Bizarre-looking shark caught in Sea of Cortez baffles scientists
Lots of odd creatures come from the sea, and add to the list a one-eyed bull shark fetus that was removed from the body of its captured mother recently off La Paz, Mexico, in the Sea of Cortez.
A brief story about the shark is on the Pisces Sportfishing blog. Pete Thomas Outdoors shared the top image with two shark experts in California and both were skeptical at first, suggesting it was some kind of hoax.
Ciclope One of them jokingly identified the species as a "Cycloptomus" because of a single eye -- if it is, in fact, an actual eye -- located just above the mouth.
But Tracy Ehrenberg, general manager at Pisces Sportfising, has been in touch with renowned shark expert Felipe Galvan, who has seen the shark and has even produced a paper on the discovery.
The paper is under scientific review. More information will be shared here when it becomes available. - petethomasoutdoors
Rare Deep-Water Giant Squid Found In South Florida
University of Florida researchers received a rare 25-foot-long, deep-water giant squid Monday, the only one of its kind in the collections of the Florida Museum of Natural History.
Recovered by recreational fishermen who found the creature floating on the surface about 12 miles offshore from Jensen Beach Sunday, museum scientists collected the specimen from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Tequesta Field Laboratory in Palm Beach County and returned to the Gainesville campus late Monday.
"It's so rare to get these specimens and they're such deep-water animals that we don't know much about how they live," said John Slapcinsky, Florida Museum malacology collection manager. "This specimen provides an excellent opportunity to learn things about these creatures we couldn't find out any other way."
Robert Benz, who was fishing with friends Joey Asaro and Paul Peroulakis, said they spotted the giant squid, Architeuthis dux, about 11 a.m. After realizing what it was, the men slid the dying squid onto the back of their 23-foot boat.
"I thought we definitely need to bring it in, because no one's going to believe us if we don't," Benz said. "I didn't want to leave it out there and just let the sharks eat it."
Giant squid only reproduce once in their lifetime, and then often die slowly, after becoming lethargic, Slapcinsky said. The animal was likely in that state when the fishermen found it, he believes, because it was barely alive and near the surface in 170 feet of water.
Giant squid are one of the largest invertebrates, growing up to 60 feet long and weighing more than 1,000 pounds, but because they are seldom seen, little is known about their reproduction, ecology and life span. Depicted as sea monsters throughout history, squid are normally deep-water dwellers and some are known to spar with sperm whales, a common predator, Slapcinsky said.
"This is a pretty massive animal," he said. "It took about six people to move it, and it wasn't light."
The animal is white with red skin containing chromatophores, or color-bearing cells. Squid can activate these pigment cells, rapidly changing their color and color intensity for communication and in some species camouflage, Slapcinsky said.
The specimen is from the same genus as the giant squid depicted in the Florida Museum's 2006 temporary exhibit, "In Search of Giant Squid." The exhibit produced by the Smithsonian Institution focused on the fact the creature had never been witnessed alive in its natural habitat — a feat later accomplished by a Japanese film crew.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission scientists extracted genetic samples from the squid, which were brought with the specimen to UF. Scientists injected formalin into the body cavity before submerging the squid in a 10 percent solution of the preservative.
"It looks nice, it's still in fabulous shape and it's big," Slapcinsky said. "It would be really cool to exhibit something like this, if it turns out that it preserves well enough and we can find a way to exhibit it so that it doesn't damage the specimen."
It will take about two weeks to complete the preservation process, after which researchers will further examine the squid to determine its sex and age and compare it with other specimens. Scientists hope to gain a greater understanding of the life of these elusive creatures, including their range, diet and how they reproduce.
The genetic data will be of particular interest to researchers trying to determine if there are one or more species of giant squid, said museum invertebrate paleontologist Roger Portell.
"We don't really have a good handle on the biogeography of these critters, so this will add to that knowledge base," Portell said. "Because they are so rare, we have so few samples where we get a fresh specimen and can actually do genetic work." - underwatertimes
Cylinder Shaped UFOs Reported Over Indiana and Illinois 6/28/2011
MUFON CMS - 6/28/2011 - Illinois: I was heading North on I57 at the Chebanse 302 exit ramp. There was two of us that seen it at the same time. We parked the car and got out to stare at it. It was climbing higher moving straight up... maybe curving a little tiny bit East. We ruled out an jet due to the odd looking shape. Also, I have never seen a smoke tail look like that. The smoke trail was rather short but, fanned out .. was quite amazing. At first we thought we were looking at the asteroid. After watching it and realizing it was moving UP..and its maneuvers led me to the conclusion it was indeed a UFO.
MUFON CMS - 6/28/2011 - Kokomo, Indiana: While smoking in the parking lot of my business, observed a large dull silver/gray cylinder flying at high altitude from E - W high in the sky. It was a nearly cloudless day, and I was with my co-owner, who also witnessed the craft. She went inside and grabbed binoculars - which I used to observe the craft in more detail. No wings, no tail, no contrail. A large cylinder, at least twice the size of a large jetliner, with rounded ends vs pointy nose and tail. Estimated altitude 30,000 ft. There was no sound, but from that altitude and distance, not surprising. We watched as the cylinder crossed the sky over Kokomo slightly to our North from East to West - a total of maybe two minutes - last seen heading over Burlington due West of Kokomo.
German Pet Rabbits Fed Cannibis
Police in Brandenburg who discovered a large plot of cannabis called on the neighbouring house only to find an 84-year-old woman who had been feeding her rabbits with the plants. “The rabbits really like it,” the woman told officers who called on her in the village of Golzow near Belzig.
A police officer had seen the healthy, metre-high plants from the road while on his way to work and told his colleagues, who visited the plot’s owner – the elderly woman. She told them that she had not grown the plants herself, but that they had simply started growing there, and had proven to be excellent rabbit food.
Not only did the rabbits love eating the plants, they grew back very quickly after she cut them down, she told the investigating officers. A spokesman for the Brandenburg police said her explanation had sounded plausible, but the officers could not leave her with the plants, rather cut them all down and took them to the forensics laboratory for testing.
The three large plastic sacks of weed will now be tested to determine the level of THC – the psycho-active ingredient in cannabis - they contain. There was no official comment on what the elderly woman was expected to feed her rabbits with now.
Wildfires threaten Los Alamos nuclear lab
Doug Tucker, fire chief: "We're doing our best to keep it off the lab"
One of the top nuclear weapons research facilities in the US will remain closed until Thursday as fire fighters battle a wildfire raging at its boundary.
Only "essential-duties" staff at Los Alamos National Laboratory will be permitted on site on Wednesday.
Officials at the New Mexico facility have said they detected "no off-site releases of contamination".
The town outside the laboratory in the state of New Mexico was evacuated on Monday as the fire raged nearby.
Officials said the nuclear facilities faced "no immediate threat" but warned of damage to houses.
The lab, opened during World War II, led the development of the atomic bomb.
Possible toxic plume
By midday on Tuesday, the Las Conchas fire had grown to 93 sq miles (241 sq km), burning through forests, canyons, and mesas, fuelled by dry timber and powered by strong winds.
The blaze was said to be as close as 50ft (15m) away from the grounds of the lab on Tuesday afternoon, raising fears it could reach a cache of 30,000 drums, each containing 55 gallons (208 litres) of plutonium-contaminated waste.
The fire had reached the lab's southwestern boundary and leapt a state road onto the land, burning roughly an acre, state fire officials said.
"The concern is that these drums will get so hot that they'll burst," Joni Arends, executive director of the Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety, told the Associated Press news agency.
"That would put this toxic material into the plume," she added.
But officials said there was very little risk of the fire actually reaching the lab's facilities and that workers were standing near the waste drums to coat them with fire-resistant foam if the blaze got too close.
Authorities said the fire could triple in size in the coming days, the Albuquerque Journal reported.
The fire blew enormous plumes of black smoke over the town of Los Alamos and forced the evacuation of the entire community, which has a population of roughly 12,000.
"We are throwing absolutely everything at this that we got," Democratic Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico said.
The south-western US has been stricken by giant wildfires this year, with millions of acres scorched in New Mexico, Arizona and Texas.
To the west of New Mexico, the largest wildfire in the history of the state of Arizona has been burning for nearly a month. - BBC