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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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Sunday, November 21, 2010

MUIRHEAD`S MYSTERIES: IRELAND`S GREAT BLACK DEER

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


TALKING HEADS MIND


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……..

1 comment:

Dale Drinnon said...

Karl Shuker's comments was directed toward survival of the so-called Irish Elk IN IRELAND into the Postglacial: we have seen evidence of the species' possible survival in Eastern Europe and Central Asia possibly up into the dark ages.

And the possibility of its postglacial survival in Ireland is basically a quibble over just when it went extinct, because the point is generally conceded by all these older writers that it WAS already extinct. That problem therefore falls outside of the definition of Cryptozoology.