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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Thursday, September 15, 2011


OLL LEWIS: The Sumatran Orang-utan

Whilst there is still no news from Sumatra, Oll is hard at work looking at the forteana of that strange island...
Although the CFZ Sumatra expeditions focus mainly on Sumatra’s cryptid ape, the Orang-pendek, Sumatra’s better known ape, the orang-utan, is in many ways just as fascinating.

The Sumatran orang-utan, Pongo abelii, is critically endangered and although once widespread is now thought to be only found in two locations in the North of the island. However, In the last CFZ expedition to Sumatra the team found hairs, which were found to be orang-utans by DNA testing, much further south, which may mean that there are still some small pockets of Sumatran orang-utan populations that, like the Orang-pendek are undocumented by science. In the two known population centres a survey was conducted in 2004 which estimated that there were around 7,300 individuals left in the wild. Because of habitat destruction and illegal hunting it is highly likely that the numbers of orang-utan left in the wild have decreased in the seven years since the survey was taken. Sumatran orang-utan populations do not cope well with changes to their environment or ‘predation’ by humans because they do not have a very high birth rate. Female orang-utan become fertile at around 15 years of age and the average period between births for the Sumatran Orang-utan is 9.3 years, which is the longest of all the great apes. This is likely to be one of the main reasons why orang-utans show a great deal of parental care, a baby will stay close to its mother for about three years, which is a comparatively long time even among primates, and is thought to recognise its mother, children and other close family members for its whole life, making orang-utan groups fairly close knit communities.

Sumatran orang-utans have, unlike the Borneo species, been observed using tools. In the Suaq Balimbing swamp orang-utans have been seen fashioning devices to get termites out of termite mounds and honey from hives. The device is made by snapping off a tree branch about 30cm in length and striping any smaller branches and leaves from it. The orang-utan will then fray one end of the branch to stick into the mound or hive to collect their delicious meal. This shows a great deal of ingenuity and intelligence on the orang-utans part to actually make a tool by manipulating their environment rather than just picking up any old twig from the ground to prod into a termite mound as some tool users do. In another instance of tool use the orang-utans have been observed using a stick to remove the sharp hard fibres that surround fruit from neesia trees, making it safe to eat. Most animals that use tools will also only use tools in the pursuit of food, and it is perhaps a further sign of the intelligence of orang-utans that they will also use tools in order to make their life more comfortable. One example of this is that Sumatran orang-utans have been observed, and filmed, breaking off large waxy leaves from plants to use as umbrellas in rainstorms. It would be a real tragedy if we were to loose such a fascinating and amazing creature.

HAUNTED SKIES: Chicago Tribune IL 20.2.53


OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1400 Owain Glyndwr was declared prince of Wales officially beginning the Welsh revolt against English rule. Owain mysteriously disappeared in 1412 as the main resistance to English rule was winding down, nobody knows exactly what happened with theories ranging from death, him living out his days in a small village or even him becoming immortal like King Arthur (hmm, right). Low level insurrection continued until a Welshman, Henry Tudor, defeated Richard III and was crowned King Henry VII. Henry VII and his son Henry VIII (he of many wives fame) set about reforming the legal and political system to give the Welsh equal rights to the English in all matters of state.
And now the news:

Dolphin baby given 'ticking off'
New species of dolphin discovered
Thai officials save thousands of endangered animal...
Filipinos hunt 2nd killer croc after 1-ton catch (...
New crayfish species ID'd in W.Va.
Mummy Crocs Aid in Nile Crocodile Split (via Chad ...
Hitchhiking Snails Fly from Ocean to Ocean

You'll be wanting an answer then:

DALE DRINNON: New Species/Thomasina Edison

Newest news item up at the Frontiers of Zoology, includes an editorial comment about a rarely-recognised Cryptid in my addition at the end:


I was adding material to the newest [Fictional-project] blog and I noticed the most recent mock-up covers for Thomasina Edison have Cryptozoological themes and you might be interested:



Read all about it...



A STUNNED fish farmer believes he has finally captured the Loch Ness Monster on camera.

Jon Rowe, 31, spotted these two Nessie-like humps appearing from below the surface of the loch in Scotland.

He said: “There was a nice rainbow so I got my camera out to take a photo and noticed this really large dark shape in the loch with two humps that were barely out of the water.”

Jon, from Lewiston, in Drumnadrochit, added: “My instant reaction was: ‘That’s Nessie.’ I have no doubt. I work on the loch everyday and I’ve never seen anything like it.”