For Immediate Release2009-02-08
DO GIANT SNAKES STILL CRAWL THE EARTH?
The scientific world was rock recently when the remains of eight gigantic snakes were unearthed in a Columbian quarry. Measuring 43 feet, Titanoboa cerrejonensis was among the largest fossil snakes ever to have been uncovered.
You might think such monsters must surely be restricted to the dim, primordial past – but you would be wrong, say a group of Devon-based scientists.
The Centre for Fortean Zoology is the world’s only full-time scientific organization dedicated to the investigation of anomalous or undiscovered species of animal.
The group has tracked gigantic serpents all across the globe.
Zoologial director Richard Freeman, a reptile specialist, says:"Stories of monstrous snakes appear in most cultures, but there may be much more than ancient legend in these tales. In the year 2000, I explored the rivers, caves and jungles of Thailand. I interviwed a number of witnesses who claimed to have seen a huge snake, known as a naga. The animal lived in water and bore an erectile crest on its head. In Sumatra the tribespeople spoke of encountering vast horned snakes in the deep jungle.
“Such creatures are not restricted to the tropics. Whilst in the Caucausus mountains of Russia, we were told of a 33-foot-long species of snake that inhabited marshy areas of the former Soviet Union.
"However the most promising accounts come from South America," says Richard.
"In 2007 we travelled to Guyana on the track of the giant anaconda. Our guide, Damon Corrie, was an Arawak Indian chief. He told us of a titanic anaconda inhabiting a remote lake. It was so huge that he hunters who saw it fled in terror. They pointed out a 30-foot tree to him and said the snake was far larger. The anaconda in question would have been in the region of 40 feet!
"Frustratingly, due to adverse weather conditions, we could not reach the lake where the giant snake dwelt. More recently, very large anaconda have been reported closer to Damon's village in the grasslands of Guyana.
"The CFZ is currently looking for sponsorship, so that Richard can lead an expedition to return to Guyana and travel to the lake in question.
"We know where the lake is, so we will not have to search too wide an area. The creature is a 'sitting duck'. We hope to head out this spring or summer, funding permitting," he says.
"Because anacondas give birth to live young, rather than laying eggs, they have severed their last link with land. Very big ones spend most of their time buoyed up in the water."
But such large snakes can prove dangerous. As recently as the late 1990s, an anaconda thought to be 45 feet long devoured Daniel Menezes in Soa Paulo Brazil as his father Joao looked on helplessly.
Pictures are available. For further details, or to arrange an interview with Richard please telephone Jon or Corinna on +44 (0)1237 431413
NOTES TO EDITORS:
* The Centre for Fortean Zoology [CFZ] is the world’s largest mystery animal research organisation. It was founded in 1992 by British author Jonathan Downes (4 and is a non-profit making (not for profit) organisation registered with H.M. Stamp Office. \
* Life-president of the CFZ is Colonel John Blashford-Snell OBE, best known for his groundbreaking youth work organising the ‘Operation Drake’ and ‘Operation Raleigh’ expeditions in the 1970s and 1980s.
* CFZ Director Jonathan Downes is the author and/or editor of over 20 books. His latest book is Island of Paradise, his first hand account of two expeditions to the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico in search of the grotesque vampiric chupacabra.
* The CFZ have carried out expeditions across the world including Russia, Sumatra, Mongolia, Guyana, Gambia, Texas, Mexico, Thailand, Puerto Rico, Illinois, Loch Ness, and Loch Morar.
* CFZ Press are the world’s largest publishers of books on mystery animals. They also publish Animals & Men, the world’s only cryptozoology magazine, and The Amateur Naturalist, Britain’s only dedicated magazine on the subject.
* The CFZ produce their own full-length documentaries through their media division called CFZtv www.cfztv.org. One of their films `Lair of the Red Worm` which was released in early 2007 and documents their 2005 Mongolia expedition has now been seen by nearly 50,000 people.
* The CFZ is based in Jon Downes’ old family home in rural North Devon which he shares with his wife Corinna (52). It is also home to various members of the CFZ’s permanent directorate and a collection of exotic animals.
* Jonathan Downes presents a monthly web TV show called On the Track
(http://cfzmonthly.blogspot.com/) which covers cryptozoology and work of the CFZ.
* The CFZ are opening a Visitor Centre and Museum in Woolsery, North Devon.
* Following their successful partnership with Capcom www.capcom.com on the 2007 Guyana expedition, the CFZ are looking for more commercial sponsors.
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