Friday, May 23, 2008

Keeping a Slightly More Open Mind!

It's rare nowadays that my assumptions about how the world works get really shaken up. You know, you take multiverses in your stride, so what else is surprising? Well, yesterday's incident has shaken me from my complacency in this regard. Something peculiar happened.

We were walking down a dried-up river gorge when my son decided to scale straight up the side of a 50 foot cliff...(yep, yep, yep, SS can come and get me now). He looked over the top and then fairly quickly came back down to report in slightly shocked and incredulous tones "I think I've just seen something like a cheetah."

I have in the past given absolutely no credence to reports of big cats in the countryside, so I didn't take him terribly seriously at the time, but I had to eat my words in the next couple of minutes.

We all walked on a little further on to a point where the cliff flattened out into a bank up which we could all climb. All four of us looked over and could see, by now in the far distance, an animal which appeared to be the size and shape of a cheetah, but which looked to be a sort of greyish brown, running at a roiling speed across the top of the field, along the tree-line of very wild woodland.

It was certainly not a deer or a boar...just the wrong shape. I really don't think it could even have been a big greyhound...again just not the right shape. The shape and the running style looked feline.

People we then bumped into to said matter-of- factly..."Oh yes, there are big cats up there". My guess is that we will never find out but it has made me realise that I should keep a more open mind about some surprising things!

6 comments:

Leo said...

You could report to
http://www.britishbigcats.org/

Confirmation bias would make it hard for your brain to not interpret a distant moving blur as a cheetah after you were told so.

My country has a big cat for real, if endangered. Look, a close up photo:

http://www.theage.com.au/ffximage/2007/09/14/svLYNX_narrowweb__300x434,0.jpg

Carlotta said...

I do kwym, but I really, really did look out for confirmation bias both because of the truth-seeking principle, and also for another reason...recent conversations with a friend who had to give evidence recently - it was instructive to run through what she actually saw.

Leo said...

What species do you think it could it be? From the site it seems it could be a Lynx too.

Carlotta said...

DS does say that looks like what he saw. Apart from looking a bit more reddy brown, it would match with what I saw from a much greater distance. I wonder!

Carlotta said...

Ah..I've just seen that it says about the lynx "Northern animals tend to be greyer and less spotted than southern animals. " Hmmm...

Carlotta said...

Ok, DS and I have been looking at this again, and he now thinks it was a puma because of the tail and size issue.

We have also just heard that a puma is known to be in the area.