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, November 22, 2013


PictureOver on the CFZ Daily News blog we recently ran a story on a New species of shrew identified in Vietnam . We then got this comment:

"We have a shrew in school. Can anyone identify? Lombok, Indonesia, photo on http://www.lombokis.com/gallery.html"

We always like to do out best to help, but  there are at least 49 species of shrew recorded from Indonesia, and there does not seem to be a Lombok species list online. This is a pity because Lombok, or rather the Lombok Strait which separates the island from Bali, is actually the location of Wallace's Line: the line which divides Asia from Australiasia zoologically. So over to you.

Is there a shrew expert out there? I would love to know the answer to this conundrum.


The Gonzo Daily - Friday
Yesterday was largely spent in Old Ladyland, as I took Mama to the doctor and then shopping and did a slew of family things. I am hoping to have a quiet day writing for much of today, so I can catch up a bit. I spent much of yesterday evening eating vegetable biryani and reading 'The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen' for the first time in over a decade, and giggling at some of the puns and literary illusions that I had missed first time around, particularly Dr Moreau's Rupert Bear (and Gypsy Granny) in Vol 2. "It looks just like a ball to me/open it and see".
Another visit to our old friend Thom the World Poet
*  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 54 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?


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.

Trust aims to bring back rare birds to Staffordshi...

ANDREW MAY: Words from the Wild Frontier

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

From Nick Redfern's World of Whatever:
From CFZ Australia:
From CFZ Canada:

DALE DRINNON: Skull of extinct Chinese ape, Frontiers of Anthropology, Benny's Blogs

New at the Frontiers of Zoology:
New at the Frontiers of Anthropology:
New at Benny's Blog for Thelma Todd:
Best Wishes, Dale D.

CFZ AUSTRALIA: Tassie Tiger search attracts cranky critics

In November, the CFZ launched a project to find evidence for a surviving population of Thylacines in Tasmania, Australia. A team of 10 – five from the UK, five from Australia – went ‘in search of’ the Tasmanian Tiger, the first of several planned expeditions over a two-year period.

While we’ve had a few bouquets and ‘good onyas’, we’ve also received a few brickbats and nasty asides, which is mildly amusing all things considered. We've even spent some time in the past few days directly responding to some of these ill-founded criticisms.

So here are the general criticisms and our responses to them, to save us time, as we won’t be visiting every cyber bolthole to personally respond to critics or address inaccuracies.


Criticism: It was a success, when clearly it wasn’t.

We never claimed it was! Put it down to journalistic licence – not everything you read is going to be verbatim, folks.

The journalist made the quote up (Wow, really? Never!). Her original question was “So it wasn’t a roaring success, was it?” His reply: “If you judge the word success as having a body or video of the animal as success, then no, our trip was not a success, but it was successful in that we collected many recent eyewitness statements and some scat for analysis.” (Not verbatim, but you get the drift.)

This trip is merely the first stage in a series of largely self-funded trips to be conducted over the next two years to gauge whether there is sufficient evidence of the Thylacine’s survival.

You can read our aims here: http://www.cfzaustralia.com/2013/10/toyota-backs-biggest-search-yet-for.html

Criticism: You created the perception that outsiders (outside Tasmania, that is) are coming to solve the mystery!

No, we didn’t. We have been liaising with some Tasmanians for many years. We have travelled down almost every year for the past eight years or so.

This is a wildlife mystery that transcends state lines and international borders.

We can’t control media interpretations or individual perceptions.

Criticism: We have ignored the previous excellent work by other researchers.

No, we haven’t.

We have been at pains to continually mention the work of countless other researchers including some of the luminaries in the field – David Fleay, Stephen Sleightholme, Eric Guiler, Heinz Moeller, Col Bailey, Bob Paddle, and Nick Mooney, to name a few.

Indeed, we are referring to their knowledge to inform what we are doing for our own project.

The media edit, omit and relay information as they see fit – we have no control over the final news product.

Criticism: The time period in the field is too short.

We would have loved to stay longer but we are all governed by financial obligations and mundane work-a-day concerns. This was the first of many trips over a two-year period.

Anyone want to sponsor us for some fulltime research? ☺

Criticism: We had too many people, or we didn’t have enough people.

The number of people on the trip is really irrelevant – members were split into teams to canvass areas, set up camera traps and interview witnesses.

There was not, as some people might imagine, a conga line of cryptozoologists shuffling through the Australian bush.

Criticism: We didn’t have the right background/expertise/knowledge to be undertaking the expedition.
Bear in mind that many of the great zoological rediscoveries of ‘Lazarus’ species (those species labelled extinct that have been ‘rediscovered’) have been made by everyday people, including naturalists (surviving night parrot population), fishermen (coelacanth, subsequently handed to a museum curator), teenagers (the Bermuda petrel was found by a 15yo boy, and subsequently a naturalist and ornithologist), and bushwalkers (the NZ Takahe was discovered by a bushwalker who also happened to be a doctor of medicine).

Many if not all scientists are at some stage informed in their discoveries by the knowledge of local people who are aware of the species but have felt no need to either classify them or study them in-depth. Seldom are these discoveries the work of just one person.

The team collectively is well read on the subject of Thylacines, have studied the scats and tracks of Australian (and in particular Tasmanian) wildlife, and plotted maps of contemporary sightings to inform the direction of the project.

The team is also liaising with scientists and other naturalists over any interesting discoveries we come across.

Like any good expedition, it’s all about teamwork both within and beyond the immediate team of people who travelled to Tasmania.


If you think you can do better by all means get involved – the more the merrier, and we just might collectively achieve something great!

If you think it’s all a waste of time, well, that’s fine too. But don’t waste your time or ours by moaning about it and expecting a reply.

In the meantime, we’ll just get on with it. As I’m sure every one of you has had personal experience of by now, the Internet can be a fantastic time sink.

Better we all spend our time doing something rather than just talking about doing, or rubbishing those out there who are doing. We're not the only ones out there looking, after all :-)

And to our loyal readers, supporters, and peers – thanks for rallying behind our multi-faceted project. Let's hope some good comes of it.

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today

Yesterday’s News Today

On this day in 1963 the president of the U.S.A., John F. Kennedy, was assassinated.
And now the news:

  • Prince of Wales backs Green Ambassador awards
  • India Plans To Put Monkeys On Birth Control (VIDEO...
  • Cows fall through roof into Lamorna artist's works...
  • Three new species of trapdoor spiders
  • This Is A Woman In A Kimono Attempting To Outrun A...
  • 'Cleaner fish' eat salmon parasites
  • Queensland Premier promises mining ban at Steve Ir...

  • Knifenose Chimaera, Arctic Mystery Fish, Is Even W...

  • Now for something a bit more positive than the endless replays of some poor bloke getting shot in the head the news channels will probably have on an endless loop today, here's one of the best political speeches ever made: