‘Godzilla’ lizard found climbing on Florida home’s window

Sept. 22 (UPI) — A Central Florida family captured video when they had an unusual visitor — a large monitor lizard climbing on a window.

Jocelyn Penson, who posted the video to Facebook, said the footage was filmed at the home of her son, Frank Crowder, in Apopka, Fla.

The video shows the lizard climbing on the window in an apparent attempt to find its way into the house. The reptile ends up flopping off the window and down to the ground.

“Looks like Godzilla to me!” Penson wrote.

Penson’s family initially said the animal appeared to be a tegu lizard, but Ron Magill, a wildlife expert with Zoo Miami, said the reptile is a water monitor lizard from Sub-Saharan Africa.

“It’s a lizard that could be anywhere between 3 and 5 feet, generally speaking,” he told WSVN-TV.

Magill said the lizard was likely a former pet that either escaped or was abandoned into the wild by its owner.

Bear crashes 2-year-old’s birthday party, eats cupcakes

Sept. 12 (UPI) — A bear crashed a 2-year-old’s birthday party in Connecticut and was filmed feasting on cupcakes while the party-goers fled inside.

Rauf and Laura Majidian said they were hosting a birthday party for their son, Cyrus, outside their West Hartford home when a bear emerged from the woods.
The parents and the other adults at the party rushed to get the kids inside, but the bruin was more interested in the contents of the picnic table, the Majidians said.

The bear was filmed feasting on cupcakes from the picnic table while the party attendees watched through a window.

These Massive Tunnels Were Dug By Giant Sloths

Across northern South America, there are hundreds of colossal tunnels large enough for humans to walk through, but they weren’t dug by men. Nor they were formed by any known geological process. But their creators have left evidence all around the walls and ceilings—giant claw marks.

Geologists call these tunnels “paleoburrow,” and they are believed to have been dug by an extinct species of giant ground sloth.

paleoburrow1

A large paleoburrow in Brazil. Photo credit: Heinrich Frank

The term was coined by Heinrich Frank, a professor at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, in Brazil, who chanced upon one at a construction site in the town of Novo Hamburgo, in the early 2000s. Up until then, little was known or written about these tunnels in scientific literature. But since he came upon his first, Heinrich Frank and other researchers have discovered more than 1,500 tunnels, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul alone. Some of these burrows measure hundreds of feet long and branched off into several direction.

The largest one measured 2,000 feet long, six feet tall and three to five feet wide. An estimated 4,000 metric tons of dirt and rock were dug out of the hillside to create the burrow. It was evidently the work of not one or two individuals but several generations.

Frank believes the burrows were dug by a genus of giant ground sloths, as large as modern elephants, that once lived in South America until about 10,000 years ago. They were some of the biggest land mammals on earth exceeded in size only by the mammoth. Others believe that extinct armadillos, which were smaller than the giant sloths, were responsible for the burrows.

paleoburrow-3

Claw marks on the sides of the burrow. Photo credit: Heinrich Frank

Regardless of who dug them, the sheer size of the burrows is something that Frank and his colleagues are still trying to explain.

The paleoburrows also have a strange geographic distribution. They have been found only in the southern Brazilian states of Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina. Very few have been found in northern Brazil, or in other South American countries. Even in North America, where the giant ground sloths and giant armadillos once lived, no paleoburrows have been found.

Greg McDonald, a paleontologist from the Bureau of Land Management, however, believes that it’s just a matter of time before we find them.

“The fact that we don’t have them here could simply be that we’ve overlooked them,” he says.

There are still a lot of unanswered questions surrounding the paleoburrows and its creators. Who built them? Why they were built? How they were built, and when?

Galerias-paleotoca

Inside the first paleoburrow discovered in the Amazon. It’s nearly twice as large as the second-largest known burrow, located elsewhere in Brazil. Photo Credit: Amilcar Adamy/CPRM

scratch-marks

A closer look at those claw marks. Photo credit: Heinrich Frank

paleoburrow-4

Outside the entrance to a paleoburrow. Photo credit: Heinrich Frank

Megatherium_americanum2

Megatherium americanum, the giant sloth.

paleoburrow-digging

Megatherium americanum (Giant Ground Sloth) is one of the largest land mammals known to have existed, weighing up to 4 t (4,000 kg; 4.4 short tons; 8,800 lb; 630 st) and measuring up to 6 m (20 ft) in length from head to tail. It is the largest-known ground sloth, almost as big as modern african elephants, and would have only been exceeded in its time by a few species of mammoth. Megatherium species were members of the abundant Pleistocene megafauna, large mammals that lived during the Pleistocene epoch.

Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road (stinking to high heaven). 

“Dead Skunk” is a 1972 novelty song by Loudon Wainwright III. Released as a single in November 1972, it eventually peaked at number 16 on the Billboard charts on March 31, 1973. The song appears on Wainright’s 1972 album Album III.

The song is musically a simple folk song based on banjo, but accompanied by guitar, drums and fiddle. The lyrics describe a dead skunk in the middle of a busy road and the smell it produces for people as they drive by. Wainwright has said that the song came out of an actual accident involving a skunk, and that he wrote it afterward in 15 minutes. (“Someone had already killed it, but I ran over it.”)

Crossing the highway late last night
He shoulda looked left and he shoulda looked right
He didn’t see the station wagon car
The skunk got squashed and there you are

You got your dead skunk in the middle of the road
Dead skunk in the middle of the road
Dead skunk in the middle of the road
Stinking to high heaven

Take a whiff on me, that ain’t no rose
Roll up your window and hold your nose
You don’t have to look and you don’t have to see
‘Cause you can feel it in your olfactory

You got your dead skunk in the middle of the road
Dead skunk in the middle of the road
Dead skunk in the middle of the road
And it’s stinking to high heaven

Yeah, you got your dead cat and you got your dead dog
On a moonlight night, you got your dead toad frog
Got your dead rabbit and your dead raccoon
The blood and the guts, they’re gonna make you swoon

You got your dead skunk in the middle
Dead skunk in the middle of the road
Dead skunk in the middle of the road
Stinking to high heaven
C’mon, stink

You got it, it’s dead, it’s in the middle
Dead skunk in the middle
Dead skunk in the middle of the road
Stinking to high heaven
All over the road
Technicolor

Oh, you got pollution
It’s dead, it’s in the middle
And it’s stinking to high, high heaven

Bigfoot Sightings by State

States with the most bigfoot sightings overall

StateSightingsState PopulationSightings per 100k
Washington6767,614,8938.9
California44539,512,2231.1
Florida32821,477,7371.5
Ohio30211,689,1002.6
Illinois29612,671,8212.3
Oregon2544,217,7376
Texas24628,995,8810.8
Michigan2209,986,8572.2
Missouri1546,137,4282.5

Approximately 5,000 reported sightings in the United States. Some people interested in the subject argue that there are many more sightings: the unreported ones. They put forward the idea that only a small percentage of people that think they saw a Bigfoot make a report. Most people that see something like that want to avoid being ridiculed, so they keep it to themselves. Some estimates put the actual reported sightings at between 10-40 percent of all sightings. Lets go to middle and say 25 percent are reported. Then you can times the 5,000 by 4. This is all conjecture, but then you have 20,000 sightings!

With today’s technology, cameras, drones etc., there should be more good sightings. But this technology is a two edged sword. The technology also creates better fakes, hoaxes and CGI images. There are very intereting videos and photos out there. But are they real or elaborate hoaxes.

Video below is very intriguing. The end of this video shows the actual footage.

Mega Shark

The extinct superpredator megalodon was big enough to eat orcas, scientists say

This illustration depicts a 52-foot Otodus megalodon shark predating on a 26-foot Balaenoptera whale in the Pliocene epoch, between 5.4 to 2.4 million years ago.

This illustration depicts a 52-foot Otodus megalodon shark predating on a 26-foot Balaenoptera whale in the Pliocene epoch, between 5.4 to 2.4 million years ago.

(CNN)Faster than any shark alive today and big enough to eat an orca in just five bites: A new study suggests the extinct shark known as a megalodon was an even more impressive superpredator than scientists realized before.

The Otodus megalodon, the inspiration behind the 2018 film “The Meg,” lived more than 23 million years ago. Fossils of the extinct giant are hard to come by: While there are plenty of fossilized shark teeth, their bodies mainly consist of cartilage rather than bones, and are rarely preserved.

A research team led by Jack Cooper, a paleobiologist at Swansea University, set out to use 3D modeling from a rare and exceptionally well-preserved megalodon spinal column to extrapolate information about the shark’s movement and behavior. Their research was published in Science Advances Wednesday.

“We estimate that an adult O. megalodon could cruise at faster absolute speeds than any shark species today and fully consume prey the size of modern apex predators,” wrote the researchers.

Most of what we know about megalodons come from scientific inferences: Scientists have estimated the extinct sharks could be as long as 65 feet through a comparison with great white sharks, thought of as their “best available ecological analog,” since they both occupy the top rung in the food chain, according to the article.

The researchers used a megalodon vertebral column from Belgium, a tooth from the United States, and the chondrocranium — the cartilaginous equivalent of a skull — from a great white shark to build their 3D skeleton. Then they used a full-body scan of a great white shark to estimate how flesh would sit on the megalodon’s skeleton.

With a complete 3D rendering, they came up with estimates for the volume and body mass of the shark’s whole body. By comparing the figures to the size of modern sharks, they estimated the shark’s swimming speed, stomach value, calorie needs, and prey encounter rates.

The megalodon they modeled would have been almost 16 meters, or 52 feet, long. It weighed around 61,560 kilograms, or 135,717 pounds, according to their estimates.

They estimated the megalodon would have been able to devour prey the size of orca whales — which can be up to 26 feet long and weigh over 8,000 pounds — in just five bites.

Prey the size of a modern humpback whale would have been too big for a megalodon to eat in full, according to the researchers. Eating large prey may have given the megalodon a competitive edge over other predators. Eating large amounts at a time would have also allowed them to travel great distances without eating again, much like modern great white sharks.

An adult megalodon would have needed to eat a whopping 98,175 calories per day, 20 times higher than an adult great white shark. They could have met their energetic needs by eating around 31.9 kilograms of shark muscle, according to the researchers’ estimates.
The megalodon was also faster than any shark alive, with a theoretical average cruising speed of around 3.1 mph. This speed would have allowed it to encounter more prey, helping it meet its massive caloric demands.
Overall, the data extrapolated from the 3D model paints the portrait of a “transoceanic superpredator,” say the researchers.
Luckily, today’s orcas don’t have to worry about running into the massive shark. The megalodon went extinct around 3.6 million years ago, according to the United Kingdom’s Natural History Museum, for reasons scientists are still trying to understand.

“The Meg” 2018 movie.

Gigantic Gorilla

Gigantopithecus blacki (Greek and Latin for “Black’s giant ape”) is an extinct species of ape.

The only known fossils of G. blacki, or “Giganto,” are a few teeth and mandibles found in cave sites in Southeast Asia. As the name suggests, these are appreciably larger than those of living gorillas, but the exact size and structure of the rest of the body can only be estimated in the absence of additional findings. Recent research using high-precision absolute-dating methods has shown that after existing for about a million years, G. blacki died out as recently as 100,000 years ago. This means that it coexisted with (anatomically) modern humans (Homo sapiens) for a few dozen thousands of years, and with the most immediate ancestors of H. sapiens before that.

Based on the fossil evidence, paleontologists speculate that Gigantopithecus had an adult standing height of over three meters (ten feet) and a weight of 550 kg (1200 lb), and was thus much larger and heavier than current-day gorillas.

The species lived in Asia and probably inhabited bamboo forests, since its fossils are often found alongside those of extinct ancestors of the panda. Most evidence points to Gigantopithecus being a plant-eater. Some believe that being a plant-eating species, G. blacki was placed at the losing end of the evolutionary competition with humans.

The species’ method of locomotion is uncertain, as no pelvic or leg bones have been found. The dominant view is that it walked on all fours like modern gorillas and chimpanzees. However, a minority opinion favors bipedal locomotion, most notably as championed by the late Grover Krantz. It should be noted that this assumption is based only on the very few jawbone remains found, all of which are U-shaped and widen towards the rear. This widening, in Krantz’s view, allowed room for the windpipe to be positioned within the jaw, allowing the skull to sit squarely upon a fully-erect spine like modern humans, rather than roughly behind it, like the great apes.

Krantz’s studies of Bigfoot, which he called “Sasquatch,” (an Anglicization of the Halkomelem word sásq’ets meaning “wild man”)  led him to believe that this was an actual creature. He theorized that sightings were due to small pockets of surviving gigantopithecines, with the progenitor population having migrated across the Bering land bridge, which was later used by humans to enter North America. (Gigantopithecus lived alongside humans but is thought to have gone extinct 300,000 years ago in eastern Asia).

Dr. Grover Krantz was the most vocal supporter of the theory that Gigantopithecus blacki traversed the ice bridge from Asia to North America and exists today as the creature known as bigfoot.

After seeing footage stills of the Patterson-Gimlin film which appeared on the February 1968 cover of Argosy, Krantz was skeptical, believing the film to be an elaborate hoax, saying “it looked to me like someone wearing a gorilla suit”  and “I gave Sasquatch only a 10 percent chance of being real.”  After years of skepticism, Krantz finally became convinced of Bigfoot’s existence after analyzing the “Cripplefoot” plaster casts gathered at  Bossburg, Washington in December 1969. Krantz later studied the Patterson-Gimlin film in full, and after taking notice of the creature’s peculiar gait and purported anatomical features, such as flexing leg muscles, he changed his mind and became an advocate of its authenticity.  While in Bossburg, he also met John Willison Green and the two remained friends until Krantz’s death.

The Cripplefoot tracks, left in snow, purportedly showed microscopic dermal ridges (fingerprints) and injuries tentatively identified as clubfoot by primatologist John Napier.  Krantz asked Dutch professor A.G. de Wilde of the University of Groningen to examine the prints, who concluded that they were “not from some dead object with ridges in it, but come from a living object able to spread its toes.”  Krantz also attempted to have both the FBI and Scotland Yard study the dermal ridge patterns, and was told by renowned fingerprint expert John Berry, an editor of the journal Fingerprint Whorld, that Scotland Yard had concluded the prints were “probably real.” To his disappointment, a subsequent 1983 article in the journal Cryptozoology, titled “Anatomy and Dermatoglyphics of Three Sasquatch Footprints,”  was largely ignored.

Patterson-Gimlin Film

Giant ‘kraken’ carcass with dinner plate-size eyes washes ashore in South Africa

The massive, sucker-covered carcass of a giant squid washed onto the rocky shore of Scarborough Beach in Cape Town, South Africa, Tuesday (Aug. 16). The beast, which measured nearly 14 feet (4.3 meters) long, was the second giant squid to crop up on a beach in the region this year, according to the South African news site news24(opens in new tab).

The last known giant squid (Architeuthis dux) to wash ashore near Cape Town showed up about 6 miles (10 kilometers) northwest of Scarborough Beach, on Long Beach in Kommetjie, on April 30, Live Science previously reported. That cephalopod measured roughly 11.5 feet (3.5 m) long. For comparison, the largest giant squid ever seen measured a whopping 43 feet (13 m) long, and some studies suggest that the creatures could potentially reach 66 feet (20 m) long, although no squid of such size has ever been spotted.

The squid that washed onto Scarborough Beach this week seemed to be another A. dux specimen, said Mike Vecchione, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration invertebrate zoologist stationed at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. “Although other large squids exist, I am fairly certain this is a true giant squid,” he told Live Science in an email. 

Without an examination of its internal organs, it’s difficult to guess how the Scarborough Beach squid perished, Vecchione said. “Note that most of the skin has abraded and some of the arms are broken off, but this (especially the skin abrasion) can result from washing up on the rocky shore.” The remaining skin on the squid’s mantle — the muscular sheath that houses its organs — gleamed ghostly white in the sun.

It may be that the squid ventured into shallow, near-shore waters to feed and got struck by a ship propeller, “but this is difficult to prove without witnesses,” Dylan Clarke, a marine scientist and curator at Iziko South African Museum, told news24. “The literature … suggests that they come up into shallower waters because they display a behaviour called diel vertical migration. In other words, they venture into shallower waters during the evening to feed and migrate back to deeper waters during the day.”

Giant squid generally live in frigid waters some 1,640 to 3,280 feet (500 to 1,000 m) beneath the ocean surface, and they use their dinner plate-size eyes to peer through the inky darkness, according to the Smithsonian. Based on where the animals have washed ashore, scientists think the squids may inhabitat all the world’s oceans, but they’re most frequently seen on the shores of New Zealand and Pacific islands, on the east and west sides of the North Atlantic, and in the South Atlantic along the African coast.

“Strandings of Architeuthis on South African shores are not unusual at all,” Vecchione told Live Science. “It is one of several places around the world where they show up regularly.”

Officials gathered tissue samples from the squid carcass on Scarborough Beach, and these will soon be examined by researchers at the Iziko South African Museum, Gregg Oelofse, the City of Cape Town coastal manager, told news24. Scientists could use such samples to sequence the animal’s DNA and run chemical analyses to detect pollutants and stable isotopes — nonradioactive chemical elements with varying numbers of neutrons in their nuclei — in its flesh, Vecchione said. The isotope analysis would provide hints about the squid’s feeding history, as would an examination of the animal’s digestive system.

In addition, scientists could determine how old the squid was based on its reproductive organs and statoliths, small mineralized masses that sit inside sensory organs in the squid’s head and accumulate “growth rings” over time, Vecchione said. Past studies of these statoliths suggest that giant squid can live to be about 5 years old, according to the Smithsonian.

“The availability of information on giant squids is relatively poor and is either based on dead or dying animals that have been washed ashore or captured in commercial trawl nets,” Clarke told news24. The newfound Scarborough Beach squid will join a collection of giant squid specimens at the Iziko South African Museum that were largely acquired through such strandings or incidental catches during bottom trawls, he said.