Strange Beasts: Cryptozoology

Cryptozoology, Defined

Cryptozoology is a relatively new word. It does not exist in my old Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language, Second College Edition, dating from 1980.

One current online source lists the definition, paraphrased as:

the study of evidence attempting to prove the existence of , or the search for, creatures whose reported existence is questionable.


Depending upon your point of view, this is either a fascinating scientific study with tantalizing clues, or a boring and very unscientific waste of time. The entire concept borders on science fiction, and certainly crosses the line into popular Hollywood "monsters."

But, where there are monsters, there are people, and where there are people, there is imagination and memory. Before we dismiss any of these creatures out of hand, it pays to examine a few basic facts.

Dragons and other fantastic creatures; are they real?
Dragons and other fantastic creatures; are they real? | Source

Universal Legends

No matter how odd the beast, there have been tales of sightings around the world, across cultures, and over huge spans of time.

From the earliest recorded writings to the present day, there are accounts of strange beasts, including such things as dragons, sea monsters, human-like furred creatures and many more.

The thing to remember is this: in the days before global mass communication, it is virtually impossible that any one culture would have heard from any other culture on the other side of the world to compare notes and "contaminate" their own pool of stories.

The lack of instantaneous news flashing around the world is only one reason such comparisons and copy-cat legends are unlikely. The most common other reason is war. For most of human history, any civilization advanced enough to go exploring usually treated native peoples they discovered as a sub-human species to be conquered and destroyed.

They did not compare notes.

Given that uncomfortable fact, it then stands to reason that the similarity in so many of these various cultures' stories worldwide had to have at least some basis in fact. There must, indeed, have been some giant ape-type animal loping through the North American woods or the Australian Outback (to offer a single example).

Nessie? You Decide

The Loch Ness Monster

Nearly everyone has heard of this sea creature, dubbed "Nessie" by her fans. There has also been a sighting of a similar animal in Lake Champlain here in the United States. That one is dubbed, "Champ."

Both are described as very long animals, up to 30 feet in length, and raising heads out of the water as high as 3 feet as they swim along. Unfortunately, both lakes are so deep, so large, so dark and murky and so cold that going hunting for these beings is rendered nearly impossible.

"How convenient!" The skeptics point out. Many attempts have been made to prove these are nothing more than hoaxes, and the opponents have designed all kinds of elaborate creations attempting to mimic the supposed fraud.

Unfortunately for the believers, there have been fake photos from time to time. Still, there have been other photos taken since, and with more modern equipment. Many of these have been analyzed by experts in photographic manipulation, and very few were found to be fakes.

That said, the earliest recorded sightings reach back in time to something like 560-something CE, which was well before the invention of the camera or such technology as "PhotoShop™."

Big Foot?  Man in ape suit?  What do YOU think?
Big Foot? Man in ape suit? What do YOU think? | Source
A sculptural representation
A sculptural representation

That Ape-Suit Guy...

The argument goes on about this ape-like creature, and the most famous "movie" of it walking along in the woods certainly appears to be a hoax--it truly looks like a guy in an ape-suit. (See photo at right.) However, this ape-man has been spotted at all elevations around the world. It goes by as many names as there are cultures who have claimed to see it.

In Australia, it is the Yowie; in Tibet, the Yeti; here in North America, it is known as Big Foot; Sasquatch in Canada; Yeren in China, and a whole host of other names, the majority of which sound like Native American words.

It could be argued that this is a but a large bear, and tales were invented by these "Indian" mothers to keep youngsters from wandering off alone into the woods. Who knows? The people who gave us these names are no longer with us for interview purposes.

The largest argument against these creatures continues to be the lack of any physical evidence in the form of nesting sites, bones, or other leavings that could identify a group of individuals. Any species obviously must have a group large enough to insure survival and procreation.

Further Reading

Cryptozoology A To Z: The Encyclopedia of Loch Monsters, Sasquatch, Chupacabras, and Other Authentic Mysteries of Nature
Cryptozoology A To Z: The Encyclopedia of Loch Monsters, Sasquatch, Chupacabras, and Other Authentic Mysteries of Nature

As the title says--an "A to Z" exploration of mysterious creatures, this book has it all! A Fascinating read, or reference book.

 

Unless you accept the theory of alien races from the stars being involved in early human history, there is no explanation for how so many different cultures around the world share the same legends.

Interview With an Eyewitness

Dragons

Here's an interesting puzzle. Dragons appear in folklore all around the world, from the Arthurian Legends in which brave knights slew dragons to rescue young ladies, (oh, sorry, that would have been "fair damsels" in those days), through to the abundant appearance of such creatures in Chinese culture. The European dragons usually appear much more realistic, looking like "scary-beasts," while the Chinese dragons look much more stylized and 'artsy.'

In any case, as with the other strange creatures, we must look to evidence and possibilities. Could someone mistake a very large bat for a dragon? Hmmmm...perhaps, if they'd had a pint too many of the grog at the local pub, but it is doubtful. The very largest bats have a wingspan of just about 7 feet--but they are the so-called "Flying Foxes," and are limited in habitat range to the tropical regions of Southeast Asia and Australia.

Here's another interesting proposition, one for which there is abundant fossil evidence. Could it be that some remnant of the dinosaur era overlapped with humans? There were huge winged reptilians, known as Pterodactyls, with terrifying beaks full of sharp teeth and equally deadly claws with wingspans ranging from a few inches to over forty feet!

I can readily see how these ferocious ancestors to birds could look like what we now call dragons.

Well worth the 40 minutes to watch!

Everyone Must Decide For Themselves

At least for the time being, this is the way it is. There is so far no physical scientific evidence or proof for the existence of any of these creatures; only tantalizing glimpses in remote areas.

To what do we attribute this massive body of stories of fantastic creatures? Mass hallucinations? Unlikely, for that phenomenon normally takes place in a large group setting with the affected persons all present at the same time. No, these stories; legends; folklore; whatever name you wish to apply, go back too far in time over too many continents to qualify as hallucinations.

Hoaxes, to be sure, have occurred numerous times. The motives vary, but it is the pranksters themselves who usually have the last laugh that they have succeeded in fooling another group of "suckers." But what of the images that have been certified as un-manipulated; the descriptions and videos that cannot be replicated by people trying to determine if a hoax was the cause?

Personally, I keep an open mind on the matter, for I feel there is yet much about our planet that we have yet to discover. But, I will at this point add my two-cents-worth on the second video of the Pterodactyl. To my eye, it just seems too jerky; too cut-up, and I am not totally convinced that it is not a remote-control gizmo. My ex-husband was heavily into radio-controlled planes, including R/C gliders (sailplanes) that used no motors. One of these was modeled to look exactly like a seagull, except that it only soared; the wings were fixed and did not flap. It was so realistic in appearance and size that real seagulls would follow the silly thing!

The court is in recess, and the final decision has yet to be rendered.

Weigh In

Do you think any of these strange creatures really exist?

  • Not a chance--it's all hogwash!
  • Maybe, I'm not sure.
  • Of course! We humans don't know everything.
  • It's possible--stranger things have happened.
  • The jury is still out: I'll keep an open mind.
See results without voting

© 2012 DzyMsLizzy

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Comments 38 comments

davenmidtown profile image

davenmidtown 4 years ago from Sacramento, California

DzyMsLizzy: Makes one wonder a bit does it not... It is interesting that some laws are formed based on culture,etc...maybe the are all read? Voted up and very interesting... except we don't have VERY button!!


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 4 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

Hello, davenmidtown--

Thanks much. I'm pleased you enjoyed this. My inspriation was actually a 10-year-old kid who finds this a fascinating topic.


davenmidtown profile image

davenmidtown 4 years ago from Sacramento, California

I did too when I was ten... maybe that spark still exists....


instantlyfamily profile image

instantlyfamily 4 years ago

My husband, myself and our eight year old son just had an in dept discussion about this very subject, a few nights back. It really is an interesting topic. I enjoyed your hub and plan to share it with my son when he wakes up this morning.


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 4 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

@ dave--LOL--yes, I think there is something in human nature that wants to believe in something just out of reach. ;-)

@ instantlyfamily--It is an interesting topic, with so many variables and "what-ifs" to ponder. I'm glad you enjoyed it, and hope your son does as well. Thanks for stopping by.


Owl Ka Myst profile image

Owl Ka Myst 4 years ago from In the Valley of Grapes

That dash cam video is really interesting. I lived in Bigfoot country. Looking out my window is a valley of rugged forested land with almost no sign of humans. It would be easy to get, or rather, be lost in all that. Once, while checking on our spring and water tanks, my dog and daughter chased something large like a bear, but ran on two legs. What ever it was out ran the dog.

I don't give much credit to the guy who took pictures of the flying dino. I have seen remote controlled flying toys exactly like that. Perhaps if there was some sort of size reference it would be more questionable to me. However, the pilot interview, I believe.

I have heard other stories about there being pterodactyls still flying around. Most coming out of south America.


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 4 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

Hi, Owl Ka Myst--

So true about the "flying dino" it does look like an R/C toy, doesn't it?!

Have you thought about setting up a motion-sensored trap camera at the edge of your woods? ;-) (Yeah, I know--those are expensive!)

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience!


tlpoague profile image

tlpoague 4 years ago from USA

Finally, I have a chance to get back to reading and commenting on your hub. My hubby is a part of the BFRO. I think Bigfoot is real because I once heard one while we were camping. If it wasn't for my hubby I may not have given it a second thought. Some people will be skeptic no matter how much proof is before them. I was a big skeptic laughing at my hubby and claiming Bigfoot was an alien till I heard it. Then I had to stop and take the time to search out the proof for myself. Great hub! Very interesting food for thought. Thanks for sharing it!


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 4 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

Hello, tlpoague--

Oh, how interesting that your husband belongs to the research group! That must have been quite an experience for you. It is always good to do your own research on any matter.

Aliens...hmmm... for all I know, perhaps all of us were seeded here by aliens. ;-)

Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your story.


That Grrl profile image

That Grrl 4 years ago from Barrie, Ontario, Canada

I was born in the Year of the Dragon. I like reading about them and I choose to believe dragons do exist, even if no one else believes me.


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 4 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

Hi, That Grrl--

Thanks very much for stopping by and adding a comment. If you like reading about dragons (or at least stories with dragons in them), you might enjoy the Pern series of books by Anne McCaffrey. I've written a general review of the series here on Hub Pages. But then again, perhaps you already know of those books.

Cheers! ;-)


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

Nice!

So far as I know cryptozoology also encompasses things extinct, and the efforts to clone a Thylacine come to mind. I might be mistaken though, as I need to review that whole deal.


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 4 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

Hello, Wesman Todd Shaw-

Thanks very much. You are correct--the term can also encompass a hunt for animals thought to be extinct, but its more common usage is tht of a search for animals of myth and legend. The orgin, according to my dictionary, is from the Greek, "kryptos," meaning hidden, added to "zoology," meaning study of animals.

I'm pleased that you liked the article, and I apprciate your input.


jenb0128 profile image

jenb0128 3 years ago from Michigan

I've always been fascinated by this topic. Whenever anyone teases me for my interest in "Nessie," I like to remind them that people used to think the giant squid was only a myth, but it turned out to be real.


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 3 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

Hello, jenb0128,

You are so right! There are more strange things, and unexplored areas under the waters of this planet than we can imagine. When you consider how much of the land is really under water, you realize how small our explorations have been. For example, they just discovered something on the order of a thousand new species of plankton!

And--people thought the Coelacanth was extinct as of the end of the late cretaceous period; then they found a group in 1938!

Thank you so much for stopping by and adding to the fodder.


grand old lady profile image

grand old lady 2 years ago from Philippines

You made a good argument for the dragon. At any rate, glad they aren't around now.


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 2 years ago from Oakley, CA Author

Hi there, grand old lady,

Thanks for reading; I'm glad you enjoyed the article. I have to agree; I'd not like to meet up with a dragon, myself!


Sunder1 profile image

Sunder1 22 months ago from India

Some of the creatures are really terrifying but as you said they are all can be imaginary


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 21 months ago from Houston, Texas

I keep an open mind on subjects like this as well as other things of non earthly origin. This earth not to mention the universe has many things yet to discover. Happy to share this information.


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 21 months ago from Oakley, CA Author

@Sunder1 --They might be imaginary, and they might not. An open mind is the best idea.

@ Peggy W --I agree. A closed mind only gathers moss and other detritus. And yes, the universe is so vast, that they are now talking about the concept of "multi-verses!"

Glad you enjoyed the read! Thanks much for the share!


mary615 profile image

mary615 21 months ago from Florida

Well, I have to tell you this Hub is the most interesting one I've read today! I've never really given any thought to the subject of these strange sightings. There are probably many things "out there" we haven't seen with our naked eyes, but who is to say they arent' there??


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 21 months ago from Oakley, CA Author

Hi there, Mary615!

Why, thank you very much! I'm delighted you so enjoyed this article. And I agree with you totally; we actually know more about space than about some of the things right here on Earth!

They have recently discovered some very strange fish way down in the deep ocean, where we are just now having the technology to explore.

And there are plenty of unexplored, remote forest and jungle areas, as well. Who knows, indeed!


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 21 months ago from East Coast, United States

Hi Lizzy, this is a fascinating topic and so much fun. My father and I used to love to watch this kind of stuff on TV and would laugh our heads off. However, I do recall being at the beach and seeing some pretty weird stuff out in the ocean. They say that humidity and light and water can play some crazy tricks on our eyes and it makes me wonder if most of those strange sightings could be skewed perceptions. I also wonder if the concept of dragons came from someone's find of a dinosaur fossil.


StephanieBCrosby profile image

StephanieBCrosby 21 months ago from New Jersey

I was delighted to come across this article. When I was tutoring I had a young student who already knew he wanted to be a cryptozoologist. So I tailored as much of my advisement to his passion.


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 21 months ago from Oakley, CA Author

@ Dolores Monet - You could be right about the dinosaur fossils. Any such thing found in the days before paleontology came into its own would certainly give pause. As far as skewed perceptions, I'm sure that played a part as well. I'm most pleased you enjoyed this hub!

@ StephanieBCrosby - Thank you so much for your kind words. It sounds as if you are the kind of tutor/educator I'd like to hire, if my dream of a private school focusing on keeping learning fun, and individually tailored, were ever to become a reality. Unlikely, at my age and financial circumstances! LOL


vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 21 months ago from Peru, South America

I didn´t realize there´s a name for the study of these creatures. I found your analysis of it very interesting. A friend who lives in California claims he heard a big foot type of creature in an unexplored forest area. The experience startled him and it´s hair-raising to hear his tale. I do believe there was something out there, and I agree with you that we don´t know everything about the planet.


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 21 months ago from Oakley, CA Author

Hi there, vespawoolf,

Yes, it is an obscure field of study, or has been. I guess it is beginning to enter mainstream media these days, what with all the TV shows about chasing all kinds of creatures..."Destination Truth" comes to mind.

Personally, I think they are all a few rocks short of a full box for running around in unknown jungles after dark!! I guess it sells TV ratings, but it really isn't very smart, or a good way to find out things and do research.

Glad you liked the article--thanks much for your comment. I'll bet your friend was scared!!


poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 20 months ago

I think one can have some funny with the odd beasties. I for one can't wait until the government reveals that they have the headless rainbow corpse of a space alien in area 69. After all, didn't the CIA just admit that they were the UFO pilots?


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 20 months ago from Oakley, CA Author

Thanks for stopping by, poetryman6969! LOL at your spoof and jab at the government cover-ups!

It's a funny topic, to be sure. Who knows? Who really knows? Certainly not those idiots looking for TV ratings by running around in the jungle after dark!


Romanian profile image

Romanian 20 months ago from Oradea, Romania

I don't think that the stories about big foot are real. A creature as big as him should be easy to be find in a forest. It's only fiction, but this kind of stories are interesting.


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 20 months ago from Oakley, CA Author

Hello, Romanian,

You know, I'm not so sure myself. It does seem unrealistic, but then again, many forests are very large areas, and terrain that is difficult to traverse, so who knows? Maybe real; maybe fantasy. Fun to explore the idea, though. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your perspective!


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 20 months ago from San Diego California

Intriguing, but I always wonder why they never find a dead one or a skeleton. I am inclined to think the dragon legends come from discovering dinosaur bones, which exist across the globe and no one at that time could explain. I'm afraid I wii remain skeptical until we get a specimen, but I respect your viewpoint. Great hub!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 20 months ago from Queensland Australia

Very interesting hub dzymslizzy. I have books on cryptozoology and have actually written a hub on some of Australia's strange creatures. The large bear walking on hind legs could possibly be mistaken for "big foot" or "yeti"(in fact I read the possibility of this being a polar bear)but couldn't have been mistaken for a "yowie" as we don't have any bears in Australia. Voted up.


Uzochukwu Mike profile image

Uzochukwu Mike 20 months ago from Oba

My first time to hear about this topic. Thanks for shearing this.


KMSplumeau profile image

KMSplumeau 20 months ago

I love reading about cryptozoology! Granted, I can't say I actually believe much of it, but it's so interesting to hear about the local legends associated with many mythological creatures. Thank you for posting this article, great read!


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 20 months ago from Oakley, CA Author

@ Mel Carriere--Your opening sentence raises a good point, which I mention in my article. However, I recently saw a show with a possible explanation. A dead deer was found, shortly after it had expired, and a camera was set up to watch the carcass. Within a period of about a week, it was gone. Between scavenger species, bugs, bacteria and the chemical interactions of the decaying matter on the forest floor, there was nothing left. Taking the argument that "we never find any remains," as negative evidence, we have to then stop and think; we don't often find remains of any of the animals we do know about. Further, the very remote areas where most of these sightings seem to take place provide plenty of cover opportunity for any remains to be missed.

Don't take my article wrong; I, too, am somewhat skeptical, but I will keep an open mind. There are still probably hundreds if not thousands of various species we still have not found in remote and inaccessible areas, whether in deep forests, high elevations, or undersea. In some ways, we know more about space than about our own planet.

I'm pleased that you enjoyed the article, and I thank you for the vote!

@ Jodah--Interesting; I'll definitely have to look up your hub. It sounds fascinating. I agree it is doubtful a polar bear would be found in Australia! LOL I'm glad you enjoyed the hub, and I thank you for the vote.

@ Uzochukwu Mike--Thank you very much; I'm pleased that you found the article interesting.

@ KMSplumeau--I, too, remain skeptical, but with an open mind. I do find the subject intriguing, and remain hopeful that one day these mysteries will be solved, one way or the other. Thanks for stopping by; I'm glad you liked the article!


PurvisBobbi44 profile image

PurvisBobbi44 20 months ago from Florida

Hi,

I believe anything is possible in our world. Our earth still has many secrets that may never be discovered in our lifetime.

Thanks for a very interesting hub to read on a cold day in Florida.

Bobbi Purvis

I will share with Twitter and pin on my re-pin board.


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 20 months ago from Oakley, CA Author

Hi there, Bobbi!

I agree--keeping an open mind is the best course. As long as we don't leave it so open our brains fall out, as some seem to do. LOL I"m sure you know the type of whom I speak. (And sadly, some of them are to be found in our current Congress!)

So pleased you enjoyed the article, and I thank you very much for the share and pin!

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