What in the World is Cryptozoology?

Representation of Gigantopithecus

Representation of Gigantopithecus

The study of animal graveyards?  A fancy word for fake zoo’s?  Maybe a made up pseudo-science, used by wanna-be UFOlogists to legitimize the study of weird things?

How about none of the above…

Officially, Cryptozoology is the study of make believe animals, which could put the definition squarely in the pseudo-science category, but that dictionary definition does little credit to the scope of study.  The word, taken from the Greek word kryptos, meaning “hidden” and the modern word zoology, literally means the study of hidden animals; and through this definition opens minds to the possible existence of some very weird creatures.

In paranormal circles, Cryptozoology is a growing scientific pursuit, akin to mainstream zoology and even anthropology.  Much work is being done to identify, catalogue and classify strange creatures from around the globe.  But we aren’t just talking about Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster.

Mainstream scientists have long believed that our vast oceans conceal a near complete branch of Darwin’s tree of life.  Every year new species of large fish and even sea faring mammal are added to the lists of known animals, and there is no reason to think that these discoveries will stop any time soon.

Cryptozoologists take on the sometimes undesirable task of hunting for mythical creatures, only believed to exist by some few laymen.  They often have little choice but to rely on anecdotal evidence and folk lore, though in spite of their short comings, they typically provide us with detailed and usually accurate characterizations of some of the strangest things on our planet.

Where Cryptozoology falls short, is often the very place where it meets with popular culture.  Since certain mysterious megafauna cryptids, such as Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster are technically hidden species of animal life, they quite nicely fall into the scientific purview of Cryptozoology, though the many logic barriers which stand in the way of standard scientific study of such creatures, tends to drain away the credibility of any who pursue them.

Most Cryptozoology supporters deny the possibility of the existence of such megafauna cryptids, citing that it is extremely unlikely that these animals could remain unexposed without holding population numbers large enough to support their continued survival.

2371997430_cbc3d8f2a5Nonetheless, the popularity of the overall subject in mainstream and sub-stream media is largely due to public attraction to such fantastic stories as the many hundreds of Bigfoot sightings across North America each year.  It seems these scientists must suffer a love-hate relationship with their so-called megafauna cryptids.

With the rapid expansion of technological capabilities, such as high resolution satellite photography, ultra-sensitive sonar and radar, and advances in normal zoological understanding, Cryptozoology is poised to become a burgeoning field of study, potentially backed by Hollywood and dot com funding sources.

Weird science is good business, and as the sudden influx of paranormal blogs, video sites and investigation teams in the US and Canada would suggest, the average persons is willing to get in on the chase.  There is an informal race to find the next great and strange creature, to obtain concrete proof of existence for some beast of folk lore and to capture a story worth shouting from the heights of the popular media outlets.

Cryptozoology is everyman’s science, it is a field of study that remains open to anyone willing to learn and to look; to look beyond what is accepted as real and to find new answers for what seems too incredible to exist.

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Martin J. Clemens

Writer, Canadian, Fortean Addict...and lover of science and history. "As for me...I know only, that I know nothing..." I also blog at www.dailygrail.com and mysteriousuniverse.org
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