Thursday, July 26, 2007

Defying the Imperial Presidency or something about Cryptids

drawings by marguerita
Cryptids are creatures so rare and elusive that, even if they do exist, any particular expedition is unlikely to encounter one. It is much easier to collect sightings from witnesses who came across the cryptid by accident. Since most cryptids have remained in the realm of the mythical, the main job of cryptozoologists is not to prove that a certain cryptid exists, but rather to collect and analyze as many sightings as possible in order to determine if the available evidence is strong enough to keep the question open. If they can make a good case for keeping the question open, they may be able to attract , which in turn brings the kind of research funding and manpower that has a real chance of uncovering an undiscovered animal. Alas, as soon as an animal becomes truly respectable, it exits the field of cryptozoology.
The real science begins when a cryptid is being more seriously investigated by biologists than by cryptozoologists. Because cryptozoology is by definition a speculative science, cryptozoologists often rub shoulders with folklorists.
Some think these creatures are missing links, other researchers think they are primates, and yet others think they are primitive humans.
In the "primates" camp, the presumably extinct giant ape Gigantopithecus has become a favorite candidate.

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