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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, May 10, 2009

DESIGN AN ANIMAL

Dougal Dixon, author of the wonderful After Man and someone whom I very much want to have to the Weird Weekend at some point wrote to me this week:

"Did you know of an EU-funded competition to devise and design animals that will exist in Europe in 100 million years' time? Nor did I. I only found out about it when I was asked to travel to Vienna to be on the judging panel. I cannot find out anything about it on any of the logical web-sites.

So it is hardly surprising that the closing date for entries has been put back for want of sufficient response. The closing date is now 25th May, and I (along with everybody else involved) have been asked to spread the word".


For more details contact:

Tobias Wilhelm Marketing/ PR Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde Stuttgart Rosenstein 1 70191 Stuttgart T: +49 711/ 8936-104 F: +49 711/ 8936-100 wilhelm.smns@naturkundemuseum-bw.de

1 comment:

Dr Dan Holdsworth said...

Alright, I'll bite on this one.

How's about a haplodiploid mouse? Females would have the normal diploid chromosome arrangement like all mammals do now, i.e. apart from sex chromosomes a pair of each chromosome. Males would be haploid, and have only one of each chromosome.

The animals would be specialist exploiters of patchy but extremely abundant resources, such as large crops of fruit, or large dead animals. The normal state of affairs for this mouse would be that a wandering female would happen upon the sudden superabundance of food, and after feeding emit a sex pheromone to call a male to her.

Should this fail, she would then ovulate and allow this haploid egg cell to develop into a male, which would serve as a mate for her in the absence of any unrelated male turning up. Once mated the female then produces as many more females as possible, turning from a mobile animal into an immobile breeding machine fed by the immature female offspring; older females would either stay and help, or breed themselves if the food source were big enough.

Finally, when the food resource was fully used up, the remaining wander-morph females would leave, and the breeder-morph female die.

This isn't really speculation on my part, but merely a reworking of classic hymenopteran biology onto mammals. It _could_ happen...