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Cryptozoology: My picks
dalecoz
This is the answer to a survey question from Jim Rittenhouse.  He asked which Cryptozoological animals people thought would be the most interesting if they turned out to be real.  Cryptozoology is a fancy name for looking for Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster, etc. In Cryptozoolgoical circles, beasties like Bigfoot are known as "cryptids".  I consider most of the famous cryptids to be almost certainly mythicalf.  A few of the less known ones might actually be real. My response to Jim's survey:

"Well, the four most fun ones in my book would be: (a) Hadropithecus (large sort-of Baboon like lemur from Madagascar), (b) Giant Spider monkey (cool for comparisons to Great Apes), (c) Marsupial Lion, (d) New Zealand mammal (can't remember the name).  If it was a descendant of the Miocene beastie that was described not long ago we could be looking at a living representative of the mammal-like reptiles, which would be scientifically very cool."

Okay.  That probably lost almost everybody.  Let me supplement that answer with a little more description of the animals involved:

Hadropithecus was one of the large lemurs that became extinct in Madagascar (large island off the east coast of Africa) within the last 1000 or so years.  Madagascar has not been connected to the mainland since the age of dinosaurs.  As a result, the animals there are a collection of random animals that happened to drift there over the time the island was isolated.  The most spectacular of those animals are the lemurs.  In Africa, the close realtives of lemurs are small nondescript night-living animals.  In Madagascar lemurs didn't have to compete with most of the other animals that kept them in check in Africa so they developed into a large and spectacular array of animals large and small, including forms that probably looked a lot like a giant koala bear, and some that probably looked and acted a lot like baboons.  Hadropithecus was one of the baboon-like species.  The big lemurs and other large animals of Madagascar were for the most part destroyed in the last 1000 years or so, when people came in and burned down much of the forest for grazing and crop land.  Some of the species came frustrating close to surviving until Europeans arrived, including at least one of the baboon-like species, which survived into the 1500s.  Previously undiscovered species are still showing up on Madgascar, so it's possible a tiny remnant of Hadropithecus or one of its relatives could survive in some little corner of the island.

Giant Spider monkey: South American monkeys are a very different breed than the ones in Africa and Asia.  They've been isolated from their relatives for half to two-thirds of the age of mammals.  At the same time they are in many ways very similar to the monkeys in the old world.  The two lines developed in parallel.  One major diference though is that South American monkeys are small compared to the old world versions.  The largest of them is not much bigger than a large housecat in terms of weight.  Old World Monkeys get much bigger, and Apes get bigger still.  So why the difference?  It's beginning to look as though South America had a range of larger monkeys, but they died off in the last ten thousand or so years.  Four or five years ago, scientists found fossils of two large apparently extinct South American monkeys.  One of them was essentially a giant spider monkey.  By giant I mean relative to the existing spider monkeys.  This one probably weighed 60 pounds.  Spider monkeys tend to have big brains for their size, and this one apparently had a noticeably large brain for a spider monkey of it's size.  It would be interesting to compare this thing to say a chimpanzee in terms of behavior.  And there is a very remote chance it may be lurking in some pocket of South America to give us a chance to do that.  Undiscovered large animals do still turn up every couple of years in South America.

Marsupial Lion: Think of a wombat grown to nearly lion-size and specialized for catching and eating large animals and you've kind of got the picture.  What do you get when you cross a wombat and a lion?  This is probably about it.  Marsupial Lions were around during the ice ages and died out not too many thousand years ago.  A lot of Australians claim to have seen animals that look sort of like a big cat but not quite over the years and people still seriously search for them.

New Zealand mammal:  When the first people landed in New Zealand a thousand or two years ago, they found islands apparently without native land mammals.  Giant birds called the Moas did most of the things that mammals did elsewhere, and a giant eagle was probably the top predator on the islands.  There were rumors of a land mammal of some kind, but no skeletons turned up.  A few years ago, rumors that a fossil New Zealand mammal had been found swept through the paleontology community.  That stayed rumor for a few years, then a description of the mouse-sized beastie surfaced in one of the paleontology magazines.  The mammal involved wasn't recent.  It was from the Miocene--millions of years ago.  At the same time it wasn't dinosaur-type old.  It probably survived 50 million years or so after the age of dinosaurs ended.  And that's what made this little beastie intriguing.  It appears to have been from a side branch of the mammal tree that ws supposed to have died out at least by the time the dinosaurs did, if not before.  So here we have an animals surviving a good fifty million years past its expiration date, but apparently not quite long enough for us to take a look at it.  Thean again who knows?  There is a very small chance it might have survived.  It doesn't take a lot of terriotry to hide a mouse-sized beastie.

Cryptozoology is probably for the most part wishful thinking, and those are the four animals I wish were still around for us to see them.

I Just hope it isn't close
dalecoz
My view of politics has long been "a pox on both of their houses", and frankly this election hasn't changed that.  What I do hope very strongly is that the presidential part of this election is not close.  It needs to be decided decisively on election night.  One of the major candidate needs to win both the popular vote and the electoral vote by a large enough margin that there are no extended court fights, no serious doubts about who won this state or that.  I don't care which of them does that as much as I do that one of them do it.

The last two elections have been polarizing, exposing fault-lines between larger urban areas and smaller cities and towns, between the coasts and the much of the rest of the US, between ethnic groups.  With the electorate already polarized, the potential for problems is just too great if another 2000-type fiasco occurs.  That needs to not happen.  If it does, one of the candidates needs to put ambition aside and quickly concede.  You really don't want this one disputed and in the courts for a couple of weeks or longer.