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Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Cryptozoology Introduction and Definition

This shall call for a reproduction of the article, the reproduction of a counterproposal, and some additional discussion at the end.

Cryptozoology Introduction

  • cryptozoology  September 3, 2012
  • By: Mitchell Waite
    Cryptozoology is not a recognized branch of science or zoology, but is considered to be a pseudoscience. However, the study is a necessity for those animals whose existence has not yet been proven, animals that are considered extinct, or those who are mentioned in myths and legends but do not have any scientifically recognized evidence of existence. Cryptozoology will also encompass the study of misplaced animals, or those animals that are appearing where they should not be.
    The term used for each animal species in the Cryptozoology studies is cryptid. A cryptid (from the Greek meaning "hide") is a creature or plant whose existence has been reported, but is unrecognized by mainstream science and often regarded as highly unlikely to exist.
    Some examples of animals that have not yet been proven are the Mogollon Monster, Bigfoot, Yeti, Yowie, Grass Man, Loch Ness Monster, Ogopogo, Skin Fin, and the Chupacabra.
    Examples of those that were considered extinct, but are rumored to exist are the Thunderbirds (possible pterodactyls), Mokèlé-mbèmbé ( a possible brontosaurus), Ogopogo, Nessie, Champ, Skin Fin (possible plesiosaurs) and the coelacanth (prehistoric fish).
    Mythological creature studies deals with folk lore, myths, and legends of supernatural creatures of both past and present. Some examples of the past are griffins, dragons, trolls, fairies, and unicorns. Present Mythological creatures are the Jersey Devil, the Mothman, the Wendigo, Dog Faced Bigfoot, Vampires, and Werewolves.
    Misplaced animals may be the jaguars in Arizona, alligators in New York City, Javilina (a rodent looking like a small bore pig) in the Southwest United States, and pythons in Florida. Some other interesting animals are the ivory-billed woodpecker, and the giant vampire bat.
    There have been several cryptids which have been removed from the Cryptozoology studies, and are now verified as to exist in the real science of zoology. Some examples of these animals are the okapi (discovered in 1901), mountain gorilla (October 1902), giant squid (2004), and the Hoan Kiem Turtle (1967). Please note these dates are when the Scientific Community declared them real, not when the locals reported their first sightings. In many cases, the locals knew of cryptids existence centuries before they were proven to exist by science.

    NOW, to quote Randy Merrill (The Cryptozoologist) on his Facebook Page:


    [Cryptozoologist's Note: The purpose of this post is to explain for my members who don't already know the difference between the two disciplines, cryptozoology and Fortean zoology. It is also intended to clarify my individual position as just one cryptozoologist who does not embrace all of Fortean zoology; I do not include most "zooforms" among my investigations. This is in no way intended to disparage the work of my colleagues who do extend their investigations into that area. It is simply a personal choice which I briefly explain at the end of this posting. Randy]


    Cryptozoology is, strictly speaking, the study of hidden or unknown so-called "mystery" animals belonging to species wholly or partly unknown to science, often collectively called "cryptids". Cryptozoology consists of two fields:

    1. The search for extinct animals - living examples of animals taxonomically identified through fossil records, but which are believed to be extinct.

    2. The search for unknown animals - animals that fall outside of taxonomic records due to a lack of empirical evidence, but for which anecdotal evidence exists in the form of myths, legends, or undocumented sightings.

    It has been proposed that the first field of cryptozoology described above be incorporated into a new, separate discipline termed "eclipsazoology", or the study of extinct animals. Animals of interest to eclipsazoology would be termed "eclipsids" ("eclipsid" singular) and researchers within the discipline would be termed "eclipsazoologists".


    The primary focus of Fortean Zoology involves CRYPTOZOOLOGY, but Fortean Zoology also examines unusual and aberrant animal behavior, animal mutilations, animal color variants, teratology (the study of abnormalities of physiological development), animal folklore, and such classic Fortean staples as creature falls ("fafrotskies" - a rare meteorological phenomenon in which flightless animals "rain" from the sky), and vampire/werewolf reports.

    Fortean Zoology is therefore divided into the following areas or "tiers", introduced to aid classification and analysis of unknown animals:

    Mystery Animals - Fortean Zoology studies the various aspects of cryptozoology and its allied disciplines.

    Pseudo-cryptids - Many researchers are interested in a related category of mystery animals often dubbed pseudo-cryptids, which are not strictly part of cryptozoology. This is one reason why Downes formulated the portmanteau discipline of Fortean Zoology. These creatures are animals which are out of place, i.e., known species which by accident and/or artificial introduction are living where one would not normally expect to find them—one good example being alien big cats said to live in the British moorlands.

    However, not all out-of-place animals occur because of human intervention. Some are the result of accidental migration due to inclement weather or unusual marine currents. They are often known animal species that seem to be dramatically increasing their geographical range.

    Other pseudo-cryptids include outsized or oddly colored individual or groups of animals of a known species. A good example of a pseudo-cryptid would be the golden frogs of the United Kingdom which are the subject of a current Fortean Zoology research project.

    Zooform Phenomena - The third ... category consists of zooform phenomena. These are not animals at all, but entities or apparitions which adopt or seem to have (quasi)-animal form. This is where some cryptozoologists cross into the territory of science fiction or the supernatural. In many ways, these elusive and contentious entities have plagued cryptozoology since its inception, and tend to be dismissed by mainstream science as thoroughly unworthy of consideration. Zooform phenomena seem to be a strange blend of paranormal manifestation and mythology.

    However, Jonathan Downes, who first coined the term in 1990, maintains that many zooform phenomena result from complex psychosocial and sociological phenomena, and suggests that to classify all such phenomena as "paranormal" in origin is counterproductive.

    In my opinion such zooform phenomena include, aerial ghosts, ghost lights, will-o-the-wisp’s, fairy lights, spectral aircraft, ghostly airmen, phantasmal helicopters, ghost rockets, and haunted places and structures of every kind

    [Cryptozoologist's Note: As a discriminating cryptozoologist who is also a theologian, it is my professional opinion that many zooform phenomena are manifestations of evil spirits (fallen angels; demons), which have no place in the scientific study of cryptozoology. That is why readers of my cryptozoology sites and blogs will find no mention of any entities which exhibit characteristics beyond what is rightly considered possible for a corporeal creature.]


    Penny Odell: So basically If it's not a new animal discovery and you cannot touch it as a solid form then it is not included in your countenance of Cryptozoology :)

    Penny Odell: I would agree with that..leave the fairies at the bottom of the garden.:)

    Randy Merrill: I only exclude zooforms and other supernatural (paranormal) manifestations.

    Loren Coleman: Trouble with your "coined words."

    Loren Coleman: Eclipsid: An endodermic skin therapy draught to be taken only in extreme heat to protect the consumer from the harmful effects of the sun.

    Directions: To be partaken of only in doses of six or seven drops placed directly on the tongue not more than four times in a seven day period.


    3 powdered dried black nightshade leaves
    1/2 spoonful of dried wormwood
    2 heliotrope petals

    Mixing Instructions: Boil the ingredients in one medium flask of water. Let steep for seven days. Boil again, strain, and store in the sun for 4 hours.

    The Vampire of Perdu

    Karl Shuker: The problem is that we cannot always be sure what a given entity is, based solely on anecdotal evidence. The sky beasts or flying jellyfishes are a case in point. Opinions re them vary greatly and fundamentally - zooform entities, UFOs, und...iscovered animals adapted for an exclusively aerial existence in the stratosphere. Until a specimen is obtained, we have only opinions as to their identity. So that is why I do not reject them out of hand as cryptozoological entities. They are not so far removed from other cryptids as to be impossible as cryptids. Nature abhors a vacuum etc. There is a huge environment up there in the atmosphere seemingly lacking any major life forms, which to me is a very odd situation.

    Randy Merrill: Loren Coleman, Hahahahahahaha! Very good! However, those are not my words, but rather a concept developed by Chris Rehberg, Author and administrator of "Where Light Meets Dark: Examining the evidence for rare Australian fauna" Light Meets Dark (

    Critical analysis of the photographic, video, film and other evidence for the ongoing existence of Australian fauna including the Tasmanian tiger (thylacine), Tasmanian devil, East...

    Randy Merrill: Oh, and I did report on the Cottingley Fairies, but only to show how easily a hoax can be perpetrated if people want badly enough for it to be true.

    OK now, we have a perfectly good and perfectly concise definition of Crypozoological subjects: they are not-presently-recognised, fully corporeal, normal animals, in general comprising only two sorts: animals that are not currently correctly classified and more especially not generally recognised as rreal zoological subjects by consensus of opinion, and survivals of extinct animals, specifying fossil animals (and hence not recently extinct)

    Cryptozoology is considered a valid science by certain scientists and not one by others. This in itself does not determine if it is a true science or a pseudoscience. I would argue that Cryptozoology sensuo stricto falls ONLY into those two categories and both of those categories count as scientific subjects: and that the critics who call Cryptozoolgy a pseudoscience are considering more the subjects of FORTEAN Zoology, especially the zooforms and "Spirits": Randy Merril and I both explicitly exclude those from our definition.

    Now as to the major unreconised problem: Cryptid categories as they are presented in the media. There is a MAJOR problem in that there is no effort in most of Cryptozoology to give a specific name to a specific type of creature as opposed to whatever is ALLEGED to belong in that category, and in the allocation of separate category names for local "Manifestations" of alleged creatures. The main problem is that ALL of the major categories are composites including reports of more than one type of creature: Even something which seems as distinct and manageable as "The Loch Ness Monster" includes manyy different reports of different things that are nothing like each other. In the category called "Bigfoot" and the similar one called "Yeti" there are reports of apes, humans and possible fossil relicts spoken of in the same breath as reports of bears and yes, even pure hallucinations. So saying anything so simple as "Bigfoot is a man" or "Bigfoot is an ape" becomes a horrible complicated proposition. Major fights errupt between Cryptozoologists over the allocation of "Mapinguari" reports in South America: there really shouldn't be a problem because the category itself is composite and includes reports f more than one type. As do all of the other categories.

    And just to repeat once again, reports of KNOWN species-including individuals found outside their usual range-are NOT Cryptozoological, they fall into the category of Fortean Zoology. Along with the Zooforms.

    I am quite comfortable with Randy's definition and it is much like my own. The article from the Examiner is none too careful in sorting out categories and there are some mistakes in there. Coelacanths are not Cryptids, they are known animals: javelinas are not rodents, they are usually called peccaries: neither javelinas nor jaguars are actually outside of known historical ranges when they occur in Arizona. At any rate, an international border means nothing to a wild animal. Ivorybilled Woodpeckers are NOT officially "Extinct" but might be replenished by survivors outside of the United States. They are not Cryptids in any event. Thhunderbirds are most commonly understood to be birds, survivals of the La Brea Tar Pit Giant Vulture Teratornis. The Giant Vamire Bat is not currently "Known" as the Ivory-billed woodpecker bracketed with it is, and nobody even disputes the existance of feral pythons in Florida.

    The article in The Examiner is rather misleading when it groups all of these creatures together. In Cryptozoology we have a lot of published material which is actually irrelevant to thhe proper study itself.

    Best Wishes, Dale D..


    1. Wouldn't a still living population of giant teratornis vultures flying in the sky looking for prey be rather noticeable?

    2. Perhaps, but the allegation has always been made (from Native traditions on) that they are largely solitary by nature and only form pairs while mating and until their chicks are fledged. Individual birds are much less noticeable than large flocks, even if the individual birds were quite large.

      By the by Joe, jus how much of a background in Biology DO you have? Not much, I would gather from the general tone of your questions. You seem ignorant of the most basic Biological principles, and whenever you do claim any kind of superior knowledge, you defer to some critical internet site or another as being "Something you read".

    3. I'm taking biology when the school year starts, so no, I don't have too much background in it.


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