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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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Thursday, June 20, 2013

LINK: The world’s oldest science dying? Taxonomist as endangered species

PARASTRATIOSPHECOMYIA stratiosphecomyioides, Micropachycephalosaurus hongtuyanensis, Aquila chrysaetos simurgh. Put yourself in Noah’s position, when he had the tedious task to select two of every kind for his Ark. Would you be able to spell, let alone identify this fly, dinosaur and eagle?
It might be a bit easier for the bug Orizabus subaziroI, which can be read either forward or in reverse direction, the beetle Agra schwarzeneggeri, the spider Calponia harrisonfordi or the ant Proceratium google. But have you ever heard of them?
Unlike Noah in the Genesis, you could now just flash your smartphone, open the DNA Barcode App, scan every animal passing by, the name would pop up on your screen, and you could tick it off the list.
This app works just like the scanner of a supermarket, which distinguishes, for instance, different cans of tomato soup and shows their price, using the little black stripes of the Universal Product Code (UPC).
Instead of the black stripes on a can, this new gimmick uses snippets of the DNA, the genetic information of every living being, to tell you whether you deal with the cicada Zyzza or the sponge Zyzzya. Two items may look, or sound, very similar to the untrained eye or ear, but in both cases the barcodes are distinct. Filling the Ark is dead easy now.
The world’s oldest profession
SOUNDS a bit too much like science fiction? Sorry to say, you are right. Even though science has made tremendous progress and we now have an electronic catalog of almost all known plants and animals, such scanner of the “Barcode of Life” is still a long way ahead. More on this later. For now, luckily the good old taxonomists are still out there to help you.

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