New Zealand had no endemic land mammals before human colonization, leading to an explosion of diversity in bird life that eventually led to the evolution of the massive Mao and pouakai. But bats were also able to reach the isolated archipelago, and represented the only native placental mammals pre-settlement. Three species have been described, but an account exists of a supposed fourth, a “giant bat” comparable in size to a kiwi bird.

British naturalist and eccentric Sir Nigel Herbert Burton described the fossil remains he had collected on South Island to a Royal Society colleague in a letter dated 1913. Herbert Burton describes the remains as “most prodigious” while giving several contradictory size, weight, and wingspan figures. Most interestingly, Herbert Burton describes large “predatory talons” which may have indicated a raptorial hunting style similar to a bird of prey, something that is all but unknown in any other bats, living or extinct.

Unfortunately, the discovery is impossible to verify; Herbert Burton and his staff, as well as the remains themselves and all his notes, were lost aboard HMS Incredible when it was torpedoed off the Portuguese coast by SM U-62 in 1915. As there were no survivors of the sinking, with only the submarine’s logbook as proof of its demise, speculation has run rampant for decades that the remains of the kiwi-bat, as it has come to be called, are held in some dusty warehouse waiting to be uncovered. Kiwi-bats have also proven popular as a local cryptic, with at least one known “Kiwi Bat Tour” offered out of Dunedin as of 2012.

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“Bufflehead Duck” was a girl band during the 90s, though their aesthetic harkened back to the heyday of the bubblegum pop era. Despite never reaching the heights of popularity that other, more “serious” bands achieved, Bufflehead Duck retained enough devoted fans, or “ducklings,” to be able to tour continuously during the 2000s and 2010s, often overseas. Particularly in Japan and Russia, the band was popular enough to chart new songs over a decade after their last major hits in the US/UK. In fact, of the three “BuffDuckCon” events that were held, one was in Los Angeles, one was in Tokyo, and one was in St. Petersburg. The band eventually broke up in 2015, after criticism of the Russian invasion of Crimea led to a ban on the band in that country. The lead singer, Juniper Washington, subsequently withdrew from public life and was reported to be living on Hokkaido with a fan as of 2019.

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One of the stranger side effects of the Fisher-Oliver process was that it allowed, for the first time, actual color information to be retrieved from the genetic information of fossils and sub fossils. Naturally, this led to paleontological geneticists to use the process on the most popular of dinosaurs, with the hope that the subsequent media attention would lead to future funding. In most other cases, the Fisher-Oliver process had worked flawlessly, revealing trilobites to be, in general, a pale olive while also astounding scholars in revealing that the thycaleo or marsupial lion had leopard-like spots.

But when applied to Cretaceous dinosaurs, the results were stunning: not only were there dozens if not hundreds of colors, varying by individual and across feather and skin, but the colors were by and large pigments that existed beyond the spectrum of visible light and appeared to have clashing, mutually contradicting pigments: so-called hyper colors. The hyper color t-rex, it seemed, was possessed of colors that no living eye could perceive and no extant color system could display, for reasons unknown. In the end, unsatisfied by this answer, the researchers substituted known colors for hyper colors, resulting in the infamous “neon giant chicken” display at the Field Museum in Chicago.

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“I get that you’re just throwing dinosaur DNA at the wall to see what sticks, I really do. But this time you’ve gone too far.”

“Nonsense. Once it learns how to balance, my giraffe with t-rex arms will be an unstoppable force!”

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“This piece represents the struggle of man against nature, the struggle of nature agains man, and the musical interplay between them both.”

“I see. What do you call it?”

“The pianist who has been turned into a tapir.”

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The tape is well, worn, the cardboard box covering it bleached by sun and barely holding together. Singalong Weasel, copyright 1985. The animation is very limited, and hundreds of plays have given the picture a fuzzy, lived-in quality. The songs, all nursery rhymes, are warmly and full of the vibrato that comes with lost media. As the tape plays on, the lyrics seem oddly wrong. Words are dropped here, replaced there. Was the song always about a burglar in the straw? Surely the three blind lice did not have their scales cut off with a pruning knife. The box says 35 minutes, but the VCR timer is at two hours. Did they even finish the animation here? It seems too slow, the pitch of the voice is all wrong, it seems too low. The lyrics sing of a turnkey with a cause, how Mary had to lift a hand to crease the time that flows. A door opens in the distance, even as the singing continues, lower and slower, lower and slower. Something is coming through. Pattycake, patty cake, on the way a cursed man, make your E S C A P E as fast as you C A N

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Attested only from two specimens collected in 1907 and 1909 near the Khyber Pass, the Baja reticulates or reticulated cobra is sometimes called the “unicorn cobra” due to its rarity. Due to the difficulty in accessing its Afghan habitat during the 20th century, it has been the subject of much speculation, with some even guessing that the specimens were forgeries.

After a systematic search in late 2003 collected some sub fossil remains, a partial gene sequence was obtained that seemed to indicate that the reticulated cobra was a distinct species, perhaps a relict, and possibly a member of its own genus. Its current taxonomic status remains in dispute, with the IUCN listing it as Data Deficient while NatureServe classifies it as GX, Presumed Extinct.

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“Rescuing cats is one thing. Running a cat sanctuary is another. But this?” Ben indicated the gene-splicing equipment with a wave of his hand. “This is too far.”

“I’ve had a singular vision, an image which has haunted my waking and sleeping hours for years,” Liz said. “A color spectrum made entirely out of cats, one for every color of the rainbow. I’ve got every natural color variation, all the richest yellows, oranges, and whites. But it’s not enough. And these jellyfish genes are the only way to make that vision a reality.”

“And what happens then?”

“The gate opens, my friend. The gate opens.”

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As anyone alive in 2003 will remember, the “Lemon Shark” ditty was everywhere for a few months. Starting off as a simple advertising hook for R1ngt0nes.Biz, along with four others (Orange Bear, Lime Tiger, Tangerine Lion), Lemon Shark quickly eclipsed the others and became the focus of a sustained advertising campaign. Combined with a variety of lemon sharks, including CGI and men in suits, an extended version of the song even charted in both the UK and the US.

Of course, there was a downside to the fad, and a reason that it disappeared more quickly and completely than most. R1ngt0ne.biz didn’t sell ringtones, but rather sold subscriptions to a ringtone service that charged $20 per month for access to a library of 20,000 tones, including Lemon Shark. Most people, upon receiving their first month’s bill, called to complain and within a year the company was so inundated by lawsuits and complaints that its Delaware business license was revoked. While Lemon Shark was sold (to Guangzhang Heavy Industries Co. Ltd. d/b/a Harmonium Labs), the subsequent uses of the character very quickly sank into obscurity.

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The Ingram Expedition, also known as the Erstwhile Expedition after its main vessel, HMS Erstwhile, was an attempt on the Northwest Passage. While not as infamous as the lost Franklin Expedition that preceded it, the Ingram Expedition is noteworthy for the unusual method in which it met its end.

Ingram had been a mate on one of the many expeditions funded by Lady Franklin to find her husband, and had arrived home determined to make his own attempt at the route. In Ingram’s mind, the lack of appropriate stores was the major problem for any such expedition, and so he set to work finding a way for his ship to can and preserve the meat that it hunted along the way for future use.

In doing so, he collaborated with “Doctor” Omar Cyrus to create and perfect a portable cannery that would produce long-lasting and shelf-stable foods. Ingram was recorded as boasting that his “shelf-stable puffin” hunted in the Grand Banks would see his crew through the Passage. There was just one problem: Cyrus was an utter charlatan, with a fake medical degree and no actual experience in canning or preservation. His equipment and methods were, by and large, useless and led to spoiled stores or worse, outbreaks of acute botulism. This was discovered in a major food scandal not long after Ingram had set out, but a cutter sent to intercept him was unable to locate HMS Erstwhile.

The ship was eventually located off Baffin Island, having drifted some distance from its route and become icebound. Several men who had died of botulism were aboard, and the local Inuit led searchers to the graves of the few survivors, whom they had been powerless to help.

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