WELCOME TO THE CFZ BLOG NETWORK: COME AND JOIN THE FUN

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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Saturday, December 19, 2009

MUIRHEAD`S MYSTERIES: THREE QUASI-FORTEAN STORIES

Today I am presenting these stories in reverse chronological order and you will soon understand why:

The first account, in the form of an email from Tony Whitaker a few days ago connected to the attempts by scientists in New Zealand to determine whether or not the giant gecko, or kawekaweau as the Maoris call it, is still alive. (It is encouraging that scientists 'down under'are prepared to talk to cryptozoologists without dismissing us as lunatic fringe.) The following two bits of information I took out of a file at random,then noticed they were both dated around now as far as time of month is concerned!

Firstly, the kawekaweau: 'Hello Richard.There have been no further reports of large lizards anywhere in New Zealand that I`m aware of in the last 18 years. Both Bruce and I, as experienced herpetologists, believe that there were no exceptionally unusual animals around the Tologa Bay area...in our naivety we were trapped in a media and diplomacy pincer-movement.

'The best hope...only hope...to really advance the kawekaweau story will come from either/or:

1. The discovery of fossil or subfossil remains
2. A molecular analysis of the Marseille specimen to determine its true phylogenetic status
3. The discovery of personal letters or diaries in an archive somewhere that provide added information on 18th or 19th century sightings
4. Discovery of documentation around the accession of the sole specimen inot Marseille Museum.
(1)

I`m tempted to follow up option 3 myself.

The next item relates to `Dinosaurs rearing young`.I am sure much more is known about this now (note the date was 1991) but it is still interesting.

'Dinosaurs hatched their eggs and cared for their young, according to scientists who have discovered the fossilised remains of one sitting on a nest. The fossil of Oviraptor, killed during a sandstorm while hatching its eggs about 75 million years ago, has delighted palaeontlogists worldwide and provided the most graphic evidence so far of the bird-like habits of the dinosaurs. The find has also put to rest the theory that dinosaurs simply laid their eggs in the ground and left their young to fend for themselves...Robin Cocks, Keeper of Palaeontology at the Natural History Museum in London, described the find as "the clincher." "We`ve always suspected this happened but we`ve never seen it. We know about the eggs and we`ve seen dinosaurs close to them but we`ve never seen the two together before. It`s very exciting," he added.' (2)

Finaly, remember those Cold War intrusions of mystery under water objects in Swedish waters, well in December 1991 there emerged (excuse the pun) a possible explanation:

'Submarines,some of unusual design, attacked the Swedish coastal defence system in the Baltic several times in the 1980s, deliberately damaging electronic sensors in the sea bed, Swedish authorities have confirmed. The Swedes have not solved the mystery of the prowling submarines, as they were unable to confirm who was responsible. A special Submarine Commission acknowledged some reports of "alien submarine activity" detected by sonar, were, in fact, swimming minks...In the mid-1980s a mined area off northern Sweden was tampered with and put out of action. The Commission said electric equipment at great depth had been damaged by blows from a hard object. Although some reports were explained by mink, others were clearly caused by man-made submarine activity.' (3)

1. E-mail from Tony Whitaker to Richard Muirhead December 16th 2009
2. D.Penman.Dinosaurs `reared young`Independent December 21st 1995.
3. C.Bellamy. Furry clue in mystery of the Baltic Prowlers.Independent December 23rd 1995.


Bob Dylan Neighbourhood Bully


Well,the Neighbourhood Bully,
He`s just one man,
His enemies say he`s on their land
They got him outnumbered
A million to one
He got no place to escape to,
no place to run
He`s the neighbourhood bully.

Every empire that`s enslaved him is gone
Egypt and Rome,even the great Babylon,
He`s made a garden of paradise in the desert sand,
In bed with nobody,under no one`s command,
He`s the neighbourhood bully.

What has he done to wear so many scars?
Does he change the course of rivers?
Does he pollute the moon and stars?
Neighbourhood bully,standing on the hill
Running out the clock,time standing still
Neighbourhood bully.

Nighty-night,
Richard

1 comment:

shiva said...

"2.A molecular analysis of the Marseille specimen to determine its true phylogenetic status"

Surely this won't determine where the specimen is *from*?

OK, by establishing its phylogenetic relationships with other geckos, it might give a rough idea of whether it's *plausible* for it to be a New Zealand species (ie, if its closest relatives are from somewhere entirely different, then it's unlikely), but that's very far from proof. Only options 1, 3 or 4 will conclusively place H. delcourti as a New Zealand species.