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There Were Giants in Those Days----Mega Fauna ....Page 2

Just for the Fun of it:Big Trouble for Asia's Giant Catfish

John Roach, for National Geographic News, May 15, 2003

This time of year, fishers along the banks of the Mekong River in the village of Chiang Khong in northern Thailand wait expectant, as they have for hundreds of years, for the arrival and harvest of giant catfish. But this year the catfish may never come.

"No fish have been captured in Thailand since 2001 and the giant catfish is in danger of disappearing from Thailand completely," said Zeb Hogan, a fisheries biologist at the University of California at Davis.

Hogan leads the Mekong Fish Conservation Project, an effort to protect vulnerable populations of migratory fish in the Mekong River Basin, including the critically endangered Mekong giant catfish (Pangasianodon gigas). The catfish is one of several fish species presently endangered in the watershed.

The project is supported by the National Geographic Society's Conservation Trust, the Cambodian Department of Fisheries, and the conservation group Save Cambodia's Wildlife.

Fish Threats

Called Pla Buek in Thai, the giant catfish can weigh as much as 650 pounds (300 kilograms) and measure up to 10 feet (3 meters) in length. They are the largest scaleless freshwater fish in the world. Chainarong Sretthachau, director of the conservation group Southeast Asia Rivers Network in Chiang Mai, Thailand, said threats to the giant catfish include commercial fishing, their touting to tourists as a food said to impart wisdom, and dynamite blasting of their spawning ground.

"The rapids and whirlpool ecosystem in Chiang Khong-Chiang Saen is the only area in the Mekong that giant catfish use as a spawning ground and it will be destroyed by Mekong rapids blasting," said Sretthachau.

The blasting project is part of navigation channel improvements planned by the governments of China, Burma, Thailand, and Lao People's Democratic Republic. According to Sretthachau, the spawning ground rapids will be dynamited in December.

As part of their project, Hogan and his colleague Heng Kong, a researcher with Cambodia's Department of Fisheries, buy live fish from fishers in Cambodia. They weigh and measure the fish, gather DNA samples for genetic studies, tag endangered fish, and release them back into the wild.

Over the short-term, the project keeps a handful of endangered fish, including the giant catfish, alive as researchers gain insight into fish migration patterns, habitat use, and mortality rates. "In the longer term, we hope our migration studies and environmental awareness campaign will lead toward more sustainable management of Cambodia's fisheries," said Hogan.

Buy and Release

Hogan launched the conservation project in Chiang Khong, Thailand, in 2000 but moved it to Cambodia in 2001 due to the collapse of Thailand's giant catfish fishery. "Cambodia is now the last place in the world where the giant catfish is captured on a regular basis," he said.

But Cambodia's giant catfish numbers are also low. Fishers along the Tonle Sap River, a tributary to the Mekong, set bag nets from October to December. In 2000, fishers hauled out 11 giant catfish. In 2001 they caught seven. In 2002 they caught just five...

Giant "Mega" Mammal Tooth; Probably a Cat

"The coal beds and seams in Pa. are all Carboniferous, supposedly the age of coal formation prior to the triassic and other dinosaur ages, and animal life in the Carboniferous is supposed to have consisted of invertibrates, insects, fish, and amphibeans at best. Sections of the Carboniferous age, in fact, appear to be termed "Mississippian" and "Pennsylvanian".

This tooth, is a tooth belonging to a very, very large mammal and should not have been found in rocks of the carboniferous. It's a petrified lower canine tooth and as you can see from its size, you would not have wanted to meet its owner.

This find would be just as out of place as would be evidence of man or dinosaur in rocks of this age. This find was made by Ed Conrad along with many other things he has found in coal that prove that something is wrong with the geological time scales favored by modern science.

Duck Soup for a Month

By Grant Holloway
CNN Sydney

ALICE SPRINGS, Australia (CNN) -- The remains of giant geese, some weighing up to 500 kilograms, or more than half a ton, have been discovered in the central Australian desert.

Paleontologist Peter Murray, from the Museum of Central Australia, told CNN Thursday the giant, flightless birds were originally thought to be related to ostriches or emus. But as more bones were unearthed it became apparent they were "definitely geese of some kind".

The fossils are located at Alcoota, about 150 kilometers (95 miles) north east of the central Australian town of Alice Springs. Murray said there were three species of giant goose at the site; two smaller types weighing between 150 kilograms and 200 kilograms, and the larger Dromornis Stirtoni, which tipped the scales at a massive 500 kilograms.

The giant birds -- thought to be the largest that ever lived -- roamed central Australia from "15 million years ago" up until just 30,000 years ago.

The environment is believed to have been vastly different from today's desert conditions, with forests, grasslands and a plentiful water supply. Murray said the latest archeological dig at the site had revealed larger numbers of the smaller species of birds, but they had yet to find a skull.

The team was hoping further excavations over the next few weeks would unearth a skull, enhancing their understanding of the birds. Skulls found of the larger birds show the giant geese had huge beaks and jaws capable of great force but did not have the beak or claws of a carnivore. As a result, it is uncertain what the giant birds may have eaten.

Giant Oyster Fossils Found at 13,000 Feet

Tasted like chicken? We’re not sure but, giant, fossilized oysters, over 500 of them have been found nearly two miles above sea level in the Andes mountains of Peru.

The bi-valve, ocean dwelling mollusks indicate quite obviously that at one time, despite the high altitude, that these mountains had once been under water—as would happen in say—a worldwide flood.

The fossils were found by Cuban paleontologist, Arturo Vildozola near the town of Acostambo in January of 2001. The fossilized oysters (Plagiostoma giganteum) reached a width of 12 feet and weighed up to 650 pounds.

Vildozola places the age of the fossils at “200 million years” (sic) . The fossils were disseminated over a wide area. The oysters were found closed suggesting that they had not been eaten, or had died a natural death. The shells of dead oysters tend to open and the fact that they were closed suggests that they were prevented from opening by burial in silt and earth.

Source: Tourism Circuit, USA Today

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