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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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Saturday, November 27, 2010

THE DIALOGUE ON THE SUMATRA HAIR SAMPLES CONTINUES...

`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.

2 comments:

Dale Drinnon said...

Points well taken. It is extremely urgent to get hold of these other sample hairs if at all possible in order to continue the process of identification.

And, although I hate to keep sounding like a broken record, if there is BOTH a homind AND an apelike creature running around and being claimed as "THE Orang Pendek" by witnesses, you will inevitably only come up with HALF of the solution to the problem whatever the final identification turns out to be. If you identify the hairs as an orangutan, you STILL have not identified "THE Orang Pendek" that Sanderson and Heuvelmans wrote about, which is clearly a hominid. If it turns out the hair samples ARE hominid, then all well and good, but then you STILL will not have identified whatever-it-is that is leaving the "Ape" tracks with an opposed big toe.

By starting out the expedition with the premise that there WAS only ONE sort of Orang Pendek, you set yourselves up for only an incomplete solution in either case. And THAT was the fact I had been trying to impress upon the CFZ from the onset.

Greatbeast said...

I'd feel better about Highland Tiger's comments if he hadn't proven himself such a passive-aggressive little shit in the past. Reading his arguments with Richard Freeman on H.T.'s anti-CFZ blog don't inspire confidence. If that blog were a pub, the landlord would have said, "Oy! You two — OUT!"