Another mystery photograph

i-57e6940b79ac62ec4e53de64da1e2442-POTD 9-8-2007.jpg

I figured: if I just keep calling them 'picture of the day', you might be less inclined to come have a look. So here's another mystery photo: can you identify the animal involved? Some people who visit Tet Zoo (that includes you Tommy Tyrberg, as well as members of a certain research organisation that involves a certain group of animals) have already seen the image in its entirety, so no cheating please.

All is still progressing slowly on the conference preparation front. I booked my flight for SVPCA Glasgow yesterday, so that's one less thing to worry about; all I have to do now is prepare the talk. Before that I have a cryptozoology conference to contend with (I try not to use the conference's proper name, as it's pretty embarrassing: please don't mention it here if you know what it is). I'm now fully prepared for that, pending some art that Nemo Ramjet is doing for me: all of this (including Nemo's art) will appear here at Tet Zoo in due time. As for the Munich pterosaur meeting, all I can say is: yikes. Anyway, back to the day job...

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"I try not to use the conference's proper name, as it's pretty embarrassing: please don't mention it here if you know what it is"

You know if you don't tell us but just tease us like that, we may start making up names until we come up with one even worse.

You know if you don't tell us but just tease us like that, we may start making up names until we come up with one even worse.

Oh, excellent -- a party game! All right, me first!

"The Loch Ness Monster: Relict Plesiosaur Or Visitor From Another Dimension?"

Your move.

Outside chance that it's feathers or butterfly scales; my eyes aren't good enough to tell.

But it looks more like fur. The spots don't look to me like the body fur of any of the big spotted cats (cheetah, jaguar, leopard varieties); could be muzzle spotting, potentially.

But more likely, it's a small cat or cat-convergent. I don't have detail info on the many small cats and cat-convergents out there, so I can't guess further.

"The Study of Things That Don't Exist: Are We Just Full of $#!% or What?"

OK, so that's not how I feel about cryptozoology, though I admit to being rather skeptical...but I do try and keep an open mind. But it is how a lot of people seem to feel about the subject... Of course, a good number of utter nutjobs would say the same thing about those of us that study dinosaurs!

My turn, my turn!

"British Big Cats: leopards, pumas, or just fat moggies".

As to the photo - they look more like feathers to me. Close to the beak / eye the way they seem to overlap. Not much else to go on!

Fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus)?

And I really, really look forward to see the results of the Darren/Nemo collaboration on cryptids!

It's part of the actual Macintosh OS envelope.
I'll say jaguar, but the hair looks too soft. Maybe it's the image.

By Luis Daniel (not verified) on 09 Aug 2007 #permalink

it's really hard to tell with such a low resolution image, but it looks like a feather pattern to me.

Wow, it's really hard to tell if it's fur or feathers.

I'm going to guess feathers, based on the coloration pattern (even if the texture seems to suggest fur). Further, I'm going to guess it's an owl (strigiform). What kind? No idea.

By Mike Keesey (not verified) on 09 Aug 2007 #permalink

Weekly World News' Yeti Symposium VII?

By Dave Godfrey (not verified) on 09 Aug 2007 #permalink

When I looked at it, I first thought "cat". But that's too obvious, so I looked closer. Then I thought "owl". But what kind of owl?

By Nathan Myers (not verified) on 09 Aug 2007 #permalink

The resolution on my computer is really bad. I don't think I'm seeing feathers, I can't make out any of the veins you'd normally spot on feathers. I's say it's a cat. Felis marmorata, the marbled cat.

That looks like a mammalian eye and brow to me. The coloration pattern suggests feathers ... but the texture looks like fur. What dark mammal has a dense pattern of spots (almost reticulated?) like that around the eyes?

I'm going to guess "a melanistic leopard, region below the eyes and behind the muzzle." With maybe the coloration/lighting of the photo a bit biased toward a reddish tint.

Or else possible a late-surviving gorgon, which I have studied expensively.

Oh, and as for the name of the cryptozoology conference, I'm guessing it's "Bigfoot Stole My Wife."

By Stevo Darkly (not verified) on 09 Aug 2007 #permalink

(Oncifelis guigna)

By S. Fisher (not verified) on 09 Aug 2007 #permalink

I can identify it right off, it's bad photography. Well, bad in the sense the photographer has no idea what a resolution of 72 pixels an inch means to the quality of an image.

Then again, an intoxicated Scotsman would identify it as ... ... ... brown.

[from Darren: the resolution is down to me. I have zoomed in on one part of a larger image, and then resized it to width of 240 px or so to get it to fit. Sorry]

I think it is the second species of Clouded Leopard, I can slap myself for not knowing its scientific name right now, but it's definitely that one.

my guess: either a butterfly, cat of one genus or another, or a moth.
then again, knowing that some novel (and all too real) creatures get introduced it an ungulate?
ps: thanks.

By Anthony Docimo (not verified) on 10 Aug 2007 #permalink

Looks a bit like a pelt of a tropical small wild cat, there are so many. But this time, I won't even claim it as a tetrapod for sure, it might be an insect. or a plant... nature is funny that way.

(btw, a double nosed dog photo & story if you click DDeden)


By Drugmonkey (not verified) on 10 Aug 2007 #permalink

I keep getting this weird feeling of Kakapo, but it looks so furry so I'll go with the felid consensus, neofelis or some such..

I wonder if the pic's not an octopus. They can look like damn near anything.

And the conference is 'Unicorns, Sasquatch and Yeti, Oh My!' One of the most heavily booked seminars is 'Didn't You Used to be a Scientist?: How to justify your current research to family and friends who once thought you promising'.

[from Darren: err, 'ouch', I think. I know you aren't being serious, but most people who do cryptozoological research are actually qualified scientists, not fringe nut-jobs. I'll come back to this area later on...]

I was planning to go to the cryptozoology conference you refer to, but unfortunately family obligations prevent it. I didn't think that the name was embarassing, just a bit odd. Your talk sounds intriguing, any plans to cover the material on line subsequently?

[from Darren: yes, I'll publish a version of the talk on the blog... and a movie of my talk will be available online I think]

By Mark Lees (not verified) on 12 Aug 2007 #permalink

I'm sticking with the cat or the owl, or something else mammalian or avian: a lot of fibrous-appearing structure that suggests fur or feather to me, not octopus skin. And do underwater photos typically show highglights the way this one does? (Can't think of why they wouldn't, but -- having looked at cuttlefish in the local aquarium (they are BEAUTIFUL!), the highlights in this photo make me think it was taken in air.)

Anyway, if it is an octopus, Darren is cheating: this is the TETRAPOD zoology blog, not OCTOpod!

By Allen Hazen (not verified) on 13 Aug 2007 #permalink

Lion pup?

Darren: I was indeed kidding. Afterall, the idea was to come up with something worse than whatever it was you were being coy about. I don't actually picture you sitting stoically bearing the embarrassment among folk accoutered in tin foil hats or passing by the presentation by the inventor of the perpetual motion machine or the Raelian booth, or the dotty old lady selling kitschy pink unicorn figurines. I've read enough of your cryptozoology posts to know its not crackpottery.

And who am I to say anything when my first misreading (I was just skimming) of the title of your post "The surprising and hitherto undocumented late survival of non-dinosaurian dinosauromorphs" had me thrilled to think that someone might have found a living dinosaur. I was disappointed (initially) to find out that the late survival wasn't nearly as late as that. I recovered from my disappointment to read on and learn how the fauna of that time was more diverse than I'd thought (my ignorance, thankfully, means I'm constantly discovering things here).

Anyway, my apologies if that one cut it a bit too close.

"Cryptozoology 2007: We Need A Better Conference Title With Larger Polysyllabic Words"

And I'm completely stumped on the picture. I'll go with "Tetrapod" as my guess, based primarily on the title of the blog. Close inspection does not allow me to decide between fur or feathers.

> Or else possible a late-surviving gorgon,
> which I have studied expensively.

This finally proves that gorgonopsians were furry... :)