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Sat, 21 Apr 2018
The World for People who Think



Belted kingfisher from North America turns up in the Isles of Scilly, UK

belted kingfisher on St Mary’s

The belted kingfisher on St Mary’s
An unusual visitor from the US is getting bird watchers in a flap — because it is only the fourth time it has been seen in the UK.

The arrival of a belted kingfisher on St Mary's in the Isles of Scilly is a bit of a mystery, said ornithologist Will Wagstaff.

'We've had the wrong wind for it. We expect American birds with westerlies but we've had southerlies and southeasterlies,' he said.

The mild autumn may have seen the bird 'hang around in Europe' before heading north. Another US bird — a laughing gull — was recently seen on the nearby island of St Martin's. 'That's not as rare by any stretch but still a good rarity,' he said.


Shark attack in Keoneloa Bay, Hawaii

shark attack
Dylan McWilliams, a visitor from Colorado was attacked by a small shark at Shipwreck's Beach early Thursday.

McWilliams, a 29-year-old bodyboarder, was surfing in Keoneloa Bay about 7:30 a.m. when he was attacked by an estimated six-foot shark. Spectators say the man was bitten on the right leg while floating north of Shipwreck's and close to the jumping cliff favored by area fishermen.

Beach-goers said the surfer suffered three small puncture wounds. Emergency responders stopped the initial bleeding. The man sustained non-life threatening injuries and was transported by a private vehicle to seek medical care.


Old woman killed by bison in Maharashtra, India

Wild gaur

Wild gaur
A senior citizen was mauled to death in a bison attack on Thursday morning at the forest officials' colony at Radhanagari.

According to the forest officials, Rakhamabai Shelke (65), mother of the forest guard (wildlife) Ranjana Shelke, was sweeping the front yard of their home at around 6.15am when the lone bison attacked her. She died on the spot.

Shelke was a resident of the colony for past one-and-a-half year. Range forest officer (wildlife) Ajit Sajane saw the attack while he was on his way for the morning walk.

Comment: Other such attacks in recent years include: Gaur (Indian bison) gores farmer to death in Goa, India

Wild gaur attacks two children in Tamil Nadu, India; second recent incident for the area

Woman dies following attack by wild gaur in Tamil Nadu, India; 3rd such incident for the locality in 2 years


Soon the largest creature on Earth will be a cow!

© Tony Hutchings/Getty Images
Land of the giants. For your great, great grandchildren, cows might be the biggest megafauna around.
In a couple of hundred years the largest animal walking on land may well be a cow, new modelling predicts.

A paper published in the journal Science uncovers for the first time a startling correlation between human migration and the extinction of large animals.

The link between the loss of big creatures and the spread of Homo sapiens and other hominin species was well established by the time humans left Africa around 125,000 years ago, researchers led by biologist Felisa Smith of the University of New Mexico, US, found.

With no indication that the trend is abating, the team predicts that all currently endangered large terrestrial species will pass within the next couple of centuries, leaving cows, at an average weight of 900 kilograms, the biggest things left.

To make their finding, the scientists used two data sets. The first was a global record of all terrestrial species known, and classified according to body mass and diet, for the late Quaternary period, which started around a million years ago. The second was a similar record for all known species in the Cenozoic period, which started 66 million years ago and is known colloquially as the Age of Mammals.


Ancient skull suggests brain surgery on cows

Ancient Brain Surgery
© Fernando Ramirez Rozzi
A cow skull showing evidence of cranial surgery.
Most people think surgery is a modern concept, but if the knife-handed skeleton discovered in Italy proves anything, it's that ancient medical tech can be surprisingly advanced (but no less terrifying).

Today, a new game-changing archaeological discovery just rewrote medical history: New evidence suggests that humans have been experimenting with brain surgery for a lot longer than anyone expected. A 5,000-year-old cow skull has been discovered in Vendée, France, that has a cleanly bored hole right through the bone, and it looks like humans were using it for practice.

Vendée is hypothesized to have been the site of an ancient trading hub during the Neolithic era, and two of the major commodities coming through were cattle and salt.

Black Cat

Horror as leopard severely mauls tourist dragging him from camper van by his head in Namibia

Hardy was badly injured

Hardy was badly injured
A german tourist has been left with horrific injuries after being mauled by a leopard which savaged his head in Namibia.

Hardy Specker, 61, and partner Petra Windmeisser, 60, had pulled over to sleep in the Kuiseb Canyon in Namibia when a scratching noise woke them up.

Mr Specker got up to shut the window at around 1am, but the beast jumped up and gripped his head in his claws and jaws.

Ms Windmeisser engaged in a tug of war with the leopard trying to drag her husband back in through the window by his legs.

She told The Namibian he was screaming as the leopard's claws tore out bits of his skin.


Shark attack confirmed at Hua Hin beach in Thailand

Expert believes Norwegian tourist attacked by a bull shark

Expert believes Norwegian tourist attacked by a bull shark
Thai authorities were on Wednesday (April 18) keeping a close watch on popular Hua Hin Beach in Prachuap Khiri Khan after it was confirmed that a Norwegian tourist was attacked by a shark there on Sunday.

Officials had initially tried to pass off the man's severe leg injury as being a gash from sharp rocks, but Jatuporn Buruphat, deputy director general of the Marine and Coastal Resources Department, acknowledged at a press conference at Bangkok Hua Hin Hospital on Wednesday morning that the wound was caused by a shark, most likely a bull shark.

The story changed after the abbot of Wat Tham Khao Tao released video showing four sharks swimming off the beach near his temple. The abbot warned that if no action was taken, someone could be killed.


Dead long-finned pilot whale found on shore of South Iceland

The carcass has been lying in the beach for several days.
© Ólafur Auðunsson
The carcass has been lying in the beach for several days.
The carcass of a dead long-finned pilot whale was discovered on Monday morning on the rocky shore near Stokkseyri village in South Iceland. The whale has been dead for several days, and is believed to have been lying on the beach for a while.

The carcass was discovered by a local man, Ólafur Auðunsson, who was walking along the shore when he spotted the whale. The whale is ca 6 m (20 ft) long. The fate of the carcass has not been decided.

Stokkseyri and nearby Eyrarbakki are beautiful fishing villages, home to a couple of interesting museums, including the Eyrarbakki heritage museum, a beautiful small museum which provides a picture of life in the region throughout the centuries.


Thousands of toads appear on the streets of Zigong, China

Mobile phone footage shows thousands of toads sitting and hopping on the street in China

Mobile phone footage shows thousands of toads sitting and hopping on the street in China
Like a scene from a horror film, a street in China has recently been taken over by thousands of toads.

Stomach-churning footage has emerged which shows thousands of amphibians hopping on the pavement after spring showers last week.

Local city's earthquake administration bureau has ruled out residents' concern that the unusual phenomenon was a possible warning of impending natural disasters.


Tourist loses leg after being ripped apart by shark off Recife, Brazil

Dramatic footage shows paramedics battling to help the man while he lies on the beach covered in blood

Dramatic footage shows paramedics battling to help the man while he lies on the beach covered in blood
A beach-goer has lost his leg after being attacked by a shark while swimming off the coast of Brazil.

Pablo de Melo suffered horrific injuries at Piedade Beach in Recife on Sunday and needed to have one of his legs amputated as doctors battled to save his life.

The shark ripped into Pablo's arms and legs as he swam through surf - in an area known for frequent shark attacks.

It's believed the 34-year-old survived the attack because two men, who were in the water nearby, risked their own lives by bravely chasing off the beast and hauling the severely injured man out of the water.