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, February 02, 2012


Both Dale and Max have commented on the story we posted a couple of days about the anomalous object seen on the Google Earth image of Loch Lomond.

I have no doubt that it is a boat wake, but it is interesting that as Max said, it is practically identical to the image found some time ago on Google Earth's pictures of Loch Ness.

What I would like to know is how that specific configuration of waves and foam is created.

This is a bit like the Afghan mystery cat story that we posted recently. None of us had any real hope that the pictures would prove to have been of a known species, but it is the context in which they were taken (in that case, by US Special Forces night sights, and in this case on another lake which has been home to monster reports) that makes it interesting.

HAUNTED SKIES: Daily Telegraph 6.3.59.

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1959 The Big Bopper, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and their pilot Roger Peterson were all killed when their small plane crashed in bad weather in a field near Clear Lake, Iowa, USA.

And now the news:

'Supergiant' crustacean found in deepest ocean (vi...
Sugar Should Be Regulated As Toxin, Researchers Sa...
Litter of Rare, Scruffy-Necked Wolf Pups Born in V...
Ecologist searches for new shrimp species in Guern...
Massive die-off of fish in Philippines
Endangered monkey helped in China
Trumpets of outrage in the outback
Threatened voles found living the high life

This was the last song Buddy Holly sang at the Clearlake concert hours before his death (not “That’ll Be The Day” as popular urban legends would have you believe):

MATT SALUSBURY: Pygmy Elephant Update


Interesting pygmy elephant development.

The book's coming along nicely, I'm working on the "Africa - misidentification?" chapter which is the longest. I came across this reference in Mysterious Creatures – a guide to cryptozoology vol 2 N-Z by George M. Eberhart

This says that in July 1955, – Francois Edmund Blanc was leading an expedition to South Cameroon to collect pygmy elephants for University of Copenhagen.Eberhart writes, “After three hours of tracking on marshy ground, he came across a group of elephants that did not exceed a shoulder height of six feet."

Naturally I enquired with Lars Thomas of Copenhagen University, who replied today with:

Hi Matt,

Well, wouldn't you know. Thanks to my friend Mogens Andersen, who works at the museum as a curatorial assistant, something rather interesting has turned up. In the 50's and 60's the museum had a benefactor, the owner of a Danish medical company, one Bøje Benzon, he was filthy rich, and a very eager big-game hunter. He travelled all over the world and basically shot everything he could put his gunsights on, and when he wasn't, he paid for other people to do the same, and one of these was Edmond-Blanc, who was in Cameroon in 1955, and who did in fact shoot to very small elephants, two females. Mogens have found the notes on them in the museum archives, they are in danish - I can translate them for you if you want. But what is perhaps even more interesting is the fact that the museum does in fact have the skeleton of one of the animals, and the skull of the other. And I can get you photos of those as well.

The latest is that Lars is translating the Danish language notebooks from the expedition, and getting access to the skull and skeleton in the university museum. This is unfortunately a little difficult as it's fallen victim to a beetle infestation so the mammology bit's all wrapped in plastic or stuck in freezers, but he's on the case.

Most "pygmy elephants" in museum collections turned out to be bog standard misidentifed (often juvenile) forest elephants. The 2003 DNA analysis that concluded there is no such thing, did, however, discover an "isolate" or "clade" of forest elephant populations in Cameroon. The Cameroon-Guinea border was where the type specimen of pygmy elephant "Elephas pumillo" (sorry, it turned out to be a bog-standard forest elephant) was supposedly collected.

Both Lars and myself are happy for this to go up on the bloggo. Will update you. Aiming for publication ready for a Weird Weekend August launch.



So the latest big cat furore in the British press has come to an end; the DNA tests commissioned on saliva from the carcass of a deer found on National Trust land in Gloucestershire have proved to be from a fox.



CRYPTOZOOLOGY/ANTHROPOLOGY: Neanderthals and Europe's oldest civilisation

New on the Frontiers of Zoology:

And on Frontiers of Anthropology:

JON'S JOURNAL: Frost, footprints and a lagomorph mêlée

Stuff has got in the way over the last few days and I have not had a chance to write up my ongoing nature diary, so I hope that you will all forgive me that today's episode is particularly long and drawn out.

Last week we had snow for the first time in the winter. It was the first really cold day of the season, and I am afraid that the local animals and plants had - like the humans - got a little too complacent (golly I am being stupidly anthropomorphic here) and there was noticeable frost damage. Unfortunately two of my collection of succulents have been affected - I am going to wait and see what happens in the spring rather than to make hasty decisions about shoving all the plants into the conservatory now. After all as I mentioned the other day my mesembryanthemums die off every year in the frost, but come back renewed in the spring/summer.

The frog spawn at Kennerland appears to have been affected by the weather, but whether the cold was severe enough to kill it only time will tell.

Yesterday Prudence, Corinna and I went out to Huddisford for the first time since the snow, and as you can see there was still quite a lot of snow and ice about.

However the froggies have been active, because there is frogspawn in the ditch that we are following this year. It must be newly laid because it wasn't there last week. I have often wondered whether there is a specific reason for the early January spawn. Most years it is killed by the frost and the frogs lay again in march. I wonder whether this has an ecological purpose - as the dead spawn decays it adds nutrients to the little ecosystem of the ditch/pond. I don't know whether this is a hypothesis worth examining further or just one of my idle wonderings.

The little throughfare up the side of the bank above the Huddisford ditch is still being very regularly used. As you can see from the second photograph, there are at least three sets of different sized footprints here.

In one of the fields at the far point of our walk a little drama was taking place. Two magpies appeared to be mobbing a rook near the ground, and then - out of the middle of the mêlée hopped this little fellow. I thought at first that it was a hare, but it turned out to be a rabbit. I have no idea what actually took place in that particular episode of the zoological soap opera that is Huddisford, but Prudence was so enthralled by it all that she refused to get back in the car, and was chastised.