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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In between each episode of OTT, we now present OTTXtra. Here are three episodes pretty much at random:


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Tuesday, November 02, 2010

CRYPTOZOOLOGY ONLINE: On The Track (Of Unknown Animals) Episode 38

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 autumn
Farewell to Biggles
Unconvention 2010
Blue Dog footage
Fixing the Roof
Rebecca Lang interview
Australian Big Cats
Corinna looks at out of place birds
New and Rediscovered: New monkey
New and Rediscovered: New Madagascan mammal
New and Rediscovered: New salamander


MARKUS HEMMLER: The Masbate Monster

On December 24 1996 a carcass washed up on beach villa Rico near the town of Claveria, located in the Philippine province of Masbate. According to press reports the animal's body resembled an 26-foot-long eel-like creature with the head of a turtle. A photo of the skull, vertebrae and limbs appeared in the newspaper Philippine Star, but this photo is not available. The photograph was presented together with dried meat to unnamed "experts" and no one could identify it. Zoologist Dr Perry Ong of the Philippines University confirmed that it was "a eel-like fish...It must be an ancestral or primitive fish. It had fins. But if it is a fish, where are the ribs? It is not a mammal." The skull had obviously a blowhole-like opening, resembling that of a dolphin, but it lacked the corresponding long, narrow snout. Cryptozoologist Karl Shuker speculated it could probably be an already heavily decayed killer whale (Orcinus orca).

The description of a blowhole-like opening in the skull, however, reminded me at once to the epiphysal foramen, a round hole in the top of basking shark skulls (Cetorhinus maximus) through which a brain projection, the epiphysis or pineal body, extends. Because of this speculation, it was first necessary to determine whether the range of the basking shark includes the Philippines. And precisely during this search was quickly and completely unexpectedly the Masbate monster met again! Fishbase reports about the basking shark: "First record from Philippines: skeletal remains washed up on shore in Iceland Burias, Masbate." Unfortunately there was no date of this report, but the source was specified: Compagno, LJV, Last, PR, Stevens, JD & Alava, MNR (2005) Checklist of Philippine Chondrichthyes. CSIRO Marine Laboratories Report. This report is, fortunately, available online, and there you can read: "First record from the Philippines.. Burias Iceland, Masbate, December 1996, skeletal remains including vertebrae and Clasper washed up on beach. Identification The Philippines Star, March 9th: 1997 Victor G. Springer, pers comm."

Another sea monster carcass whose identification unfortunately remained open
until now can thus be put to file.


Shuker, KP N (2003). Shuker, KP N (2003). The Beasts That Hide from Man:
Seeking the World's Last Undiscovered Animals.
New York: Paraview Press.
- (2010) Alien Zoo: From the pages of Fortean Times. - (2010) CFZ
Compagno, LJV, Last, PR, Stevens, JD & Alava, MNR (2005) Checklist of
Philippine Chondrichthye
s. CSIRO Marine Laboratories Report.


Hibernating swallows

Humans create ideas to explain natural phenomenon. Most of these explanations are worth little more than the cinders that Beachcombing nightly sweeps up from the fire. These explanations are then superseded by other explanations – that typically bear as little relation to truth – and so knowledge marches heroically on… Inevitably, though some branches of humanity can’t keep up – memos from central office cease to get through - and these relicts cling quaintly to the ideas of yesterday.

Read on



1. Tetrapod Zoology Book One by Dr Darren Naish (-)
2. The Mystery animals of Britain: The Western Isles by Glen Vaudrey (6=)
3. The Mystery animals of Britain: Northumberland and Tyneside by Mike Hallowell (5)
4. The Great Yokai Encyclopaedia by Richard Freeman (8)
5. Big Cats loose in Britain by Marcus Matthews (9)
6. Karl Shuker's Alien Zoo by Dr Karl Shuker (-)
7=. The Owlman and Others by Jon Downes (-)
7=. Monster - the A-Z of Zooform Phenomena by Neil Arnold (7)
7=. The Mystery animals of Britain: Kent by Neil Arnold (3)
7=. Dinosaurs and other Prehistoric Animals on Stamps by Dr Karl Shuker (-)


1. Tetrapod Zoology Book One by Dr Darren Naish (10)
2 The Great Yokai Encyclopaedia by Richard Freeman (1)
3=. Karl Shuker's Alien Zoo by Dr Karl Shuker (-)
3=. The Monsters of Texas by Ken Gerhard and Nick Redfern (2)
5=. The Owlman and Others by Jon Downes (-)
5=. Big Bird by Ken Gerhard (7)
5=. Ufo Down - The Berwyn Mountains UFO Crash by Andy Roberts (5)
8. Extraordinary Animals Revisited by Dr Karl Shuker (6)
9=. The Mystery Animals of Ireland by Gary Cunningham and Ronan Coghlan (-)
9=. In the wake of Bernard Heuvelmans by Michael Woodley (-)

Last month's positions in this pinky colour, which I think is called cerise. The charts this month have been dominated by the Darren Naish and the other newish releases. If Alien Zoo had been released earlier in the month I think that it would have done equally well. Here's looking forward to the Christmas sales figures.


While we are waiting for more news from the India expedition, who will have reached the location for their investigations at about tea time (GMT yesterday, we thought it might be a nice idea to have Oll tell us a little about the Garo Hills.

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1957 the USSR launched Sputnik 2. On board was a dog named Laika, the first animal to orbit the planet. Sadly Laika died during the mission from overheating and there had never been any mechanism aboard the satellite to enable her to return safely to Earth.
And now, the news:

Slight change in wind turbine speed significantly ...
Five held in elephant-smuggling probe in India
Shelters' new rules on strays have towns scramblin...
Genetics of the Black Death
The 8-legged Monster Behind Chupacabra Mystery
Did scientists breed mice that 'smell' light?
Miniature livers 'grown in lab'
For Sale: T. Rex, Good Condition, Woolly Mammoth, ...
Poisonous snake discovered in box of grapes

A Russian news report (in English) from the 40th anniversary of her mission: