Cryptozoology 101

Labor Day weekend I was at Balticon and I stumbled into a great panel discussion on cryptozoology. At first I wasn’t sure if I would be in a room full of people who claimed that Bigfoot exists or the Montauk Monster really IS an experiment that got loose and here’s why. Being the good, open-minded skeptic that I am, I decided to give it a chance. After all, you never know when you’re going to learn something new.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the panel included a biologist and three other people who were real, live skeptics. The panel actually discussed the evidence against many of the popular cryptids discussed in recent years. They also talked about real animals that are cropping up in unusual places.

For instance, one panelist talked about stumbling across what appeared to him to be a den of wolf pups in Maryland near a friend’s home. He stated that he did not see them clearly as they were down in a hole, peering up at him and allowed that they could have been coyotes. It was good to be around like-minded people again.

Now for those that may not know, cryptozoology is the study of creatures that appear so infrequently that their existence is questioned. These animal sightings are So rare they are thought to be mythical. Sperm whales and giant squid used to be cryptids. So did coelacanths. Other cryptids that have, for all intents and purposes, been proven not to exist are: The Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot and the Yeti.

First, the food supply in Loch Ness simply is not abundant enough to sustain a creature of that size for as long as Nessie is supposed to have lived. Second, every sonar sounding ever done of the Loch has turned up absolutely NO evidence of any living creature of that scale and scope. Those are only two of the reasons. If you would like to learn more, click here.

At one point in the panel, the moderator asked each panelist for their favorite cryptid. The biologist talked about the American Black Cougar. According to her, there is no such thing as a true black cougar. Yet there have been reports in various parts of the US. Please excuse my use of Wikipedia as a reference. I’m having a hard time finding information on this particular cryptid. However, for those who are interested, it is a starting point.

One of the most well-known skeptical cryptozoologists is Joe Nickell. He has been investigating cryptids and the paranormal for decades. If you would like to learn more about cryptozoology and cryptids, please visit his website.


1 Comment

  1. Jay Walker said,

    June 4, 2010 at 10:08 am

    Wonderfully informative! I haven’t been much into Cryptozoology but this article really got me interested in checking out the facts of these claims.

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