Cryptozoology is the study and pursuit of elusive animals whose existence is not
acknowledged by the scientific mainstream. Examples include Bigfoot, the Loch Ness
Monster, Chupacabras, and the Beast of Gévaudan. These are called cryptids. The vast
majority of cryptids are either cases of the imagination running wild, misidentification’s, or
outright hoaxes. The Internet is home to communities of many thousands of people who are
drawn to cryptozoology by its aura of mysteriousness and the potential of amazing the world
through the discovery of an exotic cryptid.
Despite its huge following, cryptozoology is a field with far more failures than successes. As
cameras become cheaper, more numerous, and better, our tools for observation of cryptids are
improving, and if these beasts actually exist, it is only a matter of time until they are
observed. Cryptozoology devotes itself to attempting these observations.
Perhaps the most famous of all cryptids is Bigfoot – a tall primate that is said to be closely
related to humans, but like other surviving species close to us, is covered in fur. Bigfoot looks
somewhat like a cross between a man and a large ape. There are Bigfoot sightings from all
over the world, but the greatest hot-spot of such activity is the Pacific Northwest, on the
continent of North America. Scientists dismiss the existence of Bigfoot on grounds of the
complete absence of any confirmed physical evidence – there is not a single scrap of hair,
skin, bone, or feces yet discovered corresponding to a large nonhuman primate living in the
wild in North America. Other efforts in cryptozoology are caught in similar circumstances.
Some cryptids, or animals thought extinct, have later been discovered in the flesh, lending
credence to the field of cryptozoology. For example, the coelacanth, from an order of fishes
that science thought was extinct, was caught in a fishing net off the coast of Africa in 1938.
The platypus, mountain gorilla, komodo dragon, and giant squid were all considered to be
hoaxes before they were actually discovered. However, these were all discovered many
decades ago. Today, the discovery of new vertebrates is extremely rare – the trek to provide
compelling evidence to their existence has become the passion of many calling themselves
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Just What is the Definition of Cryptozoology?