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Cryptid Petting Zoo
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Hiding with Schrödinger's cat

A cryptid is an animal claimed to exist, but for which there is no type specimen or formal description. The claims can be made either by cryptozoologists (people who attempt to use scientific methods to discover such creatures), or by people who think they saw a strange creature. These days you can find all manner of "evidence" for any creature under the sun by tuning into the History Channel or your local kook's Youtube channel.

Well-known cryptids[edit]

For more information, see: Examples of famous cryptids

Cryptids are reported from many parts of the world, but some have achieved worldwide fame despite, or perhaps because of, consistent lack of proof of their existence. These include:

  • Bipedal, ape-like creatures such as Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Yeti, skunk ape, etc, commonly spotted in forests and wildernesses. A variant is found in cities, such as The Monkey Man of Delhi and Spring Heeled Jack (unless it was a man in a bat suit).
  • Large, often long-necked creatures reported from lakes, rivers, or the open sea; examples include the Loch Ness Monster and Bunyip.
  • Mysterious animals which attack livestock or even humans, such as the Chupacabra and Drop Bear.
  • Ugly flying creatures such as the Jersey Devil and Mothman
  • Animals occurring far outside their usual range, such as alien big cats in the United Kingdom.
  • Creatures generally considered to be extinct but for which claims of survival, and possible sightings, are made; examples include the thylacine and the ivory-billed woodpeckerWikipedia.
  • Creatures of which the existence has not been proven but which are said to have descended from existence-proven creatures that are extinct, such as the cadborosaurusWikipedia, which is said to be a descendent of the plesiosaur.

Mythical beasts such as dragons or unicorns are not cryptids — nobody who isn't batshit crazy still seriously claims that they exist.


Xanthopan morganii

Via study and simple science, unknown creatures have often been inserted into mainstream science. Examples include

  • Giant Squid
  • Okapi
  • Platypus (assumed to be a fake when the first skins arrived in Britain)
  • Komodo Dragon
  • Xanthopan morganiiWikipedia, a moth with a 12-inch tongue, as predicted (by Charles Darwin) with the Comet Orchid in Madagascar.

Cryptids and creationism[edit]

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a ropen! Nope: it's a frigatebird.

Some creationists state that reports of surviving dinosaur-like creatures in remote parts of the world disprove evolution and prove a young earth (for example, the bunyip or the Mokele-mbembe). There is even a website devoted to this topic: Genesis Park.

Creationist "forensic videographer"[1] Jonathan Whitcomb tried to convince people that there were still living pterosaurs in Papua New Guinea in his book Searching for Ropens and his less-disingenuously titled sequel Searching for Ropens and Finding God. He offered, by way of evidence, some local mythology and blurry photos and video of what is likely a frigatebird.[2]

Why surviving dinosaurs would disprove evolution (when known Mesozoic survivals such as magnolias, sharks and crocodilians do not) is not adequately explained. Hint to creationists: dinosaurs actually survived the Mesozoic, they're called birds.

See also[edit]