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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Monday, June 07, 2010


My latest survey of North American mystery animals is now available from Amazon & Amazon UK.
Varmints: Mystery Carnivores of North America
ISBN 1-61646-019-9
682 pages, $29.95

Includes a review of the anomalies and oddities of our known native carnivores, and a state-by-state (and province) survey of sighting reports of felines (black, maned, striped, spotted, etc.), hyena-like animals and strange canids, giant polar bears, and more.

Cover image can be seen at:


Dale Drinnon said...

So my question is as it always is: how many of these are actually unknowns and how many are merely exotics or freakish abnormalities of known species? Cryptozoology is concerned with finding new and unidentified species, by definition. Even if it is dicovered that some of the maned lion sightings refer to relic Ice-age lions of North America, they are not cryptozoological because lions are a known species wherever they are found. If a sighting is a suspected exotic then it should be dropped from the field of study.

Dale Drinnon said...

The thing is, are any of these unusual carnivores new species? With a good documentation of sightings of exotic but known species, you basically only have a detailed survey of escaped pets. If the creatures reported are merely freakish examples of known species, then they are also not "Unknown" in the technical sense.

Cryptozoology is the discovery of unknown SPECIES, nothing more and nothing less. And even if some of the sightings of maned lions in the US prove to be native lions, that still is not Cryptozoology: lions are a known species.

Ego Ronanus said...

I feel the definition of cryptozoology here is somewhat narrow. Surely, it is not simply about new species, but rather unknown or out of place animals.
(Etymology of term from Greek: secret zoology). Anyway, Chad Arment's books are of such a high standard, they are well worth reading.

Simon Townsend said...

Cryptozoology is concerned with animals that are, firstly ethnoknown and, secondly, not being collected and verified where they are seen. That is all there is to it. Re read Bernard Heuvelmans. It is not just a matter of new and therefore undescribed species, sexy as it sounds. Vis a vis, the Eastern Cougar and Australian so called Panthers. Please, if a population of lowland Gorillas showed up in the Port Morseby hinterland, or Maui or Pasadena it is cryptozooplogical if the locals had been seeing and describing them but the local fauna authorities not put a few in the local museum. And by the way there is no reason to believe that North American ice age lions were necessarily Panthera leo. Sighting reports indicate a maybe situation and are not worth much more than that. However consistant reports can indicate what a researcher is hunting for. After collecting a specimen, and only then, can we sit around and talk the leg off a chair as to whether or not it is cryptozoological.