Leaning Tower Bells in Niles

 

 

The Leaning Tower of Pisa SB.jpeg    Leaning Tower of Pisa  Wikipedia

 

__________________________________
Leaning Tower bells in Niles, Illinois are survivors.  Some might be among oldest in U.S.
Construction of the Leaning Tower of Niles, Illinois,  a half-size replica of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. was begun in 1932. (Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune ) This bell, one of five located inside the Leaning Tower of Niles, is believed to date to 18th-century Italy. (Chicago Bell Advocates photo)
By Jennifer Johnson Pioneer Press, Chicago Tribune, `10.11.17

Image result for leaning tower of lincolnwood photo  Leaning Tower of Niles
High inside the iconic Leaning Tower of Niles are remnants of another time and place.
Five bronze bells, three bearing religious motifs and Latin inscriptions, wait to ring again. The writing on the Latin-inscribed bells suggests their ages.
One dates back nearly 400 years.
If their ages can indeed be proved, they could very well be among the oldest church bells hanging in the United States — and the rarest, according to Kim Schafer, founder of Chicago Bell Advocates, an organization dedicated to helping owners of tower bells restore and maintain them.
“If you go to Mexico, which was a colony of Spain dating back much longer and had a strong Catholic tradition, you will find bells as old or even older. But in the United States, it’s much rarer,” Schafer said.
But where did they come from? And how did they get to Niles?
Schafer and her organization are helping to unravel the origins of the bells as the village of Niles continues its renovation of the Leaning Tower, a half-size replica of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, which has stood along Touhy Avenue since the 1930s.
Niles Mayor Andrew Przybylo said restoring the bells so they can ring once again is a goal.
“Maybe by adding one or two more we could create enough tones, enough notes to chime out some music,” he said. “If we do a celebration at the base for some holiday, maybe there’s a way to chime out some music.”
According to the book “The History of Niles, Illinois,” written by Dorothy C. Tyse and published in 1974 to mark the village’s 75th anniversary, construction of the 94-foot-tall Leaning Tower of Niles began in 1932 and was undertaken by businessman Robert Ilg as a way to conceal a water tank that supplied spring water for two outdoor pools on the site.
When the tower was completed two years later, Ilg “dedicated it to the memory of Galileo,” who demonstrated that objects of different weights fall at the same speed when he dropped various items from the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Tyse’s book said.
At the time, the property on which the tower stood was a park for employees of Ilg’s electric ventilating company. Later, Ilg would leave the tower — and the land surrounding it — to the YMCA, with the stipulation that it remain standing until 2059 and an average of $500 be spent on maintenance annually, the Chicago Tribune reported.
This summer, the village of Niles took over ownership of the tower after years of leasing it from the Leaning Tower YMCA and paying to maintain it, said Przybylo. The cost of the purchase was $10.
Following previous studies that determined extensive repairs to the tower were required, the village began rehabilitation work. So far, approximately $750,000 worth of repair and restoration of the tower’s exterior has been completed, said Mary Anderson, director of public works for the village of Niles. This work does not include restoration of the bells or replacing existing railings around the tower’s exterior, she said.
It was the potential historic nature of the bells that came to light during the tower renovations, said Bernie DiMeo, spokesman for the Leaning Tower rehabilitation project.
Przybylo said little had been said about the bells during his political career with the village, which dates back nearly 30 years.
“I don’t remember anybody highlighting the bells,” he said. “They were a treasure we didn’t know we had.”
A report from Chicago Bell Advocates, completed at the request of the village of Niles, found that three bells, dated 1623, 1735 and 1747, were each cast in Italy, and that at least one of them likely hung in a church in Cavezzo, a town about 150 miles northeast from Pisa.
“Chicago Bell Advocates has no reason to doubt at this time that the three Italian bells are authentic and date from the 17th and 18th centuries,” the report reads.
Each bell features Catholic imagery: A crucifix. Madonna and child. Faces of cherubs. A grape vine. The oldest bell is inscribed, in Latin, with a line from a Catholic prayer in devotion to Mary, the mother of Jesus: “Ave, Maria, full of grace, the Lord be with you.”
A fourth bell, according to the report, is dated 1912, and appears to have been created at a foundry in San Francisco. It bears a leaf pattern and an inscription in Italian that includes the word “Vespruccio,” which, according to the research report, is the name of one of the bells in the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Robert Ilg lived in San Francisco as a young man, according to “The History of Niles, Illinois.”
The fifth bell in the tower is undated and cracked, though it can be repaired to ring again, the report says.
Since the report was compiled, Chicago Bell Advocates spoke with a researcher in Cavezzo, Italy, who found that church bells in Cavezzo were sold to a foundry in Milan in the 1930s in order to be recast for new bells, Schafer said. That was right around the time the Leaning Tower’s bells arrived in Niles, so Schafer believes it is entirely possible that instead of recasting, the bells were sold — and are as old as their dates say.
“I think they just sold them to Ilg or some middle man who then sold them to Ilg,” Schafer said.
But details of the acquisition to confirm Schafer’s theory have not yet been found.
“We have been trying to uncover that story, and it’s unclear how the connection was made between Robert Ilg and this foundry,” Schafer said. “That’s a mystery we will hopefully one day be able to uncover.”
Chicago Bell Advocates also recovered written correspondence between a Cavezzo church and the foundry, but they require translation, Schafer said.
While a process called a metallurgical analysis can help “narrow down the ages of the bells,” the method is not foolproof, Schafer said. The Chicago Bell Advocates report indicates that there are several opportunities for additional research, including searching records of the United States Customs Service, which can found in the National Archives, and conducting research within the community of Cavezzo.
Chicago Bell Advocates has not been contracted for additional studies at this time, and the organization is currently advising the village on how to remount the bells and get them ringing again, as they are not currently operational, Schafer said.
It is unclear when the bells last sounded, but newspaper reports from the last several decades seem to indicate that hearing the bells was not a common event.
In October 1958, the Chicago Tribune reported that the bells rang for the first time in 15 years to celebrate $54,000 raised by YMCA workers for renovation work inside the tower and construction of an athletic field, ice skating rink and camping area on the grounds, which was the headquarters of the Skokie Valley YMCA.
In November 1963, special note was made of the ringing of the bells when ground was broken for new YMCA facilities, including the construction of residential accommodations, which still exist, the Tribune reported.
Anderson, the village’s public works director, said she has heard the sounds of the functioning bells, describing them as having a “decent tone.”
“We were really excited when Chicago Bell Advocates started working on this for us,” she said. “It’s a very cool piece of history in Niles.”
Once the current tower renovation is complete, it will be available for visitors to explore, Przybylo indicated.
“The plan is to clean it up, turn (the first floor)] into a visiting center where people can be told the story of the tower and bells before they proceed up the stairs,” Przybylo said.
He added that the hope is to allow groups to climb the tower by next spring or summer, with a goal of the tower securing a place on the National Registry of Historic Places.
“It’s part of our brand,” Przybylo said of the Leaning Tower. “Our brand and our village logo is the Leaning Tower. A lot of people know about it.”
jjohnson@pioneerlocal.com
Twitter @Jen_Tribune

Deafening mystery grows in Cuba

Physics of injuries, methods don’t add up, officials say
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Sunday the Trump administration is considering closing the U.S. embassy in Havana. (Desmond Boylan/AP 2015)
By Josh Lederman, Michael Weissenstein and Matthew Lee Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The blaring, grinding noise jolted the American diplomat from his bed in a Havana hotel. He moved just a few feet, and there was silence. He climbed back into bed. Inexplicably, the agonizing sound hit him again. It was as if he’d walked through some invisible wall cutting straight through his room.
Soon came the hearing loss, and the speech problems, symptoms both similar and altogether different from others among at least 21 U.S. victims in an astonishing international mystery still unfolding in Cuba.

The top U.S. diplomat has called them “health attacks.” New details learned by The Associated Press indicate at least some of the incidents were confined to specific rooms or even parts of rooms with laser-like specificity, baffling U.S. officials who say the facts and the physics don’t add up.
“None of this has a reasonable explanation,” said Fulton Armstrong, a former CIA official who served in Havana long before America re-opened an embassy there. “It’s just mystery after mystery after mystery.”
Suspicion initially focused on a sonic weapon, and on the Cubans. Yet the diagnosis of mild brain injury, considered unlikely to result from sound, has confounded the FBI, the State Department and U.S. intelligence agencies involved in the investigation.
Some victims now have problems concentrating or recalling specific words, several officials said, the latest signs of more serious damage than the U.S. government initially realized. The United States first acknowledged the attacks in August — nine months after symptoms were first reported.
It may seem the stuff of sci-fi novels, of the cloak-and-dagger rivalries that haven’t fully dissipated despite the historic U.S.-Cuban rapprochement two years ago that seemed to bury the weight of the two nations’ Cold War enmity.

But this is Cuba, the land of poisoned cigars, exploding seashells and covert subterfuge by Washington and Havana, where the unimaginable in espionage has often been all too real.
The Trump administration still hasn’t identified a culprit or a device to explain the attacks, according to interviews with more than a dozen current and former U.S. officials, Cuban officials and others briefed on the investigation. Most weren’t authorized to discuss the probe and demanded anonymity.
“The investigation into all of this is still under way. It is an aggressive investigation,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said last week. “We will continue doing this until we find out who or what is responsible for this.”
On Sunday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the Trump administration is considering closing down the U.S. embassy in Havana. Tillerson’s comments were the strongest indication to date that the United States might mount a major diplomatic response, potentially jeopardizing the historic restart of relations between the U.S. and Cuba.
“We have it under evaluation,” Tillerson said of a possible embassy closure. “It’s a very serious issue with respect to the harm that certain individuals have suffered.”
Investigators have tested several theories about an intentional attack — by Cuba’s government, a rogue faction of its security forces, a third country like Russia, or some combination thereof.

Yet they’ve left open the possibility an advanced espionage operation went horribly awry, or that some other, less nefarious explanation is to blame.
Aside from their homes, officials said Americans were attacked in at least one hotel, a fact not previously disclosed. An incident occurred on an upper floor of the recently renovated Hotel Capri, a 60-year-old concrete tower steps from the Malecon, Havana’s iconic, waterside promenade.
The cases vary deeply: different symptoms, different recollections of what happened. That’s what makes the puzzle so difficult to crack.
In several episodes recounted by U.S. officials, victims knew it was happening in real time, and there were strong indications of a sonic attack.
Some felt vibrations, and heard sounds — loud ringing or a high-pitched chirping similar to crickets or cicadas. Others heard the grinding noise. Some victims awoke with ringing in their ears and fumbled for their alarm clocks, only to discover the ringing stopped when they moved away from their beds.
The attacks seemed to come at night. Several victims reported they came in minute-long bursts.
Yet others heard nothing, felt nothing. Their symptoms came later.
The scope keeps widening. Last week, the State Department disclosed that doctors had confirmed another two cases, bringing the total American victims to 21. Some have mild traumatic brain injury, known as a concussion, and others permanent hearing loss.
Even the potential motive is unclear. Investigators are at a loss to explain why Canadians were harmed. Fewer than 10 Canadian diplomatic households in Cuba were affected, a Canadian official said. Unlike the U.S., Canada has maintained warm ties to Cuba for decades.
Sound and health experts are equally baffled. Targeted, localized beams of sound are possible, but the laws of acoustics suggest such a device would probably be large and not easily concealed. Officials said it’s unclear whether the device’s effects were localized by design or due to some other technical factor.
And no single, sonic gadget seems to explain such an odd, inconsistent array of physical responses.
“Brain damage and concussions, it’s not possible,” said Joseph Pompei, a former MIT researcher and psychoacoustics expert. “Somebody would have to submerge their head into a pool lined with very powerful ultrasound transducers.”
Other symptoms have included brain swelling, dizziness, nausea, severe headaches, balance problems and tinnitus, or prolonged ringing in the ears. Many victims have shown improvement since leaving Cuba and some suffered only minor or temporary symptoms.
After the U.S. complained to Cuba’s government earlier this year and Canada detected its own cases, the FBI and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police traveled to Havana to investigate.
FBI investigators swept the rooms, looking for devices. They found nothing, several officials briefed on the investigation said.
In May, Washington expelled two Cuban diplomats to protest the communist government’s failure to protect Americans serving there. But the U.S. has taken pains not to accuse Havana of perpetrating the attacks.
Cuba’s government declined to answer specific questions about the incidents, pointing to a previous Foreign Affairs Ministry statement denying any involvement, vowing full cooperation and saying it was treating the situation “with utmost importance.”
“Cuba has never, nor would it ever, allow that the Cuban territory be used for any action against accredited diplomatic agents or their families, without exception,” the Cuban statement said.

Flood–pets and great people

Notes on radio reports for which I haven’t found stories  to include here (RJN).

Suppose you were offered rescue in a flood but would have to leave your dogs, cats, birds behind.  So hard!  Some people have refused rescue and died with their pets.  That’s why the Texas legislature is considering a law requiring rescuers to take animals.  Think of all the problems in the arenas and other rescue centers!

–A family whose house was safe from flooding looked at their snorkel-equipped jeep with their inflatable kayak and said, “Why not?”  With this special equipment, they went to a village for the elderly. At a house their jeep could not approach, they took the kayak in and brought out a couple.  The man had had recent heart surgery.  They went on to make 14 more pick-ups.

Solar Eclipse in Libya

Total solar eclipse in the Libyan desert. People are spread out over the stony sand, many with telescopes and cameras on tripods, ready for “1st contact” at 11:17. Twenty busloads of people from our ship stop milling around, quiet down . As the moon takes its first bite of sun, there is some cheering. Then people return to visiting, checking on the eclipse from time to time.

We watch through welder’s glass . As the eclipse approaches TOTAL, people become very quiet. There is noticeable dimming of light. A cool breeze comes up. The planet Venus comes out in the darkening sky. The circle of horizon around all around us glows orange, like sunset.

 

 

Story image for total eclipse photos from Ars Technica

Totality comes at 12:35.Some people cheer–we are too moved to talk. It’s fairly dark, as just after normal sundown. White streamers blaze out all around the black disk. It has a red rim on one side, blue rim on other. We see “Bailey’s beads” of several colors on the edge of the disk. We do not see the “shadow bands” expected to slide across the ground.

As totality ends after 4 minutes, we see the “diamond ring” effect– a brilliant blossom of white with a white rim on the opening edge of the moon.

Media image for total eclipse photos from CNBC

As the moon slides away, people resume chatting, pack their equipment.  Everyone has a slightly different memory of this experience, but no one leaves unmoved.

 

RJN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: 50,000 Rubber Ducks in River

Terrence Antonio James/Chicago Tribune

Workers corral and scoop the roughly 50,000 rubber ducks out of the Chicago River on Thursday after the 11th annual Windy City Rubber Ducky Derby. Proceeds for the event — in which supporters “adopt” ducks in the race — benefit Special Olympics Illinois.

– See more at: http://digitaledition.chicagotribune.com/tribune/article_popover.aspx?guid=7e46eb0f-cac7-402c-953a-d4d5f0e4ac83&t=1470399146939#sthash.2lHZOkac.dpuf

Sails in the Sunset

 

One of the pleasures of living high over Belmont Harbor on Chicago’s lakefront was to see the boats come home after a day’s racing out in Lake Michigan.  They sailed in line, their colorful spinnakers full and glowing in the late sun.

_____________________________________________________________

These boats represent a different kind of racing–millions of dollars invested in design, construction, and sailing toward the America’s Cup on an ocean course.

Anthony Souffle/Chicago Tribune

Sailing teams practice near Navy Pier for the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series. Chicago is the sixth stop in the competition, essentially qualifying races for next year’s main event in Bermuda. Six teams from around the globe, including defending America’s Cup champion Oracle Team USA, are competing on Saturday and Sunday in the first freshwater races in the event’s history. The others are Emirates Team New Zealand, Softbank Team Japan, Team France, Land Rover BAR (Britain) and Artemis Racing (Sweden).

 

 

– See more at: http://digitaledition.chicagotribune.com/tribune/article_popover.aspx?guid=5424a78b-9d2d-4cf8-b156-302fd865f8ed&t=1465651175629#sthash.UzzQeeY5.dpuf

 

Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

 

One summer we visited a friend who was working as a ranger at Pictured Rocks National Lake Shore on Lake Superior in Northern Michigan.  I remember just one thing of that trip.

The rangers were living in a former Coast Guard station where I went to the 2nd floor for the bathroom.  When I sat down there, I was facing a plaque that said, “You are sitting in the radio shack that received the first distress signals from the S.S. Edmund Fitrzgerald.”  There was the story of the  Great Lakes freighter that went down the horrible day and evening of November 10, 1975, with its crew of 29.

Image by R. LeLievreImage by R. LeLievre

The reason for the sinking has been argued, but I’m interested in the theory of the Three Sisters. ” Perhaps the most romantic theory about the wreck of the Fitzgerald is that the ship succumbed to the forces of the Three Sisters, a Lake Superior phenomenon described as a combination of two large waves inundating the decks of a boat and a third, slightly later monster wave that boards the vessel as it struggles to shrug off the effects of the first two.”

Image result for gordon lightfoot photos
Gordon Lightfoot song

SS Edmund Fitzgerald underway, photo by Winston Brown

Edmund Fitzgerald in 1971
History
Name: SS Edmund Fitzgerald
Owner: Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company
Operator: Columbia Transportation Division, Oglebay Norton Company of Cleveland, Ohio
Port of registry: United States
Ordered: February 1, 1957
Builder: Great Lakes Engineering Works of River Rouge, Michigan
Yard number: 301
Laid down: August 7, 1957
Launched: June 7, 1958
Christened: June 7, 1958
Maiden voyage: September 24, 1958
In service: June 8, 1958
Out of service: November 10, 1975
Identification: Registry number US 277437
Nickname(s): Fitz, Mighty Fitz, Big Fitz, Pride of the American Flag, Toledo Express, Titanic of the Great Lakes
Fate: Lost in a storm on November 10, 1975, with all 29 crewmembers
Status: Sank because of weather conditions
Notes: Location: 46°59.91′N 85°06.61′WCoordinates: 46°59.91′N 85°06.61′W[1]
General characteristics
Type: Lake freighter
Tonnage:
  • 13,632 GRT
  • 8,713 NRT (from 1969: 8,686 NRT)[2]
  • 26,000 DWT
Length:
Beam: 75 ft (23 m)
Draft: 25 ft (7.6 m) typical
Depth: 39 ft (12 m) (moulded)
Depth of hold: 33 ft 4 in (10.16 m)
Installed power:
  • As built:
  • Coal fired Westinghouse Electric Corporation steam turbine at 7,500 shp(5,600 kW)
  • After refit:
  • Conversion to oil fuel and the fitting of automated boiler controls over the winter of 1971–72.
  • Carried 72,000 U.S. gal (270,000 L; 60,000 imp gal) fuel oil
Propulsion: Single 19.5 ft (5.9 m) propeller
Speed: 14 kn (26 km/h; 16 mph)
Capacity: 25,400 tons of cargo
Crew: 29

Home-Built Roller Coaster

When my brother Tom and I were small boys, a man we understood to be a retired firefighter bought a house in the neighborhood and fitted out his garage as a wood-working shop.

He made a lot of toys and let us watch.  I don’t remember his talking to us at all. One special toy he made for us kids: a roller-coaster in a vacant lot.  Not as elaborate as the one linked here, it was really just a slide about 8 feet high made of rails with a little car and a 20 foot runway.  Lots of fun.

VIDEO

RADIO  Builder tells his story  (“free ride” with other segments including “flying pumpkins”)

“Monster” Lived in Illinois–New Info

 

Monstrous news on state fossil front
By Steve Johnson Chicago Tribune   3.17.16

   Since 1955, when amateur fossil hunter Francis Tully discovered the unlikely prehistoric creature in a coal mining area near Morris, the thing that would be named the Tully monster has presented one of the great puzzles in paleontology.   Much as the people of Metropolis wondered whether Superman flying overhead was a bird or a plane, scientists have struggled to classify these fossils that showed traits associated with several disparate animal types and such abnormalities as eyes mounted on an external bar and a long, toothy proboscis.   “If you put in a box a worm, a mollusk, an arthropod and a fish, and you shake, then what you have at the end is a Tully monster,” said Carmen Soriano, a paleontologist at Argonne National Laboratory. 

  The Tully’s renown stretched even to the Illinois state legislature, which named it the official state fossil in 1989, some 308 million years after it inhabited the shallow salty waters that turned into the state’s Mazon Creek geological deposits, in Grundy County, one of the richest fossil troves on Earth.  

Now, though, Tullimonstrum gregarium has a home on the Tree of Life rather than in the biological category known as the “problematica.” Utilizing the synchrotron X-ray machine at Argonne and the Field Museum’s collection of 2,000 Tully specimens, a team from those two institutions, Yale University and the American Museum of Natural History announced in a paper published Wednesday in the journal Nature that “The Tully monster is a vertebrate.”  

Below that headline, the paper describes Tully as belonging “on the stem lineage to lampreys,” a find that “resolves the nature of a soft-bodied fossil which has been debated for more than 50 years.”    “This is one of the mysteries that I heard about since I was a kid,” said Soriano. “To be able to study, to basically ‘unmonsterize’ the monster, is really exciting.” 

  “Resolving this is a big deal,” said Scott Lidgard, the Field’s associate curator of fossil invertebrates and another of the paper’s authors. “It’s one of the examples used in textbooks around the world as what are called ‘problematica,’ ” creatures that defied ready classification and were sometimes thought to be examples of extinct phyla, or animal categories.   “This is kind of a poster child for that sort of evolutionary puzzle,” Lidgard said.

The finding “changes it from a mystery to a fishlike organism that is probably on the lineage leading to what we would recognize as lampreys.”  

It’s also a big moment for those who study lesser prehistoric animals and realize, said Lidgard, that “we’re never going to be as popular as dinosaurs and fossil birds.”  

The Tully monster is named for its assemblage of features, not for any sort of fearsome size. The biggest of the many, many specimens that have been found suggested a maximum length of about 18 inches and typical length of 12.  

But because Mazon Creek fossils are so well preserved, there is a lot of Tully to study. Skeletons have not survived, but detailed impressions in stone have.   “If you see the specimens, they are typically well preserved,” Soriano said. “It’s not that they are a blob in the rock.”  

BOB FILA CHICAGO TRIBUNE 1987   Francis Tully’s big fossil find was made near Morris.

Tully, a pipefitter for Texaco and lifelong fossil hound, described his find to the Tribune in a story in 1987, also the year of his death: “I found two rocks that had cracked open from natural weathering. They held something completely different. I knew right away. I’d never seen anything like it. one of the books had it. I’d never seen it in museums or at rock clubs. So I brought it to Chicago to the Field Museum to see if they could figure out what the devil it was.” 

  The first scientific paper describing the Tully monster, and giving it its vivid Latin name, came in the mid-1960s from one of Lidgard’s predecessors at the museum, who “thought it was a worm,” Lidgard said.   Later papers proposed that it was a “free-swimming shell-less snail,” he said, and then a conodont, extinct eel-like creatures very rare in the fossil record.   “I’ve been looking at this thing for 30 years,” said Lidgard. “Years ago I had a stab at it, thinking it might be related to squids. We gave up. We didn’t publish anything.”  

What got the ball rolling again was Lidgard hearing about Victoria McCoy, a Yale grad student exploring the Mazon Creek deposits who would become the paper’s lead author.   They met at a 2014 conference, and the following year, an assembled team spent three weeks at the Field studying its Tully specimens.   The Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, southwest of Chicago, came into the picture because of its advanced imaging techniques using the Advanced Photon Source, an electron accelerator and storage ring that “provides ultra-bright, high-energy storage ring-generated X-ray beams for research in almost all scientific disciplines,” according to Argonne.   “The thing with these machines is they are incredibly powerful microscopes,” Soriano said. “We can get information not only on the morphology of the sample, but also on the structure, on the composition.”   It allows people “to see what no one saw before basically,” she said. 

  What the scientists saw, as they studied the Argonne imagery, digital photographs of the fossils and the fossils themselves were characteristics that tied the Tully monster to lampreys.   A chemical analysis of the eye stalks, for instance, showed the presence of zinc, “very similar to the material in the eyes of vertebrate fossil fishes,” said Lidgard.   “Tully is usually preserved so that you’re looking down on its back,” he added. “Every so often you can see its side. In those twisted fossils we found a very few where we think we can distinguish openings we interpret as openings to a particular kind of gill structure present in very primitive fishes like lampreys.” 

  And they were able to find the animal’s gut trace, as well, the shadow of its digestive system, in the lower part of the body, which suggested that what had previously been thought to be a gut trace up on the back was in fact a notochord, a flexible rod in the back.   That made it a primitive vertebrate, he said. He does not recall a moment where somebody said, “Hey, lamprey!” but recalls that “it became more and more clear,” he said. “As those results started to come in, it was pretty convincing right away.”  

So if the Tully monster is now a known vertebrate lamprey ancestor with a place in the historical animal record, that raises two big questions:   First, do all those specimens at the Field move out of the invertebrate department?   Paul Mayer, collections manager of invertebrate fossils, laughed. “I’ve been talking with the vertebrate fossil collection manager,” he said. “We’re going to wait a couple of years and make sure there’s no rebuttal. It’s a lot of work to move these things up the stairs to where his collection is.”   Question two: Does the Tully monster need to be renamed?   “No, because it’s still a monster,” said Soriano.   “It’s something really different from anything we have seen. It’s one of a kind. If you come back to this idea of a monster as anything strange, it’s still strange.” sajohnson@tribpub.com Twitter @StevenKJohnson

Why Conspiracy Theories ?

 LISTEN  at source  18 good minutes

What prompts people to think in this way? How should Governments react to the people who doubt them? Or are they in fact critical in our attempts to hold Governments to account?

Mike Williams talks to a psychologist, a Professor of Political Science and a conspiracy theorist as he attempts to separate fact from fiction.