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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Unlike some of our competitors we are not going to try and blackmail you into donating by saying that we won't continue if you don't. That would just be vulgar, but our lives, and those of the animals which we look after, would be a damn sight easier if we receive more donations to our fighting fund. Donate via Paypal today...

Thursday, June 20, 2013

LINK: The world’s oldest science dying? Taxonomist as endangered species

PARASTRATIOSPHECOMYIA stratiosphecomyioides, Micropachycephalosaurus hongtuyanensis, Aquila chrysaetos simurgh. Put yourself in Noah’s position, when he had the tedious task to select two of every kind for his Ark. Would you be able to spell, let alone identify this fly, dinosaur and eagle?
It might be a bit easier for the bug Orizabus subaziroI, which can be read either forward or in reverse direction, the beetle Agra schwarzeneggeri, the spider Calponia harrisonfordi or the ant Proceratium google. But have you ever heard of them?
Unlike Noah in the Genesis, you could now just flash your smartphone, open the DNA Barcode App, scan every animal passing by, the name would pop up on your screen, and you could tick it off the list.
This app works just like the scanner of a supermarket, which distinguishes, for instance, different cans of tomato soup and shows their price, using the little black stripes of the Universal Product Code (UPC).
Instead of the black stripes on a can, this new gimmick uses snippets of the DNA, the genetic information of every living being, to tell you whether you deal with the cicada Zyzza or the sponge Zyzzya. Two items may look, or sound, very similar to the untrained eye or ear, but in both cases the barcodes are distinct. Filling the Ark is dead easy now.
The world’s oldest profession
SOUNDS a bit too much like science fiction? Sorry to say, you are right. Even though science has made tremendous progress and we now have an electronic catalog of almost all known plants and animals, such scanner of the “Barcode of Life” is still a long way ahead. More on this later. For now, luckily the good old taxonomists are still out there to help you.


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 took the plunge and started a 'Watcher of the Skies' blog of her own as part of the CFZ Bloggo Network.


Oll Lewis has been forced to withdraw from this year's lineup for family reasons. We wish him well.

His replacement will be announced in the next few days. However, his absence leaves us with another issue. For some years he has been the man behind the cameras filming the show. Can I have a volunteer?

We provide the cameras, all you have to do is sit comfortably, watch the talks and point the cameras in the right general direction....


Text and photographs by Dr. David Ford of Aquatic Services

Sunday 19th May was the usual date for the North Yorkshire Aquarium Fish Club, Ryedale Aquarist Society, to hold its Open Show & Auction, held as before in the Old Malton Memorial Hall in Malton ("no smoking and no alcohol", but two large halls and good parking).

 However, the Club Committee were worried about attendance because it coincided with the annual Malton Food Lovers Festival (over 150 stalls of exotic foods from Yorkshire and the World) and Scottish clubs' Open Shows, taking aquarists from Cumbria and Teesside as well as Scotland. But there are many supporters of this busy Club and over 100 turned up for the 13 ‘lot’ Auction, with 213 exhibits entered over 40 Classes in the Open Show- more than previous years at this venue.

The busy auction

There was hot & cold food available all day and an aquarium accessories  stand by Fishphilosophy of Worksop. Many sponsors supplied prizes and free samples for this Open Show including Seaquarium, Waterlife, Reef One, JMC, Ferrybridge Aquatics, SAK fish foods, as well as the FBAS Support Packs by Tetra and Hagen.

 Part of the busy Show hall.
Judging of exhibits

Ryedale AS is actually part of the Yorkshire Association of Aquarist Societies and it was their judges that pointed the fish: Trish Jones, Trevor Douglas, Kevin Webb and Paul Brown.

The main  results were:-
Best in Show - Mr. & Mrs. Nelson with a Metriaclima (Pseudotropheus) lombardoi that scored 86.6 points. Ashby Fishkeepers.
1st Runner-up - Mr. Alan Northcliffe with a Protopterus annectens that scored 86.4 points. Sheaf Valley Aquarist Society.
2nd Runner-up - Mr. Dave Kirk with a Hara longissima 86.33 points. Ferrybridge Aquatics Show Team.
Best Exhibit - Mr. Kerry Hardy with a pair of Betta albimarginata. Sheaf Valley Aquarist Society.
Best Goldfish - Mr. Jim Haworth. Castleford Aquarist Society.

The Best in Show winning cichlid.

Show Secretary Mr. David Marshall asked if I would thank, on behalf of the Ryedale members, the small army of helpers from both the Y.A.A.S. and Caer Urfa (South Shields) A.S. for their wonderful help, the exhibitors who brought along their best fish, the people who brought their auction ‘lots’, aquatic industry and tourist attractions for their generous support, to all the friends of the Society who made the journey to take part in the day and the large number of interested visitors from the Ryedale area and beyond who came along to view the fish exhibits.

As stated, Ryedale AS is a busy fish club and if you are a Northern aquarist you would be welcome at their monthly meetings - the venues change but are always around the Pickering area. - details from www.ryedaleaquaristsociety.co.uk .

A special open event will be held on Sunday 8th September 2013 when the Ryedale A.S. will be holding a 'Fun Day' at Middleton Village Hall, Pickering, N. Yorks
YO18 8PA. Start time 10.00am. Reptile and amphibian expert Mr. Martin Lees will present a talk entitled 'creating a vivarium with running water' and the PRO from The Deep at Hull will be presenting a talk on the work of the Aquarium. 10 Class fish Open Show plus much more.

DALE DRINNON: Malaysian bigfoot, Frontiers of Anthropology, Benny's Blogs

New at the Frontiers of Anthropology:


Next week, Richard Freeman, my old friend and colleague of the past 16 years is off to Sumatra for the fifth time. He will be accompanied by artist Adele Morse and film maker Christophe Kilian, and they will spend the next two and a bit weeks searching for evidence of the elusive orang pendek, which - if you didn't already know - is a semi-mythical upright walking ape which has been reported from the island for hundreds of years. They will be going to Gunung Tuju but also visiting the Kubu people, and there will be reports on the CFZ blogs as we get them.
Rob Ayling originally asked me to write a weekly record company newsletter. How did an ordinary record company newsletter turn into the ever expanding e-magazine that you are read each week (or that I hope that you read each week). T'is simple. This was never going to be an ordinary record company newsletter, because Gonzo is about as far from being an ordinary record company as you can be whilst still operating within the music industry. Nothing about the company is ordinary from the Managing Director to the catalogue; all are innovative, experimental and ever-so-slightly strange, and so maybe this was all pre-ordained. However, I would still like to publically thank Rob for setting me loose on an unsuspecting public and pretty well letting me do what I want. Thanks my old friend!
Behind the scenes with one of ELP's more over the top stunts
*  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:
* We should probably mention here, that some of our posts are links to things we have found on the internet that we think are of interest. We are not responsible for spelling or factual errors in other people's websites. Honest guv!

*  Jon Downes, the Editor of all these ventures (and several others) is an old hippy of 53 who - together with his orange cat (who is currently on sick leave in Staffordshire) and two very small kittens (one of whom is also orange) puts it all together from a converted potato shed in a tumbledown cottage deep in rural Devon which he shares with various fish, and sometimes a small Indian frog. He is ably assisted by his lovely wife Corinna, his bulldog/boxer Prudence, his elderly 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 1840 Samuel Morse received the patent for the telegram, which led to the invention of the telegraph, the last of which will be sent at the end of this month in India.
And now the news:
  • Bear climbs tree, says howdy to hunter
  • $90 for a cup of coffee: world’s most expensive bl...
  • How the Hairy-Chested 'Hoff' Crab Evolved
  • Bovine TB at lowest rate for 6 years
  • Treating Infection May Have Sting in the Tail, Par...
  • As many as 9 tigers have been killed in India
  • Personality Test Finds Some Mouse Lemurs Shy, Othe...
  • Dishing up trash: New look for sustainable seafood...

  • A scene from the rather good film “Clue” that illustrates the death of the telegram: