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, August 21, 2014

SASKIA: How a stingray sheds its sting

The CFA intern Saskia England IMd me excitedly earlier with this picture and the message: "Dad's female has successfully dropped her barb!"

As I know that Sas's father keeps freshwater stingrays, I was not as perturbed by this message as I otherwise might have been, so I asked for further details.

She wrote back with the following picture, and this message: "The larger one is the female's (which she shed today) and the smaller one beside is the male's from a month ago".

I didn't even know that stingrays shed their stings and said so. She replied:

"They shed in order to grow new ones.. Just like sharks with their teeth"

I was completely intrigued by this stage, and she wrote me the following little essay:

Unlike a wasp stinger, a stingray stinger is not hollow and does not inject anything. It is simply a physical weapon, like a dagger, not a chemical one. Stingrays have a set of barbs each one smaller than the next. As one is used the next one in line grows to replace it. Very similar to the way sharks replace lost teeth. Stingray skin is covered partially in dermal denticles (literally ‘skin teeth’) that contain dentine just like normal teeth. They look like short pointed spikes when viewed under a microscope. The ray’s tail spines are modified dermal denticles that have become elongated so that the can be used as defensive weapons.

So if you zoom in on the picture you can see it looks very similar to a shark tooth...

And she signed off with a picture of her Dad's rays. What a nice way to brighten up the last evening of my 54th year!


KARL SHUKER: The Das-Adder - A Hyrax-Headed Hypnotist?

What has the head of a hyrax and the body of a viper? Why, the das-adder, of course! Karl Shuker explains.

Read on...


The Gonzo Daily - Thursday
I cannot believe that it has been a whole week since the Weird Weekend kicked off. And what a peculiar week it has been. On the late morning of Saturday 16th August my friend and colleague Lars Thomas, together with his son, was walking around the village of Hartland when they saw a large tortoiseshell (Nymphalis polychloros) basking in the sun on the perimeter wall of one of the gardens. He watched it for three or four minutes before it flew away.
Lars is a professional Naturalist, and someone whom I trust implicitly.
I am aware that Hartland could be seen as being a little far north for vagrant insects to have crossed the channel but, it is only sixty odd miles from Dartington Hall in Southern Devon where they have been reported in recent years. I am making no claims as to the provenance of this insect, and extrapolating nothing from its sighting apart from the fact that it was seen by an impeccable witness.
I am also very happy to say that The Small School made a substantial profit on the Weird Weekend having banked over twelve hundred quid. That is very gratifying, and I hope that we can improve on this tally next year.
Jon Anderson on Working With Jean-Luc Ponty
Making The Label Matter: A Record Company's Return...
Gourmet Weed Dinner at Hunter S. Thompson's Ranch
Yes struck familiar chord at KC concert
GONZO TRACK OF THE DAY: Kevin Ayers - Song For Insane Times
The Glory of Yes Can a ’70s prog-rock band heal you
The latest issue of Gonzo Weekly (#91) is available to read or download at www.gonzoweekly.com. It has Stuart Nicholson from Galahad on the cover and an interview with him inside. We have Merrell Fankhauser's Palmdale concert in pictures, and the story of what happened when the Gonzo grande fromage visited the stage adaptation of 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas'. Rick Wakeman fans will find a critique of the new box set critiqued by Doug Harr. There are also new shows from the wonderfully eccentric Jaki and Tim on their Submarine, from Canterbury Sans Frontières and from the multi-talented Neil Nixon at Strange Fruit and from M Destiny (hopefully fully recovered from his recent illness) a collection of more news, reviews, views, interviews and long nosed potoroos (OK, no weird little marsupials, but I got carried away with things that rhymed with OOOOS) than you can shake a stick at. And the best part is IT's ABSOLUTELY FREE!!!
A couple of links are missing, and the date for Tim and Jaki's show is wrong, but this is because we rushed it out to have it finished before the great and the good of Forteana descended on us for the Weird Weekend. I hope they will forgive me.

Read the previous few issues of Gonzo Weekly:
All issues from #70 can be downloaded at www.gonzoweekly.com if you prefer. If you have problems downloading, just email me and I will add you to the Gonzo Weekly dropbox. The first 69 issues are archived there as well. Information is power chaps, we have to share it!
To make sure that you don't miss your copy of future issues make an old hippy a happy chappy and subscribe
As well as the Gonzo Weekly, there is a daily service called - wait for it - The Gonzo Daily, and you can subscribe for free HERE:
*  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 an orange kitten named after a song by Frank Zappa 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 kitten?


Guy Chases Bigfoot in the Woods (Video)
We're taking a look at the controversial bigfoot video of a man chasing a bigfoot through the woods near Blue Ridge, Georgia from 2013. Not only ...

Exclusive: New Images from Lake Tahoe 'Bigfoot'
TAHOE CITY, Calif. — New images obtained by Cryptozoology News show large footprints were present at last week s alleged Bigfoot sighting spot in ...

Forget Bigfoot Sighting Databases, Now There's a Bigfoot Face Database!
Bigfoot Evidence Matt K.
"How to report a Bigfoot face in our videos for inclusion into the face database. A growing interest in participating in virtual Bigfoot Research has led us ...

News Feed - Asheville's 'bigfoot' Spotted On The Big Screen
The film adaptation of Bigfoot War, a horror-apocalypse book series by Eric S. Brown, of Canton, will have its local debut Aug. 23. Origin Releasing,

California Bigfoot Hoax?
A California woman claims to have filmed a Bigfoot while out walking in the forest. I wish there were more details but there isn't. The lack of information 

Bigfoot sighting outside Dagenham Asda
But photographic evidence, seen by the Post, appears to show a Bigfoot greeting shoppers at the car park of Dagenham Asda. The brown hairy ... 


What has Corinna's column of fortean bird news got to do with Cryptozoology?

Well, everything actually!

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.


ON THIS DAY IN 1923 - In Kalamazoo, Michigan, an ordinance was passed forbidding dancers from gazing into the eyes of their partner. 

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  • AND TO WHISTLE WHILE YOU WORK... (Music that may have some relevance to items also on this page, or may just reflect my mood on the day)