Laelaps

Leave it to Faux (oops, I mean FOX) News to be the first to get on the cryptozoological bandwagon. According to the media outlet the body of Bigfoot has been revealed and is awaiting a battery of tests to confirm it’s authenticity. It looks like a hoax to me, but here’s the credulous “news” coverage;


That’s right; the body is said to have come from Georgia, not any of the Pacific Northwest haunts normally associated with the legend. (The American south has their own tradition of Bigfoot tales, although Sasquatch is usually called the “Skunk Ape” there.) You can make a decent model anywhere, though, so I wouldn’t start trumpeting the authenticity of this thing until some reputable scientists get a chance to look at it, at the earliest.

What’s more interesting, I think, is that a Texas deputy has recorded footage of a weird coyote-like creature (maybe a coyote-domestic dog hybrid). News reports are heralding it as a good candidate for the legendary Chupacabra but aside from the pop mythology the canid does look pretty strange;


As a child I used to be interested in tales of lake monsters, giant sharks, and dinosaurs stomping around in the Congo, but actual zoology is far more interesting than any folk legend about elusive North American apes or scaly south-of-the-border blood-suckers. A quick search of news stories for new species announced in the past few weeks turns up dozens of unknown sponges, new lizards and snakes from Vietnam, a somewhat cryptic species of giant manta, Stephen Colbert’s spider, a parasitic vampire catfish, various unknown creatures from the rainforest, a predatory bagworm, the world’s smallest known species of snake, and 21 new species of livebearing fish. They might seem boring to some but there are probably more species out there that have not yet been discovered or described than we have found so far. The “classic” objects of cryptozoological pursuits are not among them, but I think the natural world as it exists is much more fascinating than anything we could imagine ourselves.

Comments

  1. #1 llewelly
    August 14, 2008

    The skunk ape looks fake only because the ultra-secretive HAARP has generated carefully tuned neuro-electrical energies which have been bounced off of the ionosphere and into the brains of smart people, causing them to think the skunk ape is fake. That’s why everyone who’s smart thinks the skunk ape is fake. YOU WORK FOR THE GOVERNMENT AND ARE BEING ORDERED TO HIDE THE TRUTH!!

    PS: The HAARP technology was purchased from aliens who have secured an agreement with the governments of the world to use our bodies the same way digger wasps use caterpillars.

    PPS: I’m sure fluoride is involved in this somehow.

  2. #2 kevin z
    August 14, 2008

    They might seem boring to some but there are probably more species out there that have not yet been discovered or described than we have found so far. The “classic” objects of cryptozoological pursuits are not among them, but I think the natural world as it exists is much more fascinating than anything we could imagine ourselves.

    Here here! Truth is stranger than fiction. What irks me is the amount of resources that go out to support some cryptozoological ventures. That money and supplies could go to such better use in supporting real zoology!

  3. #3 llewelly
    August 14, 2008

    On a different note – the news treatment of the alleged skunk ape seems similar to the treatment of the Montuak raccoon corpse.

  4. #4 Carlie
    August 14, 2008

    I thought the second one looked a lot like a wild pig.

  5. #5 Jeb, FCD
    August 14, 2008

    Fluoride and sasquatches are a Mohammedan conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.

  6. #6 Mike
    August 14, 2008

    Oh my God… They killed Robin Williams!

  7. #7 Greg Laden
    August 14, 2008

    Hey, Jeeter, I’m pretty sure that’s a Dawg…

  8. #8 Alan Kellogg
    August 14, 2008

    On George

    A map is not the terrain. A photo or video cannot give you all the information that actually being in the presence of the object in question can. Now let me ask you this, why all the detail when most people wouldn’t miss the absence?

    On the Chupy

    I’m thinking dog myself, but it’s got some peculiar traits for a dog. Are there dog like animals that run with the rocking gait of the specimen in the video? Did somebody’s pet thylacine escape?

  9. #9 Brett Booth
    August 15, 2008

    That’s either a coyote or a coydog (coyote/dog hybrid) with mange. Not the first one in Texas like that. They had one or two here last year, a frozen head from what I remember.

    As for the ‘Bigfoot’ looks way to much like a chimp mask for me.

    Best,

    Brett

  10. #10 Alan Kellogg
    August 15, 2008

    Brett,

    Take George’s face, a gorilla’s face, and a chimp’s face and do a side by side comparison. Then compare George’s face with that of a leprechaun. I think you’ll find that there is only one conclusion that you can come to, bigfoots are Irish.

    Note that huge expanse of epidermis between George’s nostrils and his upper lip. The animal could use a toupee for a mustache. Gorillas don’t have that. Chimpanzees don’t have that. We have something that sort of looks like that, but not as impressive.

    BTW, does anyone know what that part of the human nose between the bridge and the tip of the nose is called? Gorillas have it too, but they have smaller nostrils than we do, so it lies flat instead of “ascending” as ours does.

  11. #11 Alan Kellogg
    August 15, 2008

    Update

    Went and had a look at some chimp photos. The nostrils are further down the face from the eyes than George’s, and the space between the nostrils and upper lip is convex instead of flat. But if you look at George’s face just right it might be mistaken for a chimp with bad lighting, four mixed drinks, and a soul destroying migraine episode. :)

  12. #12 Barn Owl
    August 15, 2008

    Next time I head to the coast, I’ll stop in Cuero and try to get a Chupacabra bumper sticker for you, Laelaps.

    I once saw the ill-favored offspring of a Sharpei x Afghan hound mating, which looked a bit like the Chupacabra-dog, without the erect ears.

  13. #13 tai haku
    August 15, 2008

    But Wait! Doesn’t that look exactly like a commercially available well known bigfoot suit? and isn’t the guy hawking the press appearances a proven big foot hoaxer? You can almost taste the continuing evaporation of cryptozoology’s credibitity….which is a shame.

  14. #14 Alan Kellogg
    August 15, 2008

    Tai,

    Yes, but a creationist can resemble a scientist. Doesn’t make the creationist a scientist.

    As to Tom Biscardi, keep in mind that being a liar does not preclude one from telling the truth. It just makes it harder for one’s statements to be believed.

  15. #15 Wes
    August 15, 2008

    The “chupacabra” in the CNN video is probably a “Xolo”, a Mexican hairless dog:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Hairless_and_coated_half.JPG

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Mexico.Xoloitzcuintle.01.jpg

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