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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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Thursday, December 17, 2009

MUIRHEAD`S MYSTERIES: STRANGE CREATURES IN AN ISRAELI CAVE

Dear cryptofolk,

It being nearly Christmas I thought I`d introduce an item from Israel, namely the new fauna, both (possibly) extinct and still living in the Ayalon Cave, on Israel`s coastal plain near Ramle, between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. This unique ecosystem was discovered in about April 2006. Another interesting occurence was the sighting of a 'mermaid' in the eastern Mediterranean off Israel`s coast in or very near August 2009.

A Department of Media Relations (part of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem) website press release titled 'Unique Underground Ecosystem Revealed by Hebrew University Researchers Uncovers Eight Previously Unknown Species' gives the following information:

'Discovery of eight previously unknown, ancient animal species within a new and unique underground ecosystem in Israel was revealed today by Hebrew University of Jerusalem researchers.

'In a press conference on the Mt. Scopus campus of the Hebrew University, the researchers said the discovery came about when a small opening was found, leading to a cave extending to a depth of 100 meters [sic] beneath the surface of a quarry in the vicinity of Ramle, between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. The quarry is operated by cement manufacturer Nesher Industries...

'The invertebrate animals found in the cave-four seawater and freshwater crustaceans and four terrestial species-are realted to but different from other, similar life forms known to scientists. The species have been sent to biological experts in both Israel and abroad for further analysis and dating. It is estimated that these species are millions of years old. Also found in the cave were bacteria that serve as the basic food source in the ecosystem...

'The animals found there were all discovered live, except for a blind species of scorpion, although Dr Dimentman is certain that live scorpions will be discovered in further explorations and also probably an animal or animals which feed on the scorpions...

[Dr Dimentman was part of the team from the Hebrew University Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences, which discovered the fauna]

'Among the interesting features of the discoveries thus far in the cave is that two of the crustaceans are seawater species and two others are of types found in fresh or brackish water. This can provide insights into events occuring millions of years ago regarding the history of ancient bodies of water in the region.' (1)

I have a paper from 2007 that gives more information on the troglobite scorpion. Most of it is too technical for me to understand so I just quote from the Abstract and Introduction:

'Abstract. A new eyeless troglobite scorpion, Akrav israchanani n.sp., is described from inside karstic voids in Israel that form a completely isolated,old ecosystem with living populations of blind crustaceans and pseudoscorpions. The scorpions, of which no live specimen has yet been collected, prove to differ from all other scorpions and are placed in a new family, Akravidae. The possibility is addressed that the subterranean Akravidae are a relict of an old circum-tropical pattern of distribution that differs from the present temperate location of Israel.'

According to the Introduction: 'No live scorpions have as yet been detected, only their empty carcasses. These desiccated but not fossilized [sic] cuticular remains which retain their bright fluorescence under UV light were found firmly attached to rocks at various levels corresponding to the levels attained by the rise and fall of the underground water inside the voids. No traces of any of the scorpions`prey animals have yet been found. Could their disappearance have caused the presumed extinction of the scorpions?' (2)

On December 15th 2009 I received the following e-mail from Prof. Amos Frumkin of the Geography Department at The Hebrew University:

'Dear Richard, We`re still working on the Ayalon Cave... No new discoveries of animals been made since 2006. Lots of other new caves been discovered elsewhere in Israel since the Ayalon caves were discovered, albeit not with new fauna. I don`t know of any organization [sic] in Israel that keep records of any new animal species that are discovered in Israel since 1948, cheers amos. '(3)

That`s all for now. See you tomorrow. And we have lyrics!

1. Dept.of Media Relations.The Hebrew University of Jerusalem press release.http://www.huji.ac.il/cgi-bin/dovrut_search_eng.pl?mesge114907691205976587
2. G.Levy.The first triolobite scorpion from Israel and a new chactoid family (Arachnida:Scorpiones)Zoology in the Middle East 40,2007:p.91
3. E-mail from Prof.Amos Frumkin. Dec.15th 2009.

The B52s-Give Me Back My Man

She cuts her hair and calls his name
Wishin` everything could be the same
like when she had him

I`ll give you fish,I`ll give you candy
I`ll give you everything I have in my
head

Walking out of Korvettes,package in her hand.
Motions to all the seabirds,throws divinity on the sand

POLITICAL PIGGY

A few years ago an enormous wild boar nicknamed `Hogzilla` by the press was shot in Georgia. Last week Naomi West in Texas sent us these pictures of a dead piggywig that rivalled the Georgia beast in size.

NAOMI SENT THIS: 'The hog weighed over 530 pounds. It was shot late this past November in the river bottoms of Deweyville, Texas. The road in that area runs parallel to the Sabine River. Residents in the area had never seen the likes of this hog. But it was probably the recent flooding in the area that drove the hog out.

It was shot by Brandon Powell, who is in high school, about age 17. The truck is a Toyota or is Toyota sized (vs. a full-sized truck).

There is a rumour that when some man named Frenchy passed away in 2000 or 2001, his surviving family released his exotic game animals into the wild. Allegedly, he had animals imported from exotic countries. People speculate this hog could have been from his farm.

THIS IS FOR MUIRHEAD AS MUCH AS IT IS FOR ME

I am sure that there is a bevy of middle-aged men of a certain background who will feel an unexpected upsurge of emotion when they watch this. It has always amused me that Richard M and I (the last two people one would think of as CRASS fans) are the ones in the CFZ for whom this means the most. It has to be remembered that if it had not been for a lecture Igs gave me in the sitting room at Dial House in 1982 about the fact that it is quite possible for folk like us with a dream to go out and make it happen without the backing of a recognised pillar of the establishment. So we did, and the CFZ is the result. Thanks Igs.

For those of you not in the know Igs is Steve Ignorant, and here he is with his new band at the Durham Punk Festival in September this year....

DALE DRINNON: Some Further notes about the Mapinguari

EXPEDITIONS: THE SEARCH FOR THE TRUTH

  • First Mapinguari Expedition

Paulo Aníbal G. Mesquita was the first to enter the interior of the Amazon region with the knowledge of the Mapinguari legend and the intent to investigate the possibility that this cryptid still exists—perhaps the last representative of the megafauna of the Brazilian Amazon. Bolivian folklore in the more mountainous areas includes a bipedal creature called the Jucucu (who COO coo), which may have some connection. [=Ucu, Ucumar-DD]

Mesquita's group investigated reports of the 'mapi' in some remote points of the Amazonian bush in the states of Amazon, Rondônia, Pará and Mato Grosso. In the latter they collected many stories of the indigenous people, some gold panners and others who reported observing this beast during the night. The stories were similar in several distinct points.

Witnesses affirmed that when they startled a Mapinguari, the mapi assumed a threatening position, rearing up and showing its robust claws. Some natives told of it emitting an extremely foul odour from its belly. The mapi possessed long brownish to dark brown fur, and some still claimed that its skin was similar to that of the Caiman. It was said to possess a flat snout and normally it was quadrupedal. The group was given to understand that a mapinguari violently attacked a landlord one night in a village in the extreme north of Mato Grosso, and that he was now missing.




  • The flat-ended but prominent snout or 'Pig's nose' is stated in other sources. The bad smell comes out of its mouth, assumed to be attached to the body rather than to its head. It seems to be belching up stomach gas that smells bad: incidentally the Mapinguari seems to have throat pouches like an orangutan from other sources. These seem to be sound amplifiers and make the roaring sound louder, in this case the creature (The Mono Rey, sometimes also called Ucu) is compared to a much larger version of a howler monkey.


It is the threatening stance that drew my attention this time: when the Mapinguari raises up and waves its hands over its head, the effect is exactly like a chimpanzee or an orangutan and it is holding its hands up exactly the same way Cheetah used to do in the Tarzan movies. The Mapinguari is holding its hands in exactly the same way, and the 'claws' look exactly like the ape's hooked fingers. I would suspect from this much alone that the Mapinguari is ordinarily a large arboreal ape; its tracks seem to indicate that it does not ordinarily walk on the ground or the sole would lie flat rather than on-edge.

I also include a groundsloth track for reference, please note that it is a composite track including both the fore and hind footprints.

I also re-checked Sanderson's mention of Mapinguari, which he only spoke of as something that left 20-inch long tracks and ripped the tongues out of cattle. The missing tongues are merely another cattle-mutilation feature common the world over, and probably eaten away by feral dogs. So that part carries no weight. The 20-inch long tracks are something different, and are possibly Sasquatch-like tracks (neither Sanderson nor I had any good photos or even drawings of these tracks.)

The creatures that left the big footprints in this case were called neither Mapinguari or Ucumar, and Eberhart lists them separately. It might even be possible that the tracks (in this case only, and only the tracks) could refer to the alleged surviving groundsloth in a forest adaptation. Throughout Latin America ground sloths seem to be called 'hairy cows' because they are about the same size as ordinary cattle. Heuvelmans records the name 'Lobo-toro' and Sanderson recorded 'Cave Cows' in Central America.

ANASTASIA BARKED IN VAIN





A pack of wild dogs in Russia have turned green amid concerns they have been exposed to toxic waste. The animals, thought to be former guard dogs, have long been known to scavenge for food at a tip on the outskirts of the city of Yekaterinburg in central Russia. But about 20 of the strays have suddenly turned a bizarre shade of green.

Read on...

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today

http://cryptozoologynews.blogspot.com/

On this day in 1969 the US Air Force closed Project Blue Book, a study they had launched into UFO sightings. The study explained UFO sightings away by saying they were almost exclusively caused by mass hysteria, fabricated reports by people seeking to gain publicity or perpetrate a hoax, phychopathological persons or misidentification of conventional objects. However, despite these conclusions 22% of Blue Book’s investigations were marked as unsolved, so there is plenty of scope for the existence of genuine UFOs.

Now for the news:

I've just trussed up a bird with string for Christmas
Million-dollar reward helps mermaid lure tourists to Kiryat Yam
Father-of-four and puppy pursued by giant cat
A wuff time of year

That should give people ‘paws’ for thought.