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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, September 13, 2017

MUIRHEAD`S MYSTERIES: Snakes with three heads

It is well known that snakes can turn up with two heads, what is much less well known (including by myself until yesterday) is that very very occasionally snakes with three heads are born!

I typed in the phrase "snakes with three heads " in the Geneaologybank.com database on September 10th and six examples turned up using that phrase. I reproduce some of them below. The first example is from the Jeffersonian (Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania) of July 7th 1853, the one below that is from the Mirror and Farmer (Manchester, New Hampshire) of Jan 23rd 1858. Robert Twomley, an American herpetologist who also happens to be a Facebook Friend, passed on the following information to me:"The Aberrancy of two heads within snakes is scientifically referred to as axial bifurcation, dicephalism and somatodichotmy. Axial bifurcation is not unfamiliar within herpetofauna. The first known example of axial bifurcation within Reptilia is of a 120 million-year-old Choristoderm (semi-aquatic diapsid) fossil found within the Yixian formation of Northern China. With the earliest known example in historical times been"

"The Aberrancy of two heads within snakes is scientifically referred to as axial bifurcation,  dicephalism and somatodichotmy. Axial bifurcation is not unfamiliar within herpetofauna. The first known example of axial bifurcation within Reptilia is of a 120 million-year-old Choristoderm (semi-aquatic diapsid) fossil found within the Yixian formation of Northern China. With the earliest reliable reports in historical writing, history was documented by Aristotle in BC 350 and Aelianus in BC 250."

Eleven possible cause has been proposed for the condition of axial bifurcation. 

1. Incomplete division of a simple embryo 

2. Partial fusion of two embryos.  

3. Abnormally low or high temperatures during incubation or gestation. 

4. May occur due to regeneration after an embryonic lesion 

5. Anoxia (low oxygen supply) during embryonic development 

6. Toxic effects of metabolic secretions during a prolonged sojourn in the oviduct 

7. Inbreeding depression from a small gene pool 

8. Hybridization 

9. Environmental pollution 

10 Chemical toxins in captivity (1)


1. E-mail from Robert Twomley and Facebook message, September 3rd 2017. 

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