The Puma Buttes
MGS Image # M0202619
Mars Chart 14
Access the MOC images and ancillary data at
Image courtesy NASA/JPL/MSSS
This feature is located in Granicus Valles at longitude 226.12 deg W, latitude 28.41 deg N, and has a scaled pixel width of 7.57 meters.
Bumps, hills, and other raised areas give the impression of a large cat, a panther or a lioness. An eye and an ear is visible. The bottom lip hangs down loosely. One can see the shoulder and how the left front leg stretches forward.
There is the impression of a collar around the neck.
The entire 3.03 kilometer image width is presented above. The head is over 800 meters long.
The missing tail and left claw allows for predictions here... will other images of the area show a big cat's hind leg, long tail, and claw? Here is a test for artificiality.
The use of out-of-frame predictions allows for the application of the a priori principle, a fundamental tenet of science. Artistic impressions will be confirmed or denied by new imagery of the areas, as long as the image is complete and undamaged.
October 20, 2003
So there is indeed a tail...
The 100 m/px THEMIS image is of low resolution, but good enough to clearly see a feline tail. It is significant here that the length, as well as other numerous aspects, of this then-unseen feature was accurately predicted, and done so based on the hunch that this feature is artificial in origin, landscape art.
There is never any absolute "proof" in science, only degrees of certainty based on what is most probable from the available evidence. The only absolute in scientific method is refutation. So we build tests that can refute a theory. The out-of-frame test could have definitively refuted the Puma claim, but it passed this test, and apparently with flying colors. (Note the kink in the "tail" near its base, a classic position for a cat's tail when the cat is active.) In fact, the result of the test is evidence against the skeptical "fortuitous land forms" claim.
Many of the apparent large scaled art forms presented on this site appear to have been buried deep for ages, then exposed when natural forces cleared surface material away. The Skullface appears to have been exposed because of a landslide at a chasm wall. The Face and D&M are big enough to be recognized in spite of layers of material piled upon them. In the case of the Puma, fluid appears to have moved the material away in this outflow channel. To point out the obvious natural erosion does not necessarily mean what's left behind is natural in origin, necessarily. Archaeologists tend to look for, and find, artifacts in these eroded areas. (Although not artifacts, finds of dinosaur skeletons in North America is a case in point.)
The incredulous, rhetorical question, "how likely is..." can now be answered to some degree, and in a serious manner, because of the positive result of the out-of-frame test. But to be fair, the question (and this is not a rhetorical question, but a challenge the Puma skeptics must now address) must now be posed from the opposite point of view: how likely is it the then-unseen features could have so precisely been predicted, not only their length, but in such detail?
Congradulations to Mac Tonnies for appreciating the scientific reasoning behind the out-of-frame technique, regardless of the particular image used to demonstrate it, this "puma", and having the courage to weather the obligatory waves of ridicule associated with claims of lanscape art in support of this technique. My personal thanks to Mac for posting a short article articulating the specific and detailed predictions on his quality web site,
"…large-scaled rendering of a cat upon the Martian surface, 6 km or so in length…"
"…there are probably more hills, mounds, and raised areas continuing out of frame to complete what appears as large scaled art…"
"The tail is important because it should extend uninterrupted, long, smooth and slender for a considerable distance, a somewhat unusual surface feature."
MGS captures the "tail".
The Predicted Tail and Haunches