The Heroic Beavers of Salt Lake City

(IMAGE: The North American beaver, Castor canadensis (Stevehdc, Wikimedia Commons)


A Pair of North American Beavers are responsible for preventing an 8000-gallon diesel fuel spill from reaching the reservoir in Willard Bay State Park, which supplies Salt Lake City with water on the 19th of March, 2013. Both animals were soaked with the toxic fuel but recovered in the local Wildlife Rehabilitation Center according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

As of the 27th of March the pair were making good progress. They have been joined by a third beaver who was found sludge covered but is recovering well alongside the original pair, who are suspected to be siblings. They are all suspected to be orphans, as they are yearlings and beavers of this age group frequently live with their parents, but no adult beavers have been sighted at the spill site.



Undoing Extinction. Is it Possible?

Recently, it came to my attention that National Geographic decided to host a Tedx on De-extinction. This is pretty cool. I’ll start getting into the videos, so this is going to turn into series, I’m sure, as I watch and discuss the various videos as they come down.

Sure, the science isn’t yet pointed at Jurassic Park (we need more recently dead animals for revival to be an option. To this day no amount of verifiable dino DNA has been located). Species of more recent times have specimens available on the shelves of museums as we speak, making DNA retrieval possible! DNA from a tasmanian tiger pup has been recovered and tested (using mice) as viable.

This fascinating bit of potential science has a few problems. It starts with the broad “playing god” complaint and goes down to the more practical “these animals went extinct in the wild. Where will we put them and how will we keep them safe?”. Hopefully the Tedx will discuss and explore this in more detail than the article I read from Discovery News.

Internet Bigfooting: March’s Evidence & TruTV’s Opinions…



It’s spring. Spring means some new Squatch Photos. I have two images I specifically want to talk about, simply becuase they’re either typical of a spring bigfoot photo, or they’re incredibly unusual. I’m going to start with the typical one.

humboldtbigfootCheck out how blurry that one is. And it gets even worse when you make the picture bigger. This is very typical of a spring Squatch photo. People arn’t used to seeing the area, and things change over the course of the winter. This could be a rotting stump for all we know, the image isn’t clear enough to tell anything save it’s a large, amorphous black shape. And, there is no higher resolution on this image (You can visit Cryptomundo for more on the sighting).

gabigfootcomparisonThe second one escapes the common problem of the “Blobsquatch” effect. It’s a bit dark, and a bit blurry, but it isn’t a quantifiable blobsquatch. You can see some definition. But still, it’s blurry. And it’s impossible to tell anything definitive from it.

The only problem is that it’s so blurry I can’t even rule out photoshop, let alone the creature really being a person in a suit. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. If this image was part of a set of images with at least one or two super-clear ones, it would be much more compelling. Instead it’s a lone blurry image and means nothing to science. See the evidence yourself at Cryptomundo.

It really is sad. With all the cameras around, why is the evidence getting worse, not better?



TruTV Says…

TruTV’s Blogger Norma Lee Jennings seems to think that Bigfoot will be found soon. She gives 5 reasons, and I’d like to talk about them in some detail.

  1. Animal Planet’s Finding Bigfoot
    I do have to admit that it gets attention for the field and the research. I just wish they spent longer in a single places and actually dug in to do some real science. But the show is focused on entertainment (and I have to admit, I adore Bobo) rather than the science… Too bad it should be the other way around if they want to do anything useful with what they do…
  2. Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization’s Expeditions
    Because screaming in the woods makes wildlife comfortable? Because charging people to come out and help you with science is normal? These expeditions find tracks, and hear the occasional call. They don’t generally experience actual sightings of the animals they claim are all around them. Do better science, don’t do commercial “science”.
  3. Sharon Lee Lomurno’s Kickstarter Campaign
    Because a night here and there is good science? No. It’s not. Good science is a long term study of an area that lets the wildlife get used to you so that your mere presence stops interfering with your research. A random trip across the country will just mean it’s like the Finding Bigfoot people. Expeditions to short to do more than provide an initial survey of an area. Buckle down and do some real research on a specific spot if you’re interested in actually trying, people!
  4. Professor Jeffrey Meldrum’s Blimp
    Meldrum is at least trying to do science to find bigfoot. and if he was going to be found… This would be… a Start. Too bad Bigfoot are purported to live in thickly forested areas in which a blimp’s ability to see would be badly hampered.
  5. Melba Ketchum’s Scientific Study
    There are a few points on Ketchum’s paper (I’ve talked about a few of them here and here), so putting it on a list of reasons things might be found is a bad idea. Ketchum’s paper can’t even provide good provenance on most of the DNA samples, let alone verify a single one to be specifically anything. The fact that Katchum had to buy a journal to publish her paper means her paper didn’t pass actual scientific scrutiny. Ketchum’s paper isn’t evidence. It quotes hoaxes as facts. It’s faulty.


Critter News Roundup Vol.3: (Bad) Conservation News…

This was almost a special edition, but then I decided that it would be much better labeled a Critter news roundup because the whole thing DOES have a critter theme. It also, however, has a depressing conservation theme.

  • Switzerland’s Only Bear Killed Amid Threat Fears – FEB 25, 2013 08:30 AM ET // BY AFP
    The bear was “culled” in accordance with the management plan for bears in Switzerland (which i’m going to assume is “No bears aloud”). The bear was going to be a potential danger, but what I don’t understand is why death was the option they decided to try when relocation hadn’t even been experimented with. This was an irresponsible management of a rare animal.
  • Africa ‘Hemmorhaging Elephants’ at Record Rate – MAR 4, 2013 05:00 PM ET // BY JENNIFER VIEGAS
    In the past decade 62% of elephants have been killed for Ivory. The article goes over why the African Forest Elephant might be extinct within the next decade. This important umbrella species needs to be protected to protect other species!
  • 100 Million Sharks Killed Each Year – MAR 5, 2013 05:45 AM ET // BY MEGAN GANNON, LIVE SCIENCE
    Research indicates that 1 in 15 sharks is killed each year by fisheries. As economic prosperity in eastern countries grow the demand for these shark body parts grows. As apex predators sharks are slow breeders and continued fishing at this rate could be disastrous.

Critter News Roundup Vol.4

I loves me some Critter News. Here’s some of the latest news on animals.

  • 3 Islands Overrun By Crazy Animals – FEB 14, 2013 08:00 AM // DISCOVERY NEWS
    Islands full of feral cats, tiny migrating craps, and golden pit-viper snakes.
  • Virtual Fence Offers High-Tech Herding – FEB 15, 2013 01:29 PM ET // BY JESSE EMSPAK
    What we’re talking about is a smarter version of that underground dog fencing. Not only will it keep the animals in, but use the jolts to convince the animals to move to the places with the most water or the best grazing. Talk about upsizing technology.
  • Thousands of Dolphins Spotted Near San Diego – Monday, Feb 18, 2013 // By Sarah Grieco
    Dolphins covered 7 miles of ocean. Whale and dolphin tours are doing abnormally well this year, and this “super mega-pod” amounts to one of the larger mega-pods viewed of late.

And… Since I’m ready to be done but I don’t want this story to get buried (animal news other than the Ketchum Bigfoot paper is pretty hard to come by right now!), I have for you a bonus story that you can read at your own leisure!

Critter News Roundup Vol.2

Here again, and it’s more Critters, because this week tons of Critter News rolled down the pipes. This one is longer than normal (5 stories instead of 3), but I didn’t want to skip talking about any of these, so I’m not going to. Roundups will now be 3-5 stories with comments (dumps will be 6+ stories without comments, or with very short comments).