left leg and cuts on his hands, indicating he fought off the shark, Enright said. The man was transported to Queens Medical Center in critical condition.

Lifeguards in the area were warning visitors to stay out of the ocean and signs have been posted along the beach. Officials say they will reassess the situation on Saturday and determine if it is safe for people to enter the water.

Braxton Rocha, who was attacked and severely injured by a 13-foot tiger shark off the north coast of the Big Island in September, saw the news of Friday’s attack and said it brought him back to what he went through.

“I’m speechless right now,” he said. “I just want to wish him a speedy recovery, and hope he gets back into the water soon. I hope what happened doesn’t make him feel any differently towards sharks or the ocean.”

Rocha required over 100 staples to close the wounds he suffered when the shark bit him while spearfishing. He said he would like to visit Friday’s victim to help him in any way he can.

This is the fifth shark attack in Hawaii this year. One attack, which occurred on Maui in April, was fatal. All bites this year have happened in turbid or murky water.

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‘We are so relieved’: Missing king cobra snake found under dryer near Orlando

An 8-foot king cobra snake that had been missing for more than a month was found under a dryer in a garage not far from its reality TV star owner’s home near Orlando.

Officials say a woman contacted Orange County Animal Services on Wednesday night after she heard hissing sounds while putting clothes in her dryer.

Valerie Kennedy, the wife of “Airplane Repo” star Mike Kennedy, told FOX411 the snake “was found last night at 11p.m. The poor thing was in pretty bad shape. His eyes are fogged over. He hasn’t eaten a thing since he was captured.”

They had been searching for it since Sept. 2, the day after Mike Kennedy returned home from a trip and discovered it gone.

“We are so relieved,” Valerie Kennedy said. “This has been so difficult to go through as a family, and it has really taken a toll.”

Kennedy said the snake made it about a half mile from the Dragon Ranch Sanctuary, where it had been kept until it escaped after a storm damaged its enclosure.

Following its escape, students at a nearby elementary school weren’t allowed outside for recess.

Mike Kennedy told FOX411 in September that the snake would be in big trouble if it wasn’t found.

“Winter comes along and they die,” he said. “I’m not going to say it’s a 100 percent, nothing is 100 percent, but chances are he can’t survive if he doesn’t turn up.”

King Cobras, which can reach a length of 18 feet, are among the most deadly snakes in the world. The venom in a single bite can kill 20 people, or one elephant.

FoxNews.com’s Diana Falzone and the AP contributed to this report.


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Officers rescue store owner crushed by 125-pound python

officers rescue

The owner of a northern Kentucky reptile store is recovering after police officers pried off a 20-foot python that was crushing the man.

Newport police tell local news outlets that owner Terry Wilkens was feeding the snake Monday morning when the 125-pound python attacked.

Police Chief Tom Collins says Wilkens wasn’t breathing when officers were trying to free him, but he did resume breathing before he was taken to a hospital. Collins says Wilkens’ health appears to improving and he’s even talking.

Collins says one of the two responding officers, Lt. Gregory Ripberger, knew to uncurl the snake by grabbing it from its head, eventually freeing Wilkens.

Police were working with animal control to determine if the python would need to be removed from the shop.


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Shark bites teen surfing in Florida

A teen suffered a shark bite to his hand Sunday while surfing in Florida.

The unidentified male teen punched the shark in the nose and was able to flee, Volusia County Beach Patrol told FOX13. The teenager was paddling out in the water at New Smyrna Beach when he felt the shark, estimated at about 5 feet, bite his left hand.

The teen was treated for non-life threatening injuries by paramedics at the scene.

“He had pretty significant lacerations to the left hand…around the knuckle and palm of his hand,” Volusia County Beach Safety Capt. Aaron Jenkins told ABC News.

New Smyrna Beach is about 15 miles south of Daytona Beach on Florida’s east coast.

“This area, it’s kind of a common area for these small sharks,” Jenkins said. “There’s a lot of bait fish…that kind of draws those sharks in. The sharks, they can’t differentiate between someone’s hand…and some kind of small fish.”

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Giant prehistoric lizards co-existed with humans


Komodo dragon and illustration showing how the osteoderm bone reinforces the scales and acts like body armor. (Photo of the Komodo dragon by Bryan Fry, inset by Gilbert Price)

While the concept of men battling 16–foot prehistoric lizards sounds like something out of a 50’s sci-fi flick, a new discovery in Australia has revealed that such encounters may have occurred. According to a study appearing inQuaternary Science Reviews, researchers from the University of Queensland have found a tiny fossil that belonged to a giant lizard bone 50,000 years ago, indicating that gigantic reptiles and humans once co–existed.

The bone – an osteoderm, which grows under the lizard’s skin and serves as internal body armor – was found in one of the Capricorn Caves near Rockingham, Queensland. According to Queensland University Vertebrate Palaeoecologist Gilbert Price, while the 1 cm bone is tiny, it tells a huge story.

“We were really blown away by this discovery!” he told FoxNews.com. “The significance of our finding is that it shows that these big, cold–blooded killers and Australia’s earliest humans were here at the same time.”

Related: Paleolithic hunter-gatherers loved oatmeal too

Price and his team used radiocarbon and uranium thorum techniques to date the bone at younger than 50,000-years old. Naming what giant lizard it came from, however, has proved more of a challenge, though they’ve narrowed it down to a few likely candidates.

“Even though the osteoderm is only around 1 cm long, we can tell that it’s from a huge lizard, either the Komodo Dragon or an even bigger species called Megalania Prisca,” Price explained. “Most people might not realize that Komodos used to roam all over Australia – in fact, the oldest fossil records suggest that they actually evolved here, some 3.5 million years ago.”

The now–extinct Megalinia, the bigger of the two species, measured between 11 and 16– feet long and thrived in eastern Australia, roaming its forests and grasslands. Using its sharp, curved teeth, the giant reptile fed on a diet of snakes, birds, other reptiles  and large mammals. Naturally, this raises the question of whether or not humans were on its grocery list. Price says that while the human/giant prehistoric lizard relationship is still an unknown, he would be surprised if there weren’t regular encounters.

Related: Mass grave of new human relative discovered in South Africa, claim scientists

“Although giant lizards were still around in Australia at the same as the earliest humans, we don’t yet have direct evidence that people encountered them directly, but we are looking!” Price said. “I’m not sure how delicious a human would have been to a giant Ice Age lizard, but there were plenty of other things on the menu at the time, including massive eight foot–tall kangaroos and these weird wombat-like mega-marsupials called diprotodons – 3 tons of slow-moving muscle.”

It’s worth noting that Komodo dragons, which can measure up to 10 feet and live only on a few Indonesian islands, have been linked to numerous gruesome attacks on humans over the years – Hollywood star Sharon Stone’s then husband was attacked by one of reptiles in 2001, and another killed an eight year–old boy in 2007. However, ancient humans were probably more of a threat to the giant prehistoric lizards than vice versa, as many scientists believe that hunting is what helped kill off many of Australia’s megafauna – giant versions of modern animals, such as the aforementioned eight–foot kangaroo and three–ton wombat.

Price and his team are planning to continue their research and trying to find even younger records of these giant lizards to find out what led to their demise.  “The data that we’re collecting is really important for testing hypotheses relating to their extinction,” he said. “It’s that information that helps us build a better picture of Ice Age life, and ultimately can reveal more detailed information about what drives extinctions in general.”

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Rare ‘sofa shark’ stuns scientists

 (Scottish Shark Tagging Programme)

Marine biologists landed an unusual catch off the coast of Scotland recently – a so-called ‘sofa shark’ or false catshark.

Experts were stunned by the rare shark, which was discovered during a recent deep sea survey by scientists from Marine Scotland. “This is not a species that has previously been found in Scottish waters,” explained the Scottish Shark Tagging Programme, in a statement.

Related:  Scientists discover ‘glowing’ sea turtle

The elusive creatures can grow up to 10 feet long, but this one was around 6 feet, according to media reports.

The strange-looking shark has drawn unfavorable comparisons to the blobfish, which was dubbed the world’s ugliest animal in 2013.

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Truck carrying hundreds of thousands of honeybees overturns on Oklahoma interstate

Hundreds of thousands of honeybees were suddenly set loose on an Oklahoma interstate Tuesday after a truck hauling the insects overturned.

The accident on southbound Interstate 35 in Garvin County, south of Oklahoma City, was first reported to authorities at around 1 p.m. local time. KOKH-TV reported that dozens of crates containing thousands of bees were scattered along the nearby exit ramp.

An image released by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol showed a Garvin County sheriff’s department vehicle coated by bees. Remarkably, Sheriff Larry Rhodes told the Daily Oklahoman that the deputy driving the vehicle, Carl Zink, suffered only one bee sting in the incident.

Others were less lucky.

“I got stung on the lip, on the end of the nose, mouth, the side of the eye and then the back,” said local  Scott Woods, who pulled the driver out of the truck. KOKH reported that the driver was taken to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Beekeepers worked until dark to recapture as many of the bees as possible. As night fell, the remaining crates were set on fire to prevent the insects from swarming people.

“There is a bee shortage,” beekeeper Jim Stinson told KOKH, “[so] when they started talking about killing these bees here tonight, I threw a fit and said ‘Don’t do that till I get there.'”

Click for more from OKCFox.com.

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