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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Term: Cryptozoology

I am so glad this all came up with the news on the Bigfoot Expedition by the BFRO, because I have been really waiting for something to come up so I could broach this topic with a bit of a segue from our recent Supernatural-centric posts. Of course, I can always just flit from subject to subject, but a good segue is always... good. Unless you stick a Bigfoot in it.

And speaking of Bigfoot...

Cryptozoology is not a very popular term outside of phenomenalists and enthusiasts and is frequently misused and misdefined. Cryptozoology was first coined by Bernard Heuvelmans and means, quite literally, "The search for and study of unknown animals." In its purest and strictest sense, cryptozoology has absolutely nothing to do with legend, mythology, or folklore, but the connotation exists specifically because most unknown animals (that is to say, animals not catalogued by science - specifically zoology) are usually found in folklore long before they are actually catalogued. That is to say eyewitness accounts and general stories exist long before the creature(s) is actually verified by the eggheads what run The Show, and so these accounts are relegated to the folklore bin.

Of course, new species of animals - both small and large - are discovered on a very regular basis. One of the greatest slaps in the face to modern scientists occurred in 1992, when a species of a Vietnamese antelope that indigenous peoples had reported for years and years was finally photographed - of course, many mainstream scientists had previously mocked these inhabitants, insisting the creature was a "mass hallucination" and the result of, basically, ignorant, untrained peasants and their overactive imaginations fueled by campfire stories and folklore.

Cryptozoology is not a bad word, it has just assumed a bad connotation from mainstream scientists who consider it "fringe" science.

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