Taganimals

Lost world of fanged frogs and giant rats discovered in Papua New Guinea

A lost world populated by fanged frogs, grunting fish and tiny bear-like creatures has been discovered in a remote volcanic crater on the Pacific island of Papua New Guinea.

A team of scientists from Britain, the United States and Papua New Guinea found more than 40 previously unidentified species when they climbed into the kilometre-deep crater of Mount Bosavi and explored a pristine jungle habitat teeming with life that has evolved in isolation since the volcano last erupted 200,000 years ago. In a remarkably rich haul from just five weeks of exploration, the biologists discovered 16 frogs which have never before been recorded by science, at least three new fish, a new bat and a giant rat, which may turn out to be the biggest in the world.

Guardian: Lost world of fanged frogs and giant rats discovered in Papua New Guinea

(via Disinfo)

Journalist hunts for acid-spitting Mongolian death worm

mongolian death worm

mongolian death worm

ARMED with explosives, two men are heading to Mongolia’s Gobi Desert to find the fabled acid-spitting and lightning-throwing Mongolian death worm.
The worm has never been documented but some Mongolians are convinced it exists. They call it Allghoi Khorkhoi, or “intestine worm” because it resembles a cow’s intestine and is about 1.5m long.

The worm apparently jumps out of the sand and kills people by spitting concentrated acid or shooting lightning from its rectum over long distances, NZPA reports. (Seriously.)

New Zealand TV entertainment journalist David Farrier, who is organising the expedition, and cameraman Christie Douglas, leave this week to spend two weeks in the Gobi, trying to verify the worm’s existence and making a documentary about it.

news.com.au: Journalist hunts for acid-spitting Mongolian death worm

(via Post Atomic)

Documentary about Japanese dolphin slaughter

Like many people in his generation, Louie Psihoyos was a landlubber who grew up watching “Flipper” and Jacques Cousteau adventures on television. After National Geographic magazine hired him straight out of college as a staff photographer, his admiration for the intelligence and beauty of dolphins, and for the oceans as an ecological system, grew as he learned how to dive and began to work underwater.

But none of that quite prepared him for the experience of making “The Cove,” an award-winning documentary about the clandestine slaughter of dolphins in Japan that opens Friday. The film is the first that Psihoyos — “rhymes with sequoias,” he says — has directed, and everything about it has been a challenge, from having to make the transition from still photography, to the subject matter itself, to the cloak-and-dagger techniques used to obtain images that range, as Psihoyos puts it, “from the heartbreakingly beautiful to the heartbreakingly sad.”

San Jose Mercury: The passion of ‘The Cove’

Monster mummies of Japan

monster_mummy_3

monster_mummy_6

More Pics: Pink Tentacle

See also: Mermaid Mummies at Pink Tentacle

These remind me of the work of Alex CF:

Dolphin deaths: Expert suggests ‘mass suicide’

dolphin suicide

Full Story: Guardian

(via Disinfo)

The terrifying truth about Komodo dragons

komodo dragons

I have seen hell, and it is indisputably on Rinca Island in Indonesia. This Komodo dragon-infested spot is where three British divers who got caught in a rip tide washed up last week. Far from being “misunderstood” reptiles who only “occasionally” attack humans, as my G2 colleague Jon Henley described them afterwards, the Rinca dragons engage in what must be the vilest animal practices ever witnessed by man.

I met three particularly nasty ones last year. We had walked past a few harmless-looking dragons sunning themselves in the bush or lurking under the stilts of houses, and were not beyond thinking we could be friends when we reached a water hole. A large buffalo was lying on its side, clearly having been brought down by two 6ft dragons and one that was even larger. The three reptiles were crawling over it, and during the next 24 hours they proceeded to eat it alive.

The first dragon had grabbed it by its testicles and was starting to chew its way into the body from below. The second dragon was slowly forcing the buffalo’s head open and was going down its throat. The third was, as they say, going in the back door. To make an already grisly scene far worse, the whole slow-motion kill was being conducted in deep mud.

After a few hours all was black – apart from the blood that occasionally bubbled up from the muddy depths, the white saliva that sometimes oozed from the buffalo’s mouth and the bright, flickering forked tongues of the three dragons, which were forever darting around. Slippery things slithered slowly over other slippery things until it was hard to tell whose tail was whose, where one body started and another stopped and who was doing what to whom. The smell was fetid, the heat intense.

Every so often the buffalo shuddered and tried to rise. Was it really still alive? We watched from a few feet away, our guide armed only with a stick, transfixed and disgusted like us. Our stomachs heaved. The buffalo continued to twitch.

We left and returned several times; each time the horror was more complete. The next day, two Americans told us that the three dragons had got deep inside the buffalo, which was still twitching.

From: the Guardian

(via OVO)

More info: Wikipedia

Human-Elephant Conflict

I’m really disheartened about all this. While I don’t know a lot about elephants, I always grew up with a reverence of them. Knowing their emotional capacity and their complicated rites and dealings with their own dead, how they work as groups and families, has always enforced my empathy with them.

Lately, I’ve been coming across some very peculiar articles dealing with these noble creatures. Via The New York Times:

All across Africa, India and parts of Southeast Asia, from within and around whatever patches and corridors of their natural habitat remain, elephants have been striking out, destroying villages and crops, attacking and killing human beings. In fact, these attacks have become so commonplace that a new statistical category, known as Human-Elephant Conflict, or H.E.C., was created by elephant researchers in the mid-1990’s to monitor the problem. In the Indian state of Jharkhand near the western border of Bangladesh, 300 people were killed by elephants between 2000 and 2004. In the past 12 years, elephants have killed 605 people in Assam, a state in northeastern India, 239 of them since 2001; 265 elephants have died in that same period, the majority of them as a result of retaliation by angry villagers, who have used everything from poison-tipped arrows to laced food to exact their revenge. In Africa, reports of human-elephant conflicts appear almost daily, from Zambia to Tanzania, from Uganda to Sierra Leone, where 300 villagers evacuated their homes last year because of unprovoked elephant attacks.

Still, it is not only the increasing number of these incidents that is causing alarm but also the singular perversity – for want of a less anthropocentric term – of recent elephant aggression. Since the early 1990’s, for example, young male elephants in Pilanesberg National Park and the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve in South Africa have been raping and killing rhinoceroses; this abnormal behavior, according to a 2001 study in the journal Pachyderm, has been reported in ??a number of reserves” in the region. In July of last year, officials in Pilanesberg shot three young male elephants who were responsible for the killings of 63 rhinos, as well as attacks on people in safari vehicles. In Addo Elephant National Park, also in South Africa, up to 90 percent of male elephant deaths are now attributable to other male elephants, compared with a rate of 6 percent in more stable elephant communities. […]

Gay Bradshaw, a psychologist at the environmental-sciences program at Oregon State University, [notes] ??Everybody pretty much agrees that the relationship between elephants and people has dramatically changed. What we are seeing today is extraordinary. Where for centuries humans and elephants lived in relatively peaceful coexistence, there is now hostility and violence. Now, I use the term ?violence’ because of the intentionality associated with it, both in the aggression of humans and, at times, the recently observed behavior of elephants.” […]

Typically, elephant researchers have cited, as a cause of aggression, the high levels of testosterone in newly matured male elephants or the competition for land and resources between elephants and humans. But in ??Elephant Breakdown,” a 2005 essay in the journal Nature, Bradshaw and several colleagues argued that today’s elephant populations are suffering from a form of chronic stress, a kind of species-wide trauma. Decades of poaching and culling and habitat loss, they claim, have so disrupted the intricate web of familial and societal relations by which young elephants have traditionally been raised in the wild, and by which established elephant herds are governed, that what we are now witnessing is nothing less than a precipitous collapse of elephant culture.

It has long been apparent that every large, land-based animal on this planet is ultimately fighting a losing battle with humankind. And yet entirely befitting of an animal with such a highly developed sensibility, a deep-rooted sense of family and, yes, such a good long-term memory, the elephant is not going out quietly. It is not leaving without making some kind of statement, one to which scientists from a variety of disciplines, including human psychology, are now beginning to pay close attention.

Any thoughts? Has this been happening anywhere else in the animal kingdom? I don’t mean to seperate us from nature by claiming we’re removed entirely from the animal kingdom, but as I said, elephants are widely considered highly intelligent creatures. Is this the start of something that may become more widespread?

Fang and Fur, Blood and Bone: A Primal Guide to Animal Magic

I’ve never put much thought towards animal magic before, even though animals have been so important to magical practices throughout the world and history. This book by my Key 23 colleague and fellow northwesterner Lupa looks like the perfect introduction for me.

FFBB is animal magic from a more practical viewpoint. Where most of the books on the subject tend towards hijacked Native American/New Age hybrids and animal totem dictionaries, this book covers both well-known and new territory.

I wrote it for the practicing magician who already knows the basics of magic, whether you just want to use a few techniques, or immerse yourself in the animal magic paradigm. I leave ethical decisions up to the reader, and I don’t line the pages with tons of pre-fabricated spells and rites. Here’s a summary of the varous chapters:

Totemism: The differences between tribal totemism and modern, neopagan totemism; theories of what totems are, and how to work with them on numerous levels; practical totem magic

Familiars: Finding (not just waiting for) a physical animal familiar; proper care of familiars; familiar magic beyond My familiar sits and looks at me during sex magic; spiritual familiars

Evocation and invocation: Animals of the directions/quarters; extinct, cryptozoological, and fictitious animals in magic; pop culture animal magic via Mononoke Hime

Creating Species on the Astral Plane: Animal qualities in servitors; composite species; new species; sigilonodon

Shapeshifting: Magical shapeshifting (sorry, no physical lycanthropy here, folks; therianthropy; shapeshifting and personality aspecting/programming

Working with Animal Parts in Magic: Sources for materials; working with the spirits; practical advice

Animal Sacrifice: History; whether or not to practice it; alternatives; guest essay by Nicholas Graham

Appendices: Guided totem meditation; useful divination techniques; how to make a fur pouch; animal-focused nonprofit groups

If you’d like to preview the first 25 pages care of the publisher, click here.

The cover price is $21.95 USD. You can order a signed copy of FFBB directly from me via our website.

It’s also available with a 10% discount through the publisher, Immanion Press. And Amazon also carries it.

Elephant libido and our sixth sense

Gotta love that headline:

The jury is out on whether humans have the ability to communicate using pheromones but the research into elephants is considered a significant step forward in the understanding of this signalling in mammals.

Full Story: iAfrica: Elephant libido and our sixth sense

(via Great News Network)

Debunking the “animals have ESP” hypothesis

Everything Isn’t Under Control rounds up links debunking the myth that animals have ESP because they sense signs of upcoming disaster before humans do.

Full Story: Everything Isn’t Under Control: Debunking animal ESP

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