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April 08, 2006

More Ancient Tomes Bound In Human Skin

And another Call of Cthulhu adventure idea:

A 300-year-old book that appears to be bound in human skin has been found in northern England, police said Saturday.

The macabre discovery was made on a central street in Leeds, and officers said the ledger may have been dumped following a burglary.

Detectives were trying to trace its rightful owner and believe it may have been taken from a dwelling in the area.

Much of the text is in French, and it was not uncommon around the time of the French Revolution for books to be covered in human skin.

The practice, known as anthropodermic bibliopegy, was sometimes used in the 18th and 19th centuries when accounts of murder trials were bound in the killer's skin.

Oh, man. Accounts of murder trials were bound in the killer's skin? That's a horror-story plot just waiting to happen.

Related: Everest expedition discovers new species:

Here's a sampling of the outlandish critters [Gallery]:

-- Giant hornets so deadly locals call them "Yak Killers"
-- Jumping "Yeti" mice
-- A new grasshopper species in which the males hitch piggy-back rides on the females

I like that.

---Baby blue-faced golden monkeys, the region's largest primates ---Hamster-like pikas that eat their own feces

Wowzers. A hamster that eats its own crap.

A couple of new frog species, eight new insect species, and ten new species of ants to add the more than 11,000 already known.

Don't we have enough ants?

This link is to a gallery of pictures and sketches of the new species.

A red panda, which zoologists are having trouble categorizing, as it may be related to raccoons, bears, or even skunks. Or it could be unrelated to any of them, and come from its own isolated branch of the tree of life.

A golden monkey.

A serow, whatever that is, looking all spooky.

The giant "yak killer" hornet, growing up to two inches long. The thing stings with venom that dissolves human flesh -- necrotizing venom, I think it's called -- and is potent enough to kill a yak.

The male grasshopper piggy-backing on a female. Apparently not just because he's lazy, but to keep other males from mating with her. Scientists are torn between naming it the "Stalker Grasshopper" or the "Cockblocking Cricket."

And finally, that "yeti mouse," which isn't really as fearsome as I'd hoped:

I wish it had big fangs that could be used to bite out a human's neck after jumping up, but no, it's just a cute little mouse with a name that greatly overstates its combat abilities.

Ace of Spades HQ -- your source for pulp-adventure plots and incidental elements.

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posted by Ace at 04:50 PM

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