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Strange news archive: November-December 2006





parthenogic Komodo Dragon hatching from its egg
'Virgin births' for giant lizards
(Dec 21, 2006)


The largest lizards in the world are capable of "virgin births". Scientists report of two cases where female Komodo dragons have produced offspring without male contact. Tests revealed their eggs had developed without being fertilised by sperm – a process called parthenogenesis, the team wrote in the journal Nature.

Read more. Source: BBC

fossil of a two-headed lizard
Two-headed lizard spied in a fossil
(Dec 20, 2006)


A remarkably well-preserved fossil of a two-headed reptile has been discovered in the Early Cretaceous Yixian rock formation in northeast China. The tiny skeleton of a hatchling choristodere – a group of extinct aquatic reptiles with long necks – has two heads and two necks, fused at their base. The 120-million-year-old specimen is thought to be the oldest example of a developmental anomaly known as axial bifurcation.

Read more. Source: New Scientist


tonguefish
Fish dance on sulphur cauldrons
(Dec 18, 2006)


Scientists have witnessed the extreme lifestyle of tonguefish that like to skip across pools of molten sulphur. The animals – a type of flatfish – were filmed on three expeditions to undersea volcanoes in the western Pacific. Huge numbers were seen to congregate around the sulphur ponds which well up from beneath the seafloor.

Read more. Source: BBC

Bao, the world's tallest man in 2006
World's tallest man saves dolphins
(Dec 14, 2006)


The world's tallest man has saved two dolphins by using his long arms to reach into their stomachs and pull out dangerous plastic shards. Mongolian herdsman Bao Xishun was called in after the dolphins swallowed plastic used around their pool at an aquarium in Fushun, north-east China. Attempts to use instruments failed as the dolphins contracted their stomachs. Guinness World Records list Mr Bao, 54, as the world's tallest living man at 2m 36.1cm (7ft 8.95in).

Read more. Source: BBC

bone rings grown in the lab
Bone rings exchanged by couples
(Dec 7, 2006)


Couples are being given the opportunity to exchange jewellery made from samples of their bone grown in the laboratory. Scientists obtain bone cells from wisdom teeth and then grow them on a "scaffold" material in the lab. The efforts are part of a collaboration between scientists and artists aiming to learn how to craft complex shapes from bone tissue.

Read more. Source: BBC

Stonehenge
Not a fortress, or a temple, or a calendar. Stonehenge was a hospital
(Dec 3, 2006)


The Stonehenge mystery is solved. I always knew there was something odd about the "Amesbury archer". He died circa 2300BC and was rediscovered near the henge in Wiltshire in 2002, one of the most sensational prehistoric corpses ever found. His hair was laced with gold, the earliest found in England. His grave contained traces of fine clothes and implements of archery and copper-working.

Read more. Source: Guardian

Vestimentiferan worms
Bizarre deep-sea creatures imaged off New Zealand
(Nov 28, 2006)


The weird and wonderful creatures living by methane vents in the southwest Pacific have been photographed for the first time (see images right and below). The deep-sea communities live around methane seeps off New Zealand’s eastern coast, up to 1 kilometre beneath the sea surface. The team of 21 researchers from the US and New Zealand, who spent two weeks exploring the area, have just returned to shore.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Jack the Ripper e-fit
Jack the Ripper's face 'revealed'
(Nov 20, 2006)


An e-fit showing what detectives believe serial killer Jack the Ripper looked like has been revealed. Using new profiling techniques, investigators have created a picture of what they believe the 19th Century murderer would have looked like. The man, who evaded police in the 1880s, is thought to have killed and mutilated five London prostitutes.

Read more. Source: BBC

giant paw print
Giant paw prints mystery
(Nov 14, 2006)


Unexplained giant paw prints have today left an Ipswich couple speculating over whether a wild animal is stalking the neighbourhood. Jacqueline and Richard May, of Foxhall Road, are baffled by a series of prints – seeming to have been made by an animal with claws or toes – left in their garden.

Read more. Source: Evening Standard

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