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, December 06, 2009

GLEN VAUDREY: Crypto crab?

Sometimes in old books you come across a strange image of an animal that you are either unfamiliar with or it is doing something odd that draws your attention. Today's subject is one such beast: the palm crab. Honestly I don’t know a great deal about the ways of land crabs other than from all those natural history programmes that see them crawling all over Christmas Island. I remember them mostly as climbing over railway lines or getting squashed by cars, certainly doing nothing similar to this beast.
The picture comes from a rather charming 1889 book The Savage World; it features many interesting animals, some long gone such as the passenger pigeon and the great auk, while others like the quagga and thylacine are just missing, awaiting rediscovery, or in the case of the quagga, resurrection through selective breeding. Why then, with such luminaries present, does this crab stand out from the crowd? Well, it’s the nature of the picture, it’s a hunting scene and this particular crab is hunting goat. Yes, goat. Not something you would expect to see in the claws of a crab and certainly not when you consider that the crab is hauling the goat into the tree. Could such a sight have ever occurred?

1 comment:

Markus B├╝hler said...

This special picture shows a coconut crab (Birgus latro), i.e. an actually existing animal, which can really reach this size. But the scene itself is only fictionous. Coconut crabs actually eat sometimes other animals, I have for example once seen in a documentation how a coconut crab crushed and ate another terrestrial crab, but they never attack big animals to eat them. The only possibility which could lead to a somewhat similar scenario as those shown on the picture would be that a curious goat finds a coconut crab, which tries to protect itself and tweaks the goat. In old books you can sometimes really find strange forms of alleged behavior or animals. Just yesterday I read about an old report which stated that some monitors at Asia would attack humans from underwater...