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Earth Science

New Species of Legless Lizard Discovered Near LAX Runway 103

From an article at Discovery News: "A bustling airport would hardly seem the place to find a new species of reclusive animal, but a team of California biologists recently found a shy new species of legless lizard living at the end of a runway at Los Angeles International Airport. What’s more, the same team discovered three additional new species of these distinctive, snake-like lizards that are also living in some inhospitable-sounding places for wildlife: at a vacant lot in downtown Bakersfield, among oil derricks in the lower San Joaquin Valley and on the margins of the Mojave desert." Here's some more information in the form of a press release from Cal State Fullerton, home to James Parham, one of the discoverers.
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New Species of Legless Lizard Discovered Near LAX Runway

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    They are harbingers of the end times!!!

    • Re:Kill them all! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by icebike (68054) on Sunday September 22, 2013 @05:44PM (#44920235)

      They are harbingers of the end times!!!

      Or the harbinger of planes.

      Found anywhere else than beside a very busy freight airport, you might be tempted to believe they have been there all along.
      But finding Four new species right next to an airport (and as yet, nowhere else), you have to allow for the possibility that they
      arrived in cargo.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 22, 2013 @05:25PM (#44920117)

    Are we sure their legs weren't just run over?

  • Snakes (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 22, 2013 @05:25PM (#44920119)

    They're called snakes.

    • Re:Snakes (Score:5, Informative)

      by filthpickle (1199927) on Sunday September 22, 2013 @05:29PM (#44920165)
      In case anyone else wonders and doesn't want to RTFA.

      The lizards are distinguishable from their slithery relatives based on one or more of the following: eyelids, external ear openings, lack of broad belly scales and/or a very long tail. Snakes, conversely, have a long body and a short tail.

      • Now here's the question: Did they find a snake with eyelids or did they find a lizard with no legs?

        I gotta admit, when I read the headline, I thought the same thing: "What do you call a lizard with no legs? A snake."

        Of course, I also ask, "What do you call a woman with one leg? Ilene."

        Thanks, I'll be here all week. Try the veal.

        • by Sique (173459)
          Grown up in Europe, where legless lizards are quite common (slow worms and sheltopusiks), I never asked myself that. I just thought: Oh, I didn't know yet that in the U.S., there were no known legless lizards until now!
    • They're called snakes.

      You must be a fan of those trained sharks that jump through hoops and play with balls to entertain people.

    • SLJ (Score:5, Funny)

      by Flere Imsaho (786612) on Sunday September 22, 2013 @08:37PM (#44921001)

      They're called snakes.

      Too right. "I'm sick of these motherfucking legless lizards on this motherfucking plane" just doesn't have the same zing to it.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Snakes? On a plane?
      Shirley, you must be joking.

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Sunday September 22, 2013 @05:28PM (#44920157) Journal
    And thus it begins [wikipedia.org].
    • by cusco (717999)

      It's too bad that movie didn't get a wider distribution. We might have been spared much of Kevin Bacon's subsequent 'acting' career.

      • Somehow it made it to four sequels and a TV show. At least with "Land Before Time 6" I can understand who was watching it, but no clue on that one.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    He's been hiding behind my zipper for years.

  • by flyneye (84093) on Sunday September 22, 2013 @05:36PM (#44920195) Homepage

    How's it taste?
    I remember working pipeline as a lad and watching the Mexicans catch Anoles by the tail with their pliers. They'd fire up an Oxy/Acetelyne torch, char it and eat it like jerky on the spot.

    • by amiga3D (567632)

      It tastes like chicken.

      • by flyneye (84093)

        Always figured with all the animals that taste like chicken, some would end up being "natural flavors" in food touting chicken on the label.

        • chicken and turkey hen have the least distinctive taste among meat, so if some other meat has hardly any distinctive taste (as beef, pork or lamb have), you'd end up comparing it to - chicken!

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by radarskiy (2874255)

        Like a legless chicken.

  • Next: Biologists find five legged lizards near nuclear plant.

  • Didn't they just got their legs run off?

  • by PopeRatzo (965947)

    I gotcher legless lizard right here.

  • ... snake-like lizards that are also living in some inhospitable-sounding places for wildlife: at a vacant lot in downtown Bakersfield, among oil derricks in the lower San Joaquin Valley...

  • Not just lizards (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Deadstick (535032) on Sunday September 22, 2013 @06:30PM (#44920453)

    The Miami airport is a sanctuary for the burrowing owl...they poke their little heads up out of the ground and watch you taxi by.

    The open areas adjoining the old Denver airport had a population of raptorial birds that fed on the local jackrabbits and prairie dogs. When the airport moved, the birds moved too -- but not until several years later. Turned out the attraction of the old airport was that the ground critters were deaf from jet noise, and easy to catch. As the next generation of un-deafened animals grew up, the birds moved to easier pickings at the new site.

  • ...it's called a snake.

  • I wonder if they were there BECAUSE the airport was there.
    Save wildlife - build more giant complexes of buildings and asphalt .

    • by BlueStrat (756137)

      I wonder if they were there BECAUSE the airport was there.
      Save wildlife - build more giant complexes of buildings and asphalt .

      FTA: "...among oil derricks in the lower San Joaquin Valley..."

      Save the Slizards!

      Drill baby, drill!

      What sweet irony it would be to see the likes of The Sierra Club, PETA, ELF, etc protesting because new oil rigs aren't going up fast enough!


  • On Imperial hwy. 40 years ago were some apartments we called the great whites. at the top of the hill and more affordable ones at the bottom. Behind the big white apts I seen some of those things as a kid. I am almost certain there were icicle plants back then. So you may still find more in that area. There we no more apartments between these and the beach back then.
  • New species of Lounge Lizard found at Nude! Girls! Nude! near LAX.
  • by Boawk (525582) on Monday September 23, 2013 @12:17AM (#44921657)
    Los Angeles, August 12, 2082
    On Tuesday, a public hearing on shutting down the Los Angeles International Airport was again disrupted by conservationists. This is the second public hearing the LAX Airport Authority has held to consider repurposing the airport property into a nature preserve. Decreasing numbers of passengers and reduced tarmac requirements for liftoff for vessels such as the Boeing 998 Starduster have obviated the need for a traditional airport. In an attempt to stop the meeting, several conservationists handcuffed themselves to the podium. With signs and chants, the conservationists expressed their dismay at shutting down the fragile ecosystem of the rare legless lizard found only at LAX. "Every change the [LAX Airport] Authority makes to the airfield threatens to overturn the delicate balance of nature our legless comrades rely on." inveighed Charles Slatun, the group's putative leader. "We protested quite vocally when airlines began installing sound-dampeners on engines landing at the airport. But now, LAX as a nature preserve? This disregard for extant species must stop!" For months conservationists have been seen acting as informal greeters inside LAX as well as offering free taxi rides to the airport in an effort to convince the public that preserving LAX in its current form is in their best interest.
  • If the researchers would poke around Hollywood, they would find many more.

  • Fess up (Score:4, Funny)

    by sjames (1099) on Monday September 23, 2013 @01:56AM (#44921899) Homepage

    Who's been giving all that booze to the lizards?

  • Perhaps they just pissed-off God [biblehub.com]. This suggests that airport waiting-lounges are what happened to Eden, which, IMHO, puts flaming swords [biblehub.com] to shame ...
  • ... share all of the typical traits of lizards with one obvious exception. ( you get three guesses and the first two don't count)

    to wit:
    Snakes do not have true auditory sense organs. Legless lizards have true ears, as do all lizards.

    Snakes do not have eyelids. Legless lizards do, along with all other lizards.

    Snakes have a forked tongue, and a special chemo-sensing organ. Only a few lizards do, IIRC legless lizards do not.

    Snakes have a short neck and shoulder region, a long torso region and then a short

I was playing poker the other night... with Tarot cards. I got a full house and 4 people died. -- Steven Wright