What is Cryptozoology?
Some cryptid animals, such as the giant squid, Komodo dragon, platypus, okapi, gorilla, and bondegezou, a type of marsupial, were once considered mythical but have been proven to exist.
Cryptozoology is a fascinating field of study that delves into the mysterious world of unclassified animals like Bigfoot and extinct sea serpents, such as the dinosaurs rumored to exist on Mount Shasta, California. There is an unshakable fascination with the search for cryptid beasts. These subjects are shrouded in mystery and not easily understood, which adds to their allure and makes them seem sacred.
The term “cryptozoology” comes from the Greek words “kryptos,” meaning hidden, and “zoology,” meaning the scientific study of animals. Cryptozoology is a branch of zoology that deals with the study of animals that are either unknown to science, unconfirmed to scientists, or considered extinct. Cryptozoologists study reports of creatures often regarded as mythical or legendary, such as Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, the Chupacabra, and the Yeti. They also study animals believed to be extinct, such as the Tasmanian tiger, to determine if they still exist.
Cryptozoology is often considered a pseudoscience because it lacks the rigorous scientific methods and standards of traditional zoology. Pseudoscience fails at the criteria established by science: testing, falsifiability, peer review, and rejection of the original hypothesis. However, some cryptozoologists argue that they are conducting legitimate scientific research and say that the creatures they study are not well-known to science yet.
What is a Cryptid Creature?
A cryptid is a creature, sometimes depicted as a monster, that is rumored or believed to exist but for which there is no conclusive scientific evidence. Some religious beliefs include the idea that some mysteries and phenomena cannot be explained by science or reason alone. Cryptids can be seen as examples of these mysteries, and their existence can be interpreted as evidence of the existence of a higher power or supernatural forces.
Cryptozoologist John E. Wall developed the term cryptid in 1983. Bernard Heuvelmans (1916-2001), a Belgian-French scientist, was one of the founding figures in cryptozoology; they wrote that to be considered a cryptid, a creature must be “truly singular, unexpected, paradoxical, striking, or emotionally upsetting.” Cryptids are often the subject of folklore, urban legends, or sightings reported by eyewitnesses.
Daniel Loxton, Abominable Science! Origins of the Yeti, Nessie, and Other Famous Cryptids (New York: Columbia University Press, 2013), 8.
Brian Regal, Searching for Sasquatch: Crackpots, Eggheads, and Cryptozoology, (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), 197-198.
Bernard Heuvelmans, Bernard Heuvelmans’ Natural History of Hidden Animals (London: Routledge, 2016), 3.