Unknown Creatures
and Hidden Animals

The discipline of cryptozoology should not be confused with the study of mythological creatures. In fact it is a completely different science, being a variant of the more traditional zoology. The word cryptozoology literally means "the study of hidden animals". The term "Fortean zoology" is sometimes also used.

Cryptozoology has no interest in unreal creatures. Instead it is the study of living creatures that might exist now or have existed once but are not yet known formally. These potential creatures are known as cryptids.

Cryptozoologists are not interested in fantasy stories except when they contain clues as to the possible nature of a real creature. For a creature to be classed as a cryptid there must be at least some evidence for its existence. This evidence will often be anecdotal, for example folklore and individual sightings. The stronger the evidence, the more likely the cryptid is to exist and the more interesting it is to a cryptozoology researcher.

Do Cryptids Exist?

A good cryptozoologist will accept that not all cryptids actually exist. Some will simply be myths, the sightings a combination of story-telling, exaggeration and honest error. Rather than set out to prove that a creature does exist, instead they will set out to prove whether or not it exists.

A cryptid does not have to be a "monster". Many of the most interesting and scientifically verified cryptozoological discoveries have been new species of existing creatures or creatures living in unexpected places/times.

Examples of Cryptids

Mysterious Creatures That Might Exist

There are, of course, many more - for details see the list of cryptids.