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Don't count out the 'Cuerocabra' yet

By Sonny Long
Oct. 31, 2008 at 5:31 a.m.


CUERO - Phylis Canion is not alone, and the "Cuerocabra" may have new life after all. Despite initial DNA findings that the animal found near her property in July is an old coyote, Canion isn't the only one who thinks the animal is something special. The Discovery Channel also believes there is more to the story. The cable television network has taped an episode of Discovery Kids from Canion's ranch about the animal, dubbed a chupacabra, and will also air an episode for adults on the same topic. Both one-hour shows will air during the first quarter of 2008.

It was the revealing of the DNA results last week that has the Discovery Channel chiming in on the findings. "The end result is misleading, grossly misleading…this thing is not a coyote. The issue was the facts were incorrect and interpreted as something it really was not," according to an e-mail from the Discovery Channel. "How often does one get to be on the leading edge of introducing the world to a new mysterious species? Chupacabra is just a name, but what is important is naming the new species that has been found and if Phylis wants to name it a chupacabra or a Cuerocabra then it should be done. This was mishandled and should be given the proper scientific attention it deserves."

Representatives of the Discovery Channel, including a crypto zoologist, met Thursday with the Texas State University-San Marcos biologist who conducted the initial DNA tests, then returned to Canion's ranch and set up additional camera equipment to try and capture the animal on tape. Canion has recently spotted another one of the animals on her property.

In addition to the Discovery Channel, a television crew from Italy has been to the ranch and a one-hour documentary is expected to air in Rome next week. A television station from Japan has also contacted Canion about doing a story.

On Monday Canion will send additional samples to the University of California at Davis for more DNA testing. She will send a back molar and a one-inch skin sample to the school that has an extensive DNA database for comparison.

A lab tech at UC-Davis explained to Canion that the new tests might reveal a new "sub-species." The original DNA tests at Texas State University were compared to a computer database, not actual DNA. Canion is paying the $1,000 for this testing unlike the first test, paid for by a San Antonio television station.

Sonny Long is a reporter for the Advocate. Contact him at 361-275-6319 or cueroadv@vicad.com, or comment on this story at www.VictoriaAdvocate.com.

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