Thursday, December 26, 2013

New Tapir Species Discovered In South America

A new species of tapir, the Kobomani Tapir (Tapirus kabomani), has been discovered in Brazil and Colombia. This is a very significant discovery. It is the first new tapir species discovered since 1865, the first new perissodactyl species discovered in over 100 years, and the largest new species of terrestrial mammal discovered since the Saola (Vu Quang Ox) in 1992.

What I find ironic about this discovery is that it came at a time when the fate of cryptozoology is in rather uncertain hands. We have lost many great people, such as Roy Mackal, and the field of cryptozoology is now mostly in the hands of unscientific people who just want to attract attention and earn money. Therefore, the field of cryptozoology is not doing so well right now.

I remember another time in history when cryptozoology wasn't doing so well. It was back in 1812, when the revered French biologist Baron Georges Cuvier made what cryptozoologist Bernard Heuvelmans called his Rash Dictum: That no species of large animals remained undiscovered. However, just seven years later, in 1819, a new species of tapir was discovered in South America. This heralded the beginning of an era in which several new species of large animals were discovered all over the world, including the mountain gorilla, the okapi, and the Komodo dragon.

So I find it ironic that, in both cases, a new tapir was discovered.

Let's hope that the new tapir of 2013 ends up heralding the beginning of a new era of discovery, just like the new tapir of 1819 did.

RIP Dr. Roy P. Mackal (1925–2013)

According to an article on Loren Coleman's CryptoZooNews Blog, cryptozoologist Roy P. Mackal, who was famous for going on expeditions in search of the Loch Ness Monster of Scotland and the Mokele-Mbembe of Central Africa, died in September 2013, according to an online obituary at a funeral home website. He was born on August 1, 1925, and was 88 years old at the time of his death.

In early 2012, I began to be interested in lake monsters. I purchased Mackal's book, The Monsters of Loch Ness, from a bookstore and began to read it. I was immediately amazed at how scientific and logical Mackal's writing was. He was not some crazy lunatic who believed that every single sighting and photo/video was true - he was a very intelligent and down-to-Earth individual who truly succeeded in bringing cryptozoology out of the domain of the true believers and lunatics and into the domain of science (at least in my opinion).

I also read his book about mokele-mbembe. While the book is outdated now (due to recent discoveries in paleontology that have contradicted many of the theories about dinosaurs that Mackal had back then), I still found it to be a very good book, as well. I was especially impressed by this quote from Mackal:

"I admit that my own views are tinged with some romanticism, but certainly not to the extent that I would endure extreme hardship, even risk my life, to pursue a dream with no basis in reality."

I was very sad to learn that Roy Mackal has passed away. His passing also marks the end of an era, as he was the last surviving founder of the International Society of Cryptozoology. Now there are no longer any founders of the ISC who are still living.

Rest in peace, Roy Mackal. You will always be one of the true legends in the field of cryptozoology.