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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Monday, December 28, 2009

MUIRHEAD`S MYSTERIES: Mastodon and Mammoth survival

Goody goody gumdrops,

Muirhead`s Mysteries is back, up to and including December 30th, then a gap of a few days until January 3rd, then onwards and upwards! Today`s blog is based upon an e-mail from Andrew Ste Marie, an American cryptozoologist, dated September 23rd 2009, concerning living mammoth and mastodon sightings and hoaxes. I am quoting from as much of his e-mail that is relevant and that I have the mental energy for. I also include website links that are relevant.

'You asked for information on mammoth survival and it is my pleasure to send you this list of material I have gathered. Wooly Mammoths (Mammuthus primigenius) are generally believed to have gone extinct c. 11,000 years ago in North America,10,000 years ago in Siberia, and 4,000 years ago on Wrangel Island. American Mastodons (Mammut americanum) are supposed to have gone extinct c. 10,000 years ago. Here are some of my references from my paper on the recent survival of mammoths and mastodons. Many of the references were to miscellaneous facts about mammoths or the Siberian climate, so I omitted those in this list...Most of these sources are available on-line.' (1)

Living Mammoth sightings & hoaxes

  • Silverberg, Robert, 1970. Mammoths Mastodons and Man, McGraw Hill Book Company (this is the best one I`ve come across so far for sightings of living mammoths. It is something of a children`s book but it has serious information, seriously written. Unfortunately, it spends a great deal of time mocking those who believe the Bible. I think he got his information from Heuvelmans's On The Track of Unknown Animals. Includes information on the Henry Tukeman living mammoth hoax.
  • Lister, Adrian and Paul Bahn, 1994. Mammoths, Macmillan Publishing Company (I would rate this one as second-best to Silverberg`s for cryptozoological information)
  • Krystek, Lee 1996. Of Mastodons,Mammoths and Other Giants of the Pleistocene, www.unmuseum.mus.pa.us/mastodon.htm(Accessed June 29,2009)(and this one would be third-best,but it also mentions a sighting of a possible living glyptodont
  • Anonymous,September 1993 “Are mammoths still alive ?”, http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v15/i4/mammoths.asp (Accessed May 26,2009) (discusses the mammoths of Wrangel Island and a very seldom-reported mammoth sighting – this is the only place I`ve found anything about this particular encounter. Highly recommended article.)
  • Anonymous,1893. “Mastodons Still Living,” Winnipeg Daily Free Press, March 28,1893. www.cryptomundo.com/crypto-news/mastodons-alive/ (Accessed June 19,2009) (really interesting mastodon sighting)
  • Anonymous,1897. “Do Mastodons Exist? – Good evidence that at least one specimen still lives,” Decatur Daily Republican, March 29 1897, http://www.cryptomundo.com/crypto-news/mastodon-surv/(Accessed June 19,2009)….

Also, I have heard that there was a Soviet Air Force sighting of a living mammoth in the 1940s, but I have found no reputable source of information on this sighting. Perhaps Heuvelmans`s book discusses it….

Recent Artefacts Showing Mammoths

1. E-mail from Andrew Ste Marie to Richard Muirhead (1)
2. Ibid.

Buggles-Video Killed The Radio Star

I heard you on the wireless back in Fifty Two
Lying awake intently tuning in on you
If I was young it didn`t stop you coming through


They took the credit for your second symphony
Rewritten by machine and new technology,
And now I understand the problems you can see



Anonymous said...

There are a few scattred continuing rumors of persisting mammoths and mastodons. The most recent New World C14 dates fot persisting Proboscidians are of about the time of Classical Athens for isolated Mexican mammoths and possibly as late as Roman times in Peru. This has been used to justify certain disputed old artistic representations but Bjorn Kurten discusses the matter in one of his books about Ice-age mammals. There is one site in Peru where a mastodon was killed, butchered, and then cooked in pottery vessels of assumedly Roman date: There are also isolated reports of elephants from South America made by explorers in earlier years. I was just looking at Harold T. Wilkins' book about Secret Cities of Old South America and it mentions sightings (I was not saying it is strong evidence here but merely repeating what evidence I have heard)

The most recent evidence from Alaska persists no later than the WWI era as far as I can tell(footprints), but WWII fliers over Siberia were supposed to have reported observing some. In this case and in some of the explorer's South American sightings, the large creatures were seen at a distance and the identification could be suspicious for that reason.
There is however some recent evidence from Western Sibera and even the area bordering Kazakhistan that at least a folk-memory of wolly mammoths persists. Apparantly they are called Leschies or Forest Devils there. They are distinctly depicted as being in the shape of red elephants.

Anonymous said...

This is an item from Native American folklore


There are other references

" NIDAWI: Baby name books claim that this name means "fairy" in the Omaha language. According to an Omaha friend, nidawį actually means "elephant woman." In the past, this name probably had a more dignified sense to it--anthropologist Alice Fletcher said it referred to a "mysterious or fabulous being," and Osage scholar Francis LaFlesche wrote that the Osage used the same word, nida (without the feminine ending -wį), to refer to giant bones they found in the riverbanks. Despite the higher cachet of that story, I'm still not sure a modern girl would be pleased at being named "mammoth woman" or "giant creature woman." There really are sprite or fairy-like beings in the folktales of the Siouan tribes, but nidawį is not one of them. Whatever real or mythological creature nida originally referred to, it was definitely something known for being enormous. "


Anonymous said...

Here is another good one

"...In 1934, Strong published a convincing article detailing the Native American knowledge of the wooly mammoth. The Naskapi describe a monster they call Kátcheetokúskw (present in many of their myths) as being very large, having a big head, large ears and teeth, and a long nose with which he hit people. When presented with photos of modern elephants, the informants said they fit the description of Kátcheetokúskw as represented in their oral history. The Penobscot of Maine describe a huge animal with long teeth that leaned against certain trees to sleep (noting that when these beasts lay down, they could not get back up). The Ojibwa and Iroquois note the existence of a large beast that once ranged through the forest and was so strong that it would easily knock down any trees that stood in it's path. These "elephant" legends are rampant in many other Indigenous cultures such as the Micmac, Alabama, Koasati, and Chitimacha..."