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.
and Hidden Animals
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
- Alien Big Cats (ABCs)
In the UK there are frequent reports of big cats living wild
- Bigfoot / Sasquatch
North American / Canadian man-beast
Aboriginal creature which originated in the Dreamtime
The "goat sucker"
- The Loch Ness Monster
Affectionately known as "Nessie"
- The Skunk Ape
A Japanese snake
- The Wendigo
Possibly a relative of Bigfoot
There are, of course, many more - for details see the list of cryptids.