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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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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

CRYPTOLINK: No reason to believe yeti legends to be inspired by an unknown type of bear

A word about cryptolinks: we are not responsible for the content of cryptolinks, which are merely links to outside articles that we think are interesting (sometimes for the wrong reasons), usually posted up without any comment whatsoever from me. 

Bear species.
Credit: Image courtesy of Pensoft Publishers; CC By 4.0
A Venezuelan evolutionary biologist and a US zoologist state that they have refuted, through mitochondrial DNA sequencing, a recent claim, also based on such sequencing, that unknown type of bear must exist. in the Himalayas and that it may be, at least in part, the source of yeti legends. Their study was published in the open access journal ZooKeys.
Last year, B. Sykes and co-authors, in the course of mitochondrial DNA sequencing identification of hair samples that had been attributed to "anomalous primates" (yetis, bigfoots, and others), claimed to have found that two samples said to have come from the Himalayas had a 100% match with DNA recovered from a fossil Polar Bear from over 40,000 years ago. On this basis, they concluded that a currently unknown type of bear must inhabit that portion of Asia.
Later, however, it was shown by C.J. Edwards and R. Barnett that the sample that matched Sykes and co-authors' Himalayan ones, was in fact, from a present-day Polar Bear from Alaska, not from a fossil, and they hypothesized that the genetic material in the samples attributed to an unknown type of bear might have been misleading because of degradation.
Sykes and co-authors, however, have continued to maintain that their Himalayan samples must be from an unknown type of bear -- a claim that has received a good deal of attention from the media.
However, further analysis by Eliécer E. Gutiérrez, currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Institution, and Ronald H. Pine, affiliated with the Biodiversity Institute & Natural History Museum at the University of Kansas, have concluded that the relevant genetic variation in Brown Bears makes it impossible to assign, with certainty, Sykes and co-authors' samples to either that species or the Polar Bear.
In fact, because of genetic overlap, the samples could have come from either one. Because Brown Bears occur in the Himalayas, Gutiérrez and Pine state that therefore there is no reason to believe that the samples in question came from anything other than ordinary Himalayan Brown Bears.

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