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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Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Over the Weird Weekend our old friend Dr Lars Thomas brought us news of the samples that his colleagues had been analysing. We brought back a shard of thick human-looking skull and some dung from our almasty expedition in the Russian Caucasus. The dung turned out to be mountain goat mixed with hedgehog! The skull was that of a modern human. It was unusually thick but still within excepted parameters.

Grigory Panchenko recently e-mailed me with news of his ongoing cryptozoological work.

“Our group (I, Anatoly and Alexey) this summer had organized [sic] a small "cryptoarachnological" expedition trying to obtain an information about an existing in the Ukraine scorpion-like creatures. There was only one very unpleasant "success": one day Anatoly was stinged by some arachnida or insect (he had not seen it in the grass, but it was small creature: arthropoda, not a snake). Now he is OK but during 2 days his ankle was swelled as a log. There is almost no such "official" venomous arthropoda in the Ukraine! Only 2 "official" candidates: tarantula and hornet (but any of them - very unlikely or even impossible). Maybe there really was a scorpion?

In the end of this month we two (Anatoly and I) will try to go to this place once more for 2 - 3 days.

In September I shall go to Crimea (as a year before, after our Caucasian expedition) for 10 - 12 days. There is some information about hominoid and large boa-like snake.”

I had asked about a rare book in the Moscow library about the almasty and the probability of doing a translation. He answered…

“To translate this giant and very complex book, especially with modern commentaries (they are necessary: some parts of the book are old-fashioned now) is a HUGE work. But maybe it (or part of it) is made now by D. Bayanow or M. Trahtengertc. I shall ask them is it so.”

I am very interested in returning to Russia with Grigory for a second almasty expedition, possibly next year.

“Yes I'll be ready. There are two main (more perspective) places: Baksan valley in Balkaria and some minor canyons in the head of Malka valley in Kabarda (summer) and the other minor canyons near Malka (winter). In any interesting for us parts of Balkaria during the winter is too unsafe but Kabarda is lower and there is not so many snow avalanches.”


WEIRD WEEKEND: What Richard did on friday


The CFZ garden party was a more sedate affair than last year. But it was good to see old friends like Neil and Ronan again. Sam Shearon recently came back from the Pacific Northwest and has brought his amazing monster artwork with him. Lars Thomas came over from Denmark with a film crew. He also recently received the results back from the DNA tests done on the specimens we brought back from Russia. What we hoped might be a fragment of almasty skull was just an-unusually thick fragment of skull from a modern human. The droppings were wild goat and hedgehog!

Whilst on a walk on Friday morning Lars was stopped by a man who saw him talking at a previous Weird Weekend. The man gave him a small plastic bag containing hairs from a beast he said was attacking his cattle. We intend to examine them over the weekend. It would be impressive if we found evidence of a big cat in the UK on the very weekend of the conference.


As you may have noticed, we have been having a very weird (not to say a mightily peculiar) weekend. Also, for reasons known only to the Gods of cyberspace, Dale Drinnon is finding it hard to log into Google in order to make comments, so we are posting his comments on Friday's bloggo here, as they give much food for thought.

Hi there again

As you and Richard should already know by now, I fully diasgree with him on the zoological identity of some of these crocodiles and I am holding out for possible new species. Furthermore, it seems to me that both the Nile crocodile and Indopacific crocodile are composite categories containing more than one species: the shapes of the skulls of specimens in both categories varies severely.

In the case of the Mediterranean crocodile, its head is supposed to be shaped more like an alligator's head and it is sometimes unusually large. There is also a crocodile river in Turkey and reports from the Tigris-Euphrates, but those might also be Indopacific crocs. In the case of the marine sightings, not only are the sighted crocs bigger than the usual Indopacific crocs, but they are seen much further out to sea and their pattern of swimming in deepsea is different. Also they cannot account for all supposed mosasaur reports mostly due to the difference of texture in the scaly covering. Some of the Mosasaur reports are of huge creatures; a hundred feet long or more. We have discussed these matters in this group before. Oddly whenever I sent you this information on earlier occasions it turned up missing and you never got it.

The thunderbird report is interesting. Some of the reports may be unsuspected California Condor sightings: there are rumours of unconfirmed condor colonies in Norther Mexico (Nordamericano experts discount such reports)

Let me know if you hear of anybody bothered by killer haemorrhoids in the next week. Ta.

AUBREY: Eagle gets goat

Hi Jon, I am glad to have read that the Weird Weekend went off almost as planned. You work extremely hard and I for one would like to thank you for your website, which I visit religiously every day. And for On the Track, which I love; I guess I am addicted. Jon, I found a strange video on the internet of what looks like a golden eagle hunting a rather large goat; you have to see it. When I was young I used to hear stories of eagles carrying off young children, but the experts said that an eagle would not be strong enough to carry off a child; you judge.


Hundreds Of New Species Discovered In Fragile Eastern Himalayas
Decade Of Discovery Includes Prehistoric Gecko, Flying Frog And World's Second Smallest Deer

FULL REPORT can be found at the following address: http://www.divshare.com/download/8102140-6fa

PICTURES can be downloaded at the following address (Password: flying frog): https://intranet.panda.org/wwf_photos/index.cfm?albumId=3346

Press Release: 8/10/009
Lee Poston , lee.poston@wwfus.org /(202) 495-4536

Washington, DC - Over 350 new species including the world's second smallest deer, a "flying frog" and a 100 million-year old gecko have been discovered in the Eastern Himalayas, a biological treasure trove now threatened by climate change.

A decade of research carried out by scientists in remote mountain areas endangered by rising global temperatures brought exciting discoveries such as a bright green frog that uses its red and long webbed feet to glide in the air. One of the most significant findings was not exactly "new" in the classic sense. A 100-million year-old gecko, the oldest fossil gecko species known to science, was discovered in an amber mine in the Hukawng Valley in the northern Myanmar.

The WWF report The Eastern Himalayas - Where Worlds Collide details discoveries made by scientists from various organizations between 1998 and 2008 in a region reaching across Bhutan and north-east India to the far north of Myanmar as well as Nepal and southern parts of Tibet Autonomus Region (China).

"The good news of this explosion in species discoveries is tempered by the increasing threats to the Himalayas' cultural and biological diversity," said Jon Miceler, Director of WWF's Eastern Himalayas Program. "This rugged and remarkable landscape is already seeing direct, measurable impacts from climate change and risks being lost forever."

In December world leaders will gather in Copenhagen to reach an agreement on a new climate deal, which will replace the existing Kyoto Protocol.

The Eastern Himalayas- Where Worlds Collide describes more than 350 new species discovered - including 244 plants, 16 amphibians, 16 reptiles, 14 fish, 2 birds, 2 mammals and at least 60 new invertebrates.

The report mentions the miniature muntjac, also called the "leaf deer," which is the world's oldest and second smallest deer species. Scientists initially believed the small creature found in the world's largest mountain range was a juvenile of another species but DNA tests confirmed the light brown animal with innocent dark eyes was a distinct and new species.

The Eastern Himalayas harbor a staggering 10,000 plant species, 300 mammal species, 977 bird species, 176 reptiles, 105 amphibians and 269 types of freshwater fish. The region also has the highest density of Bengal tigers in the world and is the last bastion of the charismatic greater one-horned rhino.
WWF is working to conserve the habitat of endangered species such as snow leopards, Bengal tigers, Asian elephants, red pandas, takin, golden langurs, Gangetic dolphins and one-horned rhinos.

Historically, the rugged and largely inaccessible landscape of the Eastern Himalayas has made biological surveys in the region extremely difficult. As a result, wildlife has remained poorly surveyed and there are large areas that are still biologically unexplored.

Today further species continue to be unearthed and many more species of amphibians,

Reptiles and fish are currently in the process of being officially named by scientists.

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today


And… we’re back! Yes folks after a weekend hiatus YNT is back and keeping you up-to-date with the latest Cryptozoology and animal-related news and ruining your day with bad puns. Gavin L. Wilson has been busy posting up a bumper selection of news items from the last few days so as there is a lot to get through I should probably stop waffling and post up that list of links:

ExxonMobil pleads guilty to killing birds

Stray dogs master the subway

Tattooed lucky fish on sale in China

Fishermen capture on video close encounter with great white shark off Australian coast

Pig diving survives swine flu show cull

Wild elephant kills French tourist in south India

Motola the elephant is fitted with artificial leg

Lake closed after fish bites woman

PETA asks fisherman to spare 100 year-old lobster

Richest pooch

Penguin gets his own wetsuit

What is a penguin’s favourite type of music?