This Week's Weird News 1/29/21

A new theory regarding when the Tasmanian Tiger went extinct, a Romanian skier who had a frightening encounter with a bear, and a jaw-dropping volcanic rock that is a dead ringer for the Cookie Monster were among the strange, unusual, and enlightening stories to pop up on our radar this past week.

A pair of longstanding mysteries were cast in a new light this past week thanks to some rather thought-provoking scientific studies. First, a team of researchers in Australia collected every known Tasmanian Tiger sighting reported over the last century and, using this massive database, made the argument that the creature actually went extinct about 20 years ago and not in the 1930s as mainstream science suggests. Meanwhile, a fascinating new look at the Dyatlov Pass incident from a pair of experts in Europe found that the tragic event was likely caused by a slab avalanche that was inadvertently triggered by how the doomed hikers set up their tent on that fateful evening back in 1959.

The sometimes-pugnacious nature of the animal kingdom was on full display this week by way of a pair of truly wild stories. First, a skier at a resort in Romania was forced to flee for his life when a bear emerged from a nearby forest and, much to the horror of onlookers watching from the chairlift above, chased him down the mountain. While that particular individual was lucky enough to escape, a man in Australia who had an encounter with an ornery goat was not so fortunate and wound up needing medical attention after the creature charged at him and knocked him to the ground. Adding insult to injury, the antagonistic animal actually hung around the area while the man was being loaded into an ambulance as if it were gloating over the carnage it had caused.

Easily the most eye-catching story of the week centered around an amazing volcanic rock which, when cracked open, bore an uncanny resemblance to the iconic Sesame Street character Cookie Monster. Discovered in the Rio Grande do Sul region of Brazil, the fantastic gemstone was hailed as "probably the most perfect" natural depiction of the famed Muppet ever to be found. In a testament to both the unique nature of the find and the power of pop culture, the rock has already sparked something of a bidding war with at least five people coming forward with offers exceeding $10,000 for the remarkable object.

For more strange and unusual stories from the past week, check out the Coast to Coast AM website.