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Whopper Freshwater
Fish Sets New
Record

by Jordan Niednagel
S: MSNBC (7-1-05)

It's a new world record, hands down; a catfish the size of a grizzly bear, caught by Thai fishermen last month in what has become a world sensation. The 646-pound Mekong giant catfish was later eaten by loacl villagers along the river to the dismay of local environmentalists and government officials, who had negotiated to release the fish in order to continue its spawning migration.

“It’s amazing to think that giants like this still swim in some of the world’s rivers,” said research project leader Zeb Hogan in a statement. “We’ve now confirmed now that this catfish is the current record holder, an astonishing find.”

Larger sturgeon are said to have been caught, but none bigger than the 468 pound sturgeon which formely held the record have been verified.

"The challenge is clear," Hogan added, "we must find methods to protect these species and their habitats."

This Month...

Condors Soaring In
Arizona Skies
They have no natural predators, and are one of the largest birds native to North America ...


Oldest Fossil Rabbit Discovered
It's described as "surprisingly similar to modern rabbits"; a fossilized skeleton of a ...
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Sadly, the Mekong giant catfish is disappearing due to dams and habitat destruction. The Mekong River Basin, where it lives, contains more species of giant fish than any other river on earth, and are the primary source of protein for the 73 million people that live along the river. Finding harmony between conservation and the needs of the people could prove difficult, as is the case in numerous areas around the world.

Whatever the case, the fish could very well hold the record for many years to come.



Condors Soaring In Arizona Skies

by Jonathan Drake
S: CNN (6-13-05)

They have no natural predators, and are one of the largest birds native to North America. Only twenty years ago, they were at the brink of extinction, soon to become known only by photographs and film. Today, however, the California Condor is soaring not only over that state, but through the sunny skies of Arizona.

Visitors to the Grand Canyon are not only enjoying the massive
geological formation these days, but also the massive birds flying overhead. Some days see as many as 25 to 30 condors soaring above the canyon, which is more birds then in the early 1980s altogether.

Because the population of condors isn't yet self-sustaining, it's too early to call their reintroduction a sucesss ... "But we finally have a foothold," says Chris Parish, the Peregrine Fund's condor director in Arizona. "I, for one, have confidence ... we're well on our way."

California condors can live up to 60 years, and can possess a wingspan that puts NBA star Yao Ming to shame ... 9 1/2 feet (that's 2 feet longer).

One of the biggest challenges during the early of their reintroduction was how to teach the young condors the ways of adult condors. Why? Well, simply because there scarcley were any. Now, however, the youngsters have footsteps to follow, and are thriving.

Because of the continual activity in the canyon area, the main concern for biologists now is not letting the birds become too people-friendly. "There are some challenges we deal with, primarily people management more than bird management," said Chad Olson, the canyon's raptor biologist. Olson sometimes waves his arms to scare the birds if they come too close to the crowds.

All in all, problems much less dire then those faced 20 years ago.




Oldest Fossil Rabbit Discovered

by Josef Long
S: BBC (2-17-05)

It's described as "surprisingly similar to modern rabbits"; a fossilized skeleton of a creature that, according to evolutionists, lived 55 million years ago. Known as Gomphos elkema,
it left behind a nearly complete skeleton, and is said to be the oldest member of the rabbit family ever to be found.

"Gomphos gives us valuable information about the anatomy of early rabbits - it tells us what they looked like," says Robert Asher of Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany. "Gomphos had a true 'rabbit's foot'; that is, a foot more than twice as long as the hand that could be used for hopping."

Unlike its modern relatives, however, Gomphos had teeth similar to that of a squirrel, and possessed a fairly large tail. These traits, of course, fit well within the speciation boundaries to which creationists adhere to.

For evolutionists, the debate has been whether placental mammals (bats, rabbits, lions, etc) existed long before the infamous KT boundary (65 million years ago), or originated shortly before or after the cataclysmic event. This discovery seems to pour more fuel into the fire.

For creationists, the discovery comes as a welcomed find. Little change has seemingly occured in some 55 million years. So, even back then, predators could be found 'hunting wabbit'.




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Quote of the Month
"In other words, natural selection over the long run does not seem to improve a species' chance of survival but simply enables it to 'track,' or keep up with, the constantly changing environment."

Richard C. Lewontin
Professor of Zoology, University of Chicago. Scientific American, vol. 239 (3). 1978, p.159.


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