New Species Quiz: Name Your Favorite

Ben Radford, lecturing in Buffalo, New York, on Bigfoot., shown with the dubious Cliff Crook photograph.

Now and then, it is time for everyone’s cryptozoological new species awareness to be challenged.

What a better way to do it today than to have you, the readers, answer an incredibly silly statement from the managing editor of Skeptical Inquirer Benjamin Radford. Or a terrible misquote from Ben Radford.

Ben Radford, in the wake of the Georgia Bigfoot hoax, just couldn’t help himself again (or an editor couldn’t), and Discovery.com recently published a thin essay entitled “Ten Reasons Why Bigfoot’s a Bust.” I shall deal with the other reasons he cites some other time, but for today, your mission, if you decide to take it: Answer the Skeptic.

Point #8 is broad, generally cryptozoological, and needs to be addressed as a quiz.

Radford states:

8. The Katydid Couldn’t Hide.

Dozens of new species, previously unknown to science, are discovered each year. But for the most part, they are tiny: microorganisms and insects such as the newly discovered katydid [not] pictured here. Could Bigfoot really hide in such a peopled world?

“The last large animal to be found was probably the giant panda, and that was 100 years ago,” said Radford. “There has not been a single new creature that doesn’t fit the recognized taxonomy discovered in the last century, there just simply hasn’t.”

Okay, let’s look at Radford’s comment.

Was the “last large animal found” actually or “probably” the giant panda? Was that “100 years ago”?

Has there “not been a single new creature…discovered in the last century”? Is it true “there just simply hasn’t”?

What is “the recognized taxonomy” mean to Ben Radford?

Actually, this doesn’t really seem like fighting fair with Radford, as he is so badly wrong in his zoology here.

First, let’s take the giant panda. Radford’s a bit off on his facts.
The giant panda, which was ethnoknown for hundreds of years in Asia, was first made known to the Western Science in 1869 by the French missionary Armand David, who received a skin from a hunter on March 11, 1869. The giant panda was then formally named Ailuropoda melanoleuca (David, 1869), so thus it was (not “probably” but actually) “discovered” and added to “recognized taxonomy” over 139 years ago.

Perhaps Radford is confusing “discovery” with Westerners seeing, killing, and capturing the first giant pandas?

1916 – German zoologist Hugo Weigold was the first Westerner to observe a live giant panda.

1929 – Kermit and Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., became the first Westerners to shoot a giant panda.

1936 – Ruth Harkness became the first Westerner to bring back a live giant panda to a zoo.

su-lin36

The Brookfield Zoo’s original Su-Lin of 1936.

su-lin-mei

Ruth Harkness helps introduce Su-Lin to the second live-captured giant panda, Mei-Meil at Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo. Photo courtesy of Mary Lobisco.

Needless to say, Asians had done all of the above for centuries before Westerners “confirmed” the “discovery” of the giant panda.

But the political undertones aside, how can Ben Radford know so little about zoology to make a statement and say that no new “large animals” have been discovered in the last 100 years.

So, Cryptomundians, let’s start of a list of your favorite “large animals” that have been discovered from 1908-2008. That’s right, despite the great examples of the okapi (1901), mountain gorilla (1902), dwarf siamang (1903) and giant forest hog (1904), all of those large new species were discovered after the giant panda, so they will be kept off the list because they were only first known in the West more than 100 years ago.

There are dozens of examples, however, so share as many as you wish.

Have at it…

About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.

Leave a Reply

  1. Mr. Radford, I am happy to know that you’re over the digital and biological virus trouble. Thanks for posting and addressing our concerns here. I’m sure I speak for many when I say that this is much appreciated.

    “I find it telling that Loren and other posters are so quick to pounce on an alleged mistake or generalization, while conveniently ignoring the larger, accurate points about how newly discovered terrestrial animals in the last century have been 1) relatively small; 2) in very remote places; and 3) part of well-established species. Bigfoot fits none of those.”

    Thanks for the clarification. In re-reading the post and quotes above, I do not see there the distinction you make now between “terrestrial” animals and others, nor the point about “very remote places;” but it is helpful to know now that this was your intent. However, in rereading the two quotes in the post yet again, they don’t come across as generalizations, but rather very specific prounouncements. If these were misquotes, and you actually said something else, then I hope our confusion about your points is somewhat forgivable.

    Also, at least some of us – including Mr. Coleman – did indeed suggest that you may have been misquoted, or that your statements were reported in a way that made them easily misconstrued.

    I now understand better what you meant by “…fit the recognized taxonomy…” It was not at all clear to us in the quote on this post. But when you say here in your comment “..part of well established species,” I think I understand better what you mean. I must point out, however, that not only new species (albeit similar to existing ones) of terrestrial animals much larger than insects (yet still relatively small, perhaps) have been found, but in at least one case (probably others) a new genus has been established; that of the African monkey Rungwecebus; although it is only represented by one species so far. And an entire new family of Gecko, Phyllodactylidae, comprised of 8 genera and 103 species, was described just this year. So perhaps “part of well established species” still does not quite convey exactly what you mean to say.

    “So go ahead, take your cheap, red herring potshots at my misquote while carefully refusing to address the larger points.”

    I’m sorry you’ve gotten such a negative impression from the comments on this thread. I appreciate that you read and post here when it’s clear that many commenters do disagree with your assessment of the subjects at hand; and I hope that you will be good enough to continue to do so in the future. Thanks again for that, sincerely.

  2. Megamouth Sharks, Komodo Dragons, etc. are not relatively small…
    And; Are they more different from other sharks, and lizards than Bigfoot may be from gorillas? Maybe, maybe not.

  3. Very remote places?

    Judging from that statement, you really truly have no idea about this continent and just how remote much of it still is.

    Pity.

  4. “I find it telling that Loren and other posters are so quick to pounce on an alleged mistake or generalization, while conveniently ignoring the larger, accurate points about how newly discovered terrestrial animals in the last century have been 1) relatively small; 2) in very remote places; and 3) part of well-established species. Bigfoot fits none of those.”

    The larger point here is that some people need to do some reading.

    The kouprey (1937)? well over a ton, bison-size or bigger, in a small country that has been civilized for thousands of years. Not a part of any well-established species; a completely new member of its genus.

    The saola (1992)? About the size of an NFL linebacker or big running back, in a densely-populated region that we just got finished bombing back to the Stone Age, remember? Ethnoknown (like the kouprey, and also like the yeti and sasquatch) for a very long time. A completely new genus, never mind species.

    The okapi (1901), the mountain gorilla (1902) and the giant forest hog (1904)? In between the above two in size. All new species.

    Do not ATTEMPT to pull that 100-years technicality on me. Not unless you can show you know something.

    No larger points are being missed. As happens every time Radford comes on here: target identified, precisely, and destroyed, utterly.

    Am I the only one here who thinks this feels like Whack-A-Mole…?