Joined Feb 27 2011
68 years old
Cryptozoology is the study of rumored or mythological animals that are presumed to exist, but for which conclusive proof does not yet exist; or are generally considered extinct, but occasionally reported. Those who study or search for such animals are called cryptozoologists and the creatures they study are referred to as "cryptids".
Some cryptozoologists align themselves with a more scientifically rigorous field like zoology, while others tend toward an anthropological slant or even a fortean perspective. The fringes of cryptozoology are often considered pseudoscience by mainstream biologists.
Scientists have demonstrated some creatures of mythology, legend or local folklore were rooted in real animals or phenomena. Thus, cryptozoologists hold that people should be open to the possibility that many more such animals exist. In the early days of western exploration of the world, many native tales of unknown animals were initially dismissed as mythology or superstition by western scientists, but consequently proven to have a real basis in biological fact. Cryptozoologists often point out that natives often know a great deal more about their immediate environment (and the animals that inhabit it) than western investigators, and therefore suggest that, even today, thus far unproven tales and traditions regarding unknown undescribed animals in native folklore should not be summarily dismissed in the same way.
There are several animals cited as examples for continuing cryptozoological efforts:
The coelacanth, a primitive fish, a "living fossil" believed to have been extinct for "65 million years", was caught in a fishing net in 1938 off the coast of Africa.
Of an even older lineage than the coelacanth are the Graptolites. Living representatives were first found in 1882, although the group had previously been presumed to have been extinct for "300 million years". Cryptozoologists point these out to demonstrate that there are many unexplored regions of the world left, and that remote exotic locations or specialized ecosystems relatively untouched by man may contain unexpected life.
Similarly cited is the 1976 discovery of the previously unknown megamouth shark discovered off Oahu, Hawaii, when it tried to eat a ship's anchor. Some have cautioned against applying the "megamouth analogy" too broadly to hypothetical creatures, noting that while "the megamouth does show that the oceans have a lot of secrets left to reveal ... The megamouth is not a useful analogy to support the existence of marine cryptids" in general.
Cryptozoological supporters have noted that many unfamiliar animals, when first reported, were considered hoaxes, delusions or misidentifications. The platypus, giant squid, mountain gorilla, and komodo dragon are a few such creatures. Supporters note that unyielding skepticism may in fact inhibit discovery of unknown animals. Others have suggested a rigid World view disallows many academics from accepting evidence contrary to their preconceptions.
Along similar lines, the emblem of the Society for Cryptozoology is the okapi, a forest-dwelling relative of the giraffe that was unknown to Western scientists prior to 1901.
On this site, I will attempt to post a meaningful, although not necessarily exhaustive, amount of information on every cryptid that I feel qualifies to be considered as a true unknown species of animal. Those that I personally consider to be more in the nature of "supernatural manifestations" (i.e. the Jersey Devil, Mothman, Windigo, etc.) will not be included here.