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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In between each episode of OTT, we now present OTTXtra. Here are three episodes pretty much at random:


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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

ON THE TRACK (Of Unknown Animals) Episode 39

The latest edition of a monthly webTV show from the CFZ and CFZtv, bringing you the latest cryptozoological, and monster hunting news from around the world.

This episode brings you:

CFZ in winter
One door closes another one opens
Sympathy for the bulldog
India expedition
Orang Pendek hair latest
Breeding porthole livebearers
Loch Ness Monster - new pic?
Mystery cat in Texas
Cane toads
Corinna looks at out of place birds
New and Rediscovered: New bat
New and Rediscovered: New parrot
New and Rediscovered: New squid


This is another photograph from the India expedition. Max and I think that it is probably a Saturnid.


Me reading Kipling's wonderfull Jungle Books
(so cheapened and ruined by Disney's crass cartoon) in the Indian jungle.
The expedition team standing on the edge of the gorge at Balpakram
Neka the shaman who saw both the mande-barung and the sankuni
A canoe on the Simsang River.
A pied hornbill owned by a villiger. It was fond of chillies!


Spider (known to all and sundry as `Orange Cat`) has been fighting, and developed a nasty abcess. This necessitated a trip to the vet and an ignominious lancing, which left foul smelling puss pus all over the sleeve of my leather jacket, although he behaved pretty well all things considering.

He is now sulking massively as he has to have the wound washed out with a salt solution (and some chlorhexadine if I can get any) three times a day.

The good thing (for him) is that he sits continually on my lap, and has developed a liking for sandwiches made with Gentleman's Relish! (Speaking of Gentleman's Relish, my young nephew found the term amusing, thinking that it referred to something rather unsavoury, rather than to a slightly expensive tub of patum peperium).

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1990 it became possible to walk from Britain to continental Europe for the first time since the formation of the English Channel, when the British and French sections of the Channel Tunnel met up with each other.
And now, the news:

Horticulturists develop world's first black petuni...
Why did mammals evolve to enormous sizes - then ge...
Poached egg? No, it's a rare jellyfish that looks ...
How 'bioluminescent' trees that glow like fireflie...
Sea Monster Scare in Barbados
Bizarre squidworm discovered
100-million-year-old crocodile species discovered

There is only one response to that:



Monday, November 29, 2010


`The Highland Tiger` wrote:

Sometimes, the CFZ really make me want to scream and bang their heads together.

So it appears that images were taken, but no-one at the CFZ thought of actually holding on to copies of them for their records.

My whole agenda with the CFZ is to get them to start thinking more scientifically, and changes have been made for the better in recent months.

It is possible that you have evidence of a brand new species, but no-one at the entire Weird Weekend, or any member of the CFZ directorate thought there was any need to document the evidence properly. It is inexcusable, as a scientific organisation that no-one thought to keep any of the images taken of the hairs for the CFZ records. You are now keeping your fingers crossed that someone else has kept copies.

You all knew the samples would be destroyed during DNA extraction.

Personally, I would not have destroyed all the hairs. I would have kept a few back, for the records.

I really do hope that the images can be found, and they are passed on to primate experts.

If you have lost all evidence, either through DNA testing, or through the inability to do something basic like saving a photograph, then you really do need to have a rethink on how you conduct future scientific research".

I replied:

"Once again you have ignored the facts in order to take a cheap shot at the CFZ. I will remind you of these facts:

1. You claim that "the CFZ" have lost the pictures. This is simply not true. The CFZ do not have a laboratory or anyone qualified or experienced in extracting DNA samples. All work was done by two labs in Denmark. As far as the pictures are concerned, they have not been lost. They were used in a documentary made by Danish TV, and Lars was not sure whether they are at the TV Company or with the microscopy company.

2. The DNA extracted by Tom Gilbert was not orang utan DNA. To expect the CFZ (and me in particular) to ignore the findings of two eminent scientist in order to follow the instructions of someone who has a peculiar interest in other people's qualifications but is presumably unqualified himself (we don't know because he is too cowardly to come out from behind a facile nom de guerre) really is ridiculous.

3. When you first wrote to me on this matter you said that you were not going to go public with your queries. I decided, therefore, to do you the courtesy of allowing you to address the general readership with your concerns. I note, sadly, that this entire exchange has been placed on your site "in order to get this out to the wider cryptozoological community". My discussion with you on this matter is therefore at an end.


A close-up of the bone found by Pintu at Siju. We brought half back for analysis
The ootheca or egg case of a praying mantis photographed at Balpakram.
Some of the strange stalagtite formations in the cave system
Weird white fungi growing on bat guano in Siju Cave
A cave crayfish, one of the inhabitants of the Siju caves

INDIA EXPEDITION: Jessica Taylor and a friend interview Richard

Before the expedition left for India, Richard was interviewed by 12-year-old Jessica Taylor (now a sophisticated young lady of 13). The interview was so popular that by general request we asked Jess to interview him again on his return. This time she bought a friend along...

ROBERT SCHNECK: Petrified Manatee?

Japanese video that looks authentic but with something strange at the end. Hoax? Simulacrum? Dead walrus?




Kithra eulogises over Nick Redfern's new book, and quotes a lengthy article about NASA cover ups including that of alien life. Jolly good stuff.

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1954 a meteorite hit Ann Elizabeth Hodges while she was napping on her sofa in Oak Grove, Alabama. This was the first time an extraterrestrial object is known to have hit a person and one of only two documented instances of a meteorite hitting a human.
And now, the news:

Woman adopts 1,500 stray dogs
Chicken sore after laying 4 inch egg
'Panther' attacking sheep in Wales
Whale Sharks Use Geometry to Avoid Sinking
Lake invaders may be killing birds
Big cat alert after attack on sheep

Here's a video of some awesome shepherding skills and considering that Pong was released 32 years ago yesterday, and it's one of their displays in this, it's also quite topical:

Sunday, November 28, 2010

LIZ CLANCY: Vipers! film review

In a nutshell: pharmaceutical company creates GM snakes because their venom has been found to cure cancer but the ordinary snakes aren't producing the stuff quickly enough. The snakes escape (admittedly I don't know how as I was making cuppasoup) and terrorise a nearby island called Eden Cove - cue plenty of eye-rolling.

Eden Cove is idyllic till the killer vipers arrive: their first victims had been enjoying their honeymoon and reluctant to return home and "leave that view." They were eaten alive in their tent while doing what newlyweds do....

Then the man who left his wife for his secretary finds the secretary eaten alive in their bed after she thinks the snake crawling up her leg is her lover's caresses! I began to wonder if there was some kind of trend developing because the ex-wife of said lover is, along with her own new lover, next on the menu. I half-expected there to be characters called Eve, Adam and God, but apparently the filmmakers didn't want to be too biblical.

Having said that, one of the surviving main characters did own a garden centre. By the end she had fallen in love with the island's saviour, a former US army marine and doctor to boot; big surprise.

Needless to say, it wasn't all that good a film, though if you just want a little background noise for whatever reason, I reckon it would do the job well.

SUMATRA HAIR SAMPLES: The dialogue between the CFZ and the person calling himself "The Highland Tiger" continues..

The dialogue continues. THT writes:

'Thanks for posting my thoughts. I did wonder if the DNA testing had destroyed all the samples. Some people might say, "yeah yeah here we go, all proof has been destroyed etc", but in this instance I don't think this is the case. It is one of the drawbacks of DNA testing that samples are detroyed in the very nature of the test. That's life as Esther would say!

Can you confrm if any proper images were taken of the hairs. By that I mean photographs taken through the microscope and not photographs taken using a camera aimed at the screen.

I do hope it is not the latter, because if it is, then you must admit that is very poor scientific practice. I would expect, with microscopic equipment worth a small fortune, that the ability to photograph specimens would be a necessity.

If you do have good microscopic images of the hairs, then why not send those to some orangutan experts, even if it is just to get a second opinion.

After all, a second, third or even fourth opinion cannot hurt, and will only increase the credibility of your findings.

For the record, I do feel that of all cryptids in the world, the orang pendek is probably the most likely to be a real creature. But you do need to investigate every avenue in order to rule out the possibility of those hairs being from a known species.'

Lars replies:

'The microscope I used were set up to record pictures of everything I put into it during the WW, but it is back with Olympus by now, and I am not sure whether they have the pictures or whether the production company has them. But I will check and let you know - and I will try and contact various primate experts I know.'


We thought that this was a swamp eel (Symbranchus). The India expedition bought it, photographed it, and then ate it. However, as Max points out, Symbranchus spp don't have these nasal tubercules...


DALE DRINNON: Wildmen of Southeast Asia - Tote-Up

It seems that generally there is a larger and a smaller type of 'wildman' throughout southeast Asia, and they both correspond to the types in India, Tibet and China as well. In other words, the 'wildmen' of Vietnam, Cambodia and so on are contiguous with the Chinese 'wildmen' and the Indian 'wildmen' (such as the ones recently sought by a CFZ expedition) Ivan Sanderson identified the larger type as the Tok and Kung-Lu in southeast Asia, but they are the same as the Shan (and variants) in South China and North Vietnam, as well as the larger type of "Yeti", and the larger type of Chinese 'Wildman'

Recently I was going over my records of the Vietnamese wildmen, or Nguoi Rung, as well as the possible surviving mainland orangutans, for which I make a distinction and identify with the Da Nhan and the Americans' "Rock Apes." From the information given to me by my informants (and just confirmed this morning by a message from certain Vietnamese cryptozoological authorities), the strictly hominid Vietnamese wildmen (including the Nguoi Rung) come in a larger and a smaller size; the smaller ones about five feet tall, broadly 4'6" to 5'6" and more tightly with average heights from 4' 8" to 5'4" (females on the low end of height estimates and males at the higher end) with tracks frm 6 inches to 9 inches or usually 8 inches long; and then the larger 'wildmen' that are six feet and over leaving tracks that are a foot long and over. The range in estimates would then be heights up to an estimated 8'6" and a tighter average of height estimates from 6' 9" to 7' 6" and tracks reported as 12 to 16 inches long. That is on the smaller end of Sasquatch tracks and height estimates but probably comparable with the Tok and Kung-Lu.

Against this I feel I can say now that the rock apes would more usually be between three feet and five feet tall, comparable to a chimpanzee and closely resembling one otherwise; and in this description it closely matches the Yeh-Teh, Yeren and ibagon of the more common sort. It is also likely to be the surviving mainland population of 'fossil pongo', somewhat larger than an orangutan and adapted to living on the ground more (without the more specialised traits for climbing that have been acquired by orangutans proper). The colouration of all types is highly variable but ordinarily some shade of brown; the 'wildmen' are more ordinarily dark or blackish, although white ones are regularly reported, and the apes more usually reddish brown. I should also stress that the reported appearances of the various types is extremely similar within the types: the Almas type is very similar to the smaller Vietnamese wildman or to the Rakshi-Bompo of the Himalayas and their tracks are very similar; the Sasquatch types are always described as being much like the American Sasquatch in appearance and in the size and shape of the tracks; and the rock apes or "Bigmonkey" (Mahalangur) types are illustrated as generally being extremely similar to a chimpanzee or orangutan, and including whether the same type of creature is called a Yeti or a Hibagon.

It would be helpful if we had more reports or tracks to go on, but the 'ape' tracks are generally consistent and directly in opposition to the human-like 'wildman' tracks wherever they might appear. And of the entire series, the Shipton Yeti tracks stand out not only for having the unusually large second toe, but also for being very much larger than the norm for the entire series otherwise (something like 150% larger in both length and width than usual)

On the second illustration, "Yetiscale" from the Cambodian Bigfoot site, the smaller ape does illustrate a good representation of the Yeti as commonly reported, smaller but bulkier than a regular human being. That is the exact description which I heard independantly from Vietnamese informants about the Da Nhan and from American soldiers about the Rock Apes.

JOHN CHAPMAN: Monster in my Aquarium (From the Bug Club email list)

I have a monster living in my house. And I've not even dated it. I have a small indoor heated aquarium, which fits within a picture frame and hangs on the wall of my living room. The tank is about 2.5 feet long by about 18 inches high by about 2 or 3 inches deep, and is fully enclosed in a wooden frame. It contains guppies and a lot of weed and snails. A couple of weeks ago I saw what I thought was a spider drowning, thrashing/swimming in the tank.

I tried to fish it out but it buried itself in the gravel and I lost it. A few hours later I was amazed to see it sitting in the weed. Upon closer examination I could see it has six legs, clearly has a head, abdomen and thorax, has a laterally flattened body and its abdomen was pulsating, presumably to facilitate breathing. It was then about 10mm long but is now about 15. No fish seem to be disappearing and I have a number of baby guppies, which are smaller than it is.

But I suspect it is eating snails. I assume it is an insect larva and was probably introduced on the weed, possibly as an egg. But since it is a tropical tank I have no idea whether the weed is of native or foreign origin. Obviously it would be irresponsible to release a non-native insect species into the wild – although at this time of year (end of Nov) it would probably mean instant death even if it is native. I live in North Wales, UK. Has anyone got any idea what it is? What can I do with it?

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1922 Howard Carter opened the tomb of Tutankhamun to the public.
And now, the news:

Rare Arctic bird found in county as polar conditio...
One scientist's hobby: recreating the ice age
Fishing nations agree slim Atlantic tuna quota cut...
Most Recent Loch Ness Photo (via Dale Drinnon)
Rare cricket halt work at Wakefield nature park
Elephant ultrasound

Baby elephants always go down well:

Saturday, November 27, 2010




The general consensus of opinion amongst the furry members of the CFZ Family is that winter is over-rated. Surprisingly, however, Biggles liked it.


`The Highland Tiger` wrote back:

'Jon, I thank you for posting my comments. I understand that you wish to accept the findings of your experts. However, do you not think it prudent to contact orangutan specialists for their opinion of the hair samples. For them to confirm the identity of the hair samples would in my opinion have more validity in the wider zoological world. You need confirmation of the hair samples. not from just a generalist such as Lars, but from someone who is an expert in orangutan physiology. You need to eliminate any possibility it is of a known orangutan sub species, before you can claim it is of a new species.

And for the record, Richard Freeman is incorrect, in saying that orangutans have been missing from Western Sumatra since the 1880's. The IUCN report indicates that there were reports up to as recently as the 1960's. I really feel you need to get as many professional opinions on the hairs as you can.'

We wrote to Lars Thomas, who replied:

'Unfortunately it will not be possible to send anything to anybody - in order to get enough DNA out of the hairs, all the rest of them had to be sacrificed. The actual extraction process destroys the hairs. All that remains are my notes and drawings and the various pictures taken from the screen of the big microscope during the Weird Weekend. But intriguingly enough, a couple of days ago I got a call from a Danish guy, who used to work as a tourist guide in Indonesia. He had stumbled onto the CFZ blog and read about the orang pendek. He claims to have some long orange/reddish brown hairs in his position he found in Sumatra about 10 years ago, at a place where some local had seen an orang pendek. He never though much about it at the time, and just kept the hairs as a fun souvenir of his time in Indonesia.'

As far as the dates when orang utans were last seen in Kerinci National Park, Richard had been told that they had not been there since the 19th century. However, in the light of what THT has written, we have written to Debbie Martyr and the management of the park for clarification.


MORE PICTURES FROM INDIA (Captions by Richard Freeman)

Pintu, one of our guides, who found a mysterious bone in Siju caves

Me in Siju cave, looking for bones

Chris, Adam and I outside of Siju Cave, where a village headman reported an encounter with a mande-barung

Chris and Dave on an old fashioned jungle suspension bridge, minus Johnny Weissmuller

The beautiful Simsang River, where the sankuni, a huge mystery snake, has been reported.


Jon, I just found out about this place and I can’t wait to go visit. It’s in Colorado and it’s called the Butterfly Pavilion. There is a Crawl-a-see-um where kids can hold a tarantula named Rosie. Here is the link: http://www.butterflies.org/

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1520 three of Magellan’s ships sailed from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, becoming the first Europeans ever to do so.
And now, the news:

Alaska polar bears given 'critical habitat'
From Estonia to Poland – one of Europe’s largest p...
Life discovered in deepest layer of Earth’s crust
Video Cat takes on two alligators
Animal genomes riddled with the 'skeletons' of anc...
San Jose Pet Store Looks To Find Homes For Over 1,...
Pictures of dead 'mermaid' in Zimbabwe?
Rare cricket halt work at Wakefield nature park

While the crickets clicked their clicky melodies, all the ants were fancy dancin' with the fleas...

Friday, November 26, 2010

INDIA EXPEDITION: Second Video Report

INDIA EXPEDITION: Second Video Report

MORE PICTURES FROM INDIA (Captions by Richard Freeman)

A fallen tree blocked the trail up into Nokrek National Park.
We had to cut it up with a saw!

A shot of the jungle at Nokrek. It is some of the most undisturbed
rainforest in India and the home of the wild ancestor of the orange.

The nest of a wild boar found on our first day at Nokrek.
The mande-burung is said to build huge nests by
twisting branches together to form a kind of roof.

A view of the beautiful Simsang (rice pot) river at Baghimara.
Of an evening I read Kipling's Jungle Books
(so cheapened and bastardised by Disney)
overlooking the Simsang as the sun went down.

This is a whip scorpion captured by Dave Archer.
Despite appearances, it is harmless due to lacking a sting like true scorpions.


Dear Jon,

Why not write a book about that strangest of creatures... The Green-Eyed Monster? He does not need a full moon to transform him into a beast; just a simple glance at someone else's achievements is enough to send it into a foaming at the mouth rage.

I speak, of course, of Richard's detractors. The poor bloke cannot do right for doing wrong! His reputation is hauled over the coals for simply presenting the evidence he has gathered. Yet if they doubt what he says then the answer is simple....GET OFF YOUR LAZY ARSES AND DO THE RESEARCH YOURSELVES! But of course they won't, as there is too much pizza to consume and 'I'm a celebrity, increase my bank balance' on the TV to watch.

It seems some people are capable of being able to cause an argument in an empty house!


Davey C

CFZ forever!

DAVID BRAUND-PHILLIPS: A bet about seahorses

The other evening David and his girlfriend Jess were talking about the blog. "I bet you can't just sit down and write a blog about...um SEAHORSES!" said Jess. "I bet I can" said David...

Seahorses; or Hippocampus, which means 'Horse Caterpillar'; are a small unusually-shaped fish that can be found in many areas of the globe. There are two species around British coastline: the spiny seahorse (Hippocampus Guttulatus) and the short-snouted seahorse (Hippocampus Hippocampus).

Both seahorses can be found from the Shetland Isles down the west coast of the UK (and all around Ireland) and along the south coast of England.

There are between 30 and 40 species of seahorses worldwide, and possibly as many sub-species. It is often difficult for scientists to identify seahorses because individuals of the same species can vary greatly in appearance.

New species continue to be found. They live in shallow weedy areas. In winter they move into deeper waters to escape the rough weather.

The point behind the writing of this blog is to make everyone aware of the danger even a small animal like this can find itself in from human threats.

As conservation is becoming an ever larger part of working and learning about animals.

The biggest threats to this particular fish are:

  • * The traditional Chinese medicine trade takes in excess of 20 million seahorses a year from the wild and these are used for all types of medicine.

  • * The Curio trade takes approximately one million seahorses from the wild a year. Along with shells and starfish, they are deliberately taken from the sea and left to die in the boiling sun. They are then sold as souvenirs.

* The pet trade takes an estimated one million seahorses a year.

These are also very common threats to many species around the world.

There are many organisations doing a brilliant job to help the seahorse, with various successful breeding projects and research activity to give the seahorse the best possible chance. However, as with all things, we have to ask is it enough?



Our old friend Simon Reames, who we first met back in 1998 when as a schoolboy he followed Graham's and Jon's adventures in Puerto Rico, sent this peculiar story about flying squid.

Once, while boating off the coast of Jamaica in 2001, marine biologist Silvia Maciá and her husband caught a glimpse of an oddly familiar creature leaping from the waves, soaring with ease over the surface of the ocean. As the animal propelled itself for some 30 feet, Maciá realised she was witnessing the most unusual sight -- a flying squid. So intrigued by what she saw that day, Maciá would go on to co-author a paper examining similar observations, though essential photographic evidence of the incredible phenomenon remained elusive. That is, until now.


OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1978 Harvey Milk was assassinated.
And now, the news:

Secrets of Sharks' Success: Flexible Scales Enable...
Kokako discovery in New Zealand
New bird species recognised in Australia – Critica...
Shocking images: possums and stoats eat kea chicks...
Record number of whales slaughtered in the Faroe I...
Dinosaur Die-Off Cleared Way for Gigantic Mammals ...
Army ants are creators not destroyers of worlds

Thanks ants:

Thursday, November 25, 2010


On Thursday I received a message from the person calling themselves `The Highland Tiger`. He wrote hoping that we took his comments on this occasion "as a genuine observation". In that spirit, therefore, I reproduce what he had to say:

"From what I can gather from the conclusions made by both Lars and Richard Freeman, it appears that the DNA results of being close to human are being ignored, largely in favour of the hair analysis. I find this very worrying as it appears on the surface to be a case of trying to fit the evidence to the theory.

Hair analysis is very subjective process and is literally in the eye of the beholder. Different experts may come to different conclusions in investigating hair samples. DNA results are less subjective.

The reason the DNA samples claim to be almost human is more than likely through contamination. Yes I know the researchers claim they did not touch the hairs, but to be honest it is hard enough to prevent contamination in a laboratory, let alone obtaining clean samples in the field, is hard and I don't blame the field team for this.

I understand Karl Shuker has given an example of the king cheetah to explain a possibilty of both DNA and hair analysis being correct. However, this is only one case and we can in no way extrapolate this example in order to fit the evidence to the theory again, as Richard seems to have done.

I am actually in agreement with Dr Dan Holdsworth in that I feel the DNA results have probably been compromised by contamination.

The hairs are interesting in that I have no problem in accepting them as orangutan hairs, (and as such in finding a new population of orangs you have had a success)

Now this find is more exciting to the wider zoological world. Are you intending to contact orangutan researchers, and allow them to look at the hairs themselves. To find and confirm a new orangutan population is very important on a wordwide conservation scale, and needs to be released to mainstream zoological research and not kept in the restricted confines of cryptozoological research".

The most important thing about these DNA results are that whatever the hairs are, they are NOT from an orang utan. I would like to stress this. If there had been evidence suggesting that there was at least one orang utan living in that stretch of jungle, we would of course have made the hairs available to the relevant authorities. If there is any chance that there is a hitherto unsuspected population of these increasingly beleagured great apes then it is our sacred duty to do what we can to save them, and the discovery of a new population would be immensely important.

But the hairs, whatever they are from, are NOT from an orang utan.

However, we are not claiming that they are from an orang pendek either. Neither Richard nor Lars is ignoring the startlingly human-like DNA, and yes, the possibility of contamination is something that is always a possibility.

But as Lars writes, the results are inconclusive, although as a zoologist with many years experience, the hairs, together with all the anecdotal evidence that has been collected, Dave Archer and Sahar Didmus's eyewitness testimonies, and the various hair samples and footprints secured over the years have convinced him that there is an unknown species of higher primate living in Sumatra.

But no. Both Richard and I agree with Lars and HT that the DNA evidence - though interesting - is far from being conclusive, which is why we intend to go back to Sumatra with more equipment and more manpower to continue the hunt.

INDIA EXPEDITION: First Video Report

For the next week we shall be posting pictures and a brief video from the India expedition.

FIRST PICTURES FROM INDIA (Captions by Richard Freeman)

A few weeks prior to our arrival the jungle was filled with elephants passing through the area.
Each morning we heard the hoolock gibbons calling from deep in the forest.

This is a tourist lodge in the jungle at Nokrek. It is made to look like a traditional Garo house.

One night, or so our guide Rudy said, a tiger was prowling around it, attracted by the live chickens.

Sadly we didn't see hide nor hair of it!

We sampled a local wild fruit that the guides called 'tescun.'
It was quite delicious, but also quite unlike anything I have tasted before.
Describing the flavour would be akin to trying to describe a new colour never seen before!

One of our first ports of call was Nokrek National Park.

There have been several recent mande-barung sightings here.

We set up several camera traps baited with fruit and left

them in the hope that the creature would be attracted.

We bought fresh produce from village markets; produce such as

fruit, rice, vegetables, eggs and live chickens. All of whom I named!
The food prepared by our guides in the jungle lodges
was far better than the fare we endured in Tura.


As an ardent collector of data appertaining to zoological freaks, caprices, and monsters of the teratological kind, two of my fondest longstanding daydreams have focused upon the discovery of an elephant with two trunks and a camel with three humps. Naturally, however,, I never seriously expected to fulfil either of them, as I'd always assumed such fanciful beasts to exist only in the most fevered of imaginations. But not any more!

Read on..

ARCHIVING PROJECT: General Forteana Part 33

As you know, Oll has been working on the archiving project since early February 2009 and he is now working on a general mish-mash of a section known as `General Forteana`.

This 33rd collection once again really is a collection of completely uncategoriseable stuff, including images of Jesus on a soyabean oil tank, anomalous humming, tests on the rifle that shot MLK, a Muslim exorcism that went wrong and lots more. It doesn't get much better than this. Good stuff.




The ever increasingly entertaining John Allison has just started another (his third) story in the `Bad Machinery` series. The last one was full of crypto and fortean references, featuring a wendigo called `Archibald`, and - although it is far too early to find out what this new story is about - it will certainly be massively entertaining. This boy is one to watch!

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1922 the film The Toll of the Sea became the first film put on general release in colour, using the two-tone Technicolor system.
And now, the news:

New 'dog only' beer hits shelves
24' crocodile lurks in river in Normanton, pastor ...
Strange animal caught after eight-hour hunt
Shennongjia releases micrographs of unknown animal...
Chinese "Wild Man" Hair
Caterpillar fungus craze
Novice angler catches monster halibut worth £25,00...

He only went out that day for the 'haibut.'

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


The other day Lars Thomas posted his findings regarding the morphological and DNA analysis of the hair sample brought back from Sumatra by the 2009 CFZ expedition. This attracted several negative comments, and as I believe that this is a matter of some importance, rather than having Richard Freeman post his reply in the original thread, we have asked him to post his answer on the main bloggo:

Andrew Sweeney, your comments are utterly absurd. Have you even bothered to read Lars’s account? He is a professional scientist who says that he is forced to conclude from our data that a new species of large primate exists in Sumatra; something you seem to have conveniently ignored. I call that a result.

To say that the expedition added nothing to our knowledge is just completely wrong. We saw tracks and learnt of foot structure. Dave Archer actually saw the creature and even managed to get a look at its face. His description gives us anatomical clues to the animal’s nature. Any eyewitness account is valuable in the sum of our knowledge.

Dan and Jum, the orang-utan has been extinct in west Sumatra since the 1880s. Dave Archer is adamant the animal he saw was not one of these. It was the guides who collected the hair samples from a tree stump using tweezers. They were next to some very clear tracks that showed a long, human-like heel and an ape-like forefoot with a well separated big toe. They were not orang-utan or gibbon prints, both of these are animals with which I am very familiar.

What Karl Shuker has to say
What CFZ Australia have to say


As regular bloggo readers will know, young Jessica Taylor turned thirteen yesterday, and henceforth is a young lady rather than a child. We marked the fact on the blog yesterday, and Jess was very pleased with us having done so until she noticed the picture. "But I was only eleven in that picture" she wailed. You must have a picture of me as a teenager." So herewith, we present Jess unwrapping a box of chocolates yesterday evening.

Happy now?




Unlike most of my countrymen, I always remember Thanksgiving, partly because when I was a young boy, my grandmother took me to Plymouth (which is only forty miles down the road) and told me the story of The Mayflower...

NEIL ARNOLD/MATHIJS KROON: Mystery Animals Of The Netherlands part two

On July 17th 1899 the Dordrechtsch Nieuwsblad newspaper featured a bizarre story (Dordrecht is a city in the Dutch province ‘Zuid Holland’ – South Holland’) concerning a monster.

Mathijs translates the article as follows:

In a village called Dubbeldam there were rumours that a street (or way) called the Stevensweg was supposed to be haunted. One evening a man was walking in the area when suddenly a woman appeared and asked him for money. When the man refused, the woman shouted, “I will get you for this!” and disappeared.

The man continued on his journey but soon a small dog appeared and began to follow the him. Suddenly the dog transformed into a huge bear which started to attack the poor man.

There’s an old belief that ghost bears are frightened of iron knives and the man was armed with such a weapon. He grabbed his knife and stabbed at the bear. It disappeared and the man was alone in the darkness again. Since then the Stevensweg was feared at night by many.


The Beachcomber blog really is becoming essential reading:

In ancient and medieval and, indeed, modern times geographers frequently got things embarrassingly wrong for those there-be-dragons areas outside the circuit of their little worlds. So the early Greeks believed that the Gobi desert was full of flightless griffins. The Byzantines were convinced that the air in Scotland was poisonous. And the British in the sixteenth through nineteenth century were prepared to fund missions into the American interior to look for Welsh-speaking Indian tribes…

Many of these misunderstandings can be traced back to a failure of communication – certainly the three above are explicable in terms of present knowledge. But every so often a report comes to us from a geographer of the past that defies all rational explanation. Take Ctesias of Cnidus’s ravings about the Napalm Snake of India.

Read on

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On the day in 1922 Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon entered the tomb of Tutankhamun for the first time.
And now, the news:

Study sees polar bears losing out to grizzlies
Putin may be the tiger's champion, but China will ...
Pterosaurs' wings 'key to their size' (via Dawn Ho...
Dogs are 'smarter than cats'
Snowmass tally: 10 mastodons, 4 mammoths, one "onc...
Mysterious horse deaths have family seeking answer...
Koalas as picky leaf-eaters

Steve Irwin meets a koala joey:

Tuesday, November 23, 2010



Wednesday 24th November 2010
19:30 - 21:30
St Hilda's College, Cowley Place, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX4 1DY
Entrance Price: £5.00

UFOs: The Secret Story is a lecture by Robert Hastings, the renowned UFO researcher. Hastings has appeared on Larry King Live, and has given his lecture to numerous universities in the US. This is his first appearance at Oxford University, sponsored and organised by polymath and Oxford alumnus Paul Parl. The main theme of Hastings' lecture is his meticulous research of documented UFO incidents at nuclear missile sites around the world, a topic which he has investigated for decades. He has been approached by numerous high-ranking military officials who have provided him with impeccable testimony. It promises to be a fascinating evening.

To book a ticket for this lecture, visit http://www.eventelephant.com/hastingslecture


From BoingBoing:

D R SHOOP: Stinky invader arrives in Minnesota

First came the gypsy moth, then the Japanese and Asian lady beetles, the soybean aphid and emerald ash borer.

Now say hello to the brown marmorated stink bug, the next invasive insect to land in Minnesota -- this one with its own unique, er, scent.

Of all places, the first specimen was found at the plant protection division of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Although Minnesota has been home to other varieties of stink bugs, it is the first time this bug -- also known as the Asian stink bug -- has been found in Minnesota, state agriculture officials said. It most likely hitched a ride on a shipment of equipment from the east coast, officials said, and that makes them think there might be others elsewhere in the state.

"The fact it arrived here the way it did suggests that it's happening elsewhere, too," said Bob Koch, an entomologist with the state Agriculture Department.

The brown marmorated stink bug, which has distinctive black and white markings on its abdomen, has been making a nuisance of itself across the Eastern United States since 2001. Native to Asia, the pest was first identified in the U.S. in Pennsylvania. It has since been reported across the mid-Atlantic region, in Oregon and in other states.

If - or more likely when - it becomes established in Minnesota, it is likely to be particularly troublesome for farmers and vegetable gardeners, said Koch. "It can become a significant pest to the production of fruit trees and vegetable crops," he said. "It also feeds on soybeans, field corn and sweet corn." The stink bugs aren't nearly as problematic as the emerald ash borer, which kills the trees it inhabits, said University of Minnesota entomologist Jeff Hahn. But in the last year or two there has been an explosion in the number of marmorated stink bugs in other regions, causing loss in some crops, he said.

The bugs also have an annoying tendency to become home invaders in the fall. When the weather cools, they seek warm places. But unlike Asian lady beetles, which do the same thing, the stink bug, well, stinks. When threatened, it releases a foul-smelling liquid as a defence mechanism. That, said Koch, could be one reason why birds aren't likely to go after them.

Unlike the stink bug varieties that are native to Minnesota -- and like all invasive species in general -- the marmorated stink bug could be difficult to control because in this country it has no natural enemies or predators. Koch said the Agriculture Department will start trying to figure out how farmers can control it with pesticides or other methods.

The bug typically spreads to new areas by flying or by stowing away in shipping containers or vehicles. It is unclear how the insect arrived in the laboratory building, state officials said. The agriculture department's bug hunters are now searching the laboratory to find and eradicate any other stink bugs that may have arrived, Koch said.

"In Arizona, there was a motor home coming out of the East that was infested with them," Koch said. "They are getting moved around pretty easily."

Koch said the bugs will show up in homes before they start damaging crops. Don't smash them unless you're willing to live with the smell. Koch said the best way to get rid off them is with a vacuum cleaner. But he advised putting a nylon stocking over the end of the hose to catch the bug before it gets inside the vacuum cleaner "Otherwise you'll have a pretty smelly vacuum cleaner," he said.


A few days ago I read an obituary of the Cottingley fairy debunker in The Guardian, part of which runs as follows:

'The photographic scientist Geoffrey Crawley, who has died aged 83, played an instrumental role in the debunking of the world`s longest running photographic hoax. The unlikely deception was hatched in 1917 by two cousins, Elsie Wright, aged 15, and Frances Griffiths, 1o, who claimed they had captured photographs of fairies near there home in Cottingley,west Yorkshire. The “Cottingley fairies” tale quickly caught the public imagination, rolling on until some six decades later, when Geoffrey`s scientific analysis of the pictures led the cousins to confess that the fairies had been nothing more sensational than cut-outs kept in place using hatpins….

Geoffrey was born in Bow, east London. Aged four, he moved with his parents to Southend-on-Sea, Essex,and then to nearby Leigh-on-Sea, where he helped out in the darkroom set up by Tom, a keen amateur photographer,who worked for the Admiralty in London. Geoffrey attended Westcliff high school for boys. His mother, Alice, died when he was 12….

It was as editor of the BJP ( British Journal of Photography) in 1982 that he applied a detective`s eye to the five Cottingley fairies photographs, the authenticity of which had first been endorsed by Edward Gardner, a theosophist, in 1920. Gardner had heightened the allure of the story by having the glass plate negatives retouched for public show, in a way that Photoshop software might be used today. The tale snowballed further when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – the creator of Sherlock Holmes and a spiritualist- endorsed the revelations in the Strand Magazine.

Geoffrey brought an objective, in-depth, technical analysis to the case. He acquired two of the cameras used by the Cottingley cousins – a quarter-plate Cameo folding camera and a Midg box camera – to assess whether they could possibly have used them to take the pictures. “ Of course there are fairies,just as there is Father Christmas,” Geoffrey concluded. The story proved irresistible to Hollywood: the films Fairy Tale: A True Story and Photographing Fairies based on the case were both released in 1997….' (1)

1. The Guardian November 16th 2010 p.32


Jessica Taylor would like it to be known that she is now thirteen, and demands to be treated like a young lady. Jon may be her adopted uncle, but is henceforth forbidden to call her a horrible child....

NICK REDFERN: The Crypto-rats of Roswell

This is one of the strangest tales I've ever come across, and I've come across some strange ones! http://monsterusa.blogspot.com/2010/11/crypto-cover-ups-rats-and-roswell.html

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On the day in 1971 a hijacker using the alias Dan Cooper jumped from a plane flying over Washington State, USA, with $200,000 in ransom money. Neither he nor the money were ever seen again.

And now, the news:

Keep an eye out for stranded dolphins, urge scient...
Spice of Life: Variety Is Also Good for Hares
Atlantic Ocean migratory sharks not covered by fis...
University of the Basque Country research team inv...
Wild wolves in Missouri? (via Chad Arment)
Echidnas now ranked as most endangered animals

Cute and funny echidna video:


Richard won't be coming up today as originally planned because he has an urgent appointment tomorrow morning. However, when he has got that out of the way, he will be back up as planned...

Monday, November 22, 2010

DALE DRINNON: Lindorm as eel

As a matter of interest I post this panel from the comic book The Brave and the Bold, shortly before the announcement of the silver-age Justice League of America. It depicts a lindorm as a gigantic eel. Joe Kubert was the artist and I do not know where the idea for the eel comes from, but it does match some of the traditional descriptions of the lindorm (sometimes including the pectoral fins).


Every day that I am here, and well enough, I post seven items or more to the bloggo. In my absence Lizzy and/or Graham do a magnificent job filling in for me. But while every time they do this I thank them on the blog, I seldom thank the people who work on it every day. This is terribly remiss of me.

So, many thanks to Oll Lewis who writes `Yesterday's News Today` day in and day out, Gavin Lloyd Wilson who oversees the newsblog, and my darling wife Corinna who during Gavin's leave-of-absence is doing the newsblog daily, and at other times bustles around wherever she is needed, as well as writing her own blogs. Thank you, my dears!


After a long wait, the hard-copy version of The Amateur Naturalist #9, ably edited by Max Blake, is available.

The Digital Edition has been available for some time.

It is a rich and varied edition, and the contents are:

3 Editorial
5 Who’s who
7 Contents
9 News:
RSPCA make Jumbo Fools of Themselves
11 News
25 Club news
27 Keeping locusts as pets by Corinna Downes
30 Locusts in the UK by Richard Muirhead
32 A Jekyll and Hyde of Characins
by David Marshall
39 Hawkmoths and Tigers and the
Butterfly Effect by Jonathan Downes
44 Suriname Toads by Richard Freeman
47 Toxic caterpillars by Nick Wadham
50 Turning over a new leaf by Max Blake
52 An attitude out of the Ark
by Richard Freeman
54 Revolting plants as a substitute for
exotic pets by Mark Pajak
59 CFZ meet the Titan Arum
60 The sail-finned water dragon
by Richard Freeman
63 Birth, Sex and Death in rural England
by Carl Portman
67 Release the bats by Oll Lewis
71 The scales have fallen ….. or something!
A field report from Denmark by Lars
73 Tell me Y
by Jonathan Downes
76 Exclusive extract from
The Mystery Animals of Ireland
by Ronan Coghlan and GaryCunningham
83 Olive millipedes
by Lucy Henson
85 Mysteries of the dog
by Scottie Westfall
90 CFZ Press News
91 Lucy’s life
92 Corinna’s Endangered Species column:
The Philippine eagle
94 Bookshelf
98 Aquarium review: Blue Reef, Bristol
101 About the CFZ
105 About CFZ Press

RICHARD FREEMAN: Daemons of the Dreamtime Part 7

'Bunyip' may be a corruption of an Aboriginal word. The term first appears in print in 1920 in the Sydney Gazette where the ‘bahnyip’ was described as ‘a large black animal like a seal, with a terrible voice which creates terror among the blacks’.

There are two types of Bunyip. One resembles a big seal; the other has a long neck and small head. Both are furry and considered dangerous. Bunyips supposedly emerged at night to hunt prey including humans.

There were a number of sightings by white settlers up till the 1930s. These may have been based on leopard seals or sea lions that had strayed many miles in land by swimming up rivers. Inland tribes would have been totally unfamiliar with these marine mammals that can be quite large and aggressive. The weird vocalisation attributed to the Bunyip may have been made by the Australian bittern Botaurus poiciloptilus.


If you love Bogs and Birds you’ll enjoy this.


OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1499 Perkin Warbeck, a pretender to the British throne who claimed to be the son of King Edward IV, was executed after several failed attempts to escape from the Tower of London. Warbeck claimed to be Richard of Shrewsbury, the youngest of the princes in the tower who, unbeknownst to Warbeck, had been murdered by King Richard III and his body hidden in an old chest a few yards away from where Warbeck was jailed. Richard of Shrewsbury was played by Brian Blessed in the first series of Blackadder.
And now, the news:

Flamingos gathered in the shape of a flamingo is '...
Rosser's sac photographed
Smoked duck
New species of large squid found
First cold water coral ecosystem discovered off co...
Species ID challenged by DNA analysis
How hummingbirds fight the wind


Sunday, November 21, 2010

LARS THOMAS: Analysis of the orang pendek hairs collected in Sumatra during the 2009 expedition

In late 2009 I was given a sample of hairs collected in Sumatra earlier that year by Adam Davies, Richard Freeman and several others taking part in the expedition searching for evidence of the elusive orang pendek, the Indonesian “abominable snowman.”

A small part of the hair sample was subjected to a DNA-analysis, but due to the small amount of DNA extracted and the rather poor condition of it, no firm conclusion could be reached. The DNA did show some similarities to primate DNA, possibly orangutan, but no definite results could be obtained.

Following this I subjected the remaing hairs to a structural analysis to see if this could bring any information to light that might reveal the identity of the owner of the hairs.

I checked all of the remaining 6 hairs and they were all consistent with hairs from large primates or humans. They all had the rather large medulla with a lot of pigmentation typical of large primates, and the intermittent holes in the centre of the hairs, making them look somewhat like hollowed out tree trunks. I compared the hair samples with reference samples of 3 different species of gibbon, orangutan, chimpanzee and bonobo, gorilla and some 15 samples of human hairs in various colours, mainly red or reddish. I was never able to ascertain their identity with total certainty, although I could eliminate some. The hairs were not modern human, and they were not from siamangs or other gibbons. They have a very deep rusty-red colour, very similar to the colour of orangutan hairs, but varied in other structural details.

So based on these results alone I concluded that the hairs were from something closely related to orangutans or from a form of orangutan I had not seen before.

In the autumn of 2010 Tom Gilbert from the DNA Laboratory of the University of Copenhagen did a further DNA test of the remaining hairs. In this case he was able to extract a good amount of DNA enabling him to conclude that whoever used to wear these hairs were either human of very closely related to humans.

So the structural analysis point to either an orangutan or something very closely related to an orangutan. The DNA analysis on the other hand point to a human or something very closely related to humans.

Based on this information I am forced to conclude that Sumatra is home to a completely new species of large primate, but I am also well aware that these results can in no way be called conclusive evidence of the existence of these animals. But it should be more than enough reason for a new expedition to go back to the area, hopefully obtaining enough evidence and samples to come to a final conclusion.


A few days ago Rebecca from CFZ Australia e-mailed me, suggesting that I post the blog updates on the CFZ Facebook group. It was a jolly good idea, I thought, but had no idea how to do it. With the help of Karl Shuker and Oll Lewis I worked out (eventually) how to do it, and I left it for a couple of days to make sure that it was working properly (it is) before crowing to the world at large how clever I had been.

But it works. Hooray! (It's even on Twitter)


It is apparently a Warsaw Grouper.


Today I`m going to present a brief summary of information about a large black deer in Ireland contemporary with man. I was looking through The Zoologist, 4, 1846 the other day when I found in the preface by Edward Newman some notes on this deer:

The editor is summing up some recent discoveries in Zoology:

'In Quadrupeds,a most remarkable discovery has lately been made in Ireland, by Messrs. Glennon and Nolan, of Dublin, the former of whom has kindly forwarded to me a MS. account of the particulars, and the latter has most obligingly communicated them by word of mouth, and allowed me to make a careful examination of the specimens. The facts are briefly these; the above-named gentlemen have discovered at Lough Gûr, a small lake situated near Limerick, a vast quantity of bones,which appear to have been the rejectamenta of some slaughter house:they consist principally of the skulls of cattle (Bos), of two or three species,- red deer,giant deer (Cervus megaceros),goats,and pigs of more than one species:and there also occur,but not in abundance,bones of the rein-deer….

'But the most remarkable circumstance is this - that among the skulls so fractured are two unmistakeable specimens of female giant deer: to these my attention was particularly invited; and I have not the least hesitation in expressing my conviction that the fractures were the result of human hands, and were the cause of death of the animals. These two fractured skulls correspond too exactly with each other, and with that of a bullock with which I compared them to have resulted from accident: the edges of the fractures wore an appearance of being coeval with the interment or submergence of the skulls, and presented a very strikingly different appearance from a fracture recently made, and which I had the opportunity of examining. There were several skulls of the male of the same species, one bearing enormous antlers, but none exhibiting the slightest trace of frontal fractures…

…The absence of historical records [of a great deer contemporary with humans - R], so long before the invention of printing, although so strenuously urged, would really amount to nothing: the same argument might be employed to show that the round towers of Ireland were equally pre-adamite with her deer: for neither Cæsar nor Tacitus throw any light on the questio vexata of their date and use: but we are not absolutely without recors, for “ Pepper in his `History of Ireland` expressly states that the ancient Irish used to hunt a very large black deer, the milk of which served them for food and the skin for clothing *[*see `Gigantic Irish Deer`, by H.D Richardson p.25, available from amazon.co.uk for £16.29 not including postage.] And again, “Sir William Betham found some bronze or brass tablets, the inscription on which attested that the ancient Irish fed upon the flesh and milk of a great black deer [Ibid] (1)

Karl Shuker summarised other findings, bringing them up to date as follows:

'Although undeniably thought provoking, the case of Megaloceros`s persistence into historic times in Ireland as presented by …noted nineteenth century writers has never succeeded in convincing me – for a variety of different reasons. For instance, there is no conclusive proof that the large black deer allegedly hunted by the ancient Irish people really were surviving Megaloceros. Coat colour in the red deer Cervus elephas is far more variable than its common name suggests and, as is true with many other present-day species of sizeable European mammal, specimens of red deer dating from a few centuries ago or earlier tend to be noticeably larger than their twentieth century counterparts…True, absence of uncovered of uncovered Holocene remains of Megaloceros does not deny absolutely the possibility of Holocene persistence (after all, there are undoubtedly many European fossil sites of the appropriate period still awaiting detection and study). But unless some finds are excavated, it now seems much more likely that, despite the optimism of Gosse and other Victorian writers, this magnificent member of the Pleistocene megafauna failed to survive that epoch`s close after all, like many of its extra-large mammalian contemporaries elsewhere. (2)

1. E.Newman. Preface. The Zoologist vol 4. 1846 vii-ix
2. K.P.N Shuker In Search of Prehistoric Survivors (1995) pp 168-169


Time won`t change you
Money Wont change you
I haven`t got the faintest idea
Everything seems to be up in the air at this time

I need something to change your mind

Drugs wont change you
Religion wont change you……..


The Rendlesham Forest Incident
December 1980 30th Anniversary Conference

John Burroughs & Jim Penniston

Talk for the first time in Suffolk at the Woodbridge Community Hall Tuesday
December 28 at 6pm.

Also attending is Linda Moulton Howe, Nick Pope (MoD ret), and Peter Robbins (US based Investigative Writer - co-author of Left At East Gate)

In December 1980 strange lights were seen by US Air Force personnel posted to the twin bases of RAF Bentwaters & Woodbridge. To this day they have never been explained. On the 30th anniversary, December 28 2010 two key eye-witnesses are back in Suffolk to re-count their stories. Airman 1st Class John Burroughs and SSgt Jim Penniston were 81st Security Police Officers patrolling the East Gate at RAF Woodbridge when they observed what they initially thought was an aircraft coming down in the forest. The rest is history.

All five are in Suffolk on Tuesday December 28 2010 at:

Woodbridge Community Hall
Station Road
IP12 4AU

The guest speakers are looking for any civilian witnesses to the incident
to show up that night. The talk starts at 6pm. Tickets are £6.00 each. After the talk there will be a visit to the Rendlesham Forest site attended by the guest speakers. All are invited to come along. To order a ticket please send a stamped, self addressed envelope w/payment to:

Mr G Goodger,
108 Spring Road,
IP4 2RR.

We accept cheques and postal orders only (Cheques should be made payable to Mr. G Goodger). We will not be able to dispatch tickets if we do not receive a stamped SAE.

Questions about the event please call 07811 021230 or 01473 210726 and we
will do our best to help you.

At the request of the guest speakers, all profits will go to the Ipswich
Treehouse Children's Hospice Appeal. No-one is making any money out of this.

Phone: 01473 423143
Cell: 07811 021230

(Note: Dave Hodrien, BUFOG Chairman/Investigator will be attending this event)


Mike and Rebecca have been very busy over the last few days..

[Centre for Fortean Zoology Australia] Yowie! hits the small screen
[Centre for Fortean Zoology Australia] The Adventures of Tim Tyler and 'Fang'...
[Centre for Fortean Zoology Australia] From the archives: fishermen shoot sea monster
[Centre for Fortean Zoology Australia] Tassie Tiger a red (herring) fox?
[Centre for Fortean Zoology Australia] Black Panther cameos in Red Hill
[Centre for Fortean Zoology Australia] CFZ India Expedition Returns

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


Quite a bit happened on this day, deep breath... In 1859 Charles Darwin’s book On the Origin of Species was first offered for sale; in 1922 Howard Carter opened the tomb of Tutankhamun giving rise later to rumours of a curse; and in 1963 American President John F. Kennedy was assasinated.

And now, the news:

Gamekeeper on Scottish estate convicted of placing...
Rabid bat warning issued by Los Angeles health off...
Bangladesh okays strict law to protect endangered ...
‘Native trees will bring back birds’

An informative video:

Saturday, November 20, 2010



On Sunday 5th December 2010 FAST will be hosting ‘An afternoon with FAST’ at Ferrybridge Community Centre, The Square, Knottingley, W. Yorks. The afternoon will be a mixture of lectures and introductions to fish showing.

The following speakers have been confirmed:

David Marshall, Aquarium Gazette Editor -‘Magnificent 7 Aquarium fish’.
Mr. Trevor Douglas, Y.A.A.S. ‘A’ Class Judge - Fish Showing
Mr. Jeremy Gay, Corby A.S. – ‘Fish in Singapore’.

Fish Classes:

1.Northern Tri-Fish Challenge. The scores of three benched fish will be averaged to find a Challenge Champion.
2.SVAS/FAST Friendship Growing On Challenge - return to Ferrybridge of a group Barbus fasciolatus. The fish deemed to have progressed the best will win this Challenge.
3.The Newbie Shower - A class for people who have yet to win a place card at an Open Show.

Further details of what promises to be a very different day phone Dave Kirk on 07799878121

OLL LEWIS: How the West Learnt About the Yeti: Part 3

After the Daily Mail Expedition presented its findings the next westerner to go to the Himalayas specifically to look for the yeti was the American oil man Tom Slick in 1957. According to Wikipedia, Slick's interest in cryptozoology was little known until the publication of Tom Slick and the search for the Yeti in 1989 so it is entirely possible that some of Slick's adventures may have been slightly exaggerated with the passage of time (many of the facts only came to light in public over 20 years after his death) but it is known for a fact that Slick did finance a number of yeti expeditions. Slick was not interested in the yeti exclusively, and he also funded and participated in expeditions to look for the Loch Ness monster and closer to home, the Trinity Alps giant salamander in California, and Bigfoot.

It was not until 1959 that Slick's yeti expedition found something of note: supposed yeti scat. Analysis of the scat found an unidentified parasite, which led Bernard Heuvelmans to write:
'Since each animal has its own parasites, this indicated that the host animal is equally an unknown animal.'

However, this was just an example of Heuvelmans getting a little over-excited, as he was prone to do on several occasions in his otherwise distinguished career (for example, see the Minnesota Iceman incident). In reality the presence of an unknown parasite certainly does not indicate that it came from an unknown animal; scientists find previously unknown parasites in all number of known animal species, including man.

The Tom Slick yeti story that everyone knows, though, also took place in 1959: the story of Jimmy Stewart and the yeti's hand. Slick had heard of the existence of a mummified yeti hand in Pangboche monastery, Nepal, on the 1957 expedition and photographs had been taken of the hand by Peter Byrne in 1958. The plan was that the team would take the hand away for testing in the 1959 expedition; however, when the monks refused permission for this Byrne is said to have taken bone samples from the hand while the monks were distracted, and replaced them with human bone fragments. Byrne is then said to have smuggled the bone fragments into India where he met up with the Hollywood actor James Stewart who smuggled them into the United States of America. The analysis conducted on the samples, and a DNA analysis in 1991, concluded that they were 'near human', which sadly does not tell us a lot.

After the 1991 DNA analysis the entire hand was stolen from the monastery. Edmund Hillary visited the monastery in 1960 but concluded the hand was a fake. However, those that believe in the hand's authenticity have said his conclusions were largely based on the “modifications” made by Byrne to cover up for the sample he had taken.

Hillary's expedition to Nepal in 1960 was in part thought to be a cover for an expedition to spy on Chinese military technology and activity but he did take the yeti-hunting part of the expedition seriously and as well as investigating the Pangboche hand, obtained what was alleged to be a yeti scalp from Khumjung monastery in Nepal. The scalp was subjected to scientific testing and it was concluded that, far from being a yeti scalp, the skin had come from the hide of a serow. Myra Shackley, archaeologist and author of Wildmen: Yeti, Sasquatch and the Neanderthal Enigma contested the findings claiming that the hair looks distinctly monkey-like and the parasitic mites found on the scalp were of a different species to those found on the serow. A discrepancy of mites does not necessarily indicate that it is not a serow though because different mites and parasites will feed on dead tissue, long dead tissue like the 'yeti scalp' in particular, than living tissue.