Rare alligator gar caught in Indiana

An Indiana angler was surprised to reel in a prehistoric fish more than five feet long earlier this month.

One glance at the thick-scaled alligator gar in question could easily lead many to believe gators have moved beyond their storied home of Florida. But while an alligator gar is something entirely different than the reptile of the same name, it carries its own legend.

MASSACHUSETTS FISHERMAN REELS IN PURSE STOLEN 18 YEARS AGO

So-called because of its toothy mouth and broad snout, the alligator gar is a fish that bears a   remarkable resemblance to four-legged alligators. According to National Geographic, they can grow to a length of up to 10 feet and weigh nearly 300 pounds. The fish captured was just over 5 feet and weighed 55 pounds.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) says the fish aren’t normally found in Indiana waters. More common to the state are shortnose, longnose and spotted gar.

The rare catch is the first alligator gar verified by Indiana biologists in recent history. Indiana is at the northern edge of the fish’s historic range which includes much of the coastal U.S Southeast.

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A National Geographic profile states alligator gar “inhabit waters as far west as Texas and Oklahoma, as far north as the Mississippi River Basin and the lower Ohio and Missouri river systems, and southern drainages well into Mexico.”

The DNR is examining the fish to determine its age and source—nearby states Illinois and Kentucky have current alligator gar stocking programs. Indiana does not currently have a restoration program in place.

Despite the unusual catch, the bowfisherman who seized the alligator gar faces no legal action since Indiana has “no regulations on take of alligator gar.”

Great white shark spotted lurking near popular California beach

NOW PLAYINGGreat white shark spotted off coast of San Diego beach

Just a day after a shark attack left a San Diego County woman fighting for her life, a drone pilot captured video of a juvenile great white shark swimming less than a quarter of a mile  from where dozens of people were swimming in the surf.

William Steele, a surfboard maker from Capistrano Beach, was surfing at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point Monday morning. He was thinking about sharks after the weekend shark attack at San Onofre State Beach, several miles to the south. While surfing, he noticed dozens of stingrays in the shallows.

“I said, ‘I’ll bet you (sharks) are out here eating stingrays,'” Steele told FOX 5.

More from FOX 5 San Diego

  • North County woman ‘fighting for her life’ after shark attack

  • Surfers return to the ocean despite shark warnings following attack

  • Woman bitten by shark near San Onofre State Beach

Steele, who lives near the beach, rode his bicycle back to his house and brought his drone down to the beach. Sure enough, within five minutes of launching the drone, he located a shark swimming less than 100 yards offshore. He said it was clearly a juvenile great white.

“They’re around for sure. They’ve been around forever,” he said. “They are out here hunting stingrays and seals. When they hit a person, it’s an accident.”

Steele believes Sunday’s attack on Leeanne Ericson, a mother of three from Vista, was just such a case of mistaken identity. Accident or not, the result was tragic, he said.

More from FOX 5 San Diego.

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.

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK FOR MORE FOX LIFESTYLE NEWS

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.