Hi everyone, even though it’s dreary winter where I am, I gathered a bouquet of interesting weird news bits to share.
But before I get started, a quick note on subscriptions. I have consolidated subscription lists from the old version of this WordPress site, my Spooky Geology site, and my now-ended Substack newsletter. I did my best to remove duplicates, but if you were a subscriber to more than one of those, you may receive a duplicate notice of posting here. Please feel free to discontinue one of the subs. I really appreciate it if you can continue receiving notifications, even if you don’t read every post. It’s important to keep in contact. These days, social media is fractured. I believe the best answer is to set up your named site and reach out from there. So that’s what I’ve done. I’d love for you to reach out directly if you have any comments or questions. Now onto some juicy stuff…
While it’s not for everyone, I like browsing the site for Outdoor Life magazine. (Trigger warning if you click: Dead animals.) I previously had chats with one writer there, and they cover not just hunting and guns (which I don’t find pleasant), but some conservation topics as well. I found an interesting trio of stories there when I checked today.
Arizona jaguar spotted
First, this is exciting, a new jaguar was spotted on a trail cam in Arizona. Jason Miller had been maintaining wildlife cameras north of the Mexican border with the hope of catching an endangered jaguar on film. On 20 Dec 2023, he did it.
Five officials from the Arizona Game and Fish Department examined the footage and, judging by the spot pattern, confirmed that the jaguar is an individual they have not seen before. Since 1996, when the species was classified as endangered, this is only the 8th individual animal documented in the U.S. The Mexico state of Sonora has about 200 jaguars in a breeding population. It’s important for all wildlife enthusiasts to consider that border walls severely impact wildlife. A wildfire last summer in a nature preserve killed many wild animals in Texas when they were unable to escape.
Megalodon tooth found in deep water
Another great find was in the ocean off the South Pacific. Back in 2022, biologists were mechanically collecting from the ocean floor in a deep sea area near the Johnson Atoll. They brought up a Megalodon shark tooth that had lain in place 10,000 feet down. It still had the serrations on the ridges! Cryptozoologists might hope that this means the Megalodon is not extinct. But the fossil was 3.5-million-years old and encrusted with iron and manganese minerals because it had not been disturbed and eroded. This is the first time such a tooth was found in situ. Shark skeletons, being made of cartilage, do not commonly fossilize. But we have a lot of their shed teeth.
Bad news for G. blacki
Another story of interest to cryptozoology fans is the news that we now have more detailed information about when everyone’s favorite candidate for a Bigfoot ancestor, Gigantopithecus blacki, went extinct. Unfortunately, it died out over 200,000 years ago in China. No chance that it made it to North America. Researchers suspect populations declined due to changing environment and food sources, which made it difficult for such a huge ape to adapt.
Hunter fixes an unfortunate incident with a pine marten
A trapper in Minnesota inadvertently caught a pine marten out of season in a snare trap designed to kill small animals instantly. He immediately reported the incident by phone to wildlife officials, as he was supposed to do. Except, while on the phone after releasing the animal, he noticed it twitch. He resuscitated the animal by giving it mouth-to-mouth! (Not recommended for many and various reasons.) The animals then ran away, but not before lunging aggressively toward the man. Pine martens are pretty nasty critters. But all ends well.
Don’t elect idiots
Now, a story about just one of many ignorant lawmakers proposing dumb laws. A Kentucky state senator proposed a bill to decriminalize killing of native hawks. Why? Because hawks kill chickens and one got his cat. Senator Boswell seems oblivious to the fact that domestic cats, which are not native, kill so many songbirds that they are a threat to biodiversity. This guy never consulted biologists and did no due diligence in crafting the bill, which, hopefully, will die. He’s also being publically embarrassed by misidentifying European Starlings as hawks. Yeah. This guy can go pound sand.
Better wear a hat in Australia
In other dangerous bird news, an 8 yr old did a survey of magpie attacks in Australia suggests that the birds are more likely to attack bald men.
If you have interesting news links, drop me a message at Sharon@sharonahill.com. Follow on Mastodon!