On the Track of Unknown Animals

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Bernard Heuvelmans was a Belgian zoologist interested in the study of unknown animals. He was one of the earliest cryptozoologists and published several popular books and papers on the subject. His Sur la Piste des Bêtes Ignorées was translated to English as On the Track of Unknown Animals (Hill & Wang Publ.,1959). The book consists of seven parts:

– The Great Days of Zoology are Not Done
– The Man-faced Animals of Southeast Asia
– The Living Fossils of Oceania
– Riddles of the Green Continent
– The Giants of the Far North
– The Terrors of Africa
– The Lesson of the Malagasy Ghosts

The book includes 78 figures, several maps and 29 black and white photographs (image of “Ameranthropoides loysi” [later identified as a Spider monkey] is shown below).

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The book is a lot of fun. We see some familiar faces such as the Orang Pendek of Sumatra, tailed people, the abominable snowman, the Tasmanian Tiger, mammoths, living fossils, plus some other surprises like the Australian Bunyips and giant snakes.

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In addition to cryptids, the book reviews several species that actually exist (various monkeys and other mammals). Today, “Unknown Animals” is a curiosity but essential reading for young and old monster hunters. They Don’t Make ‘Em Like They Used To!

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