The mere mention of Cryptozoology is enough for many to immediately shake their heads in disbelief. The thought of grown men wearing gillie suits playing some sort of hide and seek game with the elusive sasquatch – otherwise known as BigFoot, or camping out on the river banks hoping for a brief glimpse of Nessie the Lochness Monster – a prehistoric monster.
Are those interested in cryptozoology just crazy nut bags wanting to be ‘different’, or is there some merit to their investigations?
The truth is there are a lot of animals that are now well known in science that not too long ago were considered to be myths. And it was not until investigators studying cryptozoology found the evidence of these ‘monsters’ that they were widely accepted.
Horror Australia invites you to take a look at a number of creatures that were considered myths until cryptozoologists proved their existence, further showcasing why cryptozoology deserves your respect.
THE GIANT SQUID
Some thirty-odd years ago the Giant Squid was considered a myth, a story told by sailors who many regarded as having too much alcoholic beverages while on the high seas. Sightings of the Giant Squid were laughed off at the local drinking hole and compared to sightings of the mermaid.
However, in December 2006 video footage was released of a Giant Squid and in an instant this creature had simply gone from myth – a creature of cryptozoology – to scientific fact.
Once considered a myth the Megamouth Shark, was a mythical creature, once seen by fishermen and then further investigation by cryptozoologists. It however once again scientific fact when it was confirmed to exist in 1976 after a Megamouth Shark was captured.
Since that date only 60 specimens have been caught, or sighted, and only three have been caught on tape alive and in the wild.
For centuries people scoffed at the idea of hairy humanoid creatures living deep in the mountains of Africa. It wasn’t until 1847, when naturalist Thomas Savage obtained several gorilla bones, including skulls, in Liberia, and wrote, with Harvard anatomist Jeffries Wyman, the first formal description of the gorilla that people began to believe.
It wasn’t until a decade later with explorer Paul du Chaillu sent several carcasses back to Europe that people finally began to accept the existence of Gorillas. Mountain Gorillas however remained a myth until 1902 when they were first identified by German captain Robert von Beringe.
The Panda Bears have been well known though out China for centuries. However, westerners thought the Panda Bear was nothing more than a mere myth when stories were told of the black and white vegetarian bear sitting in the mountains.
For over 60-years westerners stomped through the forests of China looking for evidence of the black and white panda. It was not until 1916 when German zoologist Hugo Weigold finally spotted one that the western world started to believe and the Panda Bear went from a mythical cryptozoology creature to scientific fact.
We have all heard stories of medieval times of fire breathing dragons, flying around castles as princesses were locked inside which is why when stories came out of an Indonesian island filled with giant reptiles not many believed. However, in 1926, an expedition team from the American Museum of Natural History confirmed that the tales of the giant reptiles were true.
The leader of the expedition, W. Douglas Burden, returned with twelve Komodo Dragon corpses, and two live ones Thus proving the creatures existence to the amazement of science.
Closer to home even one of our most native and loved creatures, the Platypus, was considered a myth until investigations by zoologist and cryptozoologists that they – like many animals before them – went from myth to scientific fact.
When reports first began to surface of a strange egg laying mammal with a duck bill, and beaver tail first started to emerge, most scientists thought they were a myth.
Infact even when the first corpse was discovered and sent to Europe for further studies in 1798 Dr George Shaw was so convinced it was an elaborate hoax set up by a skilled taxidermist that he took a pair of scissors to the pelt expecting to find stitches connecting the bill to the skin – however, found nothing.
So with the above creatures becoming scientific fact, and more species being discovered, the genre of Cryptozoology deserves some respect as it is those who are actively searching for new species that could discover the next breed of domesticated animal.