Monday, May 04, 2009
Here, for your delectation, is another video of one of these delightful birds..
The CFZ Archives yeild up a mixed bag of odd folklore clippings mostly folklore reports from the Devonshire Association between 1892 and the early 1950s, but also another trenche of original press cuttings concerning the Cherry Brook Valley episode from the late 1970s when a number of dead ponies were found under peculiar circumstances...
In 1978 a pair of goats, one of the most ecologically damaging species, was introduced to the island. These have bred and now the goats are a menace to the islands ecology including the moles who have one of the most restricted ranges of any animal in the world.
The island range is currently caught up in a dispute with China and Taiwan on one side and Japan on the other.
The goat population on Uotsuri-jima needs to be wiped out as it may constitute a threat to the Senkaku mole who must be considered endangered by sheer dint of it’s restricted range (no to mention the fact that only one has ever been see). Also another dedicated expedition in search of the mole, to find out if it still exists and what kind of population it has, needs to be carried out. This may prove difficult, but far from imposable under the current political situation.
If China wins the dispute it will doubtless drill for oil and set up a base on the island. This will mean curtains for any surviving Senkaku moles.
The little animals are caught between a rock and a hard place. Currently with China held at bay oil drilling is unlikely. But so long as the goats remain on the island, he moles are under threat.
Well rattlesnakes are indeed a subgrouping of pit vipers, but whereas all rattlesnakes are pit vipers, not all pit vipers are rattlesnakes, and not only is the new species not a rattlesnake, all rattlesnake species are found exclusively in the New World.
The thing that is both interesting and worrying is the way that the completely erroneous information has been disseminated willy nilly across the internet.
Even www.wildlifeextra.com who are a generally excellent source for information write:
“The newly discovered rattle-snake is named Protobothrops trungkhanhensis Orlov, Ryabov & Nguyen. The snake is relatively small when compared to other Protobothrops species, being only 733mm in length, with a small triangle-shaped head.
Nguyen Thien Tao, curator of amphibians and reptiles of the Vietnam Nature Museum who co-authored of the discovery, said that this is the fourth species of rattle-snake of the Protobothrops family found in Vietnam.”
One of two things has happened, as far as I can see. Either there was a cock-up early on, probably in the translation between English and Russian (one can imagine a bored sub-editor doing a cursory Google search and assuming that because rattlesnakes are pit vipers the reverse holds true) or - more disturbingly - there is an entire culture of journalists just cutting and pasting other people’s information.
Now, I am very aware of the Biblical quotation about `casting the first stone` at this point. Some years ago, during one of my more spectacular bouts of uncontrolled bipolar activity, I had a job working for a natural history partwork.
I blotted my copybook seriously by resorting to the aforementioned cut and paste techniques, and was sacked. In my defence I was as mad as a bagful of cheese at the time and I have no real recollection of the events in question, but I will freely put my hands up and say mea cu;pa.
But that was long before I had any pretensions to being a reputable scientific journalist, and the fact that the rattlesnake identification has been used on so many occasions to describe this totally un-rattlesnake (it doesn’t even have a rattle for goodness sake) is a little disturbing.
The other explanation is that there has been a major re-evaluation of the taxonomy of pit vipers, and both Richard’s and my information is out of date, and we are just making idiots of ourselves by making an issue of this case. It is certainly a possibility.
There are only a couple of rules:
1. The three cryptids must be ones that have some chance of existing. Not purely mythological creatures or something esoteric from a movie or comic book.
2. Make them different. I would very much rather not have three long necked lake monsters from three adjacent lakes
Apart from that, its up to you. So get blogging!
It’s Monday, so how about a movie recommendation with the Cryptozoology news update today? Well, If you are currently saying “yes, please.” or launching into a diatribe about how such a thing would make you vomit with sheer unadulterated rage it matters not as I’m typing this up last night, so I’m going to recommend you a film anyway. My film of the week is “Zodiac” a surprising number of people actually haven’t seen this film, which to my mind is the best serial killer investigation movie ever made, even better than Red Dragon and Silence Of The Lambs, and based on true events. Here’s the trailer for you to watch after you’ve read the news and today’s blog postings: http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi2012152601/
And now, the news:
Va., W.Va. scientists study unexplained fish kills
Monster Rats Pouring Out of Harvard
'Loch Ness' monster fossil found on Lyme coast
To Fathom a Colony’s Talk and Toil, Studying Insects One by One
Scientists sound the alarm that wildcats face wipeout
It’s rumoured that if the Scottish government fails to act it could start up a series of wildcat strikes.