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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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Monday, November 22, 2010

RICHARD FREEMAN: Daemons of the Dreamtime Part 7

THE BUNYIP
'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.

1 comment:

Dale Drinnon said...

Some of the Bunyip reports are also clearly elephant seals, BTW. They are as large as a bullock and quite capable of making the roaring sound attributed to them. Sometimes they are said to have a short trunk and sometimes they are also said to leave three-toed tracks. (whether or not you subscribe to the idea that elephant seals can leave three-toed tracks, that IS part of the package)