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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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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

MUIRHEAD`S MYSTERIES:MAMMOTHS IN MALAYA IN 1884?

(no caption)Today I present a story (which may or may not be new) I found a couple of days ago. I am NOT definitely saying this was a mammoth, so indeed I am sitting on the fence. Not with the mammoth (or whatever it was) because the fence would probably collapse.

The story is in the New York Tribune of Sept 22nd 1884:

TWO MAMMOTHS FROM QUEDAH

ALLEGED REPRESENTATIVES OF AN EXTINCT SPECIES – RESEMBLANCE TO ELEPHANT

“A large crowd witnessed the unloading on Saturday,from the steamer Werra,of two strange animals, imported by Charles Reiche & Brother,and supposed to be Mammoths,technicaly known as elephas primigenius, and generally considered an extinct species. Years ago, Mr Reiche was informed by seafaring men who had visited the Malay Peninsula, that the inhabitants had told them of a peculiar species of pachyderm, seen near Queddah, an inland town. Their branch house at Alfred, Germany, was instructed to secure a specimen of this animal,if possible,and after a tedious hunt in the mountain near Queddah, these two animals were captured by the natives. They were transferred to Mr Reiche`s agent at Singapore,and placed in charge of John Penja, who accompanied them here. They were seen yesterday by a Tribune reporter, in a small stall in the hold of the Werra. They kept up a constant rocking movement of the body until they were placed in a cage, and removed from the ship. There are two females, four and a half and two and a half feet in height. Their length equals their height.

The animals bear a general but not detailed resemblance to an elephant. Their trunks have an upward curve;the elephants trunk curves backward. Their ears are flapping, but run parallel with the body, while the elephant`s hang more like a hound`s. A protuberance on the back resembles the hump of a camel {like the one discovered by Blashford-Snell`s team in Nepal in 1992-R?} The larger animal,excepting the trunk and legs,is thickly covered with a coat of dark brown hair, from three to eight inches long. It resembles bristles,and in some places there is an undergrowth of hair as soft as wool. The smaller animal is covered with a dark,fuzzy down. The age of the larger specimen is put at six years,and of the small one at two years. They have voices entirely out of proportion to their size,and when the keeper pulled the larger one`s ear she gave a howl that caused the spectator`s to flee. They are fed on hay,oats and bran,mixed with boiled rice.

(no caption)Mr Reiche was asked why he thought the animals were called mammoths. “Because” , he replied, “of their resemblance to them. Bones of the mammoth have been found in Europe and Asia for many centuries,but the first complete specimen was found in 1799,by a Tungusian, named Schumachoft, deeply imbedded in a glacier on the shore of Lake Oncoul. He saw it again in 1803,and the ice having melted he removed the tusks.”

Here is a story from the Singapore Free Press July 29th 1912 of another small hairy elephant:

 http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/newspapers/Digitised/Article.aspx?articleid=singfreepressb19120729-1.2.34&sessionid=5f52732155c34caf906714ab2605d2fc&keyword=hairy+elephant&search=advanced&fromdate=&todate=&articles=1&advertisements=1&illustrations=1&letters=1&obituaries=1&miscellaneous=1&newspaperTitles=&fuzzysearch=Off&token=elephant%2chairy

In his book Pygmy Elephants by Matt Salusbury ( 2013) pp 142-3 he comments on  a list by Osborn, published in 1942, “ the tentative list included the hairy Malaysian elephant calf Elephas indicus hirsutus from London Zoo in 1914,probably a one off freak…”

Karl Shuker in Alien Zoo (2010) mentions mammoths in Thailand in December 2000.


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