An exploration of our Earth's ever-captivating fauna through musings on the bizarre side of Zoology, Cryptozoology, Paleontology, and Paleoanthropology

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

An Intriguing Report Of A Black Panther In Kansas

The apparent black mountain lion (Puma concolor) shot in the province of Guanacaste by Miguel Ruiz Herrero in 1959. It is an intriguing photograph which may hold clues as to the identity of mystery 'black panthers', but other factors such as a strange lighting condition or underexposure of the image could have resulted in the animal's dark colored appearance. (Source)
In my personal research, I have had the privilege of corresponding with individuals who claim to have observed unidentified animal species. While I approach these claims with a critical and objective mindset, I still consider it a pleasure to first handedly record such mystery animal descriptions. The reports which I receive most frequently, sometimes with innumerable related comments being left at this blog, involve alleged 'black panthers' (a sort of colloquial term) in North America. Large long-tailed cats exhibiting black pelts have long been reported in North American regions such as Texas, sometimes in compelling conjunction with normal mountain lion individuals (Matt Bille has pointed out that about a quarter of all Eastern cougar reports involve black-colored animals). Although there has yet to be any conclusive evidence, intriguing data such as anomalous hair samples leads me to feel that this phenomenon warrants investigation from mammalogists. Anecdotal data forms only a slim case in zoological science, yet I find it rather interesting that locals of some areas consider 'black panthers' to be usual members of the local fauna rather than anything too unusual or folkloric. As a result, I was rather pleased to find that a man named Mike (full name requested to not be shared) had emailed me a few weeks ago with details of a 'black panther' sighting which he and his father allegedly had in Kansas sometime during the late 1980s. I have received his permission to reproduce the information which he gave me here, along with an aerial photograph of the location where the observation occurred. Mike's supposed observation certainly constitutes an interesting piece of the puzzle in regard to mystery American 'panthers'.

Friday, January 24, 2014

An Important Note About Cryptozoological Hypotheses

A few of the candidates suggested to be behind reports of "lake monsters" and "sea serpents" around the world.
(Image from Scott Mardis; candidates in this paste-up are a hypothetical long-necked pinniped, a plesiosaur, a hypothetical long-necked basilosaurid, a sturgeon, Tullimonstrum, a giant catfish, a hypothetical long-necked amphibian, and a hypothetical large-bodied eel.)
Here is a statement from cryptozoological researcher Scott Mardis which I thought was worth sharing here. I think it important to remember that, while some hypotheses appear to be much more likely than others, it is important to not be dogmatic in the field of cryptozoology as it is pure speculation until a body (or irrefutable footage) of one of these alleged animals is obtained.

"You can pursue multiple hypotheses to their fullest extent simultaneously, rather than compromising any one of them, with the ultimate goal that one of them may prove to be correct." ~ Scott Mardis

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

1994 Observation of An Unknown, Leatherback Turtle-Like Animal At Lake Champlain

Painting of a fast-swimming unknown aquatic animal in Lake Champlain, by Thomas Finley
I have been in correspondence with fellow cryptozoological researcher Scott Mardis for a long time now, and I consider him a sort of mentor in the field of study regarding unknown aquatic animal reports. In past conversation which I have had with him, Scott has made mention of his own encounter with a possible unknown aquatic animal in Lake Champlain. Intrigued that the great longneck-sleuth himself had possibly observed an individual of the species behind sightings of Lake Champlain "monsters" and other unknown aquatic animals around the world, I had hoped to gain further details on the sighting someday. Finally, Scott has created a report form in which he has shared the details of his sighting. This has been reproduced here, with the appertaining text in bold.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Rick Dyer's Alleged Bigfoot Body Is An Outrageous Fraud, Not An Unrecognized Ape

Illustration of a hypothetical sasquatch skull by Thomas Finley. The discovery of such a cranium in North America would seal the deal on this cryptozoological enigma, but such conclusive evidence has been significantly lacking.
Self-proclaimed 'bigfoot tracker' Rick Dyer has recently claimed to have shot a sasquatch after baiting it with ribs, and he has just released images of the supposed body. I was extremely hesitant to give these ludicrous claims any attention, but the mainstream media coverage which they have been receiving has urged me to issue a statement on this blog. Please note that this is not meant to be a personal attack on Rick Dyer, but rather is a brief analysis of his claims. From the photographs of the alleged 'bigfoot body', it is inferrable that this is nothing more than a poorly constructed mannequin. In comparison to the facial anatomy of the extant great apes, as seen below, the face of Dyer's alleged bigfoot carcass is vastly different and does not appear to be composed of actual flesh. It lacks the pronounced supraorbital ridges which would be expected on a large nonhuman primate or primitive member of Homo, and cracks like those on dry ceramics can be seen on the nose. The 'hair' is also highly irregular in comparison to that of modern hominids, and looks to be made of a fibrous material like that of costume fur. Thus, this is certainly not the body of an actual member of Hominidae and is a clear fraud in my opinion.
Please click to enlarge image.