Tuesday, November 30, 2010
The latest edition of a monthly webTV show from the CFZ and CFZtv, bringing you the latest cryptozoological, and monster hunting news from around the world.
This episode brings you:
CFZ in winter
One door closes another one opens
Sympathy for the bulldog
Orang Pendek hair latest
Breeding porthole livebearers
Loch Ness Monster - new pic?
Mystery cat in Texas
Corinna looks at out of place birds
New and Rediscovered: New bat
New and Rediscovered: New parrot
New and Rediscovered: New squid
He is now sulking massively as he has to have the wound washed out with a salt solution (and some chlorhexadine if I can get any) three times a day.
The good thing (for him) is that he sits continually on my lap, and has developed a liking for sandwiches made with Gentleman's Relish! (Speaking of Gentleman's Relish, my young nephew found the term amusing, thinking that it referred to something rather unsavoury, rather than to a slightly expensive tub of patum peperium).
On this day in 1990 it became possible to walk from Britain to continental Europe for the first time since the formation of the English Channel, when the British and French sections of the Channel Tunnel met up with each other.
And now, the news:
Horticulturists develop world's first black petuni...
Why did mammals evolve to enormous sizes - then ge...
Poached egg? No, it's a rare jellyfish that looks ...
How 'bioluminescent' trees that glow like fireflie...
Sea Monster Scare in Barbados
Bizarre squidworm discovered
100-million-year-old crocodile species discovered
There is only one response to that:
Monday, November 29, 2010
Sometimes, the CFZ really make me want to scream and bang their heads together.
So it appears that images were taken, but no-one at the CFZ thought of actually holding on to copies of them for their records.
My whole agenda with the CFZ is to get them to start thinking more scientifically, and changes have been made for the better in recent months.
It is possible that you have evidence of a brand new species, but no-one at the entire Weird Weekend, or any member of the CFZ directorate thought there was any need to document the evidence properly. It is inexcusable, as a scientific organisation that no-one thought to keep any of the images taken of the hairs for the CFZ records. You are now keeping your fingers crossed that someone else has kept copies.
You all knew the samples would be destroyed during DNA extraction.
Personally, I would not have destroyed all the hairs. I would have kept a few back, for the records.
I really do hope that the images can be found, and they are passed on to primate experts.
If you have lost all evidence, either through DNA testing, or through the inability to do something basic like saving a photograph, then you really do need to have a rethink on how you conduct future scientific research".
"Once again you have ignored the facts in order to take a cheap shot at the CFZ. I will remind you of these facts:
1. You claim that "the CFZ" have lost the pictures. This is simply not true. The CFZ do not have a laboratory or anyone qualified or experienced in extracting DNA samples. All work was done by two labs in Denmark. As far as the pictures are concerned, they have not been lost. They were used in a documentary made by Danish TV, and Lars was not sure whether they are at the TV Company or with the microscopy company.
2. The DNA extracted by Tom Gilbert was not orang utan DNA. To expect the CFZ (and me in particular) to ignore the findings of two eminent scientist in order to follow the instructions of someone who has a peculiar interest in other people's qualifications but is presumably unqualified himself (we don't know because he is too cowardly to come out from behind a facile nom de guerre) really is ridiculous.
3. When you first wrote to me on this matter you said that you were not going to go public with your queries. I decided, therefore, to do you the courtesy of allowing you to address the general readership with your concerns. I note, sadly, that this entire exchange has been placed on your site "in order to get this out to the wider cryptozoological community". My discussion with you on this matter is therefore at an end.
Kithra eulogises over Nick Redfern's new book, and quotes a lengthy article about NASA cover ups including that of alien life. Jolly good stuff.
On this day in 1954 a meteorite hit Ann Elizabeth Hodges while she was napping on her sofa in Oak Grove, Alabama. This was the first time an extraterrestrial object is known to have hit a person and one of only two documented instances of a meteorite hitting a human.
And now, the news:
Woman adopts 1,500 stray dogs
Chicken sore after laying 4 inch egg
'Panther' attacking sheep in Wales
Whale Sharks Use Geometry to Avoid Sinking
Lake invaders may be killing birds
Big cat alert after attack on sheep
Here's a video of some awesome shepherding skills and considering that Pong was released 32 years ago yesterday, and it's one of their displays in this, it's also quite topical:
Sunday, November 28, 2010
SUMATRA HAIR SAMPLES: The dialogue between the CFZ and the person calling himself "The Highland Tiger" continues..
'Thanks for posting my thoughts. I did wonder if the DNA testing had destroyed all the samples. Some people might say, "yeah yeah here we go, all proof has been destroyed etc", but in this instance I don't think this is the case. It is one of the drawbacks of DNA testing that samples are detroyed in the very nature of the test. That's life as Esther would say!
Can you confrm if any proper images were taken of the hairs. By that I mean photographs taken through the microscope and not photographs taken using a camera aimed at the screen.
I do hope it is not the latter, because if it is, then you must admit that is very poor scientific practice. I would expect, with microscopic equipment worth a small fortune, that the ability to photograph specimens would be a necessity.
If you do have good microscopic images of the hairs, then why not send those to some orangutan experts, even if it is just to get a second opinion.
After all, a second, third or even fourth opinion cannot hurt, and will only increase the credibility of your findings.
For the record, I do feel that of all cryptids in the world, the orang pendek is probably the most likely to be a real creature. But you do need to investigate every avenue in order to rule out the possibility of those hairs being from a known species.'
'The microscope I used were set up to record pictures of everything I put into it during the WW, but it is back with Olympus by now, and I am not sure whether they have the pictures or whether the production company has them. But I will check and let you know - and I will try and contact various primate experts I know.'
Recently I was going over my records of the Vietnamese wildmen, or Nguoi Rung, as well as the possible surviving mainland orangutans, for which I make a distinction and identify with the Da Nhan and the Americans' "Rock Apes." From the information given to me by my informants (and just confirmed this morning by a message from certain Vietnamese cryptozoological authorities), the strictly hominid Vietnamese wildmen (including the Nguoi Rung) come in a larger and a smaller size; the smaller ones about five feet tall, broadly 4'6" to 5'6" and more tightly with average heights from 4' 8" to 5'4" (females on the low end of height estimates and males at the higher end) with tracks frm 6 inches to 9 inches or usually 8 inches long; and then the larger 'wildmen' that are six feet and over leaving tracks that are a foot long and over. The range in estimates would then be heights up to an estimated 8'6" and a tighter average of height estimates from 6' 9" to 7' 6" and tracks reported as 12 to 16 inches long. That is on the smaller end of Sasquatch tracks and height estimates but probably comparable with the Tok and Kung-Lu.
Against this I feel I can say now that the rock apes would more usually be between three feet and five feet tall, comparable to a chimpanzee and closely resembling one otherwise; and in this description it closely matches the Yeh-Teh, Yeren and ibagon of the more common sort. It is also likely to be the surviving mainland population of 'fossil pongo', somewhat larger than an orangutan and adapted to living on the ground more (without the more specialised traits for climbing that have been acquired by orangutans proper). The colouration of all types is highly variable but ordinarily some shade of brown; the 'wildmen' are more ordinarily dark or blackish, although white ones are regularly reported, and the apes more usually reddish brown. I should also stress that the reported appearances of the various types is extremely similar within the types: the Almas type is very similar to the smaller Vietnamese wildman or to the Rakshi-Bompo of the Himalayas and their tracks are very similar; the Sasquatch types are always described as being much like the American Sasquatch in appearance and in the size and shape of the tracks; and the rock apes or "Bigmonkey" (Mahalangur) types are illustrated as generally being extremely similar to a chimpanzee or orangutan, and including whether the same type of creature is called a Yeti or a Hibagon.
It would be helpful if we had more reports or tracks to go on, but the 'ape' tracks are generally consistent and directly in opposition to the human-like 'wildman' tracks wherever they might appear. And of the entire series, the Shipton Yeti tracks stand out not only for having the unusually large second toe, but also for being very much larger than the norm for the entire series otherwise (something like 150% larger in both length and width than usual)
On the second illustration, "Yetiscale" from the Cambodian Bigfoot site, the smaller ape does illustrate a good representation of the Yeti as commonly reported, smaller but bulkier than a regular human being. That is the exact description which I heard independantly from Vietnamese informants about the Da Nhan and from American soldiers about the Rock Apes.
On this day in 1922 Howard Carter opened the tomb of Tutankhamun to the public.
And now, the news:
Rare Arctic bird found in county as polar conditio...
One scientist's hobby: recreating the ice age
Fishing nations agree slim Atlantic tuna quota cut...
Most Recent Loch Ness Photo (via Dale Drinnon)
Rare cricket halt work at Wakefield nature park
Baby elephants always go down well:
Saturday, November 27, 2010
'Jon, I thank you for posting my comments. I understand that you wish to accept the findings of your experts. However, do you not think it prudent to contact orangutan specialists for their opinion of the hair samples. For them to confirm the identity of the hair samples would in my opinion have more validity in the wider zoological world. You need confirmation of the hair samples. not from just a generalist such as Lars, but from someone who is an expert in orangutan physiology. You need to eliminate any possibility it is of a known orangutan sub species, before you can claim it is of a new species.
And for the record, Richard Freeman is incorrect, in saying that orangutans have been missing from Western Sumatra since the 1880's. The IUCN report indicates that there were reports up to as recently as the 1960's. I really feel you need to get as many professional opinions on the hairs as you can.'
We wrote to Lars Thomas, who replied:
'Unfortunately it will not be possible to send anything to anybody - in order to get enough DNA out of the hairs, all the rest of them had to be sacrificed. The actual extraction process destroys the hairs. All that remains are my notes and drawings and the various pictures taken from the screen of the big microscope during the Weird Weekend. But intriguingly enough, a couple of days ago I got a call from a Danish guy, who used to work as a tourist guide in Indonesia. He had stumbled onto the CFZ blog and read about the orang pendek. He claims to have some long orange/reddish brown hairs in his position he found in Sumatra about 10 years ago, at a place where some local had seen an orang pendek. He never though much about it at the time, and just kept the hairs as a fun souvenir of his time in Indonesia.'
As far as the dates when orang utans were last seen in Kerinci National Park, Richard had been told that they had not been there since the 19th century. However, in the light of what THT has written, we have written to Debbie Martyr and the management of the park for clarification.
Me in Siju cave, looking for bones
Chris, Adam and I outside of Siju Cave, where a village headman reported an encounter with a mande-barung
Chris and Dave on an old fashioned jungle suspension bridge, minus Johnny Weissmuller
On this day in 1520 three of Magellan’s ships sailed from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, becoming the first Europeans ever to do so.
And now, the news:
Alaska polar bears given 'critical habitat'
From Estonia to Poland – one of Europe’s largest p...
Life discovered in deepest layer of Earth’s crust
Video Cat takes on two alligators
Animal genomes riddled with the 'skeletons' of anc...
San Jose Pet Store Looks To Find Homes For Over 1,...
Pictures of dead 'mermaid' in Zimbabwe?
Rare cricket halt work at Wakefield nature park
While the crickets clicked their clicky melodies, all the ants were fancy dancin' with the fleas...
Friday, November 26, 2010
A shot of the jungle at Nokrek. It is some of the most undisturbed
rainforest in India and the home of the wild ancestor of the orange.
The nest of a wild boar found on our first day at Nokrek.
The mande-burung is said to build huge nests by
twisting branches together to form a kind of roof.
A view of the beautiful Simsang (rice pot) river at Baghimara.
Of an evening I read Kipling's Jungle Books
(so cheapened and bastardised by Disney)
overlooking the Simsang as the sun went down.
This is a whip scorpion captured by Dave Archer.
Despite appearances, it is harmless due to lacking a sting like true scorpions.
Why not write a book about that strangest of creatures... The Green-Eyed Monster? He does not need a full moon to transform him into a beast; just a simple glance at someone else's achievements is enough to send it into a foaming at the mouth rage.
I speak, of course, of Richard's detractors. The poor bloke cannot do right for doing wrong! His reputation is hauled over the coals for simply presenting the evidence he has gathered. Yet if they doubt what he says then the answer is simple....GET OFF YOUR LAZY ARSES AND DO THE RESEARCH YOURSELVES! But of course they won't, as there is too much pizza to consume and 'I'm a celebrity, increase my bank balance' on the TV to watch.
It seems some people are capable of being able to cause an argument in an empty house!
The other evening David and his girlfriend Jess were talking about the blog. "I bet you can't just sit down and write a blog about...um SEAHORSES!" said Jess. "I bet I can" said David...
Seahorses; or Hippocampus, which means 'Horse Caterpillar'; are a small unusually-shaped fish that can be found in many areas of the globe. There are two species around British coastline: the spiny seahorse (Hippocampus Guttulatus) and the short-snouted seahorse (Hippocampus Hippocampus).
Both seahorses can be found from the Shetland Isles down the west coast of the UK (and all around Ireland) and along the south coast of England.
There are between 30 and 40 species of seahorses worldwide, and possibly as many sub-species. It is often difficult for scientists to identify seahorses because individuals of the same species can vary greatly in appearance.
New species continue to be found. They live in shallow weedy areas. In winter they move into deeper waters to escape the rough weather.
The point behind the writing of this blog is to make everyone aware of the danger even a small animal like this can find itself in from human threats.
As conservation is becoming an ever larger part of working and learning about animals.
The biggest threats to this particular fish are:
- * The traditional Chinese medicine trade takes in excess of 20 million seahorses a year from the wild and these are used for all types of medicine.
- * The Curio trade takes approximately one million seahorses from the wild a year. Along with shells and starfish, they are deliberately taken from the sea and left to die in the boiling sun. They are then sold as souvenirs.
* The pet trade takes an estimated one million seahorses a year.
These are also very common threats to many species around the world.
There are many organisations doing a brilliant job to help the seahorse, with various successful breeding projects and research activity to give the seahorse the best possible chance. However, as with all things, we have to ask is it enough?
Once, while boating off the coast of Jamaica in 2001, marine biologist Silvia Maciá and her husband caught a glimpse of an oddly familiar creature leaping from the waves, soaring with ease over the surface of the ocean. As the animal propelled itself for some 30 feet, Maciá realised she was witnessing the most unusual sight -- a flying squid. So intrigued by what she saw that day, Maciá would go on to co-author a paper examining similar observations, though essential photographic evidence of the incredible phenomenon remained elusive. That is, until now.
On this day in 1978 Harvey Milk was assassinated.
And now, the news:
Secrets of Sharks' Success: Flexible Scales Enable...
Kokako discovery in New Zealand
New bird species recognised in Australia – Critica...
Shocking images: possums and stoats eat kea chicks...
Record number of whales slaughtered in the Faroe I...
Dinosaur Die-Off Cleared Way for Gigantic Mammals ...
Army ants are creators not destroyers of worlds
Thursday, November 25, 2010
"From what I can gather from the conclusions made by both Lars and Richard Freeman, it appears that the DNA results of being close to human are being ignored, largely in favour of the hair analysis. I find this very worrying as it appears on the surface to be a case of trying to fit the evidence to the theory.
Hair analysis is very subjective process and is literally in the eye of the beholder. Different experts may come to different conclusions in investigating hair samples. DNA results are less subjective.
The reason the DNA samples claim to be almost human is more than likely through contamination. Yes I know the researchers claim they did not touch the hairs, but to be honest it is hard enough to prevent contamination in a laboratory, let alone obtaining clean samples in the field, is hard and I don't blame the field team for this.
I understand Karl Shuker has given an example of the king cheetah to explain a possibilty of both DNA and hair analysis being correct. However, this is only one case and we can in no way extrapolate this example in order to fit the evidence to the theory again, as Richard seems to have done.
I am actually in agreement with Dr Dan Holdsworth in that I feel the DNA results have probably been compromised by contamination.
The hairs are interesting in that I have no problem in accepting them as orangutan hairs, (and as such in finding a new population of orangs you have had a success)
Now this find is more exciting to the wider zoological world. Are you intending to contact orangutan researchers, and allow them to look at the hairs themselves. To find and confirm a new orangutan population is very important on a wordwide conservation scale, and needs to be released to mainstream zoological research and not kept in the restricted confines of cryptozoological research".
The most important thing about these DNA results are that whatever the hairs are, they are NOT from an orang utan. I would like to stress this. If there had been evidence suggesting that there was at least one orang utan living in that stretch of jungle, we would of course have made the hairs available to the relevant authorities. If there is any chance that there is a hitherto unsuspected population of these increasingly beleagured great apes then it is our sacred duty to do what we can to save them, and the discovery of a new population would be immensely important.
But the hairs, whatever they are from, are NOT from an orang utan.
However, we are not claiming that they are from an orang pendek either. Neither Richard nor Lars is ignoring the startlingly human-like DNA, and yes, the possibility of contamination is something that is always a possibility.
But as Lars writes, the results are inconclusive, although as a zoologist with many years experience, the hairs, together with all the anecdotal evidence that has been collected, Dave Archer and Sahar Didmus's eyewitness testimonies, and the various hair samples and footprints secured over the years have convinced him that there is an unknown species of higher primate living in Sumatra.
But no. Both Richard and I agree with Lars and HT that the DNA evidence - though interesting - is far from being conclusive, which is why we intend to go back to Sumatra with more equipment and more manpower to continue the hunt.
The food prepared by our guides in the jungle lodges
was far better than the fare we endured in Tura.
This 33rd collection once again really is a collection of completely uncategoriseable stuff, including images of Jesus on a soyabean oil tank, anomalous humming, tests on the rifle that shot MLK, a Muslim exorcism that went wrong and lots more. It doesn't get much better than this. Good stuff.
The ever increasingly entertaining John Allison has just started another (his third) story in the `Bad Machinery` series. The last one was full of crypto and fortean references, featuring a wendigo called `Archibald`, and - although it is far too early to find out what this new story is about - it will certainly be massively entertaining. This boy is one to watch!
On this day in 1922 the film The Toll of the Sea became the first film put on general release in colour, using the two-tone Technicolor system.
And now, the news:
New 'dog only' beer hits shelves
24' crocodile lurks in river in Normanton, pastor ...
Strange animal caught after eight-hour hunt
Shennongjia releases micrographs of unknown animal...
Chinese "Wild Man" Hair
Caterpillar fungus craze
Novice angler catches monster halibut worth £25,00...
He only went out that day for the 'haibut.'
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Andrew Sweeney, your comments are utterly absurd. Have you even bothered to read Lars’s account? He is a professional scientist who says that he is forced to conclude from our data that a new species of large primate exists in Sumatra; something you seem to have conveniently ignored. I call that a result.
To say that the expedition added nothing to our knowledge is just completely wrong. We saw tracks and learnt of foot structure. Dave Archer actually saw the creature and even managed to get a look at its face. His description gives us anatomical clues to the animal’s nature. Any eyewitness account is valuable in the sum of our knowledge.
Dan and Jum, the orang-utan has been extinct in west Sumatra since the 1880s. Dave Archer is adamant the animal he saw was not one of these. It was the guides who collected the hair samples from a tree stump using tweezers. They were next to some very clear tracks that showed a long, human-like heel and an ape-like forefoot with a well separated big toe. They were not orang-utan or gibbon prints, both of these are animals with which I am very familiar.
What Karl Shuker has to say
What CFZ Australia have to say
Mathijs translates the article as follows:
In a village called Dubbeldam there were rumours that a street (or way) called the Stevensweg was supposed to be haunted. One evening a man was walking in the area when suddenly a woman appeared and asked him for money. When the man refused, the woman shouted, “I will get you for this!” and disappeared.
In ancient and medieval and, indeed, modern times geographers frequently got things embarrassingly wrong for those there-be-dragons areas outside the circuit of their little worlds. So the early Greeks believed that the Gobi desert was full of flightless griffins. The Byzantines were convinced that the air in Scotland was poisonous. And the British in the sixteenth through nineteenth century were prepared to fund missions into the American interior to look for Welsh-speaking Indian tribes…
Many of these misunderstandings can be traced back to a failure of communication – certainly the three above are explicable in terms of present knowledge. But every so often a report comes to us from a geographer of the past that defies all rational explanation. Take Ctesias of Cnidus’s ravings about the Napalm Snake of India.
On the day in 1922 Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon entered the tomb of Tutankhamun for the first time.
And now, the news:
Study sees polar bears losing out to grizzlies
Putin may be the tiger's champion, but China will ...
Pterosaurs' wings 'key to their size' (via Dawn Ho...
Dogs are 'smarter than cats'
Snowmass tally: 10 mastodons, 4 mammoths, one "onc...
Mysterious horse deaths have family seeking answer...
Koalas as picky leaf-eaters
Steve Irwin meets a koala joey:
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Wednesday 24th November 2010
19:30 - 21:30
St Hilda's College, Cowley Place, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX4 1DY
Entrance Price: £5.00
UFOs: The Secret Story is a lecture by Robert Hastings, the renowned UFO researcher. Hastings has appeared on Larry King Live, and has given his lecture to numerous universities in the US. This is his first appearance at Oxford University, sponsored and organised by polymath and Oxford alumnus Paul Parl. The main theme of Hastings' lecture is his meticulous research of documented UFO incidents at nuclear missile sites around the world, a topic which he has investigated for decades. He has been approached by numerous high-ranking military officials who have provided him with impeccable testimony. It promises to be a fascinating evening.
To book a ticket for this lecture, visit http://www.eventelephant.com/hastingslecture
First came the gypsy moth, then the Japanese and Asian lady beetles, the soybean aphid and emerald ash borer.
Of all places, the first specimen was found at the plant protection division of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Although Minnesota has been home to other varieties of stink bugs, it is the first time this bug -- also known as the Asian stink bug -- has been found in Minnesota, state agriculture officials said. It most likely hitched a ride on a shipment of equipment from the east coast, officials said, and that makes them think there might be others elsewhere in the state.
Now say hello to the brown marmorated stink bug, the next invasive insect to land in Minnesota -- this one with its own unique, er, scent.
"The fact it arrived here the way it did suggests that it's happening elsewhere, too," said Bob Koch, an entomologist with the state Agriculture Department.
The brown marmorated stink bug, which has distinctive black and white markings on its abdomen, has been making a nuisance of itself across the Eastern United States since 2001. Native to Asia, the pest was first identified in the U.S. in Pennsylvania. It has since been reported across the mid-Atlantic region, in Oregon and in other states.If - or more likely when - it becomes established in Minnesota, it is likely to be particularly troublesome for farmers and vegetable gardeners, said Koch. "It can become a significant pest to the production of fruit trees and vegetable crops," he said. "It also feeds on soybeans, field corn and sweet corn." The stink bugs aren't nearly as problematic as the emerald ash borer, which kills the trees it inhabits, said University of Minnesota entomologist Jeff Hahn. But in the last year or two there has been an explosion in the number of marmorated stink bugs in other regions, causing loss in some crops, he said.
The bugs also have an annoying tendency to become home invaders in the fall. When the weather cools, they seek warm places. But unlike Asian lady beetles, which do the same thing, the stink bug, well, stinks. When threatened, it releases a foul-smelling liquid as a defence mechanism. That, said Koch, could be one reason why birds aren't likely to go after them.
Unlike the stink bug varieties that are native to Minnesota -- and like all invasive species in general -- the marmorated stink bug could be difficult to control because in this country it has no natural enemies or predators. Koch said the Agriculture Department will start trying to figure out how farmers can control it with pesticides or other methods.
The bug typically spreads to new areas by flying or by stowing away in shipping containers or vehicles. It is unclear how the insect arrived in the laboratory building, state officials said. The agriculture department's bug hunters are now searching the laboratory to find and eradicate any other stink bugs that may have arrived, Koch said."In Arizona, there was a motor home coming out of the East that was infested with them," Koch said. "They are getting moved around pretty easily."
Koch said the bugs will show up in homes before they start damaging crops. Don't smash them unless you're willing to live with the smell. Koch said the best way to get rid off them is with a vacuum cleaner. But he advised putting a nylon stocking over the end of the hose to catch the bug before it gets inside the vacuum cleaner "Otherwise you'll have a pretty smelly vacuum cleaner," he said.
'The photographic scientist Geoffrey Crawley, who has died aged 83, played an instrumental role in the debunking of the world`s longest running photographic hoax. The unlikely deception was hatched in 1917 by two cousins, Elsie Wright, aged 15, and Frances Griffiths, 1o, who claimed they had captured photographs of fairies near there home in Cottingley,west Yorkshire. The “Cottingley fairies” tale quickly caught the public imagination, rolling on until some six decades later, when Geoffrey`s scientific analysis of the pictures led the cousins to confess that the fairies had been nothing more sensational than cut-outs kept in place using hatpins….
Geoffrey was born in Bow, east London. Aged four, he moved with his parents to Southend-on-Sea, Essex,and then to nearby Leigh-on-Sea, where he helped out in the darkroom set up by Tom, a keen amateur photographer,who worked for the Admiralty in London. Geoffrey attended Westcliff high school for boys. His mother, Alice, died when he was 12….
It was as editor of the BJP ( British Journal of Photography) in 1982 that he applied a detective`s eye to the five Cottingley fairies photographs, the authenticity of which had first been endorsed by Edward Gardner, a theosophist, in 1920. Gardner had heightened the allure of the story by having the glass plate negatives retouched for public show, in a way that Photoshop software might be used today. The tale snowballed further when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – the creator of Sherlock Holmes and a spiritualist- endorsed the revelations in the Strand Magazine.
Geoffrey brought an objective, in-depth, technical analysis to the case. He acquired two of the cameras used by the Cottingley cousins – a quarter-plate Cameo folding camera and a Midg box camera – to assess whether they could possibly have used them to take the pictures. “ Of course there are fairies,just as there is Father Christmas,” Geoffrey concluded. The story proved irresistible to Hollywood: the films Fairy Tale: A True Story and Photographing Fairies based on the case were both released in 1997….' (1)
1. The Guardian November 16th 2010 p.32
On the day in 1971 a hijacker using the alias Dan Cooper jumped from a plane flying over Washington State, USA, with $200,000 in ransom money. Neither he nor the money were ever seen again.
And now, the news:
Keep an eye out for stranded dolphins, urge scient...
Spice of Life: Variety Is Also Good for Hares
Atlantic Ocean migratory sharks not covered by fis...
University of the Basque Country research team inv...
Wild wolves in Missouri? (via Chad Arment)
Echidnas now ranked as most endangered animals
Cute and funny echidna video:
Monday, November 22, 2010
So, many thanks to Oll Lewis who writes `Yesterday's News Today` day in and day out, Gavin Lloyd Wilson who oversees the newsblog, and my darling wife Corinna who during Gavin's leave-of-absence is doing the newsblog daily, and at other times bustles around wherever she is needed, as well as writing her own blogs. Thank you, my dears!
The Digital Edition has been available for some time.
It is a rich and varied edition, and the contents are:
5 Who’s who
RSPCA make Jumbo Fools of Themselves
25 Club news
27 Keeping locusts as pets by Corinna Downes
30 Locusts in the UK by Richard Muirhead
32 A Jekyll and Hyde of Characins
by David Marshall
39 Hawkmoths and Tigers and the
Butterfly Effect by Jonathan Downes
44 Suriname Toads by Richard Freeman
47 Toxic caterpillars by Nick Wadham
50 Turning over a new leaf by Max Blake
52 An attitude out of the Ark
by Richard Freeman
54 Revolting plants as a substitute for
exotic pets by Mark Pajak
59 CFZ meet the Titan Arum
60 The sail-finned water dragon
by Richard Freeman
63 Birth, Sex and Death in rural England
by Carl Portman
67 Release the bats by Oll Lewis
71 The scales have fallen ….. or something!
A field report from Denmark by Lars
73 Tell me Y
by Jonathan Downes
76 Exclusive extract from
The Mystery Animals of Ireland
by Ronan Coghlan and GaryCunningham
83 Olive millipedes
by Lucy Henson
85 Mysteries of the dog
by Scottie Westfall
90 CFZ Press News
91 Lucy’s life
92 Corinna’s Endangered Species column:
The Philippine eagle
98 Aquarium review: Blue Reef, Bristol
101 About the CFZ
105 About CFZ Press
'Bunyip' may be a corruption of an Aboriginal word. The term first appears in print in 1920 in the Sydney Gazette where the ‘bahnyip’ was described as ‘a large black animal like a seal, with a terrible voice which creates terror among the blacks’.
There are two types of Bunyip. One resembles a big seal; the other has a long neck and small head. Both are furry and considered dangerous. Bunyips supposedly emerged at night to hunt prey including humans.
There were a number of sightings by white settlers up till the 1930s. These may have been based on leopard seals or sea lions that had strayed many miles in land by swimming up rivers. Inland tribes would have been totally unfamiliar with these marine mammals that can be quite large and aggressive. The weird vocalisation attributed to the Bunyip may have been made by the Australian bittern Botaurus poiciloptilus.
On this day in 1499 Perkin Warbeck, a pretender to the British throne who claimed to be the son of King Edward IV, was executed after several failed attempts to escape from the Tower of London. Warbeck claimed to be Richard of Shrewsbury, the youngest of the princes in the tower who, unbeknownst to Warbeck, had been murdered by King Richard III and his body hidden in an old chest a few yards away from where Warbeck was jailed. Richard of Shrewsbury was played by Brian Blessed in the first series of Blackadder.
And now, the news:
Flamingos gathered in the shape of a flamingo is '...
Rosser's sac photographed
New species of large squid found
First cold water coral ecosystem discovered off co...
Species ID challenged by DNA analysis
How hummingbirds fight the wind
Sunday, November 21, 2010
A small part of the hair sample was subjected to a DNA-analysis, but due to the small amount of DNA extracted and the rather poor condition of it, no firm conclusion could be reached. The DNA did show some similarities to primate DNA, possibly orangutan, but no definite results could be obtained.
Following this I subjected the remaing hairs to a structural analysis to see if this could bring any information to light that might reveal the identity of the owner of the hairs.
I checked all of the remaining 6 hairs and they were all consistent with hairs from large primates or humans. They all had the rather large medulla with a lot of pigmentation typical of large primates, and the intermittent holes in the centre of the hairs, making them look somewhat like hollowed out tree trunks. I compared the hair samples with reference samples of 3 different species of gibbon, orangutan, chimpanzee and bonobo, gorilla and some 15 samples of human hairs in various colours, mainly red or reddish. I was never able to ascertain their identity with total certainty, although I could eliminate some. The hairs were not modern human, and they were not from siamangs or other gibbons. They have a very deep rusty-red colour, very similar to the colour of orangutan hairs, but varied in other structural details.
So based on these results alone I concluded that the hairs were from something closely related to orangutans or from a form of orangutan I had not seen before.
In the autumn of 2010 Tom Gilbert from the DNA Laboratory of the University of Copenhagen did a further DNA test of the remaining hairs. In this case he was able to extract a good amount of DNA enabling him to conclude that whoever used to wear these hairs were either human of very closely related to humans.
So the structural analysis point to either an orangutan or something very closely related to an orangutan. The DNA analysis on the other hand point to a human or something very closely related to humans.
Based on this information I am forced to conclude that Sumatra is home to a completely new species of large primate, but I am also well aware that these results can in no way be called conclusive evidence of the existence of these animals. But it should be more than enough reason for a new expedition to go back to the area, hopefully obtaining enough evidence and samples to come to a final conclusion.
But it works. Hooray! (It's even on Twitter)
The editor is summing up some recent discoveries in Zoology:
'In Quadrupeds,a most remarkable discovery has lately been made in Ireland, by Messrs. Glennon and Nolan, of Dublin, the former of whom has kindly forwarded to me a MS. account of the particulars, and the latter has most obligingly communicated them by word of mouth, and allowed me to make a careful examination of the specimens. The facts are briefly these; the above-named gentlemen have discovered at Lough Gûr, a small lake situated near Limerick, a vast quantity of bones,which appear to have been the rejectamenta of some slaughter house:they consist principally of the skulls of cattle (Bos), of two or three species,- red deer,giant deer (Cervus megaceros),goats,and pigs of more than one species:and there also occur,but not in abundance,bones of the rein-deer….
'But the most remarkable circumstance is this - that among the skulls so fractured are two unmistakeable specimens of female giant deer: to these my attention was particularly invited; and I have not the least hesitation in expressing my conviction that the fractures were the result of human hands, and were the cause of death of the animals. These two fractured skulls correspond too exactly with each other, and with that of a bullock with which I compared them to have resulted from accident: the edges of the fractures wore an appearance of being coeval with the interment or submergence of the skulls, and presented a very strikingly different appearance from a fracture recently made, and which I had the opportunity of examining. There were several skulls of the male of the same species, one bearing enormous antlers, but none exhibiting the slightest trace of frontal fractures…
…The absence of historical records [of a great deer contemporary with humans - R], so long before the invention of printing, although so strenuously urged, would really amount to nothing: the same argument might be employed to show that the round towers of Ireland were equally pre-adamite with her deer: for neither Cæsar nor Tacitus throw any light on the questio vexata of their date and use: but we are not absolutely without recors, for “ Pepper in his `History of Ireland` expressly states that the ancient Irish used to hunt a very large black deer, the milk of which served them for food and the skin for clothing *[*see `Gigantic Irish Deer`, by H.D Richardson p.25, available from amazon.co.uk for £16.29 not including postage.] And again, “Sir William Betham found some bronze or brass tablets, the inscription on which attested that the ancient Irish fed upon the flesh and milk of a great black deer [Ibid] (1)
Karl Shuker summarised other findings, bringing them up to date as follows:
'Although undeniably thought provoking, the case of Megaloceros`s persistence into historic times in Ireland as presented by …noted nineteenth century writers has never succeeded in convincing me – for a variety of different reasons. For instance, there is no conclusive proof that the large black deer allegedly hunted by the ancient Irish people really were surviving Megaloceros. Coat colour in the red deer Cervus elephas is far more variable than its common name suggests and, as is true with many other present-day species of sizeable European mammal, specimens of red deer dating from a few centuries ago or earlier tend to be noticeably larger than their twentieth century counterparts…True, absence of uncovered of uncovered Holocene remains of Megaloceros does not deny absolutely the possibility of Holocene persistence (after all, there are undoubtedly many European fossil sites of the appropriate period still awaiting detection and study). But unless some finds are excavated, it now seems much more likely that, despite the optimism of Gosse and other Victorian writers, this magnificent member of the Pleistocene megafauna failed to survive that epoch`s close after all, like many of its extra-large mammalian contemporaries elsewhere. (2)
1. E.Newman. Preface. The Zoologist vol 4. 1846 vii-ix
2. K.P.N Shuker In Search of Prehistoric Survivors (1995) pp 168-169
TALKING HEADS MIND
Time won`t change you
Money Wont change you
I haven`t got the faintest idea
Everything seems to be up in the air at this time
I need something to change your mind
Drugs wont change you
Religion wont change you……..
December 1980 30th Anniversary Conference
John Burroughs & Jim Penniston
Talk for the first time in Suffolk at the Woodbridge Community Hall Tuesday
December 28 at 6pm.
Also attending is Linda Moulton Howe, Nick Pope (MoD ret), and Peter Robbins (US based Investigative Writer - co-author of Left At East Gate)
In December 1980 strange lights were seen by US Air Force personnel posted to the twin bases of RAF Bentwaters & Woodbridge. To this day they have never been explained. On the 30th anniversary, December 28 2010 two key eye-witnesses are back in Suffolk to re-count their stories. Airman 1st Class John Burroughs and SSgt Jim Penniston were 81st Security Police Officers patrolling the East Gate at RAF Woodbridge when they observed what they initially thought was an aircraft coming down in the forest. The rest is history.
All five are in Suffolk on Tuesday December 28 2010 at:
Woodbridge Community Hall
The guest speakers are looking for any civilian witnesses to the incident
to show up that night. The talk starts at 6pm. Tickets are £6.00 each. After the talk there will be a visit to the Rendlesham Forest site attended by the guest speakers. All are invited to come along. To order a ticket please send a stamped, self addressed envelope w/payment to:
Mr G Goodger,
108 Spring Road,
We accept cheques and postal orders only (Cheques should be made payable to Mr. G Goodger). We will not be able to dispatch tickets if we do not receive a stamped SAE.
Questions about the event please call 07811 021230 or 01473 210726 and we
will do our best to help you.
At the request of the guest speakers, all profits will go to the Ipswich
Treehouse Children's Hospice Appeal. No-one is making any money out of this.
Phone: 01473 423143
Cell: 07811 021230
(Note: Dave Hodrien, BUFOG Chairman/Investigator will be attending this event)
[Centre for Fortean Zoology Australia] Yowie! hits the small screen
[Centre for Fortean Zoology Australia] The Adventures of Tim Tyler and 'Fang'...
[Centre for Fortean Zoology Australia] From the archives: fishermen shoot sea monster
[Centre for Fortean Zoology Australia] Tassie Tiger a red (herring) fox?
[Centre for Fortean Zoology Australia] Black Panther cameos in Red Hill
[Centre for Fortean Zoology Australia] CFZ India Expedition Returns
Quite a bit happened on this day, deep breath... In 1859 Charles Darwin’s book On the Origin of Species was first offered for sale; in 1922 Howard Carter opened the tomb of Tutankhamun giving rise later to rumours of a curse; and in 1963 American President John F. Kennedy was assasinated.
And now, the news:
Gamekeeper on Scottish estate convicted of placing...
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Bangladesh okays strict law to protect endangered ...
‘Native trees will bring back birds’
An informative video:
Saturday, November 20, 2010
On Sunday 5th December 2010 FAST will be hosting ‘An afternoon with FAST’ at Ferrybridge Community Centre, The Square, Knottingley, W. Yorks. The afternoon will be a mixture of lectures and introductions to fish showing.
The following speakers have been confirmed:
David Marshall, Aquarium Gazette Editor -‘Magnificent 7 Aquarium fish’.
Mr. Trevor Douglas, Y.A.A.S. ‘A’ Class Judge - Fish Showing
Mr. Jeremy Gay, Corby A.S. – ‘Fish in Singapore’.
1.Northern Tri-Fish Challenge. The scores of three benched fish will be averaged to find a Challenge Champion.
2.SVAS/FAST Friendship Growing On Challenge - return to Ferrybridge of a group Barbus fasciolatus. The fish deemed to have progressed the best will win this Challenge.
3.The Newbie Shower - A class for people who have yet to win a place card at an Open Show.
Further details of what promises to be a very different day phone Dave Kirk on 07799878121
It was not until 1959 that Slick's yeti expedition found something of note: supposed yeti scat. Analysis of the scat found an unidentified parasite, which led Bernard Heuvelmans to write:
'Since each animal has its own parasites, this indicated that the host animal is equally an unknown animal.'
However, this was just an example of Heuvelmans getting a little over-excited, as he was prone to do on several occasions in his otherwise distinguished career (for example, see the Minnesota Iceman incident). In reality the presence of an unknown parasite certainly does not indicate that it came from an unknown animal; scientists find previously unknown parasites in all number of known animal species, including man.
The Tom Slick yeti story that everyone knows, though, also took place in 1959: the story of Jimmy Stewart and the yeti's hand. Slick had heard of the existence of a mummified yeti hand in Pangboche monastery, Nepal, on the 1957 expedition and photographs had been taken of the hand by Peter Byrne in 1958. The plan was that the team would take the hand away for testing in the 1959 expedition; however, when the monks refused permission for this Byrne is said to have taken bone samples from the hand while the monks were distracted, and replaced them with human bone fragments. Byrne is then said to have smuggled the bone fragments into India where he met up with the Hollywood actor James Stewart who smuggled them into the United States of America. The analysis conducted on the samples, and a DNA analysis in 1991, concluded that they were 'near human', which sadly does not tell us a lot.
After the 1991 DNA analysis the entire hand was stolen from the monastery. Edmund Hillary visited the monastery in 1960 but concluded the hand was a fake. However, those that believe in the hand's authenticity have said his conclusions were largely based on the “modifications” made by Byrne to cover up for the sample he had taken.
Hillary's expedition to Nepal in 1960 was in part thought to be a cover for an expedition to spy on Chinese military technology and activity but he did take the yeti-hunting part of the expedition seriously and as well as investigating the Pangboche hand, obtained what was alleged to be a yeti scalp from Khumjung monastery in Nepal. The scalp was subjected to scientific testing and it was concluded that, far from being a yeti scalp, the skin had come from the hide of a serow. Myra Shackley, archaeologist and author of Wildmen: Yeti, Sasquatch and the Neanderthal Enigma contested the findings claiming that the hair looks distinctly monkey-like and the parasitic mites found on the scalp were of a different species to those found on the serow. A discrepancy of mites does not necessarily indicate that it is not a serow though because different mites and parasites will feed on dead tissue, long dead tissue like the 'yeti scalp' in particular, than living tissue.