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Friday, February 06, 2009


The following photographs surfaced some months ago. The story accompanying them which was printed on several Russian websites was:
"Look what they have found in Chelyabinsk city. The story is that there was a construction site with a deep foundation ditch. They have touched some underground river in that place so the water in the ditch didn’t get away so it stayed there full of water. Then some workers a few months later spotted some movement in this water, they threw some pieces of their lunch in the trench which caused a big activity inside. They were puzzled who is there?
And caught one thing up then in big panic stepped away cause it tried to bite them so they had to kill it with some equipment and here are the remains of it. It was around 5 feet length. Nobody of them got any idea of what’s that"

We have been puzzled to for several months. Today, however, we received this email from Liam Proven:
"Reminds me of a horseshoe crab, although I thought those were exclusively marine.
It's also reminiscent of a Triops, but it looks/way/ too big - although Notostracha fit the bill, inasmuch as flooding a long-dry ditch might cause hatching and rapid growth.For all that they claim it was 5' in length, which I find implausible,it looks like someone whacked it with a drain cover and those are fairly large. Perhaps they have confused 5' with 5"? Even so, big for a Triops..."

Well, as far as I am aware, Liam, horseshoe crabs are exclusively marine creatures and the animal pictured does look somewhat like a triops or tadpole shrimp, These are peculiar crustaceans which are found in every continent of the globe except Antarctica.
They are very ancient, and - indeed - Triops cancriformis first appeared around 220 million years ago, and may be the "oldest living animal species on earth."
But all known triops species are tiny, and the largest (from memory a North African species) is only a few inches long. Unless this series of photographs (and the reason we have chosen to revisit this case from 2008 now, is that the website to which Liam directed us had more pictures than we had seen before) is of an extremely small manhole cover, or has been faked, then it shows a bloody big triops.
Over to you guys/ What do you think?


drjon said...

1/. It certainly looks like a Triops to me.

2/. That looks like a telecoms or gas coverplate, not a manhole. Together with the detail of the concrete, I agree with Proven--this thing is actually 5 inches long, not 5 feet.

3/. It looks like it's alive and still moving in tripos3.jpg.

Oll Lewis said...

I thought it was a triop at the time and still do. I've kept triops on a number of occasions and am very familiar with how they look, it's definitely a triop.

It looks very much like a photograph that has been mocked up to suggest the animal is larger than it actually is, but take a look at the water in the photographs and you can clearly see the reflections being bent by the surface tension of the water, something you'd only be able to see if you had to go in really close for the picture.

IIRC the original source of the story was a certain Russian news website widely regarded as about as credible as the Sunday Sport in the UK.

drzox said...



Triops granarius

drjon said...

@drzox -- Bingo.

SillyRuss said...

I can verify the pics in question are all of a notostraca. Looking a closer at the identifying features of this notostraca in question makes it difficult to further identify since it shares features with a few different species.

To bring further skepticism let me point out that there are visible partcles in the dry dirt and edges on the debris from the water. The refraction in the water is excellent which means someone was VERY close to the subject. So close in fact you can easily see the visible pocks from air bubbles in the cement released during the drying process. Yet another indicator of size. Basically it places this poor chap at centimeters more than it does 1.5 meters. The further grainy apearance and identifiable movement, and water wips with no other splashes or other water cast off tell you it is both small and still alive. The complete lack of cracks, broken appendages, digestive, or any other internal organs tells me they really smashed it pretty well with those work tools since it was obviously so viscious and ate the worker's arm off that attepted to capture it.

Everything about this says approximately 6-9cm, at max 15cm depending on the cement, but I wouldn't place a bet on anything more than 3-5 inches.

Jaume71 said...

I am agree it looks like a fake. Indeed you cn look the surface tension of the water, so there are actully DROPS of water.
If you look closer the suposed heavy metallic tap, it looks more like a engraved blak foam, just like those used as protective envelopment for fragile goods.

Here another similar history located in Russia this time with a video.
[url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1O4CdPTKapU&feature=related"]YouTube- Scientists baffled by giant shrimp in Ukraine[/url]
Again the tip is to know if they are moving the "creature" with a stik or with a nail

永 偉 said...

The pictures were taken in Russia, I found them on http://englishrussia.com/index.php/2007/11/11/a-prehistoric-fish-in-russian-pond/ about the same time they hit the news.

The reason I mention this is because Englishrussia.com also has an article about the wildlife of Prypiat now, so long after the Chernobyl disaster. Specifically, the article shows catfish that have grown to enormous proportions, possibly because of contaminants or radiological agents causing a mutation that allows this.

Perhaps the large Triops found in underground streams and rivers in Russia are being affected similarly.

永 偉 said...

Found another picture of a similar giant triops. The forum where I found it said it was taken in Africa, no specific location.


Dr.bubbles said...

It is a Triop, i'll assume we're all clear on that.
It is not fake, pay no attention to the comments below.
It is NOT 5 feet long. It was about the size of a human hand, it is a lot bigger then the average Triop but really, is it that big of a deal?

It's still just a Triop, I like what the 永偉's guy said about this, good theory.

GenePoz said...

This Russian Youtube video from 2008 shows a very large, live triops. Too bad it's so blurry, but it's real. Estimate from the stick and how it moves to be 5-6 inch head and 1 foot tail. It would nice to know the species.