The Giant 10ft Conger Eel That Makes Feeding The 5,000 Seem Possible

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We have all heard how Jesus fed the five thousand with a single fish and just three loaves of bread.Well this incredible 10ft conger eel makes the biblical miracle seem much more possible.Caught off the British coast, the huge fish weighs a hefty 100lb (45kg) and is nearly twice as long as its new owner Matt Endacott.And the fishmonger is offering to sell the entire eel for a giant supper until Saturday.

Fishmonger Matt bought the giant eel at market because it was the biggest he’d ever seen.The average conger eel weighs just 5kg and is around 3ft.This outstanding example was caught by sea fisherman Dean Corbett of Torquay, Devon, who sold it to Matt for £50.Matt, of Jackson Ltd, Newton Abbot, Devon, is now asking if anyone will buy the giant eel whole before he cuts it into pieces.He said: ‘It is the biggest one I have ever seen.’We had one a few years ago that was 8ft, but this is 10ft.’It is a vast specimen and weighs 46kg gutted.’Luckily we have large slab and can take a fish this size.’Supermarkets have smaller slabs and would never be able to show it to the public.’We will have it on a slab until Saturday afternoon and then will prep it up and sell it fresh and smoked.’ Conger eel is not a popular dish in the UK because they are an ugly fish – but Matt claims it is delicious.He said: ‘It is certainly underrated in the country as a product because it’s a large, ugly and slimy looking beast.’

The largest conger eel caught in England was snared off Falmouth in Cornwall and weighed 210lb (95kg).The world record is held in Iceland for an eel weighing 305lb (139kg).The conger eel can be found all around the coast of Britain.It favours wrecks, reefs and rough, rocky habitats.During the night they tend to swim in shallower waters closer to the shore.Despite its enormous size and aggressive appearance, the conger eel is a shy creature and hastily retreats to its lair when threatened

(source)

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Komodo Dragons Most Likely Evolved In Australia, Dispersed To Indonesia

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The Komodo Dragon is the world’s largest lizard, growing to an average length of 2 to 3 meters. It is found almost entirely on the Indonesian islands of Rinca, Flores and Komodo.

The world’s largest living lizard species, the Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis), is vulnerable to extinction and yet little is known about its natural history. New research by a team of palaeontologists and archaeologists from Australia, Malaysia and Indonesia, who studied fossil evidence from Australia, Timor, Flores, Java and India, shows that Komodo Dragons most likely evolved in Australia and dispersed westward to Indonesia.The research, which also details new fossil specimens indicating the presence of a new species of giant varanid found on the island of Timor, is published September 30 in the open-access, peer-reviewed journal PLoS ONE.

Author Scott Hocknull, Senior Curator of Geosciences at the Queensland Museum, said Australia is a hub for lizard evolution.“The fossil record shows that over the last four million years Australia has been home to the world’s largest lizards, including a five metre giant called Megalania (Varanus prisca),” Mr Hocknull said.

“Now we can say Australia was also the birthplace of the three-metre Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis), dispelling the long-held scientific hypothesis that it evolved from a smaller ancestor in isolation on the Indonesian islands.
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Brand New Pigmy Hippo

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A newborn Baby Hippo pygmy from Rotterdam’s Blijdorp Zoo, is no bigger than a head of lettuce! The pygmy hippo grows to just over 3ft tall – just one fifth of the size of the common hippopotamus and is the only other species of hippo in the world. Reclusive and nocturnal, the mammals are semi-aquatic and need to live near water to keep their skin moisturized and their bodies cool.

(source)

Ardi: Oldest Human Ancestor 4.4 Million Years Old

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She lived at the dawn of a new era, when chimps and people began walking (or climbing) along their own evolutionary trails. This is Ardi – the oldest member of the human family tree we’ve found so far. Short, hairy and with long arms, she roamed the forests of Africa 4.4million years ago.

Her discovery, reported in detail for the first time today, sheds light on a crucial period when we were just leaving the trees.
‘This is one of the most important discoveries for the study of human evolution,’ said Dr David Pilbeam, curator of palaeoanthropology at Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology.
‘It is relatively complete in that it preserves head, hands, feet, and some critical parts in between.’

Ardi – short for Ardipithecus ramidus or ‘root of the ground ape’ – stood 4ft tall and weighed 110lb. She lived a million years before the famous Lucy, the previous earliest skeleton of a hominid who was dug up in 1974. Experts believe Ardi is very, very close to the ‘missing link’ common ancestor of humans and chimps, thought to have lived five to seven million years ago.

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‘This is not that common ancestor, but it’s the closest we have ever been able to come,’ said Dr Tim White, director of the Human Evolution Research Centre at the University of California, Berkeley, who reports the discovery today in Science. The first fossilised and crushed bones of Ardi were found in 1992 in Ethiopia’s Afar Rift.

But it has taken an international team of 47 scientists 17 years to piece together, analyse and describe the remains.

Ardi’s skeleton had been trampled and scattered, while the skull was crushed to just two inches in height.
Researchers have pieced together 125 fragments of bone – including much of her skull, hands, feet, arms, legs and pelvis – which were dated using the volcanic layers of soil above and below the find.

The results were surprising. Previously, scientists believed that our common ancestor would have been very chimp-like, and that ancient hominids such as Ardi would still have much in common with them.

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But she was not suited like a modern- day chimp to swinging or hanging from trees or walking on her knuckles. This suggests that chimps and gorillas developed those characteristics after the split with humans – challenging the idea that they are merely an ‘unevolved’ version of us.

Ardi’s feet were rigid enough to allow her to walk upright some of the time, but she still had a grasping big toe for use in climbing trees.

And she had long arms but short palms and fingers which were flexible, allowing her to support her body weight on her palms. Her upper canine teeth are more like the stubby teeth of modern people than the long, sharp ones of chimps. An analysis of her tooth enamel suggests she ate fruit, nuts and leaves.

Scientists believe she was a female because her skull is relatively small and lightly built. Her teeth were also smaller than other members of the same family that were found later.

Alan Walker, of Pennsylvania Sate University, told Science: ‘These things were very odd creatures. You know what Tim (White) once said: ‘If you wanted to find something that moved like these things you’d have to go to the bar in Star Wars’.’

Since the discovery, scientists have unearthed another 35 members of the Ardipithecus family. Ardi was found in alongside crumbling fossils of 29 species of birds and 20 species of small mammals – including owls, parrots, shrews, bats and mice.

(source)