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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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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

SUMATRA EXPEDITION: Richard replies

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

2 comments:

Dr Karl Shuker said...

Like Richard, I have no problem reconciling the differences between the DNA results and hair structure results obtained by Lars when analysing the samples brought back from Sumatra by the 2009 CFZ Expedition team - see my ShukerNature blog posted earlier today for full details. All the best, Karl

Dale Drinnon said...

This is the comment I just posted on Karl's blog:

While I see what Karl is driving at, the precise problem is NOT that the Orang Pendek is "Only one thing and this is it". The precise problem is that the Orang Pendek is MORE than ONE thing, and the polar possibilities are BOTH represented in the hair samples. In other words, you have Orang Pendeks that leave people tracks anod other ones that leave ape tracks. One set without an opposed big toe and the other set WITH an opposed toe. Although you might suggest a chimaeric creature that has both PRECISELY human DNA and PRECISELY orangutan structured hair, the mere fact that you have the two types of tracks means that you have two types of things you are dealing with. And with the equivocal results in this case, it makes a very great deal of difference whether the hairs are more human-like or more orangutan-like.

Best Wishes, Dale D.
No, I am not shouting, I cannot do italics here.

PS, I have never said that the hair samples were not valuable as evidence, what I have done all along is said that you are going to have trouble WHATEVER the test results turned out to be. And I was very much afraid that the team would be accused of hoaxing. That part at least does not seem to have materialized.

And I should be the happiest person in the world if your recent Yeti hair samples should match NA Sasquatch hair samples genetically.

Best Wishes(to Richard this time) Dale D.