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, December 18, 2014


The Gonzo Daily - Thursday
A couple of weeks ago Corinna bought me the lastest issue of Mojo which is ordered each month for me at the village shop. Someone (I suspect mother) put it somewhere peculiar and I forgot all about it. I discovered it last night, and sat down belatedly to read it. It included their review of the year;'s albums, and - as I had just finished writing my own for Gonzo Weekly - I sat down to read it with interest. Peculiarly there were only four (or it might have been five) albums that were on both lists. Certainly the shape of the year's music as seen by the two magazines were wildly different. And, remember, both magazines appeal to a broadly similar demographic. This has got to be a good thing, and basically refutes any claims that the world of popular music is in decline. The music business is changing, but that is an entirely different matter.
As far as cryptozoology is concerned, the big news is that a team including Dr Ross Barnett who isolated leopard DNA from hair samples found in North Devon and sent to him by the CFZ back in 2010 reanalysed the hair samples which Bryan Sykes et al identified as being from an ancestral polar bear. In the Proceedings B of the Royal Society, Sykes et al write:
"We appreciate notification of the error in Sykes et al. [...] where we matched mitochondrial 12S RNA sequence recovered from two ‘yeti’ hair samples found in Ladakh, India (no. 25025, >40 years old) and Bhutan (no. 25191 >10 years old) with GenBank accessions recovered from the jawbone of a Pleistocene polar bear Ursus maritimus described in Lindqvist et al. [...] The matches were instead to a modern specimen of U. maritimus from the Diomede Islands in the Bering Sea reported in the same paper. The error was caused by an incomplete GenBank search linking the sample to the paper rather than to the individual isolate. Although the error is certainly unfortunate, it does not change the conclusion that the sequences recovered from the ‘yeti’ hairs connect to U. maritimus nor does it invalidate any of the possible explanations discussed in the paper. Importantly, for the thrust of the paper as a whole, the conclusion that these Himalayan ‘yeti’ samples were certainly not from a hitherto unknown primate is unaffected."
This actually confounds things even more. How has modern polar bear DNA turned up in the Himalayas? As football commentators say, there is still everything to play for.
What confuses things, however, is that the BBC report of this gets it completely wrong and claims that the DNA was actually from a subspecies of brown bear; an assertion which has been copied across the internet. Many thanks to Loren Coleman for bringing this to my attention.
Merrell Fankhauser, Lee Pomeroy, Unidentified Flying Wassnames, René van Commenée, Jon Anderson, Yes, Hawkwind, and Daevid Allen fans had better look out!
The latest issue of Gonzo Weekly (#108) is available to read at www.gonzoweekly.com, and to download at http://www.gonzoweekly.com/pdf/. It has Merrell Fankhauser on the cover talking about his latest project that involves setting music to some apparently alien transmissions from off the coast of Malibu. Doug Harr interviews the legendary Lee Pomeroy, René van Commenée expounds at length on his Desert Island Discs, and also builds a huge musical art machine in the middle of Antwerp, Xtul declare war on humanity and give away their new single as a Christmas gift, and there are also new shows from the multi-talented Neil Nixon at Strange Fruit and from M Destiny at Friday Night Progressive, and the titular submarine dwellers are back with another episode of Sub Reality Sandwich (except its not). There is also a collection of more news, reviews, views, interviews and anteaters wishing to snooze (OK, nothing to do with dozy edentates, but I got carried away with things that rhymed with OOOOS) than you can shake a stick at. And the best part is IT's ABSOLUTELY FREE!!!
Read the previous few issues of Gonzo Weekly:

All issues from #70 can be downloaded at www.gonzoweekly.com if you prefer. If you have problems downloading, just email me and I will add you to the Gonzo Weekly dropbox. The first 69 issues are archived there as well. Information is power chaps, we have to share it!
You can download the magazine in pdf form HERE:

* The Gonzo Daily is a two way process. If you have any news or want to write for us, please contact me at jon@eclipse.co.uk. If you are an artist and want to showcase your work, or even just say hello please write to me at gonzo@cfz.org.uk. Please copy, paste and spread the word about this magazine as widely as possible. We need people to read us in order to grow, and as soon as it is viable we shall be invading more traditional magaziney areas. Join in the fun, spread the word, and maybe if we all chant loud enough we CAN stop it raining. See you tomorrow...
* The Gonzo Daily is - as the name implies - a daily online magazine (mostly) about artists connected to the Gonzo Multimedia group of companies. But it also has other stuff as and when the editor feels like it. The same team also do a weekly newsletter called - imaginatively - The Gonzo Weekly. Find out about it at this link: www.gonzo-multimedia.blogspot.com/…/all-gonzo-news-wots-fit
* We should probably mention here, that some of our posts are links to things we have found on the internet that we think are of interest. We are not responsible for spelling or factual errors in other people's websites. Honest guv!

* Jon Downes, the Editor of all these ventures (and several others) is an old hippy of 55 who - together with an infantile orange cat named after a song by Frank Zappa puts it all together from a converted potato shed in a tumbledown cottage deep in rural Devon which he shares with various fish, and sometimes a small Indian frog. He is ably assisted by his lovely wife Corinna, his bulldog/boxer Prudence, his elderly mother-in-law, and a motley collection of social malcontents. Plus.. did we mention the infantile orange cat?

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