Can 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.