It was way back in 1991 when Dr Karl Shuker's second book, Extraordinary Animals Worldwide, was published. Containing accounts of lesser-known mystery beasts and scarcely-known mainstream creatures, and plentifully supplied with exquisite antiquarian chromolithographs, engravings, and other vintage illustrations wherever possible, it purposefully recalled a bygone generation of natural history books, dating predominantly from the 19th and early 20th Centuries, whose subject matter, generally a deft, eclectic interweaving of speculative zoology, the history of animal discovery, and wildlife mythology of the ancients, was popularly referred to by its authors and readers alike as romantic zoology.
Such was the enduring appeal of Dr Shuker's book's modern-day contribution to this now all-but-lost subject – indeed, eventually gaining a cult status among mystery beast aficionados in particular – that he was encouraged to prepare a much-expanded, updated edition, entitled Extraordinary Animals Revisited, which was published in 2007 by CFZ Press. Updating some of the most popular chapters from the original book and also adding many new ones, it went on to attract an even greater following than its predecessor, and remains in print today.
By 'mixing and matching' cryptozoology (the scientific study of mystery animals) with mainstream zoology, these two books enabled Dr Shuker to include within a single volume a uniquely diverse array of creatures. Consequently, it would only be a matter of time before he gave into temptation and compiled a third compendium of extraordinary animals - and here it is.
So, welcome one and all to Dr Shuker's Menagerie of Marvels! Where else would you encounter fairy armadillos and go-away birds, roc feathers and a werewolf paw, a park of monsters in Italy and mystery beasts in the Vatican, whale-headed pseudo-pterodactyls and hammer-headed lightning birds, beech martens in Britain and winged toads in France, an invisible catfish and a dicephalous kestrel, reverse mermaids and the music of Ogopogo, earth hounds, moonrats, kinkimavos, lavellans, nandinias and Nandi bears, ajolotes, bristle-heads, mammoths, hoopoes, gorilla-sized man-eating baboons and giant rhino-eating terror birds, lake monsters and sea serpents, leopons and lizard cryptids, vermiform rock-slicing laser gazers, and so much more too, all within the scenic yet comfortingly-secure confines of a single book?
Enjoy your visit, and return whenever you wish – Dr Shuker's unique collection of extraordinary zoological esoterica and inexplicabilia will always be here to mystify and mesmerise you anew. You have only to open the book, turn the page, and step inside...if you dare!
Born and still living in the West Midlands, England, Dr Karl P.N. Shuker graduated from the University of Leeds with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree in pure zoology, and from the University of Birmingham with a Doctor of Philosophy degree in zoology and comparative physiology. He now works full-time as a freelance zoological consultant to the media, and as a prolific published writer.
Dr Shuker is currently the author of 21 books and hundreds of articles, principally on animal-related subjects, with an especial interest in cryptozoology and animal mythology, on which he is an internationally-recognised authority, but also including a poetry volume. In addition, he has acted as consultant for several major multi-contributor volumes as well as for the world-renowned Guinness Book of Records/Guinness World Records (he is currently its Senior Consultant for its Life Sciences section); and he has compiled questions for the BBC's long-running cerebral quiz 'Mastermind'. He is also the editor of the Journal of Cryptozoology, the world's only existing peer-reviewed scientific journal devoted to mystery animals.
Dr Shuker has travelled the world in the course of his researches and writings, and has appeared regularly on television and radio. Aside from work, his diverse range of interests include motorbikes, travel, quizzes, poetry, the life and career of James Dean, Sherlockia, collecting masquerade and carnival masks, philately, world mythology, and the history of animation.
He is a Scientific Fellow of the prestigious Zoological Society of London, and a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society. He is Cryptozoology Consultant to the Centre for Fortean Zoology, and is also a Member of the Society of Authors.
Dr Shuker's personal website can be accessed at http://www.karlshuker.com and his extremely popular mystery animals blog, ShukerNature, can be accessed at http://www.karlshuker.blogspot.com
His poetry blog can be accessed at http://starsteeds.blogspot.com and his Eclectarium blog can be accessed at http://eclectariumshuker.blogspot.com
There is also an entry for Dr Shuker in the online encyclopedia Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Shuker and a Like (fan) page on Facebook.
Mystery Cats of the World: From Blue Tigers To Exmoor Beasts (Robert Hale: London, 1989).
Extraordinary Animals Worldwide (Robert Hale: London, 1991).
The Lost Ark: New and Rediscovered Animals of the 20th Century (HarperCollins: London, 1993).
Dragons: A Natural History (Aurum: London/Simon & Schuster: New York, 1995; republished Taschen: Cologne, 2006).
In Search of Prehistoric Survivors: Do Giant 'Extinct' Creatures Still Exist? (Blandford: London, 1995).
The Unexplained: An Illustrated Guide to the World's Natural and Paranormal Mysteries (Carlton: London/JG Press: North Dighton, 1996; republished Carlton: London, 2002).
From Flying Toads To Snakes With Wings: From the Pages of FATE Magazine (Llewellyn: St Paul, 1997; republished Bounty: London, 2005).
Mysteries of Planet Earth: An Encyclopedia of the Inexplicable (Carlton: London, 1999).
The Hidden Powers of Animals: Uncovering the Secrets of Nature (Reader's Digest: Pleasantville/Marshall Editions: London, 2001).
The New Zoo: New and Rediscovered Animals of the Twentieth Century [fully-updated, greatly-expanded, second edition of The Lost Ark] (House of Stratus Ltd: Thirsk, UK/House of Stratus Inc: Poughkeepsie, USA, 2002).
The Beasts That Hide From Man: Seeking the World's Last Undiscovered Animals (Paraview: New York, 2003).
Extraordinary Animals Revisited: From Singing Dogs To Serpent Kings (CFZ Press: Bideford, 2007).
Dr Shuker's Casebook: In Pursuit of Marvels and Mysteries (CFZ Press: Bideford, 2008).
Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Animals on Stamps: A Worldwide Catalogue (CFZ Press: Bideford, 2008).
Star Steeds and Other Dreams: The Collected Poems (CFZ Press: Bideford, 2009).
Karl Shuker's Alien Zoo: From the Pages of Fortean Times (CFZ Press: Bideford, 2010).
The Encyclopaedia of New and Rediscovered Animals: From The Lost Ark to The New Zoo – and Beyond [fully-updated, greatly-expanded, third edition of The Lost Ark] (Coachwhip Publications: Landisville, 2012).
Cats of Magic, Mythology, and Mystery: A Feline Phantasmagoria (CFZ Press: Bideford, 2012).
Mirabilis: A Carnival of Cryptozoology and Unnatural History (Anomalist Books: New York, 2013).
Dragons in Zoology, Cryptozoology, and Culture (Coachwhip Publications: Greenville, 2013).
The Menagerie of Marvels: A Third Compendium of Extraordinary Animals (CFZ Press: Bideford, 2014).
Consultant and also Contributor
Man and Beast (Reader's Digest: Pleasantville, New York, 1993).
Secrets of the Natural World (Reader's Digest: Pleasantville, New York, 1993).
Almanac of the Uncanny (Reader's Digest: Surry Hills, Australia, 1995).
The Guinness Book of Records/Guinness World Records 1998-present day (Guinness: London, 1997-present day).
Monsters (Lorenz: London, 2001).
Of Monsters and Miracles CD-ROM (Croydon Museum/Interactive Designs: Oxton, 1995).
Fortean Times Weird Year 1996 (John Brown Publishing: London, 1996).
Mysteries of the Deep (Llewellyn: St Paul, 1998).
Guinness Amazing Future (Guinness: London, 1999).
The Earth (Channel 4 Books: London, 2000).
Mysteries and Monsters of the Sea (Gramercy: New York, 2001).
Chambers Dictionary of the Unexplained (Chambers: Edinburgh, 2007).
Chambers Myths and Mysteries (Chambers: Edinburgh, 2008).
The Fortean Times Paranormal Handbook (Dennis Publishing: London, 2009).
Plus numerous contributions to the annual CFZ Yearbook series of volumes.
Journal of Cryptozoology (the world's only peer-reviewed scientific journal devoted to cryptozoology, published by CFZ Press).