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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Wednesday, December 04, 2013

MUIRHEAD`S MYSTERIES: Pine martens on Exmoor, November 2013?

File:Pine Marten in Kent.jpgToday Jon posted on pine martens in Somerset,this evening,also Wednesday, I found this link. Judge for yourself!


TERATOLOGY: A gynandromorph cardinal: one half male, the other half female (Via Max Blake)

Male cardinals are bright red while females are a dull brownish color to provide camoflauge. This particular bird sports the colorations of both birds and is literall split down the middle.

Here’s photographer’s description of how he saw the bird:

"As you can see, the left side is male and the right female. For two winters the bird appeared at the feeder of a retired high school biology teacher. I was able to observe it on several occasions, and noticed that it didn’t associate with other cardinals, nor did I hear it produce any vocalizations. We attempted to capture it with mist nets so that Rob Fleischer and I could get blood samples for further study, but we caught every bird in the neighborhood except this one! Alas, it never returned the third winter.

This, by the way, is a very graphic demonstration of the differences between males and females, with the brighter color of the male almost certainly reflecting sexual selection (with bright colors presumably advantageous in males because they attract females, but disadvantageous in females because they attract predators).

Now how does this happen? I used to see this sometimes in my Drosophila flies, and we’ve long known how a half-male, half-female fly forms. In flies the sex is determined by the ratio of X chromosome to autosomes. Flies, like all diploid species, have two copies of every autosome. If you also have two X chromosomes, you’re a female because the ratio of autosomes to Xs is 1:1. If you have one X chromosome and one Y chromosome, your ratio is 2:1 and you’re male. The Y doesn’t matter here: if you lose a Y chromosome, and hence are XO, you still look like a male, although you’re sterile (the Y carries genes for making sperm).
So to get gynandromorphs in flies, all that has to happen is that one X chromosome gets lost in one cell when the initial cell in a female (XX) zygotes divides in two. One half of the fly then becomes XX, the other XO, and the fly is split neatly down the middle, looking like the one below. But gynandromorphs don’t have to be “half and halfs”. X chromosomes can get lost at almost any stage at development, so flies can be a quarter male, have irregular patches of maleness, have just a few male cells, or even a male patch as small as a single bristle.



1. MYSTERIOUS CREATURES: A Guide to Cryptozoology - Vol 1 by George Eberhart (-)
2. Those Amazing Newfoundland Dogs by Jan Bondeson (-)
3. The Great Yokai Encyclopaedia by Richard Freeman (2)
4. Haunted Skies Volume Five by John Hanson and Dawn Holloway (5)
5=. Cats of Magic, Mythology and Mystery by Karl Shuker (-)
5=. Quest for the Hexham Heads by Paul Screeton (-)
5=. When Bigfoot Attacks by Michael Newton (-)
8=. Monster! by Neil Arnold (3)
8=. Haunted Skies Volume One by John Hanson and Dawn Holloway (-)
8= Karl Shuker's Alien Zoo by Karl Shuker (-)


1. Journal of Cryptozoology Vol 2 (preorder) by Karl Shuker (-)
2. When Bigfoot Attacks by Michael Newton (-)
3. Cats of Magic, Mythology and Mystery by Karl Shuker (-)
4=. Journal of Cryptozoology Vol 1 by Karl Shuker (-)
4=. The Great Yokai Encyclopaedia by Richard Freeman (2)
6. Monsters of Texas by Ken Gerhard and Nick Redfern (5)
7. Orang Pendek: Sumatra's Forgotten Ape by Richard Freeman (1)
8=. Dragons: More than a Myth by Richard Freeman (3)
8=. Big Bird by Ken Gerhard (3)
8=. Monster! by Neil Arnold (3)

Last month's positions in this pinky colour, which I think is called cerise. Sales in the US were about normal, but in the UK they were terrible - possibly the worst October ever. Hopefully they will improve as we approach what is euphemistically known as the "Festive Season"....


One of the perennial questions asked by critics of cryptozoology, is "what animals predicted by cryptozoologists have actually been found?"  In 1996 I published a book called The Smaller Mystery Carnivores of the Westcountry which - amongst other things - presented evidence for a surviving population of pine martens in Devon and Somerset. Now - 17 years later - I have been proved right, and am quietly confident that other claims that I have made over the years will also eventually be substantiated. 

A confirmed sighting of a pine marten on Edington Moor has been reported to the Vincent Wildlife Trust (VWT) – the research charity which studies the wellbeing of British and Irish wild mammals.

According to the VWT, this is the first report of a Pine Marten in Somerset since human persecution resulted in the disappearance of the creatures from the whole of southern England by the end of the 18th century.
  1. Photo by Vincent Wildlife Trust/Tony Braithwaite
    Photo by Vincent Wildlife Trust/Tony Braithwaite
"I was driving home from Burtle across Edington Moor with my daughter Sarah," said Neil Champken, who reported the sighting.

"We knew immediately that it was something that we had not seen before. It was a little larger than a stoat, with longer legs and neck, a long bushy tail and a pure black face," said Mr Champken – who is the owner of the Somerset Cider Vinegar Company and lives on the Poldens.

Read more: http://www.thisissomerset.co.uk/Confirmed-sighting-rare-pine-marten/story-16895542-detail/story.html#ixzz2mVrFAsmn 

Many thanks to Richard Muirhead for this news item. Also, by the way, the VWT claim is wrong: the species was meant to have been extinct here since the end of the nineteenth century.


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.

Woodside Officials Try Hawk "Squawk Boxes" to Keep...

DALE DRINNON: Kusshi, Davis report, Gigantism

I shall be out most of the day today and so here is the short list for links for tomorrow:


The Gonzo Daily - Wednesday
Yesterday was a very productive, but slightly strange day. Saskia our intern was here all day, and we worked incessantly on Matt Salusbury's book on Pygmy Elephants. During the day - as one does - we were talking about music, and she very shyly asked me whether I had heard of "a band called The Ramones"? To this, I burst out laughing and sand a few lines of 'Pinhead' and the rest of the day passed famously. However the evening was marred by the escape of one of Corinna's pet rats, which meant that all the carnivores were bundled off tpo bed with me so Corinna could catch the errant rodent (a process which took most of the night). I woke up late covered in dogs and cats, staggered downstairs to find Corinna (looking serene as ever) asleep on the sofa. Graham plied us each with hot beverages and Wednesday seems fair to continue as normal...
Another visit to our old friend Thom the World Poet
Today's Track of the Day is by The New Riders of the Purple Sage
Music tech: Podcast: SonicTALK -Vangelis' Yamaha CS80 Presets
Beach House spearhead project to tour Gene Clark's No Other album
*  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: www.gonzo-multimedia.blogspot.com/2012/11/all-gonzo-news-wots-fit-to-print.html
* 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?

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today

Yesterday’s News Today

On this day in 1872 the Mary Celeste, perhaps the worlds most famous ghost ship, was found floating off the Azores. The ship had apparently been abandoned in a hurry by all hands even the 2 year old daughter, with no signs of struggle or panic.

And now the news:

  • How Legless, Leaping Fish Living On Land Avoids Pr...
  • Coendou baturitensis: New Porcupine Discovered in ...
  • A new mammal species for Australia, already extinc...
  • Koalas' Low-Pitched Voice Explained by Unique Orga...
  • New report illustrates Europe conservation success...
  • Is this video of an opossum carrying her litter on...
  • Of monarchs and milkweeds: How one species’ pest i...

  • You Won't Believe The Weird Sea Creature Mark Quar...

  • Well this is one Mary Celeste theory you might not have seen before: