A cryptid is an unknown animal, and cryptozoology is the study of such undiscovered creatures. The root of both words comes from the Greek word kriptos, meaning hidden. The term "cryptid" was first coined by John E. Wall in 1983, in the newsletter of the International Society of Cryptozoology (http://internationalcryptozoologicalsociety.wordpress.com/)
The first area of cryptozoology is the search for still-living examples of animals generally thought to be extinct. For instance, the Hokkaidō wolf is still being sighted in Japan, although it allegedly vanished in the 1860s. Stories of giant grizzly bears in northern regions have led some to theorize that there may be remnant populations of the giant short-faced bear – a creature that went extinct 12,500 years ago. In Africa’s Congo, stories of the mokele-mbeme appear to describe a species of dinosaur. And is the megalodon, a giant prehistoric shark, still swimming in the unexplored depths of our oceans?
|Could this be the lake monster, Ogopogo?|
Some cryptids verified
Many cryptids have been confirmed to be actual, living animals. The Mountain Gorilla, the Okapi, the Komodo Dragon, the Platypus, and even the Kangaroo were once thought to be
|A diver swimming with a Coelacanth|
|The Ulama of folklore is the|
Spot-bellied Eagle Owl!
A similar thing happened in Western Indonesia, where Moni folklore featured the Bondegezou -- the "man of the forest". In 1994, an animal new to science was discovered there: the Dingiso. This tree marsupial spends a lot of time on the ground and often stands upright.
Cryptids we'd probably rather not find
Hopefully the Mongolian Death Worm will remain the stuff of legend. The residents of the Gobi Desert consider it bad luck to even mention this giant snakelike creature. Said to be attracted to the color yellow, the Death Worm itself is described as bright red, and able to kill at a distance by spraying an acid-like venom. In some stories, it kills by electrocuting its victims!
Myths abound of the Yacumama, a giant snake said to inhabit parts of the Amazon. Normal anacondas reach lengths of over 20 feet, but the Yacumama is said to grow to 150 feet or more! Meanwhile, "Fangalabolo" is the name of a giant vampire bat, "the fear that flies at night", which is said to terrify the residents of Madagascar. Stories say it has a five-foot wingspan.
Giveaway (NOTE - this contest is now CLOSED)
I’ve always been a huge fan of cryptozoology – it sparks both imagination and wonder. I like
|A field guide to cryptids, myths and legends|
Congrats to BECKY. Her name was drawn as the winner of this giveaway.
The prize is a paperback copy of
The Mythical Creatures Bible: The Definitive Guide to Legendary Beings
by Brenda Rosen
Thanks to everyone who stopped by to read my post, and to everyone who entered the drawing. It's great to hear from other cryptid fans, and I wish I could give you all a prize!