Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A terrific read: Extreme Expeditions

Extreme Expeditions: Travel Adventures Stalking the World's Mystery Animals, by Adam Davies,is not your average cryptozoology book.
Davies spends a minimum of time rehashing old evidence and instead tells a rollicking first-person adventure tale. Davies, like the late Scott T. Norman, is one of those supremely dedicated amateurs who spends all available time and money poking around in remote, often supremely uncomfortable locations. He found little at the traditional monster haunts of Lake Tele and Loch Ness, believes he saw a large unknown animal in Lake Seljord, and made a significant contribution to research on one of the most probable animals in the cryptozoo, the bipedal Sumatran primate known as orang-pendek. Davies collected hair and a footprint cast for which some well-qualified "mainstream" scientists had no better explanation than "unknown primate."
The book is a jaunty, sometimes profane tale of colorful but basically sane people making a sincere, sometimes dangerous effort to solve zoological mysteries. Whether they turn out to have found new species is almost beside the point. I look forward to a sequel, if Davies survives his future expeditions long enough to write it.

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