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Cryptozoology: Adventures in fantasy land with bigfoot, or legitimate science? February 26, 2009

Posted by Eban in Philosophy of biology.
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Cryptozoology is the search for and study of vertebrates that have either been deemed extinct or have never even been taxonomically identified by science in the first place. If you think you’ve never heard of such a strange practice, then think again. We all know of at least a few cryptids. For example, we’ve got:

Bigfoot:

patterson_bigfoot_lg1

The Loch Ness Monster:

loch-ness-monster-photo

And El Chupacabra (literally “goat sucker”):

chup1

These are just a few examples of cryptids that are incessantly searched for by “cryptzoologists.”  Now that we’re all on the same page as to exactly what cryptozoology is…how could something that has stolen hours of our lives in the form of hour long specials called “Monster Hunters” or “In Search of Bigfoot” (or something with the same effect) possibly have anyone calling it a science?  (It would be extremely easy to talk about this all day, but I’m going to try to keep it really short and to the point.)

Another side of cryptozoology that isn’t explored in these mind numbing television shows is the fact that people actually do make “cryptozoological discoveries.” No, I’m not talking about finding isolated populations of bigfoot; I highly doubt that a discovery like that could be kept under wraps for long anyway. If you recall the definition I gave in the very first sentence of this post, part of cryptozoology is the search and study of animals that once existed but are now believed to be extinct. We talked about examples like the mega mouth shark and the ivory billed wood pecker during my presentation. However, Dr. Brister was kind enough to send me a link to another, more recent, discovery. It has to do with a quail in the Philippines that was photographed and then promptly sold as a food item in a local market…Here is the link:

Extinct Quails Just Taste Better

Basically, what everything is boiling down to is that there are two sides to cryptozoology. There is the fantasy land side (at least until someone actually finds one of the mythical cryptids) where people are, and have been for quite some time, searching for mythical beasts; and then you have the side that actually contributes to mainstream science in rediscovering species thought to be wiped from the face of the earth. With this, there are some questions you have to ask yourself:
-Should cryptozoology be accepted by mainstream science?

-Should it even be considered its own field? (considering 90% of discoveries happen on accident or the organism was already known about by locals)

-This brings up the issue with the reluctance of mainstream science to listen to local knowledge.  What would cause scientists to be skeptic of local knowledge?

-Is the amount of skepticism towards cryptozoology a healthy amount or is it just too much?

-And finally, are you a believer or a skeptic?

Some research may help you answer some of these questions, and I found that a good place to start is Wikipedia.  Personally, as much as I would like to believe in the idea of all of these mythical creatures, they are just that, myths.  I will always keep a healthy level of skepticism until I actually see one.  But, again, this is just my opinion and only you can sift through all the information available out there and decide for yourself.  Good luck out there and godspeed fellow monster hunters; and please keep an open mind!

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Comments

1. denise - March 20, 2009

oh.my gosh i did NOT know this could be all real!!!!!!i beleave this stuff!!!!!!!!!11

2. maranda - March 24, 2009

i cant belive bigfoot was real!

3. karl - March 25, 2009

im doing a praject on bigfoot

4. sarra - March 31, 2009

hey im sarra nd the theroy i have is that in literal aspects big foot may be real there are so many things proving that he could walk the planet and the loch ness monster i am still kinda waiting on the edge about things prove and dont prove i say and then again has anyone actually seen it i havent but what the hecks the goat sucker thats a new one for me well gtg id like to c proff to believe bye..

5. Palme - April 6, 2009

xD

6. mr hiuo - April 6, 2009

i saw him then i chased him down and rooted him until he bleeded out his eyes

7. tookie - April 13, 2009

bigfoot he is like a dog

8. random dude - May 11, 2009

it seems from what you guys are saying most people don’t belive in bigfoot

9. Carlos - May 11, 2009

Hi Everyone. I’m Carlos From Boston. My concept is that through out
time people have always made up things like about unexisting things,
such as monsters, demons without a solid proof, but i believe that thiers always a possibility that their are animals, things out there that havent been discovered, how ever most of this is just publicity for business purposes, people who love to exaggerate things, because from one person to another the story always gets bigger but if you took the time to read this please make your own conclusion, dont let your selfs get fooled.

10. deqa - May 13, 2009

no the just lying i belive lock ness monster thou

11. A-la aka amy - May 18, 2009

i think the el chupabra is real m amy and im from puerto rico every one talks about it all day every day and belive its real but at the same time i dont i live in liberty now i just moved and nobody talks about it up here its kinda upsetting lolzzzz but anyways its real the others are not…..!!!!!!! thanks,a-la

12. Gabriel - May 23, 2009

Literacy is no longer a valuable tool for social interaction. You have all proven me correct.

13. rukker - May 24, 2009

if saw a bigfoot in my home.
it’s sleeping under my bed. :0

14. SHAMWOW - May 27, 2009

BIGFOOT NO KILL U BIGFOOT NO HARM ME JUST WANT TO SHOOT YOU

15. Breanna - June 22, 2009

Do you guys realy think that bigfoot is real? And where is the proof?

16. Breanna - June 22, 2009

if you have pichur’s please send them to me!

17. Breanna - June 22, 2009

How can people be sure about if bigfoot is real or not real so I’m going with what most exports are saying and that is that bigfoot is a monster that people belive they see. And exports dont know if it is serton if bigfoot is real but they hope that they can know A.S.A.P. And they think that their is a 85% that bigfoot is not real and a 15% that their not real.

18. Breanna - June 22, 2009

Do you guys realy think bigfoot is real? (Please write back.)

19. Chris Cringle - June 22, 2009

I always knew santa was’nt fake! Just with the tooth fairy would beleive me…

20. Greg - June 27, 2009

eban, I’m pretty sure these comments prove that you won this blog

21. Michael - July 11, 2009

-Ok for the pictures 2 of them are obviously fake one has not been proven yet. The chupacabra come on its a CG pic people its not meant to be real it even has an icon in corner probably from a tv show or program.
-That pic of loch ness has been proven fake already in past it was admitted that the guy used a small sculpture, if you look at the water the ripples are way too big to be accurate with the size of the monster.
-The bigfoot pic or patterson film is the best to date (look up “patterson film” on wiki), was taken back in the 60s in california while Roger Patterson and friend Robert Gimlin were horseback riding when they spotted the alleged “bigfoot” and had filmed a few seconds of it. Experts have analyzed it and say the muscle movements of the body when it walks and quality of the “suit” would be much too advanced for that era to replicate. Dont know if i would downright say i believe but heck sure makes you think about it 0.o

22. Eban - July 11, 2009

I know the chupacabra picture is fake, its supposed to be, so please stop commenting on it. In fact, keep your thoughts to yourselves in general…especially if you can’t spell to save your lives. I mean c’mon, do you even proof read your ever so insightful comments?! I’m sorry but you’ve left me no choice…I’m turning off comments…Goodbye.


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