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The Weird Week in Review

Frankenfossil in Custody Battle

In a complicated court case, Eric Prokopi imported the bones of a Tyrannosaurus bataar to the U.S. and told customs officials it was worth $19,000. He later sold the reconstructed skeleton at auction for over a million dollars. Then officials from Mongolia claimed that Prokopi took the fossils from the country illegally. The U.S. government seized the fossils on behalf of Mongolia. Prokopi says that the bones were not only brought over in several different batches (explaining the "value"), but that the bones in the reconstructed display are from several different dinosaurs instead of a single specimen. The next hearing in the case will be in December.

Theft Leads to Potato Spill

A thief hijacked a truck carrying 13 tons of potatoes at a farm in Essleben, Germany. However, he neglected to make sure the back door was closed securely before he took off.

"He was pretty easy to follow because he left this huge trail of potatoes behind him," explained one farm hand.

The hapless crook eventually fled empty handed when the trailer overturned, bursting one of the tractor's rear tyres causing it to crash into an electricity pylon.

Emu Underpass Canceled Due to Stupidity

When highways are built in Australia, bridges and underpasses are often designed to help koalas, reptiles, and possums cross safely. Such a plan was hatched to help emus use their territory when a new highway is built in New South Wales. Environmentalists objected to the road, which would cut through a coastal emu habitat and possibly wipe out the local population of the big birds. When highway officials offered to build underground tunnels for the emus to use, environmentalists nixed the idea, because unlike other Australian species, emus lack the intelligence to learn how to use the crossings. An environmental assessment of the planned road is expected later this year.

How to Tell the Quads Apart

Tan Chaoyun is the mother of identical quadruplet boys. The six-year-olds are starting school, and teachers at the local primary school in China are concerned over how to tell the four boys apart. So, Tan ordered them all different haircuts. The barber shaved their heads, leaving a small patch on each boy's head in the shape of the numbers one, two, three, and four! The numbers will help at home, too, because even the quads' father has a hard time telling which son is which.

Bank Robber Trapped in Bank

An unnamed man found that crime doesn't pay when he was trapped after an attempted bank robbery. An employee flipped a switch as the 27-year-old suspect tried to leave the bank in Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania. The remote lock trapped him in the bank's double-door entry. He pounded on the glass until he left blood stains. But he had been warned.

Had the robber taken a closer look as he went inside, he would have seen a notice in green letters on the front door: "Enter one adult at a time. This ACU door is a protection against robberies."

Another sign higher up on the front glass says, "WARNING This property is protected against robberies by an access control unit."

After the police arrived, the man was taken to the hospital, then to the local jail.

Shooting Deaths Highlight Family Ties

A second victim has died in a shooting in Bandon, Oregon. Timothy Henson is accused in the deaths of Milton Leach and George Micheaux. The three had all lived together with two women in Myrtle Creek. Here's how they are related:

Ruth Micheaux, born 1965, was married to victim George Micheaux, born in 1993. The other victim, Leach, born in 1942, was Ruth Micheaux’s ex-husband. Ruth Micheaux is the mother of Vallena Tuell, born in 1981. Tuell is married to the suspect, Henson, born in 1969.

Besides murder, Henson faces kidnapping and assault charges for wounding Tuell.

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Animals
Bizarre New Species of Crabs and a Giant Sea Cockroach Discovered in Waters Off Indonesia
One known species of isopod, or "giant sea cockroach"
One known species of isopod, or "giant sea cockroach"
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A crab with green googly eyes, another with "ears" resembling peanuts, and a species of giant sea cockroach are among the dozen new kinds of crustaceans discovered by scientists in the waters off Indonesia, Channel News Asia reports.

These finds are the result of a two-week expedition by Indonesian and Singaporean scientists with the South Java Deep Sea Biodiversity Expedition (SJADES 2018), which involved exploring deep waters in the Sunda Strait (the waterway separating the islands of Sumatra and Java in Southeast Asia) and the Indian Ocean. Using trawls, dredges, and other tools, researchers brought a huge variety of deep-sea life to the surface—some species for the very first time.

"The world down there is an alien world," Peter Ng, chief scientist of the expedition, told Channel News Asia. "You have waters that go down more than 2000 to 3000 meters [9800 feet], and we do not know … the animal life that's at the bottom."

The giant sea cockroach—technically a giant isopod, also nicknamed a Darth Vader isopod—is a new species in the genus Bathynomus, measuring almost a foot long and found more than 4000 feet deep. The isopods are occasionally seen on the ocean floor, where they scuttle around scavenging for dead fish and other animals. This marked the first time the genus has ever been recorded in Indonesia.

Another find is a spider crab nicknamed Big Ears, though it doesn't actually have ears—its peanut-shaped plates are used to protect the crab's eyes.

More than 800 species were collected during the expedition, accounting for 12,000 individual animals. Researchers say it will take up to two years to study all of them. In addition to the 12 species that are completely new to science, 40 were seen for the first time in Indonesia. Creatures that the scientists dubbed a chain-saw lobster, an ice cream cone worm, and a cock-eyed squid were among some of the rarer finds.

A "Chain-Saw Lobster"
Nicknamed the "Chain-Saw Lobster," this creature is a rare blind lobster, found only in the deep seas.

Researchers took to the giant sea cockroach quickly, with some of the crew members reportedly calling it “cute” and cradling it like a baby. Check out Channel News Asia Insider's video below for more insight into their creepy finds.

[h/t Channel News Asia]

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Weird
The Mysterious Case of the Severed Feet in British Columbia
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While walking on the beach, many people look out for a number of things: Shells, buried treasure, crabs, and dolphins among them. But if you’re on a beach in British Columbia, you might want to keep an eye out for something a little more sinister—about 15 severed feet have washed up on the shores there in the past few years. The latest was found on May 6, wedged in a mass of logs on Gabriola Island, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

The feet have been surprising unlucky British Columbians for over a decade. The first appeared back in 2007 on Jedediah Island; it was eventually matched to a deceased man whose family declined to provide additional information. Bizarre, but not particularly alarming—until another one showed up on Gabriola Island less than a month later. More feet followed, and though some were matched to missing persons, most remained anonymous (feet, unfortunately, don’t contain much identifying information). Instead, police focused on the fact that each foot was encased in a running shoe—though sizes, genders, and brands differed.

This seems like a real-life episode of The X-Files, but it turns out there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for the severed feet: They’re not really “severed,” which would indicate cutting or slicing, at all. According to scientists who tested the theory, the feet likely belong to suicide, drowning, or plane crash victims. It’s common for decomposing bodies to come apart at the joint, making it natural for the foot to come apart from the leg. But if that’s the case, wouldn’t hands be similarly susceptible to washing up on beaches? Nope, that’s where the shoes come in.

While the rest of the body naturally decomposes in water, feet are surprisingly well protected inside the rubber and fabric of a shoe. The soles can be pretty buoyant, and sometimes air pockets get trapped inside the shoe, making it float to the surface. Most of the “severed” feet have been clad in jogging shoes such as Nikes and Pumas, but at least one case involves a hiking boot. In that instance, the boot (and foot) was matched to a man who went missing while fishing more than 25 years ago. The most recent case also involves a hiking boot.

That leaves the question: Why British Columbia? According to Richard Thompson, an oceanographer with the federal Institute of Ocean Sciences, it’s connected to ocean current. “There’s a lot of recirculation in the region; we’re working here with a semi-enclosed basin. Fraser River, False Creek, Burrard Inlet—all those regions around there are somewhat semi-enclosed. The tidal currents and the winds can keep things that are floating recirculating in the system." Several feet have also been found further south, in Washington state, which shares a network of coastal waterways with British Columbia.

Others aren’t so quick to accept this scientific analysis, however. Criminal lawyer and crime author Michael Slade still wonders if a serial killer is afoot. "We also have to consider that this could be a serial killer," he said. "Somebody who right now is underneath the radar. That has to be on the table."

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