Encyclopaedia of Cryptozoology
Cryptids both

Examples of some of the types of unknown animals with which cryptozoology is, or was concerned. Upper half, clockwise from upper left; an unrecognised or disputed species (the giant dragonfish), a Lazarus taxon known from historical times (the thylacine), a Lazarus taxon known only from the fossil record (a ground sloth), the possible survival of a fossil animal into historic times (the American elephant), a known species reported from outside of its recognised range (alien big cats), and a non-taxonomic variant or morph of a known species (the giant anaconda). Lower half, clockwise from upper left; the giant squid (Architeuthis), which is generally identified as the reality behind the kraken; the coelacanth (Latimeria), which was known only from fossils older than 66 million years until one was caught in 1938; the takahē (Porphyrio hochstetteri), which was believed to have gone extinct in the 19th Century; and the platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus), an animal originally suspected to have been a hoax.

Cryptozoology is the study and search for animals which are unrecognised or disputed by zoology, often called cryptids, mystery beasts, or unknown animals. It is frequently regarded as a pseudoscience by zoologists and palaeontologists, although many cryptozoologists regard it as a subdivision of regular zoology,[1][2] or an interdisciplinary pursuit incorporating aspects of ethnology, geography, and linguistics.

There is debate over what exactly falls into the realm of cryptozoology. Some of the best-known types of cryptid include cryptohominids, sea serpents, lake monsters, neodinosaurs, and alien big cats, and important categories recognised by cryptozoologists include undescribed but ethnoknown species, alleged Lazarus taxa recognised only from history or the fossil record, occurrences of known species outside of their recognised range, and non-taxonomic variants of known species. Two major specialist subfields of cryptozoology are hominology, the study of hairy humanoids, and dracontology, the study of sea serpents and lake monsters. Supposedly-supernatural "animals," also called zooform phenomena, are frequently referred to as cryptids.

The pursuit of unknown animals was called romantic zoology in the 19th and early 20th Centuries, and was codified by Bernard Heuvelmans in On the Track of Unknown Animals (1955). Heuvelmans and Ivan T. Sanderson both independently coined the term "cryptozoology," which was first used in 1959.[3][4] The International Society of Cryptozoology, which published the journal Cryptozoology, was active from 1982 to 1998, and has been succeeded by the International Cryptozoology Society, while the Centre for Fortean Zoology currently publishes the Journal of Cryptozoology. Researches into unknown animals and discoveries of large animals which occurred before the 1950s, particularly in the face of doubt, are sometimes retroactively described as cryptozoological.

Notes and references

  1. Mackal, Roy P. (1980) Searching for Hidden Animals: An Inquiry Into Zoological Mysteries, Cadogan Books, ISBN 978-0946313051
  2. Heuvelmans, Bernard & Hopkins, Peter Gwynvay (2007) The Natural History Of Hidden Animals, Routledge, ISBN 978-0710313331
  3. Coleman, Loren & Clark, Jerome (1999) Cryptozoology A to Z: The Encyclopedia of Loch Monsters, Sasquatch, Chupacabras, and Other Authentic Mysteries of Nature, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 978-0684856025
  4. Coleman, Loren "Introduction," International Cryptozoology Society Journal: Volume One, 2016 (2016)