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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Tuesday, July 28, 2009


From the latest edition of Herp Digest (http://www.herpdigest.org/):

New Species of Horny Toad Identified in California

(Editor - I posted this story on the HerpDigest Facebook where people wrote in to disagree with the article, saying that they didn't discover a new species, but rediscovered an old species that was delisted. Unfortunately I can't find the article . If you can send me the URL, so the people on Facebook who disagreed can contact the authors and have their questions answered. Thanks)

A meticulous review of genetic, anatomical and ecological information has identified two new species of horned lizards, also known as horny toads, in California.

The findings mean what was thought to be one species is actually three. And that has implications for how the creatures should be viewed in conservation efforts.

In the study, published this week in the early online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers found that when the coast horned lizard (Phrynosoma coronatum) moved north from Baja California and spread throughout the state, it diverged into at least two new species.

"When you stack up all the data sets, they all support three species," said lead author Adam Leache, a recent University of California, Berkeley Ph.D. recipient who is now at UC Davis. "If you were to pick only one data set, you would get a different number of species. One lesson we learned about the speciation process is that you can't rely on one type of data to accurately track a species' history."

Aside from the oldest and original species, P. coronatum, found only in southern Baja California, the researchers identified a new species, P. cerroense, in central Baja and a third, P. blainvillii, whose range extends from northern Baja to Northern California.

Within the third, wide-ranging species, the study's authors found enough genetic and ecological differences to suggest there are at least three distinct populations of P. blainvillii, each requiring separate management and protection.

The findings have implications for conservation efforts, because coast horned lizard populations are in decline from southern Baja California to Northern California due to several factors. Among these are loss of lowland habitat from agriculture and urbanization and the introduction of Argentine ants, which displace the more nutritious harvester ants, the favored diet of the lizards. The lizard is on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species, as are California's two other horned lizards, the desert and flat-tailed horned lizards.

"For decades, it has not been clear what might be useful conservation units within the declining horned lizards in coastal California. Our study finally gives some clarity and direction for conservation actions to follow," said co-author Robert Fisher, a research biologist at the U.S. Geological Survey in San Diego, Calif.

For more than 100 years, scientists have been trying to distinguish species among coast horned lizards, with the number of recognized species ranging from 1 to 6 depending on the author. These prior studies were reliant almost entirely on morphology. But when it comes to recently diverged species like the coast horned lizard, where morphological differences are subtle, it can be difficult to distinguish species, according to co-author Jimmy McGuire, UC Berkeley associate professor of integrative biology.

"This sort of analysis is going to be necessary in order to tackle questions of recent speciation," McGuire said. "Lineages that have been separated for a long time are not controversial - we have no trouble distinguishing chimps from humans, for example - but it is trickier with species that are younger and thus less morphologically heterogeneous."

"This could have an impact on the number of species that we recognize on the planet, because many species are young like this," he added.

In particular, the number of species in California could be substantially underestimated because even well-studied groups like horned lizards are likely to be comprised of multiple cryptic species, McGuire said. Studies integrating diverse data sets and focusing on the question of gene flow between lineages will almost certainly result in the discovery of many new species, he added.

Over the course of millions of years, populations of horned lizards migrating northward have separated and diverged from one another, producing an array of genetic lineages all along the western coast of North America that are adapted to unique ecological niches, according to the study.

"The genetic differences between the populations of horned lizards in California are striking - nobody could have predicted this high degree of differentiation simply by looking at the physical differences between the lizards," Leache said.

Given enough time and continued environmental protection for the lizards to persist for the long-term, it's likely that the California horned lizards, like those in Baja California, will also evolve more dramatic physical differences through natural selection.

The study was funded by the National Science Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, California Department of Fish and Game, California Department of Parks and Recreation, Metropolitan Water District, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Department of Defense.


It is very sad that the Crop Circle Connector chose to close their forum recently after it is claimed that a few individuals had been abusing the site and there were not enough moderators to handle the looking after of such a site.

It is with this in mind that I have decided to let everyone know there is a new forum created now where you can chat and leave messages. It also has an unlimited ability to handle uploading of photos of the crop circles.

Hopefully this will create a good new community for people to chat openly about the subject.

Please pass on this to all you know to come and visit the forum.



WEIRD WEEKEND: Children's area updates

Although we are all still jolly disappointed that Davey and Joanne (and Rosie) Curtis are not going to be with us this year, fans of the children's area at the WW need not be disappointed. We have just booked (courtesy of the North Devon Museums) a young lady called Celia who will be doing a workshop of `Junk Monsters` - how to make model monsters out of household junk.

There will also be a hands-on session with Julian Vayne and his `Cabinet of Curiosities`, balloon animals with Oll, and animal handling with Max and Ross, as well as the previously advertised attractions for the younger of us.

A splendid time does appear to be guaranteed for all.


Dale started at IUPUI hoping for a degree in Biology before changing to Anthropology and as a result, has a very diverse background in Geology, Zoology, Paleontology, Anatomy, Archaeology, Psychology, Sociology, Literature, Latin, Popular Culture, Film criticism, Mythology and Folklore, and various individual human cultures especially mentioning those of the Pacific and the Americas. He has a working knowledge of every human fossil find up until his graduation and every important Cryptozoological sighting up to that point. He has been an amateur along on archaeological excavations in Indiana as well as doing some local tracking of Bigfoot there. Now he is on the CFZ bloggo....

First blog item: Excuse me, Water Horses INCLUDING Nessie

The problem is that anything not immediately identified that is sighted on Loch Ness is automatically "Nessie". There are more than one kind of unknowns involved, and another part of the problem is that "Nessie" is somehow permanently attached to that lake and somehow peculiar to it. None of the unknowns that appear there are confined to Loch Ness and exclusive to it.

What BEGAN as "The Loch Ness Monster" was traditionally The Water Horse. THAT was a horse-sized and shaped animal that went into the water. It was recorded as such in reports at least as recently as 1934. However, the more spectacular reports that caught the attention of the press and what the world came to know as "Nessie" was the Long-Necked type of Sea Serpent, and was immediately identified as such by those in the know at the time (eg, R.T. Gould and A.C. Oudemans) THAT is something else again, and something that has a worldwide distribution.

THE characteristic Freshwater "Monster" in what have been called "The Monster Latitudes", Primarily the Taiga zone as identified by Ivan Sanderson (who also used the generic term Northern Lake Monsters but MEANT this same distribution) IS "The Water Horse". That is the distribution for the Elk/Moose. The Long-Necked Sea Serpent type turns out to be mostly riverine and temporary when it is seen inland. This is also true of the Giant Eel types, but the proportions differ to such an extent that the two types are easily separated statistically. Giant Eels are also traditional on Loch Ness, as well as Master-otters, and both of them SPECIFICALLY in Loch Ness from the older records.

Best Wishes, Dale D.


Hi Jon

My father and I want to thank you for your continued support of our project and offer you first realease of our Interim Expedition Report. As you can see it has more detail and supporting evidence on all our theries and conclusion as it is mainly targeted at the scientific community who have treated my father and I with great courtesy and received our data with interest and even "excitement". The process is slow but thorough and we will report back to you on the outcome.

In the meantime our expedition (and the story behind it) is the subject of book & TV documentary discussions, which are ongoing. What we really want is to get back down to the Amazon with more equipment and get closer to the channels (but not too close!) with the aim of getting conclusive photographs.

Our original decision to release the Warner Amazon Expedition data, for the first time, to CFZ was a personal one based on the fact that you were nice guys, and we don't regret that. Although most of the comments you were able to post from your readers were disappointing in their lack of attention to detail (and general lack of good manners), some were helpful with our project.

We made a conscious choice not to respond to every confrontational comment early on and that continues to be our position. However, it has to be said that if all those smart guys in the cryptozoology community could get together and work as a team (instead of the snide and sometimes downright silly comments) then no doubt we could all make great strides forward and substantiate some great discoveries, large & small.

There is so much to discover (as your site is testament to) but most of these must wither on the vine of apathy & discord if our experiences are anything to go by.

My Dad and I want to thank the bloggers for all of their comments and wish you every success for the future of CFZ.

Mike & Greg Warner, 28th July, 2009

Download the report: http://www.cfz.org.uk/Warner%20Expedition%20Report%202.0.pdf


As regular readers will know we are all fans of Forests of Mystery here at the bloggo. Yesterday we received the following email from main protagonist Dewey Lansing:

"Forests of Mystery" series picked up for distribution by KoldCast.TV San Diego, California - July 24, 2009

Forests of Mystery has been picked up for distribution by Web TV Network, KoldCast TV. KoldCast will provide Internet distribution for Forests of Mystery via the KoldCast Television Network, TiVo, iTunes and Zune.

Forests of Mystery is a unique entertainment experience with elements of paranormal, mystery, comedy and suspense genres, told through the eyes of college student and research assistant Dewey Lansing and his friend Jeff Collins. It is billed as "the only video series dedicated to revealing the truth about what's really going on in the deep woods of the Tillamook Forest." The Forests of Mystery website is located at http://www.forestsofmystery.com/

KoldCast CEO David S. Samuels says of the series, "We are absolutely thrilled to introduce the show to our viewers. I have no doubt they will find the series totally engaging and highly entertaining. Go ahead; take a long walk into the Tillamook Forest with the series creators. They have an interesting story for you!"

About KoldCast TV

KoldCast TV, publicly launched in March 2008, delivers on-demand entertainment programming to a global audience in full-screen high-definition beauty via our line of advanced Media Players. Original web series, music, comedy, sports and lifestyles programming create the nucleus of the KoldCast Television Network. In the immediate days ahead, we will be formally announcing our newest line of Media Players, our first line of digital Music Players, and a massive new e-commerce capability called The ShowShopsT at KoldCast TV. The ShowShops provide the ability for viewers to shop for, and purchase, show- and artist-related merchandise, as well as digital deliverables, at the point of viewing. http://www.koldcast.tv/

JAN EDWARDS WRITES: Monsters on the moor?

Is there something lurking on the moors in Weardale? This road sign is a few miles from my home. Just HAD to share....

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today


The latest cryptozoology related news and a bad pun coming right up:

Playful dolphin strands NZ woman
Fishermen hook caveman's head
New lizard species found in India

Must have been really small to be found ‘India’ (as in ‘in de ear’? oh well never mind; no pleasing some people).