Saturday, September 01, 2012

Crypto-Expeditions with Marc van Roosmalen

Dr. Marcus van Roosmalen, one of the world’s best-known primatologists and its most prolific discoverer of mammals, has a new idea to get cryptozoologists involved up close and personal in his discoveries while also funding further work. As he explained it to me in an online conversation on 8/31/2012, his notion is to offer the cryptozoologist community organized boat expeditions he would into the 'Lost World' of the Amazon. He’d take 2-6 cryptozoologists paying for it (at, notionally, about 5,000 Euro each) on 2-3 week trips to capture on digital photo/video one or more of the cryptomammals he’s seen in the wild. He asked, “With digital scouting cameras to be placed along a freshly cut trail through the matrix high forest I think it must be feasible to capture images of the black white-throated jaguar - the onca-cangussu. Wouldn't that be something for any cryptozoologist?” (By the way, he honored me by praising my book Shadows of Existence, and he thought Bill Rebsamen had done a very good job of capturing the onca-cangussu in his illustration).

Van Roosmalen is as busy as ever. He says, “I hope to publish more novelties (e.g., dwarf manatee, fair brocket, giant paca, another peccary, four big monkeys) in the peer-reviewed Annals of the Brazilian Academy of Science.” He added, “I have been on a riverboat trip up the Rio Negro, Branco and Demeni/Araca with ten undergraduates from SUNY universities and upstate NY Colleges during the last two weeks. Unexpectedly, I discovered a new species of tamarin!”

He told me, “I might go on organizing these expeditions for many years, as it will be fun, but also productive." Since his legal troubles (allegations of biopiracy), despite his exoneration by Brazil's Supreme Court, he can't  get the proper license to take a type specimen from the wild to establish any of the 40(!) mammals on his discovery list, and he is afraid of being jailed if he transports any holotype material, dead or alive, to accomplish the DNA testing needed to describe new species in the peer reviewed literature. He hopes these expeditions will result in more video and sighting evidence to pass along to government agencies and other scientists who can help him protect endangered habitat and collect the needed holotypes to properly describe more animals. .

He would appreciate feedback (email him through Facebook at or go to his website at about how many cryptozoologists might be interested in this kind of work. I can’t do it in the short term (back problems and family obligations), but he describes it as a relatively comfortable trip made mainly on his well-equipped riverboat.

Who’s on board? Let Marc know if this interests you, even hypothetically.

1 comment:

city said...

thanks for sharing.