Humpbacked Dolphins, Fish Eating Spiders, and Mick Jagger Lips

BeastiesIn this post CryptoVille selects a few animals discovered in 2014 to share with cryptozoology lovers! Mysterious nature is never at a loss to create creatures that amaze us with things we may never have imagined. Have a look at these monsters and see what you think!

Australian Humpback Dolphin

How long has humanity been plying the waters around Australia? How long have scientists been studying its waters? And yet here in 2014 they find – Oops! – a new species of dolphin.

AustralianHumpbackDolphinThe Wildlife Conservation Society in conjunction with Clymene Enterprises announced last year the official naming of the new species of dolphin, Sousa sahulensis, the Australian Humpback Dolphin. This announcement comes after spending 17 years trying to decide if this animal was its own unique species or not.

These animals live along the coast ranging from northern Australia over to the coast of West Africa.

Like many of their marine “cousins,” the Australian humpback dolphin is in peril due to development along their coastal habitats as well as accidents with large oceangoing vessels, and the fishing industry. Scientists feel they won’t survive unless humanity takes some important steps to protect them.

AustralianHumpbackDolphin01There are 3 other species of humpback dolphins: Atlantic humpback dolphin, the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin, and the Indian Ocean humpback dolphin. This latest species of humpback dolphin differs from the others in several ways:

  • Dorsal fin is lower and wider at the base
  • Colored dark gray overall
  • Has a dark dorsal “cape” unlike the other species

Also, there are differences in the length of these different species of humpback dolphins, as well as number of teeth and number of vertebrae.

In general humpback dolphins can reach up to 8 feet (2.4 meters) in length and weigh upwards of 300 pounds (136 kg). They primarily eat mullet, but scientists don’t have enough data on these elusive animals to say what else they may or may not consume.

Let’s not overlook the fact it took science 17 years to come to this conclusion. The fact that they’re taking decades to get into Bigfoot research almost seems to make sense now!

FishEatingSpiderFish-eating Spiders

That’s right, you read that correctly. As if spiders don’t terrorize enough of us on this planet, it seems they’re also into terrorizing fish!

(PHOTO CREDIT left:  Fishing spider Dolomedes facetus captured fish (genus Xiphophorus) in garden pond near Brisbane, Queensland, Australia by Peter Liley, Moffat Beach, Queensland.)

This report hit the news last June based on a study published by zoologist and spider expert Martin Nyffeler from the University of Basel in Switzerland and zoologist Bradley Pusey from the University of West Australia.

Nyffeler and Pusey gathered data from around the world that proved larger spiders would hunt small fish in their environment. According to the scientists, spiders from at least five families of creepy crawlies have been seen hunting and eating fish. They also discovered that in a laboratory setting, three more species of spiders will hunt and consume fish.

FishEatingSpider01

The scientists call these spiders “semi-aquatic spiders” because they live on the edge of shallow water in streams, ponds, and swamps. Some of the spiders can actually swim and dive while others are able to walk on the water’s surface.

As you would expect, these spiders are loaded with neurotoxins to paralyze their unfortunate prey, as well as enzymes that begin the digestion process. Often these fish are much larger than the spiders.

According to Nyffeler, “The finding of such a large diversity of spiders engaging in fish predation is novel. Our evidence suggests that fish might be an occasional prey item of substantial nutritional importance.”  Well, they say fish is good for our brains …

FishEatingSpider02Scientists have witnessed spiders hunting fish all over the world, primarily in Florida’s wetlands. The technique used by these semi-aquatic spiders is to anchor its back legs on a rock or something solid, then let its front legs float on the surface. When an unsuspecting fish hones into view, it pounces and injects its venom.

Once immobilized, the spiders will drag the fish out of the water onto terra firma where it will consume it over the course of a few hours.

These lovely horrors operate on every continent in the world, except Antarctica.

BigLipFossil01Mick Jagger Lips

What is about the size of a small deer, looks like a cross between a skinny hippo and a pig with long legs, and has lips almost as big as Mick Jagger’s? According to co-author of the study Ellen Miller, Wake Forest University, “Jagger’s water nymph.” The official name is  Jaggermeryx naida.

Miller, along with co-author Gregg Gunnell, a paleontologist from Duke University, discovered the fossil leading to this discovery in the Egyptian desert. But they tell us that millions of years ago, that area was a “lush tropical delta.”

Jaggermeryx belongs to a family of hoofed animals called anthracotheres and it’s one of six species of that group living in the Egyptian wetlands once upon a time.

BigLipsFossilAccording to Gunnell, “The animal probably had a highly innervated muzzle with mobile and tactile lips, thus the Jagger reference.”  He said that because the jaw bones discovered show a bunch of tiny holes on either side where nerves ran giving a lot of sensation to the chin and lower lip. (Artist’s rendition of what this animal looked like, above right.)

The scientists believe this animal was a plant eater. They said they considered naming the animal after Angelina Jolie and her “famous lips,” but as both are Mick fans, they opted for the Jagger connection.

What Does This Have To Do with Cryptozoology?

I love these stories because it shows just how little we know of the natural world. Every year big discoveries are being made on land, in the sea, and in the air. New species, new behaviors, expanding territories – there is always something else to learn!

And I believe that includes science FINALLY discovering Bigfoot, as well as a few other strange creatures we love to speculate about. I think these are the likely candidates:

  • Bigfoot/Sasquatch
  • Alaskan Tiger
  • Saber Wolf hybrid
  • Giant Raptors
  • Black Beasts of Britain and possibly other areas around the world.

Of all the cryptids we talk about here in CryptoVille, I believe these are the most likely candidates to actually be found by science. I think they have the greatest probability of being real.

So we’re starting an exciting New Year! I can’t wait to see what else science finds and I’m still rooting for my list of likely candidates!!

What’s on your list of likely candidates?

References

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140618184618.htm

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140910120432.htm

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140801125052.htm

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