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Creatures & Monsters, Real & Imagined

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The Old Doctor
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Re: Creatures & Monsters, Real & Imagined

Postby The Old Doctor » Mon Sep 23, 2013 5:13 pm



Deathstroke the Lobster.
"Why are you pointing your screwdrivers like that? They're scientific instruments, not water pistols."
"Oh, the pointing again! They're screwdrivers! What are you going to do? Assemble a cabinet at them?"
"Are you capable of speaking without flapping your hands about?"
""Timey" what? "Timey wimey"?"

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IvCNuB4 wrote:The Old Doctor is Cat-Scratch ?
Well that explains a lot :lol:

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Re: Creatures & Monsters, Real & Imagined

Postby sdsichero » Wed Sep 25, 2013 6:20 pm

I'd only link to the original Nature paper, but unless you are into this stuff, it's kind of gibberish...
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature12617.html

In English...

First Face? Prehistoric Fish Was a Jawdropper

The earliest known species with what we would recognize as a face was an armored, beady-eyed prehistoric fish, according to a new paper in the journal Nature.

The fish, entelognathus primordialis (meaning "primordial complete jaw"), is the oldest known animal to have face-forming jaw and cheek bones comparable to those of today's bony fishes and most terrestrial animals, including us.

"Entelognathus had a rather unprepossessing face," co-author Per Erik Ahlberg of Uppsala University told Discovery News. "The mouth was wide, the forehead low and flat, and the small, close-set and almost immobile eyes pointed forwards like a pair of car headlights."


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Re: Creatures & Monsters, Real & Imagined

Postby sdsichero » Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:28 pm

Absurd Creature of the Week: The Half-Ton Giant Freshwater Stingray With a 15-Inch Poison Barb

Scientists were probably thinking the same thing when in 1990 they first described Southeast Asia’s giant freshwater stingray, which can grow to more than 16 feet long and 1,300 pounds. And while it packs a 15-inch, poisonous, serrated stinger, it’s actually a gentle, inquisitive creature, an endangered titan that researchers are scrambling to understand before humans drive it to extinction.

Though this could be the largest freshwater fish on the planet, accounts of its existence only emerged in Thai newspapers in the early 1980s. It’s exceedingly rare to see one, in part because it destroys all but the strongest fishing rods and lines. Even if you have the right equipment, the giant freshwater stingray tends to take exception to being hunted and buries itself in the river bottom when hooked. In 2010, 15 anglers working in shifts reportedly spent six hours reeling one in, which either says something about the stingray’s strength or the group’s collective fishing skills. The fish can drag boats for miles, and even pull them under.

And while its toxic spike has been said to pierce the hulls of fishing boats — not to mention bone — it uses this fearsome weapon only as a last resort to defend itself.


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Re: Creatures & Monsters, Real & Imagined

Postby sdsichero » Tue Oct 01, 2013 4:14 pm

How the Freaky Octopus Can Help us Understand the Human Brain

The octopus is weird: eerily malleable body, sucker-studded arms, skin that can transform into a convincing facsimile of seaweed—or sand—in a flash. It can solve mazes, open jars, use tools. It even has what seems to be a sophisticated inner life. What’s confusing about all this is that the octopus has a brain unlike that of almost any creature we might think of as intelligent. In fact, the octopus brain is so different from ours—from most of the animals we’re accustomed to studying—that it holds a rare promise: If we can figure out how the octopus manages its complex feats of cognition, we might be closer to discovering some of the fundamental elements of thought—and to developing new ideas about how mental capacity evolved. “Part of the problem in working out what’s essential to intelligence in the brain is working out which are the features that, if you took them away, you would no longer have an intelligent system,” says Peter Godfrey-Smith, a philosopher at CUNY who studies animal minds. “What’s essential as opposed to an accident of history?” Think about it: Chimpanzees are, like us humans, primates. Dolphins are mammals. Even clever crows and ravens are at least vertebrates. But our last common ancestor with the octopus was probably some kind of wormlike creature with eye spots that lived as many as 750 million years ago; the octopus has a sophisticated intelligence that emerged from an almost entirely different genetic foundation. If you want to study an alien intelligence, Godfrey-Smith says, “octopuses are the closest thing we have.”

If you were to measure octopus smarts by the number of neurons the creatures have (500 million to our almost 100 billion), they’d come up pretty dull. But forget that metric. The octopus’s neurons aren’t even concentrated in its head; about two-thirds of its “brains” are distributed in its arms, dedicated to the fine operation of these limbs and each of their hundreds of suckers. The rest of the neurons are split between a central brain—surrounding the esophagus—and large optic lobes behind the eyes. Like we said: alien.

But somehow octopuses do things that suggest they’re brainier than plenty of animals with backbones and more familiar nervous systems. Here’s an easy one: Lots of octopods have learned to twist off standard jar lids. But in 2003, biologists at the Seattle Aquarium challenged Billye, a female Enteroctopus dofleini—a giant Pacific octopus—with a childproof bottle, the kind that can baffle even the smartest Homo sapiens. Billye figured out the push-and-twist trick in a little less than an hour. And in subsequent attempts, she popped those tricky tops in a mere five minutes.


Lots more at the article, interesting read.
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Re: Creatures & Monsters, Real & Imagined

Postby sdsichero » Tue Oct 01, 2013 4:54 pm

WTH? This looks like something imagined but...

Deadly Lake Waters Turn Birds to Stone
"The water has an extremely high soda and salt content, so high that it would strip the ink off my Kodak film boxes within a few seconds. The soda and salt causes the creatures to calcify, perfectly preserved, as they dry," Brandt writes in his new photo/essay book, Across The Ravaged Land.


Okay so he modified things a little, still...
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Re: Creatures & Monsters, Real & Imagined

Postby sdsichero » Sat Oct 05, 2013 11:38 pm

WTF?! Kill it with fire!!!

"Hello Kitty" Caterpillar is Adorable
The Featured Creature posted pictures recently of a cute caterpillar that's been making the rounds on Japanese social media. It's the caterpillar form of the Chinese Bush Brown Butterfly (Mycalesis gotama), and it looks... strangely like Hello Kitty. Well in any case, it looks like a cat.


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Re: Creatures & Monsters, Real & Imagined

Postby Stephen Day » Sat Oct 05, 2013 11:42 pm

sdsichero wrote:How the Freaky Octopus Can Help us Understand the Human Brain



Lots more at the article, interesting read.


Very cool. :)
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Re: Creatures & Monsters, Real & Imagined

Postby Stephen Day » Sat Oct 05, 2013 11:43 pm

sdsichero wrote:WTH? This looks like something imagined but...

Deadly Lake Waters Turn Birds to Stone


Okay so he modified things a little, still...


Wow. :shock:
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Re: Creatures & Monsters, Real & Imagined

Postby wowbrow » Tue Oct 08, 2013 7:00 am

My favourite real-life monster is the emerald cockroach wasp. It looks beautuiful, but this bad boy stings a cockroach in its brain at the precise point that controls its escape reflex. It then lays its eggs inside the tamed roach, which will proceed to sit there calmly while it is slowly eaten from the inside out by the wasps new hatchlings. Its insane.

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Re: Creatures & Monsters, Real & Imagined

Postby sdsichero » Tue Oct 08, 2013 10:54 am

wowbrow wrote:My favourite real-life monster is the emerald cockroach wasp. It looks beautuiful, but this bad boy stings a cockroach in its brain at the precise point that controls its escape reflex. It then lays its eggs inside the tamed roach, which will proceed to sit there calmly while it is slowly eaten from the inside out by the wasps new hatchlings. Its insane.



Oh cool...

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Re: Creatures & Monsters, Real & Imagined

Postby sdsichero » Tue Oct 08, 2013 6:28 pm

Brown Recluse Spider’s Silk Is Strong and Really Strange

One of the most feared spiders in North America might soon be known for something other than its notoriously nasty venom: really strange silk.

The brown recluse spider spins a silk unlike any other produced by known arachnids or insects. Instead of being round, the recluse silk fibers are flat and extremely thin, like a silky nanoribbon. And they’re spotted with tiny spherical dots, a team of scientists reports today in Advanced Materials.

“It’s so distinct from the traditional silks many of us look at,” said David Kaplan, a biopolymers engineer at Tufts University who was not involved in this study. “How you spin something with that shape is not trivial. The mechanism is something worth looking at in detail, with broad implications.”


Once Schniepp and his colleagues had the silk in hand, they used electron and atomic force microscopy to study the silk’s structure on a very fine scale. To their surprise, they found that the brown recluse silk was much thinner than other spider silks, between 40 and 80 nanometers thick. Most spider silk is 20 times thicker than this.

And it was flat, like a ribbon, instead of rounded like a strand of spaghetti. What’s more, the fibers were polka-dotted: They had small, nano-sized bumps at relatively equal intervals.

Mechanical tests, using a modified atomic force microscope, revealed how strong the silk is. More testing suggested it could stretch to 30 percent longer than its original length without snapping. So, brown recluse silk is comparable in strength to the best-studied silks (though much thinner), and by weight is as tough as Kevlar — but much more flexible.

“All the G.I.s in Afghanistan that are wearing bulletproof vests and helmets, they all have Kevlar fibers in them,” Schniepp says. “It’s quite amazing that some of the spiders can outperform these materials just by eating a few crickets.”


Lots more at the article.
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Re: Creatures & Monsters, Real & Imagined

Postby sdsichero » Wed Oct 09, 2013 6:44 pm

I do like cephalopods... though apparently cuttles hate me.

Happy International Octopus Day!
October 8 is International Octopus day (naturally)—and kicks off International Cephalopod Awareness Days.

October 9 is “Nautilus Night.”

October 10 is “Squid Day/Cuttlefish Day” (or, as the International Cephalopod Awareness Days website calls it “Squittleday”).

October 11 is “Kraken Day” to commemorate these mythical beasts.

And October 12 is “Fossil Day,” celebrating the ancient remnants that these awesome organisms have left behind over the past hundreds of millions of years. (Even the boneless octopus has left behind the occasional “fossil” as a subtle stain on rocks; the oldest known one is Pholsepia, which was found in Illinois and dates to about 296 million years ago.)


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Re: Creatures & Monsters, Real & Imagined

Postby sdsichero » Tue Oct 15, 2013 11:18 pm

18 foot dead oarfish found...

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Re: Creatures & Monsters, Real & Imagined

Postby sdsichero » Wed Oct 16, 2013 4:51 pm

Extinct 'Mega Claw' Creature Had Spider-Like Brain

Research led by University of Arizona Regents' Professor Nick Strausfeld and London Natural History Museum's Greg Edgecombe has revealed that the ancestors of chelicerates (spiders, scorpions and their kin) branched off from the family tree of other arthropods -- including insects, crustaceans and millipedes -- more than half a billion years ago.

The team discovered the earliest known complete nervous system exquisitely preserved in the fossilized remains of a never-before described creature that crawled or swam in the ocean 520 million years ago.

Described in the current issue of the journal Nature, the find belongs to an extinct group of marine arthropods known as megacheirans (Greek for "large claws") and solves the long-standing mystery of where this group fits in the tree of life.

"We now know that the megacheirans had central nervous systems very similar to today's horseshoe crabs and scorpions," said the senior author of the study, Nicholas Strausfeld, a Regents' Professor in the University of Arizona's department of neuroscience. "This means the ancestors of spiders and their kin lived side by side with the ancestors of crustaceans in the Lower Cambrian."

The scientists identified the 3-centimeter-long creature (a little over an inch) unearthed from the famous Chengjiang formation near Kunming in southwest China, as a representative of the extinct genus Alalcomenaeus. Animals in this group had an elongated, segmented body equipped with about a dozen pairs of body appendages enabling the animal to swim or crawl or both. All featured a pair of long, scissor-like appendages attached to the head, most likely for grasping or sensory purposes, which gave them their collective name, megacheirans.
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Re: Creatures & Monsters, Real & Imagined

Postby sdsichero » Thu Oct 17, 2013 3:47 pm




These Bats Roost in Leaves That Act Like Hearing Aids

In Central and South America, there lives a bat—Spix’s disk-winged bat, to be specific. It’s a tiny bat, and apart from the suction-cup-like discs on its thumbs and feet, there’s not much notable about it. Well, except for where it likes to roost: in the unfurling leaves of Heliconia and Calathea plants, which are common in the tropics.

The conical leaves give the bats a place to spend the night, but Gloriana Chaverri, a biologist at the University of Costa Rica in Golfito, suspected the leaves’ shapes offer more than just shelter. She thought they may act as a sort of assistive device, amplifying the calls of other Spix’s disk-winged bats, sort of like a rolled-up piece of paper held to your ear.
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