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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Monday, March 02, 2009

The role of the Amateur Naturalist in Cryptozoology

I very nearly did something very silly. About three minutes ago, (and you must remember that I am writing this last night from where you are today), I nearly started another blog as part of the CFZ bloggo family. This blog was to be entitled `The Amateur Naturalist`, and would have been partly a tie-in with the periodical of the same name, and partly a place for the more Natural History related posts on the bloggo.

But then I came to my senses. A couple of Weird Weekends ago Darren Naish made the point that the concept of cryptozoology as a separate discipline is a relatively new one. A hundred years ago, most zoologists were cryptozoologists. It is only with the rise of the blinkered specialist that it has needed to be codified into a separate discipline.

This morning I received the latest editions of the Amateur Entomological Society Bulletin, the Entomologist's Record, and Invertebrate Conservation News. It was the first time that I have read any of these publications in years, and two things struck me. The first was how good they were, and the second was how much cryptozoology (by my definition of the word) was in there.

Just look. In the January/February issue of the Entomologist's Record and Journal of Variation there are the following articles:

1 Reappearance of Celypha rosaceana (Schl├Ąger) (Lep.: Tortricidae) as a Scottish species after over 100 years. Keith P. Bland

2 Moths new to the Isle of Wight in 2008. Sam Knill-Jones

3 Westward spread of the Toadflax Brocade Calophasia lunula (Hufn.) (Lep.: Noctuidae). A. M. George

4 Larvae of the Argent & Sable Rheumaptera hastata (L.) (Lep.: Geometridae) discovered in Northern Ireland apparently for the first time, with notes on pupation. Paul Waring, David Allen and Clive Mellon

5 An unusual aberration of Mellicta sp. probably parthenoides (Keferstein) (Lep.: Nymphalidae) in SW France. Catherine Wellings and Graham Wenman

6 Emmelina argoteles (Meyrick) (Lep.: Pterophoridae) recorded in Greece – new country, new habitat and new season. Colin W. Plant and Stoyan Beshkov 44-45

New species, new records, aberrant morphs - just the stuff of what cryptozoology, at least the cryptozoology that we practise is made.

The other two magazines are equally full of stuff of interest, and I spent a happy afternoon curled up with the cat (who is called `Spider` which is a suitably entomological name) devouring these journals with an appetite that I have not had for much of the stuff we are sent for many years.

So, I am glad that I resisted the temptation to start a new blog, because articles like this deserve to be on the main bloggo pages, not shoved away to the side like an afterthought because they are not credulous bunkum dealing in surviving dinosaurs or apemen coming out of flying saucers.


Rosel said...

In light of this I think my latest post on the Armchair Zoologist might be of interest.

Jon Downes said...


Jon Downes said...

It is, btw, a fascinating tale of derring-do, geckos and pumpkin soup deep in the desert and comes with a rousing CFZ seal of approval