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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Tuesday, January 17, 2012


1 comment:

Retrieverman said...

Cats and dog have very strong maternal instincts that are very easily stimulated when lactating dogs or cats come across a neonate of either species.

Dogs are particularly bad. Virtually every female dog has a false pregnancy after going through a heat cycle, and nine weeks later, she will often produce milk and try to mother objects that look like what would be her own puppies.

In the wild, this would have distinct advantages. In a wolf pack, normally only a single pair reproduces, which are usually the parents of the other wolves in the pack. Wolves tend to come into estrus at roughly the same time every year, so when the breeding female has her pups, any other females are going to be exhibiting maternal behavior. This make them great babysitters, and if something were to happen to the breeding female while the puppies still needed milk, one of these nonbreeding females might be able to produce milk for them.

And domestic cats have their social structure dramatically altered from their wild ancestors. Domestic cat queens form little family groups that communally nurse each other's kittens-- much like lion prides, which are based upon female kin.

It's likely that domestic queens have evolved very strong maternal instincts that might be stimulated by a neonate that is clearly not her own.

However, a few years ago I saw a documentary about leopards and lions in either South Africa or somewhere in East Africa. A female leopard was lactating, but I think hyenas had killed her cub.

Not far from her, a female lion gave birth to a single cub, but she had chosen a bad spot for the birthing den. Hyenas ran her off. The cub was still wet and screaming at the top of its lungs, when the female leopard showed up.

And she stopped.

She sniffed the lion cub, and then she picked it up and carried a few yards-- almost as if it were her own cub.

She eventually dropped the cub and abandoned it, but it shows how easily certain carnivorans can be stimulated into engaging in maternal behavior toward their own species.