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Tue, 23 Oct 2018
The World for People who Think



Shore of Greek lake gets covered in gigantic spider webs

A man carries a branch as spider webs blanket shrubs at the banks of Lake Vistonida, Greece, October 19, 2018.
A man carries a branch as spider webs blanket shrubs at the banks of Lake Vistonida, Greece, October 19, 2018.
The shores of Lake Vistonida in Greece were transformed into a truly surreal landscape as they became blanketed in massive spider webs.

This peculiar phenomenon was apparently caused by unusually warm weather which led to an increase in the mosquito population and therefore triggered an overpopulation of spiders that feed on these insects.

The spiders are from the genus Tetragnatha, known as stretch spiders due to their elongated bodies.

They are known to build webs near watery habitats, with some species even said to be able to walk on water.


Southern Ocean's 'headless chicken monster' captured on video for the first time

headless chicken monster
© The Australian Antarctic Division
Australian scientists, using specialist equipment, have reported disturbing findings made three kilometers below the surface of the Antarctic's Southern Ocean: the discovery of a 'headless chicken monster.'

"Some of the footage we are getting back from the cameras is breathtaking, including species we have never seen in this part of the world," Australian Antarctic Division Program Leader Dirk Welsford said.

The monster, alternatively known as the 'Spanish Dancer', or Enypniastes eximia, is a deep-sea swimming sea cucumber typically found bottom-feeding in certain parts of the world. The creature has previously only been filmed much farther north in the Gulf of Mexico.


Dogs accompanied people from Near East to Europe 9,000 years ago DNA studies reveal

dog husky
© CC0 Public Domain
A team of researchers from across Europe and Israel has found evidence of dogs traveling with people from the Near East to Europe during the Neolithic. In their paper published in the journal Biology Letters, the group describes their genetic study of dogs living in ancient Europe and the Near East and what they found.

Prior research has shown that dogs were living in both the Near East and Europe prior to the Neolithic. They were, in fact, the only domesticated species already present in Europe when the Near Easterners arrived. Now, the researchers in this new effort have found evidence of dogs traveling with people as they moved from the Near East to Europe and subsequently mated with the dogs already living there.

To learn more about the history of dog domestication, the researchers studied 100 mitochondrial sequences obtained from ancient dog remains found in both the Near East and Europe. They used the genetic information they found to trace the lineage of dogs from the Upper Paleolithic to the Bronze Age.

Comment: Evidence found in the Americas demonstrate that dogs have been man's best friend for at least 14,000 years.

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Rethinking evolution: Researchers find evidence of rapid genome adaptation of Burmese pythons

burmese python

Florida has become a haven for invasive species in the United States, but perhaps the most well-known of the state's alien residents is the Burmese python. These giant snakes, native to Southeast Asia, have become well-established over the past few decades and even flourish in their new environment.

"In Burmese pythons, we observed the rapid establishment and expansion of an invasive population in Florida, which is quite ecologically distinct from Southeast Asia and likely imposes significant ecological selection on the invasive Burmese python population," said Todd Castoe, biology professor at The University of Texas at Arlington and director of the Castoe Lab. "This situation had all of the hallmarks of a system where rapid adaptation could occur, so we were excited to test for this possibility using cutting-edge genomic approaches."

Comment: The neo-Darwinist view of evolution as a long and slow process of random mutation and selection over millions of years doesn't account for many scientific observations, including the above. It seems the evolution can happen in much more rapid spurts in response to environmental pressures in real time, and doesn't require natural selection to allow for genetic mutations to spread throughout a population over the course of many generations. This is truly fascinating, but no-doubt angers many of the materialists crowd as it throws a rather large wrench into the "it's all random chance" narrative.

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New Zealand surfer in hospital after being bitten on arm by shark in rare attack

A shark tooth is embedded in the surfboard belonging to a Whanageri man who was attack by the shark off Baylys Beach

A shark tooth is embedded in the surfboard belonging to a Whanageri man who was attack by the shark off Baylys Beach
A New Zealand surfer has been attacked by a shark and airlifted to a hospital after suffering moderate injuries.

The man was surfing at Baylys Beach about 100 kilometers (60 miles) northwest of Auckland when the attack happened, according to police.

The man, who is in his 20s, was in pain and bleeding after being bitten on his hand, elbow and mouth, according to the New Zealand Herald website, but was able to walk and talk.

The shark left bite marks and a tooth in the man's surfboard, said news website Stuff.


Finback whale washes ashore in Provincetown, Massachusetts

This giant Finback Whale washed up on the outside of Long Point Road in P-Town.
© Provincetown Police Department
This giant Finback Whale washed up on the outside of Long Point Road in P-Town.
From the Provincetown Police Department:

50-60 foot Finback whale washed up on the outside of Long Point Road in Provincetown. The Finback whale (Balaenoptera physalus) is the world's second biggest living animal. Finbacks can grow to nearly 70 feet in length and a weight of 70 tons. Despite that massive size, they are streamlined and muscular allowing them to travel at speeds of up to 35 miles per hour, earning it the nickname, "the greyhound of the sea". It can reportedly hold its breath for 50 minutes. The whale's territory stretches across all of the world's oceans. The Finback Whale is listed as an endangered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.


Thousands of fish found dead in Bayou Desiard, Louisiana

dead fish
Thousands of crappie, bass, bream and shad found dead in Bayou Desiard.
Leaving many residents wondering if there is a problem.

"It's affecting several people on the lower end. Residents were waking up and seeing dead fish in their backyards. They are calling us cause they simply want to know what's going on," said Wildlife & Fisheries Biology Manager Ryan Daniel.

Daniel has worked for the Department of Wildlife & Fisheries for 18 years.
He believes the large fish kill may be due to the change in weather.


Stray dog mauls man to death in Pakistan

canine attack
© Angela Antunes / CC by 2.0
A 40-year-old man was mauled to death by a stray dog in Uch Sharif on Friday.

Rescue officials said Khuda Bakhsh, a resident of Meherabad, was passing through the area when a stray dog attacked him.

As a result, he suffered severe injuries and was shifted to a hospital in the vicinity for treatment. However, he could not survive and succumbed to injuries.


Pine bunting from Eurasia turns up on Vancouver Island, Canada - first time ever south of Alaskan islands

The rare pine bunting has never been sighted south of Alaska in North America.
© Maury Swoveland
The rare pine bunting has never been sighted south of Alaska in North America.
Bird watchers are all a-flutter over a very rare bird sighting in Victoria.

"For the birding community, this was a really big deal," said Ann Nightingale, with the Rocky Point Bird Observatory.

On Tuesday, a birder captured a photo of what he thought was a Lapland longspur, but after posting it online there were some questions.

The photo was then shared on the American Birding Association's Facebook page with the question, 'What's this bird?'


Grey catbird from North America turns up in Cornwall, UK

Grey Catbird in Cornwall
© Graham Jepson
Grey Catbird in Cornwall
Hundreds of birdwatchers have descended on west Cornwall to catch a glimpse of a rare avian visitor from North America.

The grey catbird has been spotted on Treeve Moor near Land's End.

It is believed to be just the second time the bird has been sighted on mainland Britain.

The catbird, which is about 20cm (7.8in) long and grey in colour, is named because of its distinctive "meowing" sound.