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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Sunday, December 23, 2012

CARL MARSHALL: Chinese gliding frogs

The Chinese gliding frog Polypedates dennysii gets its common name from leaping between branches, using the webbing between its feet to act like wings, allowing it to steer through the air. Adhesive pads on its feet help it stick when landing. 
These frogs belong to the taxonomic family Rhacophoridae, can grow to four inches and feed on almost any invertebrates that come close enough to catch.

Eggs are laid in foam nests created by the females by beating a liquid secretion into a foam with her hind legs. 

These colourful frogs have distinctive webbed feet with each digit ending in broad, flat discs, permitting them to climb up smooth surfaces with relative ease.    

According to Dr Karl Shuker's authoritative tome, Extraordinary Animals Revisited (CFZ Press) P. dennysii are said to be capable of gliding up to three times as far as Alfred Russell Wallace's already aerodynamically impressive flying frog Rhacophorus nigropalmatus and reverently worshiped as a god by some of its human neighbours, who carry it in a regal procession upon its own ceremonial chair on certain holy days. These amphibians gliding capabilities were disbelieved by scientists for quite some time, but as Dr Shuker rightly points out scientists will, almost as a matter of course, ignore evidence if provided by uneducated native people. Like many other examples of this type of academic arrogance this theory was of course eventually proven correct. 

Photographs by Philippe Lurin.

Shuker K.P.N. Extraordinary Animals Revisited (2007) CFZ Press: Bideford.

CARL MARSHALL: Takahe tales

Just a quick email concerning the recent post on the blog about the rediscovery of the Takahe in 1948.

According to my boss John Calvert at the Butterfly Farm, when he was a young child growing up in New Zealand his doctor/dentist was none other than Dr Geoffrey Orbell; and that his son also became his doctor after Dr Geoffrey Orbell retired. There is absolutely no reason to disbelieve John on this as he is always very truthful and he's a well respected lepidopterist and conservationist and has absolutely nothing to gain from being untruthful. 

I did intend to write a piece on this for the blog, as I have always been fascinated by this species and its rediscovery and I personally thought Johns story was really cool! but other than what I have already mentioned about him being his doctor, there is not much more really to say - it probably wouldn't make a great post! John recalls that he remembers the doctors son better, as John was only a child when Dr Geoffrey Orbell used to treat him and he was an old man at that time.

Still pretty cool tho' I thought!!



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 by us in some way, so we should have a go at publishing a regular round-up of the stories as they come in. In September 2012 Emma Osborne decided that the Mystery Cat Study Group really deserved a blog of its own within the CFZ Blog Network.


In an article for the first edition of Cryptozoology Bernard Heuvelmans wrote that cryptozoology is the study of 'unexpected animals' and following on from that perfectly reasonable assertion, it seems to us that - whereas the study of out of place birds may not have the glamour of the hunt for bigfoot, or lake monsters - it is still a perfectly valid area for the Fortean Zoologist to be interested in. So, after about six months of regular postings on the main bloggo, Corinna has taken the plunge and started a 'Watcher of the Skies' blog of her own as part of the CFZ Bloggo Network.

DALE DRINNON: Lemuria, Cedar and Willow, Benny's Blogs

New at the Frontiers of Anthropology:


And all the shopping and running about is over. Together with my fish and pet toads I am happily ensonsed in my study secure in the knowledge that I don't have to leave the house unlwss I want to for the next week, and that I can sit back with my family (human and non-human) and get on with the important things of life. Like eating mince pies and writing blogs.

Today, Judy Dyble gives us her five favourite Christmas songs

Next year we are re-releasing a classic slice of Michael Des Barres

Our daily visit to Thom the World Poet

Jon Anderson at the Grammy Museum

Today's track of the day is a seasonal one from Gordon Giltrap

This is the most peculiar thing I have heard all year, and that is against some stiff competition

*  The Gonzo Daily is a two way process. If you have any news or want to write for us, please contact me at jon@eclipse.co.uk. If you are an artist and want to showcase your work, or even just say hello please write to me at gonzo@cfz.org.uk. Please copy, paste and spread the word about this magazine as widely as possible. We need people to read us in order to grow, and as soon as it is viable we shall be invading more traditional magaziney areas. Join in the fun, spread the word, and maybe if we all chant loud enough we CAN stop it raining. See you tomorrow...
*  The Gonzo Daily is - as the name implies - a daily online magazine (mostly) about artists connected to the Gonzo Multimedia group of companies. But it also has other stuff as and when the editor feels like it. The same team also do a weekly newsletter called - imaginatively - The Gonzo Weekly. Find out about it at this link: http://gonzo-multimedia.blogspot.com/2012/11/all-gonzo-news-wots-fit-to-print.html

*  Jon Downes, the Editor of all these ventures is an old hippy of 53 who - together with his orange cat - puts it all together from a converted potato shed in a tumbledown cottage deep in rural Devon. He is ably assisted by his lovely wife Corinna, his bulldog/boxer Prudence, his mother-in-law, and a motley collection of social malcontents. Plus.. did we mention the orange cat?

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today

Yesterday’s News Today

On this day in 1893 the opera Hansel und Gretal by Englebert Humperdinck (not to be confused with the other Englebert Humperdinck) was first preformed.
And now the news:

  • Butterflies in December
  • Michigan cousins go after crayfish, hook a mastodo...
  • 'Fido smells of dog': Most ridiculous excuses of o...
  • Wallace's Century-Old Map of Natural World Updated...
  • Extinct Whale Fossil Found on Seafloor
  • US Air Force Used Bears to Test Bombers
  • 'Alien-Like' Skulls Excavated in Mexico
  • Cut Here: Gecko Tails Rip Off Along 'Precut' Line

  • Yeah, today's Christmas song has to be Fairytale of New York or I would be up for dereliction of duty: