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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Unlike some of our competitors we are not going to try and blackmail you into donating by saying that we won't continue if you don't. That would just be vulgar, but our lives, and those of the animals which we look after, would be a damn sight easier if we receive more donations to our fighting fund. Donate via Paypal today...

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.


Centre for Fortean Zoology Australia have posted a chilling article on their site, suggesting that the extinction of the thylacine (if indeed it is extinct) is nothing more than a callous act of zoological genocide.

Read on!

Mike and Recbecca are doing so much good work on their site that starting next week there will be a round-up of all their postings here on the main blog for those who have missed them. Well done, guys.


Hazel Jackson is carrying out a research project on British parakeets:

The UK's wild Ring-necked Parakeets provide an excellent opportunity to study how invasive populations experience rapid population growth from a small number of individuals without experiencing any genetic side-effects — such as inbreeding depression, reduced survival rates and decreased disease resistance. Many island populations, such as the Mauritius Echo Parakeet, are unable to do this and require intensive conservation management to save the populations from extinction. I am investigating the genetic origin and makeup of Ring-necked Parakeets in the UK, to see what lessons can be learnt from the species to inform future conservation efforts. It's also important to understand any detrimental impacts parakeets may have, such as possible diseases, again with a view to mitigation.

Read on


BRANDON MILLER WRITES: I'm new to northern Texas and have had 2 of these in my home in the last 2 days. Been trying to ID it with no luck. Hopefully you can help. Flying bug, all black. About 1 1/4 inches long. I don't know much about insects but it's got the shape of a large ant. I didn't realise it even had wings until I tried to scoop it out the door.


Coming in two months from Schiffer Publishing, Strange Monsters of the Pacific Northwest (http://www.schifferbooks.com/newschiffer/book_template.php?isbn=9780764336225).

In addition to mystery cats, aquatic cryptids and other oddities, it covers 1,333 reported Bigfoot sightings from Oregon and Washington (out of 2,612 incidents including track finds, vocalizations, animal mutilations, etc.). The survey is limited to those states, while northern California was covered in the companion volume, Strange California Monsters (http://www.schifferbooks.com/newschiffer/book_template.php?isbn=9780764333361). Next up, Pennsylvania, near completion.Mike Newton, Indiana

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1877 Thomas Edison revealed his latest invention, the phonograph, to the public.
And now, the news:

Nature's 'ugly ducklings' teetering on the edge of...
"Gangster" bird found to charge for protection:ano...
Namibia: Creatures Continue Nocturnal Attacks--Afr...
Ancient seaweed is living fossil
Komodo dragon kin in Africa (via Chad Arment)
'Psychic Panda' No Match for Paul the Octopus
Aussie Gets Cozy With Poisonous Spiders
Attack of the rats

Rats and a cat: best of friends: