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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Friday, April 20, 2012


JAN EDWARDS WRITES: This is the location the polecat was found. It is close to Heights Quarry on the A 689 – the main road through Weardale. There is the river Wear, just 100 yards away to the south – near the tree-line across the road. The quarry is about a quart-mile up hill and to the north of the junction where the animal was found.

DATE FOUND: 28th Sept 2011 (been frozen since then apart from photos.)
TIME FOUND: Approx 8:40am, and the body was still warm to the touch, indicating that death had occurred recently.
WHERE FOUND: On the junction between the A689 and Heights Quarry , DL13 1PF, Side of the road nearest the river (IE south)

And this is the polecat. Blood and grime are leaching into the preservative, so we will wait for it to precipitate out before changing the medium...

(The chicken wire is to old it in place pro tem)

Many thanks to Jan Edwards for securing us this irreplaceable specimen, which is, as far as we are aware, the first wild polecat specimen from Co. Durham in many years, possibly since WW1....


I find this fascinating; not just the latest claims that the thylacine had particularly low genetic diversity, but that this story has proliferated across the Internet in a remarkably short time, with all sorts of different spins being put upon it...

Thylacine DNA reveals lacks of diversity
ABC Online
Tiny gene pool The Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, had very limited genetic diversity before it died out, according to a new study, which suggests a similar fate for the Tasmanian devil. Hunted to the brink of extinction, the last known thylacine ...
See all stories on this topic »

ABC Online
Scientists find Tasmanian Tiger limited in genetic diversity
ABC Online
MARK COLVIN: A team of international scientists has found that the Tasmanian Tiger, or Thylacine, had very limited genetic diversity before it became extinct. The scientists isolated DNA samples from museum specimens that were up to 160 years old.
See all stories on this topic »
Lack Of Genetic Diversity Put The Tasmanian Tiger In Danger
The Tasmanian tiger, also known as the thylacine, was as large as a medium-sized dog that roamed across both Australia and Tasmania and had no natural predators. It was one of only two marsupials, along with the water opossum, to have a pouch in both ...
See all stories on this topic »
Study Confirms Limited Genetic Diversity in Thylacine
An international team of scientists has confirmed the Tasmanian Tiger or thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus) had limited genetic diversity prior to its extinction. The Tasmanian Tiger, Thylacinus cynocephalus (Benjamin A. Sheppard) “The latest study ...
See all stories on this topic »

Cautionary tale in tiger DNA study
ABC Online
The team combed the world's museums for thylacine specimens, testing 12 different tasmanian tigers for genetic diversity. Scientists extracted DNA from bone, pelt and tissue samples, with some almost 160 years old. They found significant parts of the ...
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Research Reveals Low Genetic Diversity of Thylacine
French Tribune
Named as thylacine, it is believed that it might have died in 1936. For the research, it was claimed that genetic fragments from the 14 Tasmanian tigers were collected in order to check their genetic diversity. "If we compare this same section of DNA, ...
See all stories on this topic »

French Tribune
Scientists Confirm Limited Genetic Diversity in the Extinct Tasmanian Tiger
Science Daily (press release)
ScienceDaily (Apr. 18, 2012) — A team of international scientists including from the University of Melbourne have discovered the unique Tasmanian Tiger or thylacine had limited genetic diversity prior to its extinction. The results published April 18 ...
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Tasmanian tiger suffered low genomic diversity
Credit: Photo courtesy of The Tasmanian National Museum and Art Gallery The enigmatic Tasmanian tiger, known also as the thylacine, was hunted to extinction in the wild at the turn of the 20th century, and the last one died in a Tasmanian zoo in 1936.
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Tassie tiger study sounds warning
Professor Marilyn Renfree, who was part of a team that cloned a thylacine gene in 2008, says the result supports an earlier finding that the Tasmanian devil is also of limited genetic stock, a factor that may be making the fight against its facial ...
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Thylacine DNA reveals lacks of diversity | High technology News
Share Print News in Science › Environment and Nature Thursday, 19 April 2012 Liz HobdayABC Despite the lack of genetic diversity, a bounty on.
The Prince of Amber | ecocides: The thylacine (Thylacinus...
ecocides: “ The thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus, Greek for “dog-headed pouched one”) was the largest known carnivorous marsupial of modern times.

Extinct Tasmanian Tiger Subject of Study
The unique Tasmanian Tiger, also known as the thylacine, had limited genetic diversity prior to its 20th century extinction, Australian scientists say. Researchers at the University of Melbourne analyzed the genetic health of the thylacine before it ...
See all stories on this topic »
Tasmanian Tiger may have been victim of inbreeding
The Australian
The last known Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, died in captivity in 1936 but specimens of Australia's carnivorous marsupial are preserved in museums around the world. It was even the subject of a 2011 movie, "The Hunter," in which Willem Dafoe plays a ...
See all stories on this topic »
Island living may have been a death sentence for the Tassie tiger: is the ...
However, the island of Tasmania stands out from this record: it has not lost a single mammal species since the demise of the Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine. The Ireland-sized island has long acted as a refuge for its platypuses, echidnas, devils, ...
See all stories on this topic »

Life Science Log :: Thylacine DNA reveals lacks of diversity
TINY GENE POOL: The Tasmanian tiger had very limited genetic diversity before it died out, according to a new study.

BIG CAT NEWS: From around the world

Rarest leopard making comeback
China Daily

[Photo/China Daily]
"Thanks to (China's) enormous efforts to protect forests and crack down on poaching, the big cat appears to be rebounding in China," said Jiang Jinsong, an official from Jilin provincial forestry department.

Urban sprawl blamed for Squamish cougar encounters
The witness who reported the big cat believed it had recently killed a dog, but conservation officers have not confirmed that. Officers were unable to locate the cougar during a search of the area and local trails have been closed, although many hikers ...

Backyard mountain lion habitat
But De Rosa says he doesn't have a zoo; he has an educational program called Ghost Cat Habitat Center. He has a state license and gives educational tours. He gave us one as well. De Rosa says he wanted to educate kids about the big cats that used to ...

BIG CAT NEWS: Hale, and Gloucestershire

The hunt for British Big Cats attracts far more newspaper column inches than any other cryptozoological subject. There are so many of them now that we feel that they should be archived in some way by us, so we should have a go at publishing a regular round-up of the stories as they come in.

It takes a long time to do and is a fairly tedious task so I am not promising that they will be done each day, but I will do them as regularly as I can. JD

Big cat-like animal spotted in Hale
Messenger Newspapers

A FATHER and son got a shock when they caught sight of a mystery cat-like animal in Hale. Mark Jackson was driving home from a party with son Jay, aged 14, when he saw the creature on Belmont Road. The 43-year-old described the brown-coloured animal as ...

The first report this time is one an animal with a 'hooked tail' near Manchester, but soon we go back south to Gloucestershire, where Rick Minter neatly plugs his book whilst answering claims that these big cat reports make the locals seem like yokels.

Gloucestershire big cats: Reports don't make us rednecks
This is Gloucestershire

RICK Minter, author of BIG CATS – Facing Britain's Wild Predators, considers Gloucestershire's big cat reports. "THE big cat reports make us look like yokels," read a comment on the TIG website recently. But far from being rednecks, people who report ...

And, yes, there are more Gloucestershire reports...

New A38 big cat sighting
This is Gloucestershire

BIG cat sightings in Winchcombe have prompted one man to reveal he had a similar experience near Tewkesbury. Following Echo stories earlier this month about a panther-like beast having been spotted in Winchcombe, Cheltenham resident Ian Nicholl said he ...


A Happy Saturday to all of you out in bloggoland. We have some jolly good stuff for you, but first apologies for yesterday. It turned out that the Jon Anderson video that we linked to should not have been let out of its cage, so we withdrew the link. There will be another one up in a day or so.

Today's goodies lead off with Graham Inglis getting massively enthusiastic about the new Hawkwind album:

We have a link to a great review of the Atkins/May Project:

And another one to a great review of Wally:

We have news about the movie of 'Round Ireland with a Fridge' which is now streaming online:

And a link to a eulogistic account of an evening with Martin Stephenson:

Not bad for a chilly saturday morning in the latter half of April...

ANDREW MAY: Words from the Wild Frontier

News and stories from the remoter fringes of the CFZ blogosphere...

From Nick Redfern's "There's Something in the Woods...":
From CFZ Australia:
From CFZ New Zealand:

DALE DRINNON: Neanderthals, and news from Tyler and Benny

New at the Frontiers of Zoology:

Which harmonizes with the next installment coming up at Tyler Stone's blog as well:

Benny also has a new posting up on his blog:

And the problems at Gmail have led to a major disruption of my business I would have transacted this week. With the result that three or four deals I needed to hear back on are still in limbo there. The fate of Cedar and Willow hangs on one of those, so I am most anxious that the email problem be sorted out ASAP.

Best Wishes, Dale D.

HAUNTED SKIES: John and Pru launch the revamped Volume 4


OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today


On this day in 1934 the Surgeon’s photograph depicting the Loch Ness Monster was published in the Daily Mail for the first time. It was officially revealed to be a hoax many decades later.

And now the news:

Wail, Chuck, Snort: Rock Hyraxes Sing Complex Song...
How Gravity Messes with Honeybees' Waggle Dance
The Fish That Nearly Sank Isaac Newton's Career
New zoo could open in Diss in time for the summer
Nantes' theme park economics at Machines de L'Ile
Can Behavior Be Controlled by Genes? The Case of H...
Scientists Regenerate Damaged Mouse Hearts by Tran...
Iberian lynx returns to the wild in Spain
'Workmen Find World's Biggest Dinosaur Eggs' - vi...
Jellyfish On the Rise in World's Coastal Ecosytems...
Green-Glowing Fish Provides New Insights Into Heal...
Deadly Cat Disease: Effective Treatment for Bobcat...
Tasmanian Tiger Was Genetically Doomed
New 'Bumblebee' Gecko Species Creates Buzz

Stuff of Nonsense!



Check it out

CRIPTOZOOLOGIA EN ESPAÑA: Traces of wild man in Aralar, Basque Country, 2011?

Right from the Spanish cryptozoology blog, Criptozoologia En España:News in Criptozoología en España :

Traces of wild man in Aralar, Basque Country, 2011?

All information in :


Best regards!!

Javier Resines
Criptozoología en España

JON'S JOURNAL: The history of Cultratus

Our cultratus have bred again. It is the first time for 18 months, and is yet another twist in the saga of these peculiar little fish at the CFZ.

We first bought them at the livebearers’ auction in Redditch during June 2010. Me, Max and Dave B-P had a jolly day out and came back laden with livebearers. Somehow, through the magic of mobile phones, Dave had also acquired a girlfriend during our 12-odd hours away from base, but that is another story entirely.

As I am sure Max will tell you, I bought the cultratus by accident. I thought they were something else, and when I heard the words livebearer, and £3 in the same sentence I shoved my hands in the air and bought them. They are angular, gun-metal grey little fish that I always think look like miniature porbeagle sharks and they live in a two-foot tank on my desk so that I can commune with them on a daily basis.

They bred for the first time in the autumn of 2010, but just before Christmas disaster struck. There was a power cut and something went wrong with our heater. The temperature plummeted and my nascent colony of cultratus, together with two nannacara cichlids died. I was devastated. Then the two largest female cultratus swam out from a hitherto overlooked hiding place. I was still devastated; even at Christmas virgin births are not something that an aquarist likes to count upon. But it happened. Nine tiny babies, much smaller than the conventionally produced cultratus were soon to be seen in my tank. I nurtured them. Oll made infusoria, I purchased special livebearer feed, and slowly the babies grew. But for the last 18 months they hadn’t bred. I was wondering if – because they appeared to have been produced parthenogenetically. I was beginning to wonder if the babies had been born sterile.
But no. They were just late starters.

Of course parthenogenesis is not the only explanation. I believe the females of some livebearer species can store sperm inside their bodies for some considerable time before choosing to become pregnant. This sounds like the ultimate feminist ideal, and it may be what happened here.

It could be that the female cultratus were pregnant and that the gestation period was far longer than I had imagined. But my personal inference, particularly as the babies were so much smaller than either of the clutches that were born before or since, is that Alfaro cultratus can – under certain circumstances – reproduced parthenogenetically. It would be interesting to find out what the trigger mechanism would be for this. I imagine that there would be some chemical changes to the water when all the male population gets wiped out at once, and this may well be the trigger mechanism. I am presently trying to devise some experiments to test this hypothesis, but without killing off all my precious males. They have been through enough already.


Thank you to everyone who got to work on identifying these for me and Richard Muirhead...

Particular thanks to Robert Schneck who really got the bit between his teeth and wrote:

Hi Jon,

The Hong Kong Entomological Society responded; they are a kind of tiger beetle! http://insectavaria.com/cicindelidae-table/Tricondyla_pulchripes.html
Could you do me a favor and credit the Hong Kong Entomological Society with the answer and provide a link to their site? It is: http://hkentsoc.org/

I have to congratulate myself a little bit; I thought they looked like tiger beetles but assumed they drank blood, which of course, would leave out tiger beetles.

The important part, however, is that they are identified, which makes me ridiculously happy.