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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Thursday, August 26, 2010

MAX BLAKE: The sweet potato hypothesis.

There is a lot of evidence that supports the existence of a large undiscovered animal currently living in Loch Ness and in other freshwater lakes around the world. Though many sightings have been recorded, plus photographs and video footage, an animal’s existence remains questionable despite the insistence of many witnesses that the object they are seeing is animate. Here I propose that the “animal” people are seeing is actually nothing of the sort, and is in fact a vegetable, using the Ipomoea batatas paratype CFZ076 as evidence.

Ipomoea batatas is a globally important root vegetable well known for its sweet flavour and potato-like texture. It is eaten nearly worldwide with a major production centre in China. Its maximum size has been well documented as being just over 11kg, but never before has a shape for the potato been grown to give a satisfactorily plesiosaur-esque shape.

New evidence now clearly shows that sweet potatoes can both grow large enough to be seen from a distance bobbing in water, but can also grow in a shape sufficient to produce the general shape seen by witnesses. The large floating sweet potato hypothesis to explain sightings of lake monsters should be taken very seriously indeed by all researchers working in this field.


Lars Thomas said...

Max - you have to lay off eating those funny little mushrooms.


Anonymous said...

Hmmm, in order for the hypothesis to work it must match up with the data it endeavours to explain. In this case, since you are using the old arse-end-first method of having your solution in hand and forcing the base data to fit your solution, you must needs go through and mangle every Water Monster report in the world such that the reported features consistently match those of a sweet potato.
Let me break the news to you gently, the reports do not match your solution, not on the average, not in the majority of the reports and not even in the tiniest minority of reports. They just plain are not described as remotely resembling sweet potatos.

This does however provide a good comparison for any of the numerous comparable candidate theories composed arse-end-first and intended as blanket explanations for the entire body of reports, made without any prior reference to those reports. In this case, most of the theories about Water monsters are composed without any more applicability than using the sweet potato as an example. Long-necked primitive cetaceans (or indeed, plesiosaur-necked variants of ANY placental mammal) fail not only because they are anatomically unsound constructions, but simply on the basis that they do not match the majority of the descriptions that are on record and which the hypothesis is intended to explain.

Best Wishes, Dale D.