Thursday 30 May 2013

New discoveries

Archaeopteryx restored in fossil reshuffle
By Jonathan Amos
What may be the earliest creature yet discovered on the evolutionary line to birds has been unearthed in China.The fossil animal, which retains impressions of feathers, is dated to be about 160 million years old.Scientists have given it the name Aurornis, which means "dawn bird".

Isle of Wight wesserpeton amphibian discovered

Wednesday 29 May 2013

Mystery creature washed up on UK beach

Mystery creature washed up on Easthaven beach
By Debbie Kerr,
There’s something fishy about a sea creature that washed up on a Tayside beach.Locals were left scratching their heads after the fearsome looking remains of the dead animal were found by a passing local on Easthaven beach. Measuring between four and five feet long, the creatures’s jaw is also filled with a set of sharp teeth. Dozens of people have speculated online about what the mystery sea creature could be. Some have suggested it could be a Conger Eel that has washed up, whereas others believe it could be a ling. But some locals have pointed out that the grisly remains could be a shark or a pike.More amusing suggestions even say it could be a dinosaur or the Loch Ness monster
Read rest see pic here :

Tuesday 28 May 2013

Frozen plants revived.

Centuries-old frozen plants revived
Eastern margin of the Tear Drop glacier Glacier retreat has markedly accelerated in the period since 2004 - and many new species lie beneath.Plants that were frozen during the "Little Ice Age" centuries ago have been observed sprouting new growth, scientists say. Samples of 400-year-old plants known as bryophytes have flourished under laboratory conditions. Researchers say this back-from-the-dead trick has implications for how ecosystems recover from the planet's cyclic long periods of ice coverage. The findings appear in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Wonder what implications that has for other frozen creatures?

Sunday 26 May 2013

Blood Beast Terror

 The Blood Beast Terror is a film starring Peter Cushing who would have been 100 years old today. A real gentleman of the stage and screen with lovely manners. I watched it today in honour of his memory and it got me thinking about moths. The blood beast terror is a giant Death’s Head Moth that sucks blood and goes around in the disguise of Wanda Ventham the actress. (find info about her here

The Death’s Head Moth ,if memory serves me well, is 3 species and they do not bite but the larvae or caterpillar  are known to. They are also not giants but can grow up to 135mm. The biggest moth discovered is the Atlas Moth which has a wingspan of up to 30cms.This large moth has no mouth parts unlike the Death’s Head Moth which steals honey from beehives. The Atlas Moth prefers warmer climes whereas the Death’s Head Moth is seen in Europe.None of them suck blood but a so called vampire moth was discovered in 2008:

Vampire Moth Discovered -- Evolution at Work
John Roach
for National Geographic News
October 27, 2008
A previously unknown population of vampire moths has been found in Siberia. And in a twist worthy of a Halloween horror movie, entomologists say the bloodsuckers may have evolved from a purely fruit-eating species.

So how farfetched is our blood sucking giant of the Horror film? At the moment it is farfetched but who is to say what evolution may turn up? There has never been an explanation for Mothman...could he have been a giant moth that also had human form? 

RIP Peter Cushing. A great actor and a lovely human being.

Friday 24 May 2013

single gene change causes rare creatures

White tiger's coat down to one change in a gene
Chinese scientists have acquired new insights into how white tigers get their colouration.The researchers have traced the cause to a single change in a gene known to drive pigmentation in a host of animals, including humans. White tigers are a rare variant of the customary orange Bengal sub-species. Today, they are found exclusively in captive programmes where the limited numbers are interbred to maintain the distinctive fur colour.Shu-Jin Luo of Peking University and colleagues report in the journal Current Biology how they investigated the genetics of a family of tigers living in Chimelong Safari Park in Panyu, Guangzhou Province.

Could cryptids be the result of a single gene change at some point in the past? Would explain their scarcity and rarity.