Cryptozoology Meeting In London

ZSL-crypto-composite-June-2011-490-pxCan the search for monsters and mystery creatures please become a reputable branch of science? Scientific American has a report on a meeting of experts who take the matter very seriously. Maybe they can investigate my mother-in-law (*slide whistle*):

The meeting was chaired by Henry Gee. Henry explained how the discovery of Homo floresiensis led him to take seriously the idea that “perhaps stories of other human-like creatures might be founded on grains of truth” (Gee 2004).

Dr. Michael Woodley showed how species discovery curves for large marine animals generally seem to match the numbers of undiscovered species purported to exist on the basis of circumstantial accounts. In discussing several key ‘Cadborosaurus’ and long-necked seal accounts, Michael also explained how – since most cryptozoological claims are published in the ‘grey literature’ – they escape evaluation, even when this is deserved or even required.

If cryptozoology is imagined as the investigation of ‘target’ animals whose existence is supported by circumstantial and/or anecdotal evidence (eyewitness accounts forming the bulk of such evidence), then one might argue (as I have) that cryptozoology is practised far and wide by ‘ordinary’, technically qualified biologists. A list of species have been discovered following the investigation of either local tales and legends, or fleeting observations of what were (at the time) mystery animals.

One idea is that the strong negative stigma attached to cryptozoology is a recent phenomenon, that the field has fallen into disrepute since the collapse of the International Society of Cryptozoology during the 1990s, and that it needs rescue and invigoration.

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  • jasonpaulhayes

    “Can the search for monsters and mystery creatures please become a reputable branch of science?” No, no it cannot, we don’t have the budget to go looking for Unicorns and Gods.

    • Anarchy Pony

      No one thinks unicorns exist. and gods aren’t creatures. There is however strong possibilities that creatures such as the sasquatch and yeti do in fact exist. Along with at least a few feasible “sea monsters”.

      • DeepCough

        Well, there was no doubt in my mind that the Kraken existed, that’s why I’ve stayed away from beaches for over 10 years.

  • http://twitter.com/jasonpaulhayes jasonpaulhayes

    “Can the search for monsters and mystery creatures please become a reputable branch of science?” No, no it cannot, we don’t have the budget to go looking for Unicorns and Gods.

  • DeepCough

    Look, if Google Earth cannot find these creatures, or any traces thereof, then they probably don’t exist.

  • DeepCough

    Look, if Google Earth cannot find these creatures, or any traces thereof, then they probably don’t exist.

  • Anarchy Wolf

    No one thinks unicorns exist. and gods aren’t creatures. There is however strong possibilities that creatures such as the sasquatch and yeti do in fact exist. Along with at least a few feasible “sea monsters”.

  • DeepCough

    Well, there was no doubt in my mind that the Kraken existed, that’s why I’ve stayed away from beaches for over 10 years.

  • John Dockum

    Cryptozoologists always throw the coelocanth  out there as if it was found by this field, but it was not.  The science that found the coelocanth was called zoology because they actually looked at one caught in a net and then went to find it in nature.  That is a pretty straight forward method. That is NOT the method they are using for loch ness or sasquatch.  So far, there is no evidence for either creature that cannot be explained away as a hoax.  Unscientifically minded people will have a cow when they read that, but educated individuals will know that in science the extraordinary cannot be considered true if the ordinary explanation holds more or equal merit.  Just because you see a wrinkle in a footprint that you don’t think could be caused by a man in a suit, doesn’t suddenly make it a genuine footprint.  It means you are a crappy bigfoot costume expert.

    • RoboKy

      “…but educated individuals will know that in science the extraordinary
      cannot be considered true if the ordinary explanation holds more or
      equal merit.”

      That may often be the case, but when it comes to the study of unknown/suspected animal(because that really is what cryptozoology is, despite many peoples efforts to paint it as nothing more then Big Foot/Nessie research) history has a funny way of often shaming the scientific experts.  The Mountain Gorilla, the Panda, the Duck-billed Platypus; all animals who’s existence was scoffed at by early zoologists and assumed to be wiled tales of savages, until someone shot one and dragged it back to “civilization”.  And lets not forget that Cryptozoologists were the first to really rally around the idea that the Ivory Billed Woodpecker had, in fact, not yet gone extinct. 

      Being skeptical of the existence of Nessie may be warranted, using that skepticism to completely write off the study/evidence of ALL other possibly unknown animals is painting with a really wide, unscientific brush.

      • DeepCough

        The problem with cryptozoologists is that they like to stay in the realm of speculation, and then when someone else finds a long-lost creature, of course, they’ll try to take credit for saying it existed without taking the trouble to look for it.

  • John Dockum

    Cryptozoologists always throw the coelocanth  out there as if it was found by this field, but it was not.  The science that found the coelocanth was called zoology because they actually looked at one caught in a net and then went to find it in nature.  That is a pretty straight forward method. That is NOT the method they are using for loch ness or sasquatch.  So far, there is no evidence for either creature that cannot be explained away as a hoax.  Unscientifically minded people will have a cow when they read that, but educated individuals will know that in science the extraordinary cannot be considered true if the ordinary explanation holds more or equal merit.  Just because you see a wrinkle in a footprint that you don’t think could be caused by a man in a suit, doesn’t suddenly make it a genuine footprint.  It means you are a crappy bigfoot costume expert.

  • Anonymous

    “…but educated individuals will know that in science the extraordinary
    cannot be considered true if the ordinary explanation holds more or
    equal merit.”

    That may often be the case, but when it comes to the study of unknown/suspected animal(because that really is what cryptozoology is, despite many peoples efforts to paint it as nothing more then Big Foot/Nessie research) history has a funny way of often shaming the scientific experts.  The Mountain Gorilla, the Panda, the Duck-billed Platypus; all animals who’s existence was scoffed at by early zoologists and assumed to be wiled tales of savages, until someone shot one and dragged it back to “civilization”.  And lets not forget that Cryptozoologists were the first to really rally around the idea that the Ivory Billed Woodpecker had, in fact, not yet gone extinct. 

    Being skeptical of the existence of Nessie may be warranted, using that skepticism to completely write off the study/evidence of ALL other possibly unknown animals is painting with a really wide, unscientific brush.

  • DeepCough

    The problem with cryptozoologists is that they like to stay in the realm of speculation, and then when someone else finds a long-lost creature, of course, they’ll try to take credit for saying it existed without taking the trouble to look for it.