Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Cryptozoology is a controversial scientific field (actually most mainstream scientists do not consider it a science at all).
This is unfair because Cryptozoology is definitively not about UFOs, abductions or paranormal events.
It is the study of animals that are hypothesized to exist but for which we are lacking physical evidence to prove their existence. These are hidden or “yet-to-be-discovered” animals.
Its name derives from Greek kryptos (hidden), zoon (animal), and logos (discourse), hence “the study of hidden/unknown animals”.
These “unknown animals” (known as cryptids) may be species yet undiscovered by science or surviving members of species that are believed to be extinct.
• An example of the first category (yet undiscovered) is the recent discovery of strange rats and frogs in Papua New Guinea (Article in The Guardian 07.Sep.2009).
• A living specimen of a supposedly extinct species is the Coelacanth, a "living fossil".
The objective of cryptozoology is to research these cryptids and find evidence of their existence.
Cryptozoology is therefore a discipline that combines biology and anthropology. Traditional stories, folklore, journals and eyewitness accounts, mythical tales and legends may hide clues about the existence of cryptids. These clues are then analyzed and contrasted with known species in order to discard unlikely candidates and focus on the features of the unknown cryptid.
The most known and extreme examples of cryptids are the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot and Mothman. But there are countless other mystery animals studied by cryptozoology.
As we mentioned above, many consider cryptozoology as a pseudoscience.
The fact that this science has to rely heavily on anecdotal and circumstantial evidence (folklore, myths) makes it difficult to substantiate its claims and prove them in a scientific manner.
The actual animals are usually not there for analysis, so in general, many scientists and skeptics do not recognize it as a branch of zoology.
Perhaps the lack of strictness by some researchers who uncritically rely on weak evidence or poor research may have contributed to mar cryptozoology’s standing.
In our opinion, healthy skepticism, critical thinking and solid investigation are the cornerstones of cryptozoology and it is with this criteria that we have undertaken the research for our book.
Copyright 2009 by Austin Whittall ©