Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) are still on the track, and have been since 1992. But as if chasing unknown animals wasn't enough, we are involved in education, conservation, and good old-fashioned natural history! We already have three journals, the largest cryptozoological publishing house in the world, CFZtv, and the largest cryptozoological conference in the English-speaking world, but in January 2009 someone suggested that we started a daily online magazine! The CFZ bloggo is a collaborative effort by a coalition of members, friends, and supporters of the CFZ, and covers all the subjects with which we deal, with a smattering of music, high strangeness and surreal humour to make up the mix.

It is edited by CFZ Director Jon Downes, and subbed by the lovely Lizzy Bitakara'mire (formerly Clancy), scourge of improper syntax. The daily newsblog is edited by Corinna Downes, head administratrix of the CFZ, and the indexing is done by Lee Canty and Kathy Imbriani. There is regular news from the CFZ Mystery Cat study group, and regular fortean bird news from 'The Watcher of the Skies'. Regular bloggers include Dr Karl Shuker, Dale Drinnon, Richard Muirhead and Richard Freeman.The CFZ bloggo is updated daily, and there's nothing quite like it anywhere else. Come and join us...

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

RICHARD FREEMAN: Blogging around...

It is a great privelige to be part of the Nature Blog Network and it is great fun to be able to pootle around the blogs seeing what 's new. First up (not surprisingly) is our old mate Darren Naish (who incidentally was the guy who first recommended the Nature Blog Network to us)...

In the light of the recently discovered Titaniboa it behoves us to take a look at some other monster serpents.

Stupidly large snakes - the story so far:

It has always been rumoured that some snakes grow to sizes that exceed the 10 m record which is generally accepted as the authenticated maximum; this was for a reticulated python (Python reticulatus) shot on Sulawesi in 1912. Numerous stories and anecdotes discuss reticulated pythons and anacondas (Eunectes murinus) that far exceed this, with the most famous of these stories being Major Percy Fawcett's 19 m long anaconda that he claimed to have shot in the Brazilian Rio Abuna in 1907. Despite its immense length, Fawcett reported that this snake had a width of just 30 cm (which makes the tale rather unbelievable), and he even discussed trails in the swamps that 'support the statements of Indians and rubber pickers that the anaconda sometimes reaches an incredible size, altogether dwarfing that shot by me' (Heuvelmans 1995, p. 340). Despite these many stories, no-one has yet produced a snake that exceeds 10 m in total length (though I hope that if such a specimen is ever found, it is not killed, but is restrained or captured or something.. and yes I do know that this is somewhat less easy than it sounds).

Perhaps less well known than these accounts of modern-day giants, however, are rumours and reports of fossil snake bones that have been estimated by some workers to have belonged to truly gargantuan reptiles...
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Giant Killer Lungfish? A couple of weeks ago both Jon and Karl blogged on the subject of cryptozoological lungfisheds. But here is another one. Minhocoes - the burrowing monster of South America, was it a huge lungfish? Zoologist Brian Switek investigates.

A December 1847 issue of the newspaper The Friend relayed the report of L.A. da Silva e Souza that the lake Padre Aranda in Brazil was home to creatures called minhocoes that "dwell in the deepest part of the lake, and have often drawn horses and horned cattle under the water." The creatures were also reported to inhabit Lake Feia, and the local people said they were giant worms that "cause[d] animals to disappear by seizing them by the belly."
Read on...

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