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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, June 07, 2009

GIANT ANACONDA - The plot thickens

The saga of the giant anaconda picture from the Northern Irish newspaper rumbles on, and has taken some most unexpected turns.

Firstly Markus Hemmler made the following post on the Fronitiers of Zoology Usenet group:



My first thought as I've read this story was that I know this picture before... I've tried it with a search for Sucuriju with Google-Picturesearch and you know what? I found it on the first site! Some deeper research and I found the site from which I know it:

http://www.popa.com.br/diarios/issi/BRAS-BSAS.htm



Published some years before and probably taken by a man named André Issi. So if this picture is that which they claim to have taken - it's a hoax.

But then I got a very polite note from one of the members of the expedition:

Hi,

This is Greg Warner. I was with my Father Mike when we made the discovery. He is downstairs relexing after our Sunday BBQ. I'm both excited and surprised to see this blog. One thing we hadn't planned for was a fight to convince fellow crytozoologists. We are putting togther our paper to be submitted to scientific journals as a start of phase two of our project.

However, your questions and concerns are valid and I will bring my father upstairs soon to address these questions. Sometimes the truth is extraordinary.

GW

Greg, if you read this I would be very interested to talk to both you and your father. Yes, your claims are indeed extraordinary, but I would be very interested in seeing your evidence. Email me on jon@eclipse.co.uk

The way I see it is that whatever transpires, if all involved behave like gentlemen, (and ladies, of course, where appropriate) then we can continue to push back the boundaries of human knowledge.

Watch this space

DALE DRINNON: A footnote to moosey water monsters

Dale started at IUPUI hoping for a degree in Biology before changing to Anthropology and as a result has a very diverse background in Geology, Zoology, Paleontology, Anatomy, archaeology, psychology, Sociology, Literature, Latin, Popular Culture, Film criticism, Mythology and Folklore,and various individual human cultures especially mentioning those of the Pacific and the Americas. He has a working knowledge of every human fossil find up until his graduation and every important Cryptozoological sighting up to that point. He has been an amateur along on Archaeological excavations in Indiana as well as doing some local tracking of Bigfoot there. Now he is on the CFZ bloggo..

Just as a sort of a footnote, The Great Horned Water Serpent in the Great Lakes was supposed to have red horns made of copper according to native traditions. The copper deposits on Isle Royale were supposed to be produced from the horns, meaning that the horns were supposed to be made of copper, the horns were dropped and continually renewing, and the copper horns became the copper deposits.Renewable horns means antlers. The translators make the meaning of such traditions much less clear by their choice of wording.

Further West, some folklorists have mentioned red-horned Water Monsters from Native traditions and Mark Hall mentioned that in passing in a PURSUIT article on horned-alligator reports "Horrors" From The Mesozoic. It seems that these reports come from areas associated with the Apaches, and the Apaches are Athabascans out of Western Canada originally: one of the members at Frontiers of Zoology is a Kiowa and he sent me a personal message saying that the native name for the type of creature is Water Horse.

The Water monster at Flathead Lake is moose-antlered in the Native traditions of that particular area. That is one place where the tradition specifically states that feature.

Incidentaly one of the later news items out of PURSUIT before it folded was about a Water Monster report from Colorado. The report was of a creature swimming along the surface of the water with one hump placed prominantly midway along the exposed back right behind the head and neck (as also recorded at Lake Winnepeg/Winnepegosis/Manitoba). The witness denied it was a swimming moose but that is EXACTLY what he had described.



GREAT SNAKE? OR NO GREAT SHAKES?

As we came downstairs this morning we were greeted by the following headline, which has been splashed across various portions of The Internet:

LISBURN MEN FIND GIANT SNAKE IN THE AMAZON

and a newspaper report from a Northern Irish newspaper which told how:


"After 23 years of research including the detailed study of ancient art, cultures spanning 3000 years and three continents to the latest in satellite imaging technology, a father and son make an extraordinary trip deep into the heart of the Peruvian Amazon to confirm their theories that this is where a giant anaconda with a difference lives.

But that's precisely what Lisburn man Mike Warner (73) and his son Greg (44) have done, seeking evidence that this was the home of the Yacumama and actually capturing a picture of the creature".

I had already done the morning posts for the bloggo this morning. We have visitors this afternoon, and I wanted to have my decks clear for action. But we had to comment on this before it gets out of hand. However, as Richard says "a number of things sound wrong with this story".

  • Firstly as professional cryptozoologists we would have thought that we would have heard of Mike and Greg Warner, especially if they had been researching the giant anaconda for 23 years. They might well have been keeping their research secret however, and despite rumours to the contrary, it is not obligatory for UK cryptozoologists to be members of the CFZ, nor would we wish it to be. But one would have thought that we would have at least heard of them.
  • But the doubts don't stop there. The size attributed to the snake is truly fantastic, 40 metres (133 feet long) and 2 metres (six feet) wide. The idea of it knocking down 90 foot trees and demolishing houses sounds equaly unlikely.These, together with the huge furrows the creature is said to make make it sound much more like the minhocão - a supposed giant worm like beast from Southern Brazil and Uruguay. The minhocão supposedly uprooted trees, made furrows and destroyed houses. But it has not been reported in recent years.
  • The idea of a snake spitting water like a fire hose to knock monkeys out of trees strikes us as absurd, and may well have been inspired by the archer fish that squirts water at flies.
  • On to the photo. It does seem to show a large anaconda but nothing like the 40 metres quoted. The size of the snake is hard to judge. We only have what seems to be the prow of a canoe to compare it to. Canoes can differ greatly in size. Is this a one man canoe or a large vessel for transporting a number of people and their equipment? At the front of the boat we see what looks like tarpaulin and rope covering something so the canoe may be quite large, If this is so then the anaconda may be very big (but nothing like 40 metres).
  • If the boat is 3 to 4 feet wide then the anaconda would be 1 to 1.5 feet wide. The width to length ration of an anaconda can differ greatly between individuals and is effected by how much they have eaten. A rough estimate would put a snake of this width in the 18-25 foot range.

Now, we would like to stress that this story may be genuine, and that the peculiar aspects of it may just be the result of poor reportage, or even misprints. Neither Richard or I have any great faith in local journalists as a whole, having been misprinted and misquoted, and had complete rubbish just made up and attributed to us over the years. But as it is at the moment the stroy would seem to be too fantastic to be true.

The full story can be found at:

http://www.lisburntoday.co.uk/news/LISBURN-MEN-FIND-GIANT-SNAKE.5335325.jp

and no doubt the usual suspects will be attacking us by the end of the day with lines like "wot do this ppls think they is, Giant snakes rule rar!"

But we really don't care, and - believe me - we would love to be proved wrong: 130ft long snakes which spit water at monkeys would be monumentally cool beyond belief...

UPDATES CAN BE FOUND AT:

http://forteanzoology.blogspot.com/2009/06/giant-anaconda-plot-thickens.html

http://forteanzoology.blogspot.com/2009/06/more-on-saga-of-peruvian-giant-anaconda.html

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today

http://cryptozoologynews.blogspot.com/

Sunday is film recommendation day in the paragraph nobody reads before I post the links to yesterdays cryptozoological and related news storys. Before I do that though I’d like to inform you all that the link I posted last week to where you can watch the latest series of Fullmetal Alchemist legally and for free is working again. Anyway this weeks film is ‘Identity’ http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi848363801/ . At first glance it sounds like a conventional thriller but then… well I can’t really say much more than that otherwise it’ll spoil the twists, and I’m not Rosie O’Donnal.
And now, the news:

Royal dachshund savages Queen's guard
Get down boy!
Spider woos mate with shiny gifts
5,000 families flee hungry elephants
Real-life Clangers discovered!
Great apes 'laugh like people when they are tickled'
I think I smell a rat...
Beehive fence frightens away elephants


Q: What sound did the grape make when the elephant trod on it?
A: It gave out a little ‘wine’.