NEWS CLUES: Like A Montauk Monster Mash Of Truth

WHY SO SERIOUS? Olsen Twin Refuses To Speak To DEA Without Immunity

batmanjokercropped_1.jpgNEW YORK — Federal investigators want to question Mary-Kate Olsen about how Heath Ledger got two powerful painkillers that contributed to his accidental overdose death, but she’s refusing to talk without immunity, a law enforcement official said Monday. Olsen’s lawyer has twice refused requests for her to speak with investigators, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing. The lawyer, Michael C. Miller, said the “Full House” actress has nothing to do with the drugs, and has already told the government everything she knows. “We have provided the government with relevant information including facts in the chronology of events surrounding Mr. Ledger’s death,” Miller said in a statement Monday, “and the fact that Ms. Olsen does not know the source of the drugs Mr. Ledger consumed.” The official confirmed a report that Olsen wants a promise of immunity from prosecution before speaking to the Drug Enforcement Administration. Olsen was a close friend of Ledger’s, and was the first person called by a masseuse who found the 28-year-old “Dark Knight” actor’s lifeless body in his Manhattan apartment. [via ASSOCIATED PRESS]

SCIENCE DUDE: Montauk Monster Is A Rotten Raccoon, You Rubes

rockyraccoon_1.jpgThe Montauk monster therefore owes its bizarre appearance to partial decomposition. The tendency for the soft tissues of the snout to be lost early on in decomposition immediately indicates that the ‘beak’ is just a defleshed snout region: we’re actually seeing the naked premaxillary bones. And this is confirmed by new photos which show without doubt that this is the case (oh well, so much for the eagle-dog hypothesis). Is the carcass that of a dog? Dogs have an inflated frontal region that gives them a pronounced bony brow or forehead, and in contrast the Montauk monster’s head seems smoothly convex. As many people have now noticed, there is a much better match: Raccoon Procyon lotor. It was the digits of the hands that gave this away for me: the Montauk carcass has very strange, elongate, almost human-like fingers with short claws. Given that we’re clearly dealing with a North American carnivoran, raccoon is the obvious choice: raccoons are well known for having particularly dextrous fingers that lack the sort of interdigital webbing normally present in carnivorans. [via TETRAPOD ZOOLOGY]

GIVIN’ THE DOG A CLONE: Doggie Duplication Now As Simple As Six Figures

2_headed_dog.jpgSEOUL (Reuters) — Two South Korean labs are offering pet owners the chance to clone dogs, but for those looking to bring back a beloved beagle, be ready to wait in line and have plenty of cash on hand. The Seoul-based labs — one affiliated to RNL Bio Co and the other to Sooam Biotech Research Foundation — are separated by about 30 km (20 miles) and bill themselves as the only places in the world where you can clone a cocker spaniel or retrieve a retriever, with costs running at about $50,000 (25,000 pounds) to $100,000. But the labs are turning out far more copies of working dogs and endangered breeds than pets. Customers such as South Korea’s customs service have cloned a champion sniffer dog, seeing the option as a cost-effective way to produce candidates for expensive training programs. The customs service estimates the cost at 60 million won (30,128 pounds) per clone. It costs about twice that to breed and train a normal sniffer dog, but only about 30 percent are good enough to make the grade, it said. [via REUTERS]

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