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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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Friday, June 18, 2010

GLEN VAUDREY: Introducing the Tsy-Aomby-Aomby

There is, I am told, a way that some people find a location for a holiday by randomly sticking a pin in a map and heading off in that direction. Personally I find it hard to see how that is really random choice. However I have adopted a similar process for cryptids to read about, the main difference is that mine involves a world map, the back of a door and a pack of darts. Much to my surprise the first location to be hit was the isle of Madagascar.

Madagascar is a large island off the east coast of southern Africa famed for lemurs and deforestation. It is also rumored to be the home of some interesting cryptids, the Tsy-Aomby-Aomby being one of them

The Tsy-Aomby-Aomby is a mystery animal that is described as amphibious and has been likened to a water buffalo with the hump or to a hippopotamus. Covered in dark skin the Tsy-Aomby-Aomby is similar in size to a cow but without the horns or hooves. More often it has been heard rather than seen, its terrifying cry ringing out across the night. For those privileged to have encountered one the Tsy-Aomby-Aomby is said to stun people by spraying its urine on them. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s some kind of paralyzing liquid, after all if some strange animal was to do that to most of us I guess we would be both stunned and speechless (and a bit wet).

As sightings go there don’t seem to have been that many recently. In 1876 Jose-Peter Audebert claimed to have seen the hide of a Tsy-Aomby-Aomby; he would describe it as belonging to an antelope-like animal. While in 1976 a man named Constant, along with his wife and son, was awakened by the supposed grunting of a Tsy-Aomby-Aomby.

What could the animal be then? Well one candidate would be a surviving Malagasy pygmy hippo, with the suggested extinction of the type being within the last thousand years it would be a bit of a long shot, but you never know. Perhaps it is one charming trait of the hippopotamus that draws comparison and that is the hippo’s tendency to spray urine at opponents. But does that really explain the Tsy-Aomby-Aomby?

1 comment:

Dale Drinnon said...

Hippos do assault unwanted intruders with dung and urine, flinging dung by use of the tail.

There is some confusion as to the Wayter-monsters of Madagascar because there might also be a "Congo Dragon" tradition mixed up with Tsy-Aomby-Aomby stories: there is something that supposedly has only one horn like the Congo Water-rhinos and then again something that could be a large monitor Lizard. Heuvelmans mentions the creatures but also mentions the confusion about them.