Extinct creature sightings are piling up in Australia

File photo - Don Colgan, Head of the Evolutionary Biology Unit at the Australian Museum, speaks under a model of a Tasmanian Tiger at a media conference in Sydney as seen in this May 4, 2000 file photo regarding the quality DNA extracted from the heart, liver, muscle and bone marrow tissue samples of a 134 year-old Tiger specimen (R) preserved in alcohol. The last known Tasmanian Tiger died in 1936 after it was hunted down and wiped out in only 100 years of human settlement. (Reuters)

File photo – Don Colgan, Head of the Evolutionary Biology Unit at the Australian Museum, speaks under a model of a Tasmanian Tiger at a media conference in Sydney as seen in this May 4, 2000 file photo regarding the quality DNA extracted from the heart, liver, muscle and bone marrow tissue samples of a 134 year-old Tiger specimen (R) preserved in alcohol. The last known Tasmanian Tiger died in 1936 after it was hunted down and wiped out in only 100 years of human settlement. (Reuters)

Multiple reports of Tasmanian Tiger sightings are starting to flow in from everyday citizens in Australia. Several people have recently claimed they’ve spotted the animal, which isn’t a tiger at all — and, despite looking very much like a species of dog, isn’t of canine lineage either — but a carnivorous marsupial. Spotting an interesting creature in Australia isn’t exactly a rare occurrence, but there’s one problem with these reports in particular: the Tasmanian Tiger is supposed to be extinct.

The last known Tasmanian Tiger was captured in its native Australia in 1933 and lived for a few years in a zoo before dying, and its death has long been thought to be the final nail in the species’ coffin. Australians have occasionally claimed to have spotted the dog-like animals over the years, but the sightings were typically rare and attributed to nothing more than misidentification. That’s all changed now, as several “plausible sightings” are beginning to give life to the theory that the animal never actually went extinct at all.

Now, scientists in Queensland, Australia, are taking action in the hopes of actually finding evidence that the Tiger is still around. If confirmed, it would be an absolutely monumental discovery, considering the animal’s history. The team plans to set up cameras in areas where reported sightings have taken place in the hopes of confirming the claims.

In the late 1800s there were actually bounties on Tasmanian Tigers in Australia, and the creatures were hunted to the brink of extinction before any action was taken. By that point, the species was thought to be doomed, and when the last captive animal died it was assumed that was the end of the road. Now, it appears that might not be the case after all.

Giant chicken looks like a ‘grown man in a costume,’ according to internet

chicken istock

 (iStock)

Move over, 13-foot alligator — the internet is obsessed with a different enormous animal today.

Footage of a ridiculously large chicken has been sweeping the internet after a Twitter user named LifesBook_CEO uploaded a video of the bulky bird on Sunday morning. In the clip, the large chicken can be seen emerging from its chicken coop and strutting around its pen, flapping its colossal wings and sauntering around on its massive haunches.

SUBWAY SUES CANADIAN TV STATION OVER CHICKEN REPORT

“Am I the only person wondering why this chicken is so d— big[?]” asked LifesBook_CEO in the caption.

Am I the only person wondering why this chicken is so damn big 🤔🤔🤔

But judging by the video’s popularity, LifesBook_CEO is not alone in his bewilderment.

In fact, Some Twitter users are actually skeptical that what they’re looking at is — in fact — a chicken.

I still refuse to believe that giant chicken video is real

“So you’re going to tell me that’s not a grown a– man in a costume!!!???” wrote one incredulous user, reports The Sun.

“I still refuse to believe that giant chicken video is real,” wrote another.

According to Mashable, however, the chicken in the footage is very likely a Brahma chicken, a breed that was popular in the U.S. as a source of meat during the turn of the 20th century. This particular breed can grow to weigh as much as 18 pounds, and was originally developed from species imported from Shanghai. The average boiler chicken in the U.S. weighs just under 6 pounds, according to USDA statistics.

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The site also pegs this particular chicken as being from Kosovo, since the footage was initially uploaded to a chicken-themed Facebook group based in the country. Mashable says the larger than life bird’s name is Merakli.

Despite the scientific explanation behind the gigantic bird, Twitter is still having a hard time processing Merakli’s existence.

I’d like a 2,000-word explainer about that big chicken video, please.

everytime i close my eyes i see that big chicken. i cant breathe. it’s all i think about

that video of the giant chicken scares the living hell out of me

So on second thought, it’s not so surprising that many believe Merakli is just an adult human in a chicken suit:

@LifesBook_Ceo Bruh, this ain’t no chicken. Who really finna try to cook this grown man.

Search is on for 10-foot crocodile who ate a man while fishing in Mexico

 (Reuters)

Mexican authorities are looking for a 10-foot crocodile that reportedly ate a young man who was fishing in southern Mexico.

The attack was reported by three of the victim’s friends who were there and watched the whole thing unfold. They were able to escape unharmed.

VIDEO SHOWS HUGE CROCODILE JOINING SHARKS TO STALK BOAT

The gruesome incident occurred Sunday in La Encrucijada reserve in southern Chiapas, a protected area they had entered without authorization.

“Most of these events are caused due to unawareness of people coming to unauthorized fishing grounds,” an official with the Commission on Natural Protected Areas told El Universal.

TOURIST ATTACKED BY CROCODILE IN THAILAND AFTER TRYING TO
SNAP PHOTO WITH REPTILE

According to the Environment and Natural Resources Office (Semarnat), they have experts combing the marshy area and have put up warning signs.

The goal is to capture all 10-foot crocodiles and pump out their stomachs to find the victim’s remains, officials said.

Underwater video from 2013 ended up capturing an elusive whale

NOW PLAYINGFirst-ever underwater video of elusive True’s beaked whales

A group of students got an unforgettable science lesson in May 2013—but just how unforgettable is only now coming to light. While on an expedition in the Azores some 950 miles west of Portugal, as many as four beaked whales surfaced and spent about 10 minutes near a small inflatable boat, giving the instructors time to capture underwater footage of the whales.

But not just any whales: A study in PeerJ reports they turned out to be the rarely seen True’s beaked whales, which were first described in 1912 and had never been filmed underwater.

Only seven live sightings had previously been recorded—and New Scientist points out not all were verified—in part because of the elusive whales’ behavior: a brief surfacing followed by dives that can last up to two hours and take the creatures as deep as two miles down.

True’s beaked whales are identifiable by a white patch on their head that looks like a beanie, but the video shows new markings, including one with a white mask, reports Seeker.

That discovery could be a sort of wrench, explains senior author Emma Carroll, who says “it might be more difficult to tell the different beaked whale species apart in the wild than previously thought” as the Cuvier’s beaked whale bears similar coloration.

But there’s a flip side to the coin: More data on their markings could also make it easier for scientists to identify the whales. New Scientist explains that most such data to date comes from stranded whales, whose coloration can be darkened by the sun.

Getting better at identifying them could allow scientists to do something they’ve never done before: estimate just how many True’s beaked whales are out there. (This is the deepest-diving mammal on the planet.)

This article originally appeared on Newser: Underwater Video From 2013 Ended Up Being a Big Deal

Pregnant Fossil Confirms Live Birth in Ancient ‘Sea Monster’

A plesiosaur giving birth.

A plesiosaur giving birth.  (Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County)

The unique 78-million-year-old fossils of an adult plesiosaur and its unborn baby may provide the first evidence that these ancient animals gave live births, according to scientists.

The 15.4-foot-long adult specimen is one of the giant, carnivorous, four-flippered reptiles that lived during the Mesozoic Era. Dr. F. Robin O’Keefe of Marshal University in Huntington, W. Va., and Dr. Luis Chiappe, director of the Natural History Museum’s Dinosaur Institute, have determined that the skeleton contained within the creature is an embryo — including ribs, 20 vertebrae, shoulders, hips, and paddle bones.

The research — to be published August 12 in Science magazine — establishes that plesiosaurs gave birth to live young, rather than hatching their offspring from eggs on land.

“Scientists have long known that the bodies of plesiosaurs were not well suited to climbing onto land and laying eggs in a nest,” O’Keefe said. “So the lack of evidence of live birth in plesiosaurs has been puzzling. This fossil documents live birth in plesiosaurs for the first time, and so finally resolves this mystery.

O’Keefe also believes the find gives further clues of plesiosaur behavior.

“Many of the animals alive today that give birth to large, single young are social and have maternal care,” O’Keef continued. “We speculate that plesiosaurs may have exhibited similar behaviors, making their social lives more similar to those of modern dolphins than other reptiles.”

Plesiosaurs have no known living relatives, but were common in the world’s oceans during the age of dinosaurs. They were among the top predators in the Western Interior Seaway, the vast, tropical body of water that split North America during the Cretaceous when waters from the Arctic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico flooded onto the continent and met.

The remarkable NHM specimen was discovered in 1987 by Charles Bonner on the Bonner Ranch in Logan County, Kan. Virtually complete except for parts of the adult’s neck and skull, the “mother” specimen and her baby were given extensive conservation by NHM and then mounted for display with the supervision of O’Keefe and Chiappe.

The specimen is currently on display in the Dinosaur Hall, the new 14,000-square-foot exhibition at NHM featuring more than 300 fossils and 20 complete mounts of dinosaurs and sea creatures.

Fossil of ‘monster’ worm with snapping jaws discovered

worm

 (Luke Parry)

A giant worm with “terrifying” jaws has caught researchers’ eyes, who say the huge extinct marine worm is a new species known to science. What’s more, it’s been named after the bass player from a death metal band called Cannibal Corpse.

The scientists discovered the fossilized remains of the worm not in the wild, but in a museum. The worm fossil and others had actually been in Canada’s Royal Ontario Museum since 1994, after a researcher took samples from a remote site in Ontario only reachable by helicopter. Based on the fossil, they think the worm was over three feet long and had jaws over a quarter of an inch in size. (Usually, the jaws of these kinds of worm are much tinier.)

“Gigantism in animals is an alluring and ecologically important trait, usually associated with advantages and competitive dominance,” the lead author of a new study on the worm, Mats Eriksson of Lund University, said in a statement. “It is, however, a poorly understood phenomenon among marine worms and has never before been demonstrated in a fossil species.”

PLANE-SIZED FLYING REPTILE WAS A FEARED KILLER IN TRANSYLVANIA

Over 400 million years old, the giant fossilized creature was known as a bristle worm. The University of Bristol compares this ancient worm to modern-day Bobbit worms, which ambush and eat fish or cephalopods like squids.

The scientists gave the new worm species an interesting name: Websteroprion armstrongi. The second part of that name is in honor of Derek K Armstrong, a member of the Ontario Geological Survey who took the helicopter ride to collect the samples in the first place.

The first part is more interesting. That’s in honor of a musician named Alex Webster, a bass player for Cannibal Corpse, a death metal band. According to the statement on the discovery, this is because Webster was a “giant” on the bass, just like the worm itself was giant.

MYSTERY: Half-eaten shark on Florida beach raises speculation about what killed it

0221 fla shark

 (Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue)

A half-eaten shark that washed up on a Florida beach Saturday raised questions about a bigger fish possibly lurking in the water.

A Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue lifeguard snapped a photo of the shark on New Smyrna Beach. Beach Safety spokeswoman Tammy Morris told News 4 Jax that the shark was “definitely” eaten by a bigger fish. She added that the shark was either a blacktip or spinner shark.

A 14-foot great white shark named Katherine was spotted off the Florida coast in January. Another great white shark was spotted in the waters on Feb. 1, Florida wildlife officials said.

Morris said half-eaten sharks do not wash up on the beach often, but she has seen it before.

Officials said the shark might have been about 5-feet long, according to Fox 13 News.

Strange orange alligator turns heads in South Carolina

File photo: An alligator floats in a pond under rainy skies on Kiawah Island, South Carolina, August 8, 2012.

File photo: An alligator floats in a pond under rainy skies on Kiawah Island, South Carolina, August 8, 2012.  (REUTERS/Mathieu Belanger)

An alligator in a small South Carolina town is grabbing attention because of one weird quality: it’s orange.

To be more accurate, it’s a rusty, clay, sweet-potato color, and no one is sure why. But one thing is for certain— it doesn’t have an alligator’s typical color.

The little gator, reportedly about 4.5 feet long, lives in a pond in Hanahan, South Carolina.

Orange “Trumpagator” spotted in has residents scratching their heads. Is it albino? Clemson fan? http://bit.ly/2k51B5G 

The Post and Courier reported that a post on Facebook about the strangely-colored animal has gotten plenty of attention, with one person commenting that the orange-ish animal was a “Trumpagator.”

And a local resident told the paper, after photographing the reptile: “”I just thought, what the hell is that?”

It’s unclear why the gator has the strange, Doritos-like color, although one expert speculated its non-natural color could be due to an “environmental factor,” like a pollutant or algae.

The dinosaurs died a cold, dark death, new study shows

A snow covered T-Rex life size dinosaur sculpture is pictured at the Senckenberg Natural History Museum in Frankfurt, Germany, January 10, 2017. (REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach)

A snow covered T-Rex life size dinosaur sculpture is pictured at the Senckenberg Natural History Museum in Frankfurt, Germany, January 10, 2017. (REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach)

It’s widely acknowledged that the Earth was a cold, dark place after a giant meteor, measuring roughly six miles across, struck Mexico about 66 million years ago, which many believe triggered what is known as the end-Cretaceous mass extinction.

Now, new research using state-of-the-art computer simulations paints a more detailed picture of this period and how long-lasting cooling and a mixing of the oceans may have spelled the end for the dinosaurs.

The results of the new study discounted the competing theory that it was large-scale volcanic eruptions, as opposed to the meteor’s impact, that led to the extinction.

HUMAN SKULL IN MUSEUM EXHIBIT STUNS RESEARCHERS

“Our results show that the impact must have played a significant role in the mass extinction,” lead study author Julia Brugger from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Control told Fox News.

The model assumed that tiny droplets of sulfuric acid in the atmosphere caused the long-term cooling after the comet hit. It’s long been posited that it was dust particles thrown into the air from the meteor strike that lethally blocked the sun, but dust wouldn’t last long enough in the atmosphere to cool the Earth for several years. Sulfate aerosols have a longer cooling effect due to their more sustained time in the atmosphere.

“The target rock, which was struck by the asteroid, contained sulfur,” Brugger explained. “After the impact, sulfur bearing gases evaporated and formed sulfate aerosols high up in the atmosphere.”

EXPERTS UNCOVER 38,000-YEAR-OLD ENGRAVINGS

For Brugger, the most surprising result of the study was the magnitude of the cooling. When the acid droplets blocked the sun, it caused the Earth’s surface air temperature to drop by at least 79 degrees Fahrenheit. Even the annual mean temperatures of the tropics went from 80 to 41 degrees. The global average temperature was below freezing for about three years, which was obviously bad news for life on Earth. Dinosaurs used to a tropical climate froze while their food supplies withered and died. It would take 30 years for the climate to recover from the cooling.

“This is based on basic physical laws, but I still find it fascinating that an accident like this asteroid impact can completely change climate for a couple of years,” Brugger said. “It really illustrates how fragile our climate system is.”

Another surprise was the meteor impact’s disruption of ocean circulation.  The ice caps expanded and surface waters cooled down, becoming denser and heavier. While these cooler water masses sank into the depths, warmer water from deeper ocean layers rose to the surface. The warmer waters carried nutrients that likely led to massive blooms of algae that may have been toxic.

THIS BAG-LIKE THING IS YOUR ANCESTOR

“The model simulations of our study allow us to observe a disturbance of the ocean circulation and this leads to a nutrient transport to the surface ocean,” Brugger said. “This could have caused an algal bloom and it is conceivable that these algal blooms produced toxic substances, further affecting life at the coasts.”

This toxic algae– as well as sulfuric acid from the meteor strike mixing into the oceans– might’ve been what led to the deaths of marine life, which would include creatures like the ammonites (marine mollusk animals). Creatures living on the coast would have been greatly affected as well.

While the comet strike likely meant the end for the dinosaurs, it did make way for the evolution of the human species. And though extinction was cold and dark for the prehistoric creatures, it’ll likely be quite toasty for us.

“It’s a certain irony that today the most immediate threat is not from natural cooling but from human-made global warming,” Brugger said.

Incredible photo shows shark lurking beneath young surfer

In this photo from Jan. 24, 2017, provided by Chris Hasson, 10-year-old Eden Hasson, Chris' son, surfs near what is believed to be a great white shark at Samurai Beach, Port Stephens, Australia.

In this photo from Jan. 24, 2017, provided by Chris Hasson, 10-year-old Eden Hasson, Chris’ son, surfs near what is believed to be a great white shark at Samurai Beach, Port Stephens, Australia.  (Chris Hasson via AP)

Cue the music from “Jaws.”

An incredible photo that has gone viral shows a boy in Australia surfing a wave— while just in front and beneath him a shark is lurking, perhaps a great white.

The 10-year-old surfer, Eden Hasson, said he was oblivious to the powerful predator beneath the waves until his father, Chris Hasson, showed him the photograph.

The photo has since made headlines from Australia to the UK to the United States, and a Facebook post by Hasson about the incident has generated over a thousand reactions.

“If I was on the wave and saw it, I probably would’ve freaked out and fell off,” Eden told an Australian TV station after the brush with the shark. “I was lucky I didn’t fall off.”

The incident occurred at a beach called Samurai, north of Sydney. Chris Hasson told the Associated Press that he told the boy to get off the water after seeing the ghostly image of the shark in the photograph.

“I quickly called him in and whistled,” Hasson said. His son, he said, “saw a shape in the wave and thought it was seaweed and felt something as he went over the top — he got his leg rope caught on something — but he thought nothing of it until he saw the photo.”

MAKO SHARK TRAVELS 13,000 MILES IN LESS THAN TWO YEARS

The father also said that it was a “gut feeling” that spurred him to review the photos. “I just had a gut feeling so I went into the photos and zoomed in and went ‘No way’,” Hasson said, according to the Daily Telegraph.

The same Australian state where this incident took place, New South Wales, was host to a tragedy in 2015, when a 41-year-old Japanese surfer died after a shark attack. The shark attack rate in recent years in Australia has been higher than average.

But one shark expert told the Associated Press that in the case of the “photobombing” shark, the animal was likely just trying to avoid the surfboard.

“From the angle, it looks like the shark was spooked and is rolling away from the board to escape it,” Chin said. “There is no way that this is a hunting approach.”

This is not the only shark to make headlines recently. A mako shark named Hell’s Bay has astounded researchers by breaking a record: in less than two years, it cruised an astounding 13,000 miles in the Atlantic.