Tuesday, 26 July 2016

'Hypercarnivore' relative of Tasmanian devil found in remote Queensland fossil field

PHOTO: Whollydooleya's tooth was discovered in 2013, but only recently formally identified. (Supplied: UNSW)

The fossilised tooth of a previously unknown 'hypercarnivore' marsupial has been uncovered in remote Queensland after scientists used satellite data to locate a new hotbed of archaeological records.
The discovery was made possible after a satellite discovery of a an archaeologically rich area of late Miocene rock about four hours' drive north of Mt Isa in outback Queensland.
The area was active from around 12 to 5 million years ago.
Named Whollydooleya tomnpatrichorum — or Whollydooleya for short — the animal was a much larger, distant cousin of the Tasmanian devil.
"This was an animal which was very considerably bigger than the largest [hypercarnivore] we've got today, the Tasmanian devil, probably two to three times," UNSW's Professor Mike Archer told the ABC.
Professor Archer said the animal — discovered with the fossils of several other small to medium animals new to science — was in the size range of thylacines but much more "massive".

While the tooth was first discovered in 2013, the animal is the first of those discovered to be formally identified.
Whollydooleya — and the place it was discovered, Wholly Dooleya Hill — is named after Riversleigh volunteer Genevieve Dooley, the partner of team member Phil Creaser, who named the fossil-rich hill for the team before various types of fossil came their way.
"There's also a new kind of kangaroo that turned up, a distant cousin of the musky rat kangaroo that lives on the Atherton Tableland," Professor Archer said.
Medium to large-sized Australian Late Miocene animals have previously been recorded at Northern Territory sites, but little is known about smaller animals from the period.

"The small to medium-sized mammals from the New Riversleigh deposits will reveal a great deal about how Australia's inland environments and animals changed between 12 and 5 million years ago," team member Dr Karen Black said.Satellites help uncover fossil field

The story behind the discovery of the new fossil field is almost as remarkable as the animals themselves.
 Scientists from UNSW used satellite data to locate the 'New Riversleigh' fossil field before visiting it via helicopter. (Supplied: UNSW)
A PhD student at the university, Ned Stephens, developed a way to use satellite data to find fossil fields by studying the frequencies being returned from known sites at the well-known Riversleigh World Heritage Area.
In 2012, Mr Stephens found a specific set of frequencies coming back up to the satellite but found it was being returned well outside the bounds of the known fossil fields.
"It turns out this area which we're calling New Riversleigh is bigger than the world heritage area, and yet it's not within the world heritage area," Professor Archer said.
"We're just beginning to understand there's a massive deposit of fossils out there which we had no idea about."

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Latest FB "thylacine" Prank Photo

Tis the season for Facebook pranks.
Make sure you pretend you just stumbled  on to the animal.Tick
Make sure the animal doesnt react like a normal animal.Tick
Pretend you do not  know what the animal is..your just "putting it out there" .Tick
Pretend you dont have any idea what the true value of the photos would be, if they were real..just give them away on facebook.Tick

 And Geoff Treloar, ergo..The Prankster has pulled the post.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

OOPA: Golden Possum turns up in Brisbane

We love it when unusual wildlife turn up where they're not supposed to - in this case the rather splendid-looking Golden Possum, a rare colour phase previously only known to turn up in small pockets of Tasmania (and every once in a Blue Moon, on the outskirts of somewhere like Sydney).

These beauties have a hard time in the wild - it's tricky staying out of sight from large predators like Powerful Owls when your fur is as blingy as this bloke's!

So our thanks to Queensland-based CFZ Australia reader Dylan Smerdon for sharing his friend Auresh Yousefpour's pictures of this rare beauty, which appeared in a suburban backyard in Highgate Hill, Brisbane recently. We've never heard of a Golden Possum so far north.

Have you seen an Out of Place Animal (OOPA) in Australia? Send in your pics, we'd love to see and share them on the blog.

Book Review: Lure Of The Thylacine by Col Bailey

By Mike Williams

Easily Col Bailey's best book so far, Lure Of the Thylacine is now out, the second of three planned books dedicated to the Thylacine. Get your copy HERE.

The passion and dedication that Col has put into this subject astounds me.

As engrossing as the stories are, what is perhaps the saddest thing is that they show you how ignorant people were, sometimes, in those days when they encountered these poor animals.

There are 64 punchy short chapters on Tiger encounters and stories, some that do end happily, at least for the tiger!

Professor Mike Archer has been so impressed with Col's work that he happily accepted the request to write a really thoughtful introduction.

Col's first book started when Col interviewed Reg Trigg back in 1980.

The tiger is still out there and the Lure Of The Thylacine will never go away.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Victorian Big Cat Hoax on Facebook

Okay, some Facebook funster has tried a quick hoax, which failed miserably, claiming that he had photographed a large black panther crossing a dirt road in central Victoria.

Click the image to enlarge it.

The image was taken down but that didn't stop the power of social media from sending it viral within minutes, with multiple people claiming either they, their friend or close relative had taken the photo.

You have to admire their pluck!

Our thanks to Tania P. Woodliffe, who appears to have solved the mystery by pointing us to this local news article featuring a fearsome-looking model. Source


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