Posted by: Loren Coleman on June 21st, 2008
As part of an EPSRC funded public understanding of science project, the University of St. Andrews has teamed up with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) to produce a website dedicated to the statistics/biology behind whale surveys.
Visitors (aged 16 -21) can play a computer game which takes them on a whale survey and explains how whale population numbers are actually estimated.
The winner of the computer game (and a friend) can win the chance to go on an actual whale survey in the IFAW sail boat Song of the Whale at the end of the summer. The competition closes on the 30th June 2008.
Cryptozoology scholar Charles Paxton is one of the involved scientists. He wants the help of any UK young people who can assist.
“What is the connection to cryptozoology?,” you ask.
“You can try to beat my score on the game in the beat the boffin section! It is also useful for 21st century cryptozoologists to be clued up about statistics and this computer game allows younger UK residents to do this with the stunning prize where they have some probability of seeing some of the most little known marine mammals on the planet: beaked whales.
“The success of our project is measured by the number of people visiting the website so we want as much publicity as possible. ”
I then asked, “If one of the lads or lassies wins this prize, what are the statistical chances they might actually see a Sea Monster, a real cryptid, during their winning WhaleQuest trip?”
“Good question. The answer is their chance of seeing an unknown giant species (my definition of a monster) is, of course, close to, but not equal to, zero as we know such animals are still being discovered. However, their chance of seeing a little known marine giant like a beaked whale could be quite high. Their probability of seeing whales of a variety of species equals 1. It is the chance of a lifetime for the aspiring marine cryptozoologist or biologist.”
If interested, and you live in the UK and are 16 to 21 years old, go to this website.