; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Friday, August 23, 2013

Odds & Ends: Learn Bigfoot Tracking -- 'Zombie' Pigeons in Moscow -- 1st Time Extinct Species Embryos Grown

Learn Bigfoot Tracking

From Jeff Meldrum:

I can't express how excited and privilaged I am to be collaborating with a professional tracker of Jim Halfpenny's stature on this first-of-its-kind workshop on tracking rare, elusive and "unknown" species. September 10th is the closing date for registration. Please spread the word. Share this post with friends you think may be interested. A successful course of this nature will set a precedent for interest and cooperation in the tracking community and provide the opportunity for investigators to gain invaluable skills that will aid them in identifying, collecting, and documenting credible reliable data -- not to mention spend a weekend in one of the most spectacular spots on the planet -- the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem!


Track Scene Investigation

Jim Halfpenny's website

A Field Guide to Mammal Tracking in North America

Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science

Sasquatch Field Guide (Folding Pocket Guide)


'Zombie' Pigeons in Moscow

The streets of Moscow have been littered with dead and dying pigeons in recent weeks, prompting fears the birds had fallen victim to a "zombie apocalypse".

Video footage of the birds twisting their necks, walking backwards and standing motionless in the paths of oncoming traffic added to the alarm, Russia's Life News revealed.

According to RT.com, initial reports had suggested the birds' abnormal behaviour was caused by Newcastle disease - a virus which can spread to humans.

"Before death, they start to resemble zombies: they lose their orientation and fly without a sense of direction, then fall, already lacking the strength to get up," wrote Konstantin Ranks, a science columnist at the website Slon.ru.

But Russia's chief sanitary official Gennady Onishchenko has since announced the birds are actually suffering from salmonella poisoning.

He announced the news at a press conference on Friday, and ensured his contempt for the animals, which are understood to have died extremely painful deaths, was made clear.

He said: "In the hands of Picasso a pigeon became the embodiment of peace.

"But in fact, in a sanitary sense, it is the most untidy and one of the most stupid birds," the Moscow Times reported. - THP


Melba Ketchum Posts on Facebook

To the latest round of criticism, funny all of the skeptics keep getting different findings. If it was a known species, they should all get the same results. Besides, the mtDNA would not be human if it came from any other species. The last skeptic said it was pig feces and now this one says bear, etc. Can’t be both. When I did random BLASTs, I stopped counting at thirteen different species having similar sequences found in the same sample. A BLAST gives you the sequence closest to your query. If the sequence is new, you get findings like this. It is not consistent. There was a person that was a true geneticist and ran a genome lab that supported our findings. Pity his boss didn’t let him go public. The other thing that gets me is that the critics pick only one portion of the paper and try to refute it. The testing was done with many disciplines that supported one another. You can’t dissect one part out of a picture and expect to see and understand the entire picture. Bottom line, the DNA is unknown and though it can share similar sequences with a variety of species, it is not diagnostic for those species. The mtDNA was clearly and unequivocally human. If there was contamination from any other species, it would have shown. If it was a species other than human, it would not have shown as being human. They are what they are, a type of human with a lot of unknown DNA. On the post by Dr. Swenson below, he mentions a database for genetic data. On that site it has a page on comparative genomics. It compares a lot of species with human. You would be surprised at how much sequence we share with animals.
Melba Ketchum, 8/23/13

Melba Ketchum, I just found Ensemble. Is this useful?
David H. Swenson

Had a good interview with Jen Brien at WBZ out of Boston CBS affiliate tonight. It was cleansing as I vented about how things have gone with the project and how unfair the research has been treated. I seldom do this but considering the recent unwarranted criticism, I decided not to be quiet for a change. Jen might be the first media person to visit our habituation sites. I truly hope that she does. Time will tell.

I have invited all that I have had any contact with, but they all say that they will come, but none of them have.
Melba Ketchum, 7/31/13

The media talks big but doesn’t follow through. Haven’t heard from the media person that was so anxious to come and see one. That’s a dozen offers or so with no takers even though almost all said they would come. Doesn’t that seem just a little odd?
Melba Ketchum, 8/5/13


For the first time, scientists have grown the embryos of an extinct species

Just a few days ago, we were asking if de-extinction was possible, and today, we're a huge step closer to bringing recently extinct species back to life. Researchers have announced that they've grown early-stage embryos of the gastric-brooding frog, a species that has been extinct since 1983.

At yesterday's TEDxDeExtinction event, University of New South Wales paleontologist Michael Archer announced the advance by the so-called Lazarus project. The bizarre gastric-brooding frog, the female of which incubated the prejuvenile stages of its offspring in its stomach, disappeared from the wild in 1979 and went extinct a few years later. However, Adelaide frog researcher Mike Tyler froze specimens of the frog prior to its extinction, leaving the door open for the species' possible resurrection.

Scientists extracted DNA from a frozen frog specimen, and employed somatic-cell nuclear transfer, the same process used to clone still-living animals. The team took eggs from the distantly related great barred frog, deactivated that frog's DNA with UV light, and inserted the gastric-brooding frog's DNA into the eggs. The cells inside the eggs began dividing, becoming blastulas. The embryos died after a few days, long before developing into tadpoles, but DNA tests confirmed that they were gastric-brooding frog embryos, and Archer says they have high hopes for seeing this frog up and hopping soon.

Breeding programs are in place to attempt to bring certain extinct species back through selective breeding, and some selective breeding has been successful, but this is the first time that the embryo of an extinct species has been grown using this technique.

Edit: I'm having some issues with replying to comments, but I wanted to address the case of the Pyrenean ibex, which some folks have, appropriately, brought up in the comments. Yes, a Pyrenean ibex was technically the first cloned extinct animal because the clone was born (and unfortunately died) shortly after the species went extinct. The reason that the Lazarus project team is calling their frog the "first," I believe, is that the DNA from the Pyrenean ibex was extracted from a live specimen, so the process began before the species went extinct. - io9

Jurassic Park Ultimate Trilogy (Blu-ray + Digital Copy)

The Last Human: A Guide to Twenty-Two Species of Extinct Humans

Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves



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