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Tom Toles
Posted at 07:20 AM ET, 10/16/2013

Is this real???

We can’t agree on much anymore, but I think we can agree that we live in strange times. But not usually strange in this particular way.

The Internet has made possible two things. First is the ability to track down and verify information in an instant. Second is to post and disseminate disinformation widely and quickly, to confuse the gullible. There are not that many things that are outside these two categories, but the GIANT FLYING SQUIRREL is one of them, for a while anyway. Here we have a Newly Discovered Species, and not some minor variant of some bug with an extra pair of spots or something. But a GIANT FLYING SQUIRREL! Well over a yard long! Or do we? Have YOU read about it? Has anyone covered it? It’s supposedly a Biswamoyopterus laoensis, if you want to go hunting (for info) yourself.

I read about it in The Express, a Post-owned tabloid that they hand me when I get on the Metro. The Express is known for inventive, wry headlines on straight news items such as “Bee Receives Round of High Fives Upon Return to Hive” over a story about a woman who was stung by a bee resulting in a series of runaway-auto mishaps. Good early morning reading, but not necessarily the Encyclopedia Britannica, if there is still one of those. The Express item about the squirrel compared its size to actor Peter Dinklage, a colorful, if not strictly scientific scale of measurement.

Anyway, why haven’t all of us heard of this thing by now? Are we really so jaded about new discoveries? If so, why are we looking for bacteria on Mars? Apparently, our reaction to new discoveries on earth is our reaction to all things on earth. “Let’s eat it.” The squirrel was discovered at a food market.

By  |  07:20 AM ET, 10/16/2013

 
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