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NEWSLETTER

Posted by Dorothy B. Williams on August 19, 2013 at 3:15 AM

WHAT IS A CRYPTOZOOLOGIST?

‘The field has a bit of an image problem,’ says Dr. Darren Naish in his Tetrapod Zoology blog. ‘Frankly, this isn’t much of a surprise when you look at the busy efforts of the various creationists, true believers and cranks who express interest in the subject. … I still maintain that cryptozoology cannot and should not be considered a pseudoscience.”

Naish finds ‘no contradiction whatsoever’ between the skeptical hypothesis-testing of ‘proper’ science and similar careful analysis of cryptozoological data. He differentiates, however, between different approaches:

‘The zoology-based cryptozoologist looks at the mystery animals being investigated by the folklore-based cryptozoologist, and thinks that they are highly unlikely to exist as real animals.

‘The folklore-based cryptozoologist looks at the often rather mundane animals being investigated by the zoology-based cryptozoologist and thinks that the creatures concerned are so ordinary that they’re probably nothing to do with cryptozoology.

‘The dedicated cryptozoologist – who combines investigation of both of these fields – is interested in both areas, and finds both real animals, and entities that exist only in folklore, of equal research interest.’

ARFRA certainly had a mix of these in its early history, but moved quickly and steadily to a strong focus on the mass of evidence leading towards identification of big cats and thylacines.

Sightings of other cryptids are just as interesting, and kept in our database; but they produce insufficient evidence to allow the same testing of probability that our thousands of ‘panther’ and ‘Tiger’ sightings do.

‘Proof’ of their identity awaits the production of a body. Meanwhile, we work to increase, evaluate, assemble and interpret the evidence gained from both eye-witness accounts, and follow-up field investigations. These are not folklore!

Our large predators appear to match an ‘extinct’ species in need of preservation, and others a distinct threat to farm stock. As these contradictions place Government between a rock and a hard place, it is convenient for them to subscribe to the common assumptions of ‘folklore’ and ‘non-existence’. Our offered evidence was not included in last year’s government report.

However, scientific verdicts of panther and puma ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ also exist.

PHIL’S FIELD WORK

The camera has been out in some bushland areas around Pakenham Upper, and some unusual scratchings and markings on a neighbouring property have prompted us to look at this location early next week(01/07/2013).

So far, we have picked up images of Rabbit, fox, dog, woodland birds, and wombats and will keep you posted of other animal activities as they come to hand.

Phil Burrell

Philip and I had just returned from two weeks holiday visiting the Flinders Ranges, returning home via the South East of SA and then along the Great Ocean Road. Philip correctly identified tracks and traces beside the boardwalk at the Twelve Apostles, as those of the Southern Brown Bandicoot (Isoodon obesulus ).

Helen Burrell

(If you have a camera set up, can you please let me know of it, and its general location? Research Coordinator)

Hi, all.

Just a note to tell you we're back home again - got in on June 13 and have slept every chance we've had ever since, especially Hartley who has picked up a bad cold and laryngitis. It was a fabulous trip with masses of great scenery and glimpses of fauna such as elk, reindeer, bison and one bear in the wild and lots in a zoo. In one free range area our bus drove through there were maybe 60 black bears ranging in colour from honey to black, lumbering about.

The trip home was much better sleep-wise than on the way over. After giving us a meal shortly after we got on the plane and giving us a bag of snacks each, the hostesses and stewards kept the lights off and didn't keep interrupting us every couple of hours with more snacks.

However, we couldn't work out why they had us going home via Auckland - Then, about half an hour before we were to arrive there, the Captain made an announcement that the weather was so bad and visibility so poor at Tullamarine that we had to detour to Auckland to refuel. . The detour and refuelling put about an extra 2 hours 15 minutes onto the trip.

Meryl and Hartley

OUR NEW FACEBOOK GROUP

In the interests of improving communica-tion within ARFRA we have set up the "Australian Rare Fauna Research Association" Facebook group.

This can be found by searching our name, quoted above, on Facebook. Once you find the group, hit the join button.

It's a closed group, so the public can see it exists, and see who belongs to it, but can't see the posts within the group.

The posts in the group will come up on your Facebook wall, with group members comments, for you to respond too.

To post to the group, find the group on your groups tab, go into it, and make your post.

Membership to the Facebook group is open to all members, but your request to join the group must be approved by another group member, so it won't be instant.

If you’re on Facebook, and have trouble joining the group, track Gordon down. He is on Facebook too.

Hope to see you online soon.

 

 

From the Tolmie Pub

 

WHY DID THE CHICKEN CROSS THE ROAD?

 

I’m sorry, but chickens do not cross roads. It is true that Peter Chapple was once investigated by a passing police car while standing on a road with a chook in his arms at 1 a.m., and could not account for its presence, but the chicken did not cross the road.

In fact, it was quite unable to cross the road, as evolution appears to have weakened the musculature of chooks in captivity. The driver, a member of ARFRA, claims to have seen a passing truck loaded with chickens not long before this encounter, but was unable to examine it for damage and cannot account for the bird’s escape.

In spite of its thousands of reports of big cats and thylacines (often crossing roads), and extensive records of other animals sighted during night drives, ARFRA’S database contains not a single sighting of a chicken crossing a road.

The driver also claims that the chook travelled home in the car on Chapple’s knee, while Chapple claimed that the bird was tenderly cared for but found dead in the morning. What

possessed him (if this encounter was genuine) to dispose of the body without DNA testing, I cannot understand; but this is typical of the carelessness and stupidity of amateur zoologists.

Palaeontologists have found no trace of chickens in mainland Australian archaeological sites, and they have never been proved to exist in the bush at any time before or after settlement.

All chickens are kept in captivity as they have been since first imported. There are no records known to me of chicken escapes, therefore all the stories you have heard of chickens crossing roads must be folklore; or just possibly, misidentification of cockatoos or magpies.

Even this chicken (if this report can be considered reliable without witness evaluation), was not crossing the road, but stumbling and flopping on the edge of the bitumen. However ‘convinced’ the two were that they had picked up a chook, and no matter how plausible their account, this does not constitute ‘proof’’.

Moreover, the ARFRA database contains no plaster casts that can be definitively identified as Chicken.

Although the report assumes that it was a chicken that was picked up from the bitumen, it is always possible that the bird was in fact a misidentified native species. If the bird’s staggers were due to injury, what was taken to be a red cockscomb may well have been a blood-stained cockatoo crest.

As chickens are known not to cross roads, this bird is more likely to have been the aberrant result of a remote hybridisation with a Red-tailed Black cockatoo.

Finally, as this account was obtained from the driver, who is noted for her observations of potholes while passengers are counting animals, and the hour was late, it is not unreasonable to assume that the entire ‘experience’ may have been dreamed during a roadside nap.

What they were really up to when the police accosted them cannot be known. Their assertion of animal rescue may well have been a cover-up for more doubtful activities.

As everybody knows that ‘eyewitness evidence’ has been proved untrustworthy by expert psychologists, the possibility must be considered that the aforesaid Chapple was merely flapping a feather duster. And then too…

they were only a few minutes from the nearest pub. The End.

 

(Very Anonymous Expert)

 

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