It's a Jackelope!
June 3, 2004 7:56 AM   Subscribe

It's a jackelope! Or maybe an antefeline! Or perhaps a lupursa or... heck, I don't know what this strange creature wandering Bill and Gayle Kurdian's back yard is, and neither does the curator of the North Carolina Zoo.
posted by headspace (40 comments total)
Obviously fake.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 8:11 AM on June 3, 2004

Hey weird, I was on my way to place a classified ad about a yard sale we're having (6/26 @ 10 AM for you Triad residents) and just read this.

When I was glancing over the page, I just thought it was a tall, fat fox until I read the caption and realized its a NEW EXCITING MYSTERY ANIMAL.

We're easily amazed here in Central NC.
posted by jennyb at 8:17 AM on June 3, 2004

Finally! a thylacine, they didn't go extinct, they just immigrated to America.
posted by milovoo at 8:27 AM on June 3, 2004

I think you should forward that link to the NC Zoo, milovoo! You could have made the discovery of the century!
posted by headspace at 8:30 AM on June 3, 2004

I think I'm with Monju. I'm no expert, but the line along the top of the back leg doesn't look quite right to me.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:36 AM on June 3, 2004

Well, that thing could be some kind of long-legged fox, or it could be the infant stage of a vicious new kind of carnivore which will grow to 300 lbs, be able to tear the doors off automobiles and devour the occupants, and reproduce at an astonishing rate, threatening human life throughout the Carolinas.

I think they should kill it just to be safe.
posted by Loudmax at 8:36 AM on June 3, 2004

^it's. Duh.
posted by jennyb at 8:41 AM on June 3, 2004

I'm sure they know about thylacines, besides the jaw is too small, but it is surprisingly close isn't it.
(it's weird that googling "long-legged fox" is just not finding me the right kind of images)
posted by milovoo at 9:02 AM on June 3, 2004

It's also a bit like a aguara guazu or maned wolf, but that tail really seems off. Maybe it is fake.
posted by milovoo at 9:11 AM on June 3, 2004

That looks like a fox head, a cougar front legs and torso, and the haunch and rear legs looks just like a deer. I don't know about the tail. Cougar again, maybe?

But I have always loved the idea of unknown animals gliding through our mists, clever enough to evade dumb old man. Naturally tendency to root for underdogs, I guess, even if they aren't real.

Hey, maybe it's an underdog?
posted by dglynn at 9:17 AM on June 3, 2004

For me, it's the way the head sits on the neck that scans weird - they don't look connected - plus the shadows behind the rump and tail. I think the whole body's a deer, or at least the hindquarters and neck. The tail is almost monkeylike.
posted by furiousthought at 9:26 AM on June 3, 2004

reminds me very much of a maned wolf, except for the tail. and the maned wolf has those black go-go boots. and lives in south america. other than that, though....
posted by steef at 9:52 AM on June 3, 2004

I know! It's a...

...What the hell is that thing?

my guess: a Manticore.
posted by obloquy at 9:53 AM on June 3, 2004

was pretty sure i knew what it was almost immediately. did a double-check. i think i'm right. it's a maned wolf, otherwise known as a stilt legged fox. judging from the hair length it may be a hybrid or a short-haired variety. they're south american, but there's no reason one couldn't have been brought here and released.

i felt it was sort of odd that a mammals curator couldn't identify it on sight, but then again i've probably got an unusual amount of weird mammal-related knowledge in my head. i do so love mammals. (probably because (a) i happen to be one and (b) had an awesome mammalogy prof, who has since become one of my committee members...)
posted by caution live frogs at 9:56 AM on June 3, 2004

Since foxes are a canine, can a fox & a dog mate; creating an offspring?
posted by thomcatspike at 9:56 AM on June 3, 2004

damn you and your posting before me, steef... why did i hesitate before hitting "post"? why?????
posted by caution live frogs at 9:57 AM on June 3, 2004

Mammal, mammal
Their names are called
They raise a paw
The bat, the cat
Dolphin and dog
Koala bear and hog
The fox, the ox
Giraffe and shrew
Echidna, caribou

And that about exhausts my mammalian knowledge.
posted by mbd1mbd1 at 10:12 AM on June 3, 2004

Curious. The face and head really does quite resemble the maned wolf images I'm seeing, but the body - not so much. Here's a nice page with some good maned wolf photoss. According to this, it is an endangered species. (Also, it's description sounds just like my husband: "Fast runner. Monogamous. Wary but curious in captivity.")
posted by taz at 10:31 AM on June 3, 2004

Hmmm, I'm unconvinced, though the maned wolf explanation really had me going for a minute. First of all, the tail, plus the markings on the face, and I still don't think that head looks right. Compare it to this one. I don't see any curve in the neck of the animal photographed in the article.

The article says it was "fox-sized." (It looks bigger than a fox in the picture.) Maned wolves are 3 feet tall at the shoulder. What do their young look like? I can't find any pictures.
posted by furiousthought at 10:33 AM on June 3, 2004

Try aguara guazu, I guess I should have put a link before.
I don't even have a degree in biology, just watch a lot of PBS.
posted by milovoo at 10:45 AM on June 3, 2004

Remember when the rabbit in Bloom County (can't remember his name) had kids with Rosebud, the last basselope (Basset Hound/Antelope). At first he felt emasculated and destined to a life of fatherhood (since the litter was over 5 dozen), but then found out Jackabasselope young mature at 7 days.
posted by abcde at 10:46 AM on June 3, 2004

milovoo: no, you mentioned aguara guazu up above, so I should have searched that too. Still didn't find any young ones. (With the one group picture, it's unclear if the group in front is young or what, though it kind of looks like it.) I'm curious if the facial markings on the young are different.
posted by furiousthought at 11:20 AM on June 3, 2004

You know, for those calling fake - unless you can suss out some obvious Photoshop hooha - just think how many folk have exotic animals as pets. Now think about how many stories we read about those pets accidently getting lose or being set free. So it's possible...
Meanwhile I wonder what it's eating.

(abcde - the rabbit was named Hodgepodge. Right?)
posted by batgrlHG at 11:39 AM on June 3, 2004

The Crab-eating Zorro has fur that is more similar to the picture than the Maned Wolf (as far as I can tell from low-res). It also has more subtle "boot" markings. The legs are too short and the tail still seems wrong though. some useful lists

Perhaps it is a hybrid of the maned wolf and the zorro, although the fact that it is several thousand miles out of the known range of either (endangered) species makes this far-fetched as well. .... and the tail!
posted by milovoo at 2:01 PM on June 3, 2004

I'm still not sure whether this guy has a weird animal in his yard or a computer with photoshop, but I have to say I am digging on that maned wolf. That is one wild looking collection of modifications for dealing with a specific environment. Neat stuff, people.
posted by dglynn at 2:18 PM on June 3, 2004

milovoo, it's obviosly a cross between a ????? and a ????????????? ??????.
posted by undecided at 2:20 PM on June 3, 2004

Ouch, that looked different on preview. Appropriate though, I guess.
[Also, obviously, obviously. Second post, first typo. Ouch indeed.]
posted by undecided at 2:25 PM on June 3, 2004

Which is cool, because everyone thought the ????? was extinct.
posted by milovoo at 2:26 PM on June 3, 2004

Until it made a rare appearance right here in this very thread.
posted by undecided at 2:31 PM on June 3, 2004

Dude, that's totally a hodag.
posted by mimi at 7:57 PM on June 3, 2004

No, dude, it's an alzabo, a species of wolfe:

The third bear is the alzabo. This ghoulish monster animal of Urth is based upon medieval legends concerning the hyena, and yet when the alzabo appears in The Sword of the Lictor it clearly has bearish traits: “Its fur looked red and ragged in the firelight, and the nails of its feet, larger and coarser than a bear’s, were darkly red” (The Sword of the Lictor, chapter 16, p128). When Severian later sees the alzabo by daylight, he notes: “It was so large and moved so swiftly that I at first thought of it a red destrier, riderless and saddleless” (p135). The alzabo has a bear’s claws, a bear’s body mass, and bear-like fur that is red like the colour of the dying sun. Severian’s combat with the alzabo is complicated by the manoeuvrings of Agia (who wants to kill Severian) and Casdoe (the one whom the alzabo is after), so in the end Severian pledges a truce with the monster. The next day the alzabo is killed by zoanthrops (wild men), and Severian looks upon the corpse with some compassion.

Although, in this case it's clearly a juvenile.

(Interestingly, I have not previously related the alzabo to its' creator, but one must admit, there is a certain authorial veracity in the creature's voice).
posted by mwhybark at 11:46 PM on June 3, 2004

Hey, maybe it's an underdog?

That's awesome.

This ghoulish monster animal of Urth....

On first reading, I took that as "monster animal of Utah..."
posted by oissubke at 12:08 AM on June 4, 2004

10,000 points for the Hodag reference.
posted by drezdn at 10:28 AM on June 4, 2004

I emailed the article to a listserv of canid specialists, I'll parse out the useful replies when I get a few more responses.
posted by milovoo at 2:38 PM on June 4, 2004

Nice work, milovoo. I posted the link on an Australian Nature forum.

Lotsa interesting theories, but no one can agree there either.

Keep me posted. I'm interested.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:32 PM on June 4, 2004

So many people are saying it's a fake, but that just seems odd to me. If it's a fake, it's a tough one, because the shadows projecting on the house seem right for a low level flash, and there doesn't seem to be any pixel irregularities (if one can judge from a second or third copy). Also, this Bill Kurdian seems to be an upright guy, active in the community, etc, but not a photoshop wizard. I wonder if the second picture mentioned in the article is published anywhere.
posted by milovoo at 9:19 AM on June 6, 2004

It still could be a fake but I'm not buying the "shadows are all wrong" argument.

Like you said, it's probably a low-level flash... and I'm guessing the flash might not be attached to the camera either. I think that's confusing some people. They assume that it's a normal camera with flash, mounted on a tripod.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:20 PM on June 6, 2004


Any updates?!
posted by uncanny hengeman at 12:07 AM on June 10, 2004

"Everyone's got an Opinion" is the News & Record's empty-of-facts follow-up. They're asking to name the mystery creature in a whatchamacallit bulletin board. Which, after reading some of the entries, I'm leaning away from the maned wolf theory and toward a malnourished Carolina dog (the American dingo).
posted by steef at 10:04 AM on June 12, 2004

Thanks for the update!

BYW, the American Dingo looks very similar to the Australian Dingo. Ain't natural selection grand?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 10:12 AM on June 12, 2004

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