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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, August 19, 2010

PRESS RELEASE: SCIENTISTS EXTRACT DNA FROM MYSTERY APE HAIR

SCIENTISTS EXTRACT DNA FROM MYSTERY APE HAIR


For Immediate Release 2010-08-18


A team of Danish scientists who have been analysing hair samples brought back from Indonesia by a British expedition last autumn have found some potentially world-shattering results. The expedition was looking for the fabled orang pendek, an upright walking ape from Sumatra which is only known from eyewitness reports.
Expedition leader ADAM DAVIES has been to Sumatra five times since 1999, to look for the orang pendek. Over the years, there has been a gradual refinement in his search technique. He is certain that it exists, and when he first went to Sumatra he was struck as to how authentic the first-hand accounts seemed to be. On a previous expedition in 2001, prints and hair were found, and subsequently examined by world famous hair analysis expert Professor Hans Brunner and by Dr David Chivers of Cambridge University. They independently concluded that they were from an unknown primate closely related to the two species of orang-utan.


Last weekend at the annual conference of the Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ), the world’s largest mystery animal research group, Danish scientist Lars Thomas announced the results so far. The preliminary DNA analysis of the hairs appears to resemble that of an orang-utan. He says:


“… the significance is quite enormous no matter what the result is basically, because if it turns out to be orang-utan this proves that there is orang-utan in a part of Sumatra several hundred kilometres from the nearest population of orang-utan. If it turns out to be a primate that looks like an orang-utan but isn’t, it’s an even greater discovery because that proves that there is another great ape living in Indonesia”.


A morphological analysis of the hair samples also corroborated Professor Brunner’s findings.


RICHARD FREEMAN, the zoological director of the CFZ has been to Sumatra on three occasions, the hairs in question being found on the last expedition in September 2009. On this particular trip were Adam Davies (leader), Richard Freeman, Chris Clark, Dave Archer plus their guides Sahar, John, Dally and Doni. It was the brother – John Didmus - of their main guide Sahar, who found the hairs on a small sapling about 3 feet off the ground. Richard said that:

“if the hair turns out to be from a new species, it would be the first confirmed upright walking ape which then throws an interesting light upon other reported bipedals like the yeti, etc. It may also help tell us how bipedalism in humans first developed. Also, the fact that such a large animal was found on an island roughly the same size as Britain could be significant as it may also mean that there could be other large animals still to be found across the world.”

Film of Lars Thomas carrying out a morphological hair analysis of the samples for CFZ Director Jon Downes, and an interview with Lars Thomas can be found at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idcRbLm0L-4


Adam Davies can be contacted on 07952 381110 Richard Freeman can be contacted on 07900 642781. To arrange an interview with Lars Thomas, or to get pictures, please telephone Corinna Downes on 01237 431413

1 comment:

Dale Drinnon said...

The part about this would be the first known upright walking ape is misleading. ALL of the lesser apes (gibbons and siamangs) habitually walk upright on the ground, and many of the smaller chimps and orangs do likewise (usually young ones, but quite a few bonobos up into maturity)

I must reiterate that my research indicates there are two basic things that are being called Orang Pendek or Batut (etc) after discounting confusions with small bears. One is a small ape and one is a small human. NEITHER ONE appears to be actually an unknown species (hence actually a cryptid)but of course I shall defer to the results of the DNA analysis.

Having proof of a previously-undocumented population of dwarfed orangutans which might tend to walk upright would be a boon to zoology. The same dwarfed-orangutans also seem to be in Borneo, and in both Sumatra and Borneo (if not also the Phillipines) you get reports not only of dwarfs but also of gigantic populations. The range of dwarf-to-giant sizes reported are within the comparable heights for human giants-to-dwarfs within the same species.I suspect that the Himalayan Yetis are related and have a similar range in sizes.