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, May 20, 2009

TONY LUCAS: Moa Feather follow up

Tony Lucas is one of our New Zealand representatives. We first published his work in the 2008 Yearbook when he wrote us an overview of New Zealand cryptozoology....

As you may well remember, if you have been keeping up with the blog, a few weeks ago I wrote to Jon regarding a Moa feather that was for sale on the Internet auction site "Trademe".

I decided to conduct an investigation into whether this was a genuine Moa feather, which if it was would have proven the Moa was still around in the late 1800s, or whether it was a very similar Emu feather. After some investigation I found an anomaly at the bottom shaft of the feather which seemed to indicate a secondary feather which would definitely indicate emu as it is the only bird in the world which has this double feather configuration. My suspicions aroused I tell the seller to take it to the museum which they did and visually identified it as Moa, they also wanted to send a small portion away to be DNA tested. I advise the seller strongly to do so which he duly did.

I decided to follow this up the other day and wrote to the seller, with the merest slimmest of hope that it was indeed a Moa feather.
I received his reply last night, and regrettably for both him, he was trying to get the money together to buy a house, and I, it turned out to be a 100-year-old emu feather.

The one thing I've learned from this is not to take things at face value but to investigate everything thoroughly, there was apparently an American buyer interested as well as a large auction house.

So hopefully through a little research I have saved all parties involved a lot of embarrassment.

Who knows perhaps the next item to appear may well be the genuine thing, what a discovery that would be. Until then I'll continue to keep my eyes open but not take things at face value.

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