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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, November 08, 2009

A WHALE OF A TALE

"Look at this", writes Richard Freeman, who left CFZ HQ yesterday to go and do jury duty in Exeter. He gave us a link to some extraordinary photos of sperm whales gobbling giant squid, and a piece of text that begins:

'Carrying the remains of a roughly 30-foot (9-meter) giant squid in her jaws, a female sperm whale, with a calf at her side, swims near the surface off Japan's Bonin Islands (map)in the northwestern Pacific. Taken on October 15, this and other "absolutely sensational" new pictures offer rare proof of the sperm whale's taste for giant squid, said giant squid expert Steve O'Shea of the Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand.'

HELP NEEDED WITH AUSTRALIAN FROG

From Herpnet:

Dear colleagues,

I need a help with identification of Australian frog. We have in our museum two very old specimens from "Queensland".

I have got identification from forum frogs.org.au as Platyplectrum ornatum (former Opisthodon and Limnodinastes) and would like to know your opinion. Pictures are here, http://s244.photobucket.com/albums/gg8/zinenko/Qeensland/ Both specimens are small, 1 and 1 cm long.


Many thanks in advance,
Oleksandr.

Oleksandr Zinenko,
The Museum of Nature at V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University,
Kharkiv, Ukraine, 61022

LAWRIE WILLIAMS: Atherton Tablelands - Noah's Ark

Please let me tell you a story about Noah's Ark. I am but a steerage passenger, but I pick up the scuttlebutt and this tale will be of interest to all who care about vanishing animals.

This old world is not always so calm and serene. From time to time dreadful events take place and the planet is cooked and then profoundly chilled. The most likely cause of these mass extinction events is the result of the Earth and another object trying to pass through the same point in space at the same time, but in different directions. The best known is the big impactor that wiped out the dinosaurs. Debris from the impact went sub-orbital and rained down all around the planet. For one dreadful hour the sky turned white hot and the world beneath became like an oven. In the aftermath dust in the air shrouded the surface and for years Jack Frost reigned supreme. It could not rain, plants could not grow, and the survivors of the impact should all have perished.

This has happened over over, for the world is very old and space is anything but empty.

There are some places where life can survive, like in the ocean deeps. On the warm shores and in lush valleys there are places in the mud and deep hollows where animals aestivate, awaiting better times. Snails, frogs and crocodiles can do this. Perhaps one of our distant ancestors was a creature like the Malagasy fat-tailed dwarf lemur, quietly aestivating when the world ended long ago.

But that is only part of the story. Another vital part was told to me by a friend who has a name like mine, only the other way around, a great biologist by the name of William Laurance. He visited the Atherton Tablelands back in 1986 and told the most marvelous story. He said that when the DNA of plants is studied it is found to have spread from certain points on the globe called key genetic reservoirs. So whenever the world ends it is from these places that life starts all over again. One such place is the Atherton Tablelands. Underneath us is an aquifer. Rainwater thousands of years old works its way through the rocks to emerge at this end in springs that form creeks of pure water. It is in the deep gorges in the waterfall mist that life can cling to existence. Small wonder the Aborigines called this little district "water-water", or Millaa Millaa, always cloaked in rainforest until the coming of the axe, the chainsaw and the bulldozer. Much of it is now bare and vulnerable.

So it was that when disaster struck and the sky became incandescent the rainforest canopy provided shade for the plants and creatures below. The canopy in extremis may have been burnt to a crisp but it did its task. In the aftermath there was a pair of every creature, riding on this wonderful natural Noah's Ark, able to go forth and multiply when regular seasons returned to the world.

The rainforest and its myriad inhabitants survived here to spread all over the world afterwards. This is the home of the flowers of the world. Please think on that next time you see a blossom.

I wonder if life will survive the next natural holocaust. People just love the abundant clean water that comes from the aquifer. In places near Atherton they have but to drill a hole and the water comes bubbling out of the ground. From Mareeba to Millaa Millaa this irreplaceable aquifer is bleeding as never before from tens of thousands of pin-pricks.

Down here at the southern end the springs are failing. The big rainforest trees are starting to die. Meanwhile farmers upstream continue to pump out the aquifer, blasting ancient water into the dry air so that much of it never reaches the ground. The waterfalls are not what they were. Ignorant yoiks around here are killing the future of the world. Parliament is in Brisbane a thousand miles away and the politicians there could not find their bums with both hands. The ark that sustained life on this world for so long is being sabotaged while the words of warning from those who understand are lost in the wind....

IMAGE KeyGeneticReservoir.jpg Courtesy Google Earth. Queensland coast with Cairns and Port Douglas at top right. Origin of the aquifer is at top of picture. Rainforest fragments may be seen in the foreground. Many species are doomed because the habitat is too small to support them.

MIDLANDS CHARITY LIVEBEARER AUCTION

Tim Addis writes:

'Only 4 weeks to the Midland Charity Auction on 6th December. This is held at the usual venue - Lodge Park Club, Redditch, Worcs. The webpage is online with all the usual information. Click link top left (in yellow box) - www.ta-aquaculture.co.uk

Alan had to pull out of the organisational work due to ill health but I have rallied a good number of willing auction veterans to help out on the day.
It would be a great pity to stop the auctions after all the work Alan & I put into building them up from 2000. The past 2 auctions donated a total of almost £1100 to MacMillans Cancer & the Air Ambulance alone.

The December auctions are usually well attended & lots of fish are on the rack. Generally we get through over 500 lots on the day. These are mostly killifish, livebearers with a good scattering of more unusual fish not seen in retailers.
As usual I will put on the site fish I know will be at the do but usually loads of other fish appear on the day.

We ask all those bringing fish to limit same fish lots to 3. This is for your sake as too many fish of the same kind generally means you take some back home. Also, it clogs up the auction as we have to call out each lot regardless.

With the Winter auction we appreciate the need for a speedy close to proceedings to allow some travelling-home-time in daylight.

You can apply for your auction letter & download the booking-in forms off the webpage as usual. This gives you the chance to fill out all the paperwork at home & just drop your fish boxes on the stage with the paperwork all done.
You can still book in on the day & fill out the forms then.

One change this year concerns admission. In the past we have left this to an 'honesty box' approach but last auction we monitored it & we were well off the head count to money donated so things need to change this year. We have been approached by a lot of people who attend the auctions regularly who are also not happy with this so we have introduced some changes:

Everyone booking in fish will need to buy an entry number. This is your admission fee.

Everyone bidding will need to hold up this entry number to be recognised.
If you have not paid entry you will not be able to put fish into auction or make a bid. It's only a couple of quid to good causes & all this goes into the charity pot.
This is a fund-raising auction for MacMillans Cancer & the Air Ambulance funds. We hope everyone can appreciate why we are doing this.

If you want to list the fish you are bringing on the day please let me know & I will put these on the site. Similarly, if you have odd fish or are looking for odd fish (male/female) I will put these on the site as well. You will need to give me permission to put your e-mail on the page so people can contact you to arrange an exchange on the day. This is a free noticeboard.

The raffle generally brings in over £100. If anyone can help donate some prizes we would appreciate it. The lads from Yorkshire do a great job organising this side of things.

Breakfasts - As usual full English breakfasts are available from the girls in the kitchen. It helps them to know who wants early breakfasts (I always have one). If you could let me know how many want breakfasts I will pass the numbers on.

The stand will be on as usual with brine shrimp, foods etc. Also Brian's tank stand & live foods.'

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today

http://cryptozoologynews.blogspot.com/

Time for the news; enjoy:

What Do Humans, Bats and Shrews Have in Common? Frustration

Rare deer breed at Kanpur zoo

Rare beetle species found in Devagiri

Baguette Dropped From Bird's Beak Shuts Down The Large Hadron Collider (Really)

Monterey Bay researchers say dolphins are causing porpoise deaths

Oh dear, that’s flip-‘phin’ awful.