Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Walking Shark

Sharks have been scaring people out of the water since well before Jaws set the image of the ocean predators in everyone’s mind. But the silliness of recent movies ‘Sharknado’ and ‘Ghost Shark’ may be nothing compared to the possibilities of a newly discovered species.

“Hemiscyllium Halmahera” a species of ‘walking’ shark has been found in the waters off of Indonesia. The shark uses its fins to push itself across the ocean floor as it searches for small fish and crustaceans.

Walking sharks are also known as bamboo sharks or longtail carpet sharks. The good news is they are harmless to humans and only grow up to about 47 inches in length. While the possibilities are intriguing, there are no records of the animals walking on land. Of course, this probably won’t stop a sci-fi B movie from developing the idea!
A video of this fascinating creature can be found here:

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Show Low, AZ Bigfoot Sighting

Show Low is a small town in the eastern central part of Arizona.  It’s in Navajo County at an elevation of 6,400 feet.  The area has extensive forest and is a popular recreation spot.  Show Low is close to the White Mountain Apache tribe.  Natives in the region have long told stories of Sasquatch living in the area’s forest.

The report below is from a witness who encountered what he believes was a Bigfoot in Show Low, Arizona in September of 2012.  He and a friend were staying in Show Low and had started taking daily walks in the surrounding forest.

“My friend and I were taking a walk.  It was about five o’clock in the afternoon.  We heard an odd sound, sort of a low grumbling noise.  It was very deep, not like a dog but like something from a larger animal.  We both stopped and started looking around to see what had made the noise.  My friend spotted it first and pointed to me saying look!  Over by some pine trees there was a tall creature, I’d say it was around seven feet or a little more.  I couldn’t really see facial features very well because it all happened so fast.  The creature was brown in color and dirty looking.  The hair was long all over the body.  The shoulders were very broad and it didn’t really look like it had a neck at all, just bulky shoulders going straight into its head.  It was on two legs and I knew right away it wasn’t a bear or any other kind of animal that I had ever seen.  It looked at us and my first thought was that it was angry.  It made that grunting, growling sound again, then turned its back on us and walked away into the trees.  We got out of there right away as we were both afraid that the thing might change its mind and come back towards us.  The whole incident was probably less than a minute.  We didn’t go walking in that area anymore after seeing it, I know that it was a Bigfoot.”

Show Low is also near the Mogollon Rim, an escarpment that defines the southwestern edge of the Colorado Plateau.  The Mogollon Rim is known for its high limestone and sandstone cliffs.  Extensive pine forests cover both the slopes of the rim as well as the plateau.  The area has abundant wildlife and there have been numerous Bigfoot sightings over the years.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Atlantic Sturgeon

There’s a creature living in the Atlantic ocean that looks like something from the age of dinosaurs.  It can reach lengths of fifteen feet and weigh up to eight hundred pounds.  It’s the Atlantic sturgeon.

In times past, the fish was in great abundance in the Atlantic.  Fishermen were not interested in the massive fish until the meat became popular as an export.  In more recent times, it has been caught primarily for the production of caviar.  The product became so popular that the fish is now endangered.

As of February 2012, this amazing fish was officially classified an endangered species.  The Atlantic sturgeon’s official range extends from New Brunswick, Canada to the eastern coast of Florida.  It’s considered threatened along its entire range, although it is completely absent from some of the areas that it previously populated.  In Virginia, in the Chesapeake watershed, the James river is one of the last confirmed holdouts for the fish and conversation efforts are underway.

Sturgeon are among the oldest living species of fish and have retained many primitive characteristics.  Rather than having true scales, the Atlantic sturgeon has five rows of bony plates called scutes causing it to have an “armored” appearance.  Coloring of the sturgeon ranges from blue-black to olive green with a white underside.

The sturgeon’s bony plates are not the only strange aspect of their appearance.  Their eyes are tiny and there are barbels on their face that help them locate prey in murky waters.  Their bizarre look makes it easy to imagine how early sailors must have responded when spotting these ‘sea monsters’ and it’s certainly feasible that they are responsible for some accounts of weird aquatic creatures.

sturgeon sc
In March 2012, a large carcass washed up on Folly Beach in South Carolina.  Area residents were puzzled by the massive carcass and there was much talk of the discovery of a ‘sea monster’.  The animal was soon identified by a local veterinarian from the South Carolina Aquarium as an Atlantic sturgeon.

Sturgeon have survived for over 100 million years.  An individual fish can live to be over 60 years of age.  Let’s hope this modern monster can survive the ravages of man.