The investigation of natural mysteries with a biological emphasis.

What is cryptozoology?

Unlike what you might infer from cable tv programming, cryptozoology is not 'monster hunting', or crashing around in the woods at night getting spooked by every strange noise you hear.

Cryptozoology is a scientific ethnoknown-targeted methodology for zoological discovery. What does that mean? Let's take this in steps.

1) First, it is scientific. This means that it is intended to provide an objective, measurable, and repeatable critical analysis of data from the natural world, in hopes of interpreting it in an understandable and rational manner. (Sufficient physical evidence, for example, will allow objective and repeatable analysis.)

2) Second, it is a methodology, or a set of techniques utilized in zoology, anthropology, and other hard and soft sciences, with a specific goal.

3) Third, cryptozoology is intended for zoological discovery (whether for a new species or a rediscovered one). There are several ways zoological discovery can occur (accident, random trapping, site-specific surveys, etc.). This is just one of many means by which a new animal species can be discovered for scientific confirmation, description, and study.

4) Fourth, cryptozoology targets ethnoknown species. These are alleged animals with enough salience (observable characteristics) to be recognized as something distinctive or unknown, either by a native people group, or chance eyewitnesses. In some cases, a cryptid may be well-known, while in others it may only have been reported a handful of times.

Cryptozoology is not just about Bigfoot, sea serpents, lake monsters, and the like. There are hundreds of mystery animal reports from all over the globe which would make excellent choices for cryptozoological investigation.

Investigation of cryptids involves the following basic steps:

1) Recognition of a cryptid, or mystery animal. You have to identify a target, through eyewitness sightings and ethnozoological reports. Some mystery animals are too vague, or may have better explanations than an unknown species, so some initial filtering is necessary.

2) Collect data on the mystery animal (eyewitness details) and on its alleged environment and habits. You'll also need to do some research on possible related (known) species, whether primates, felines, canines, etc.

3) Use the collected data to create a methodology which should allow you to acquire the best evidence to confirm that the mystery animal is a new species, or that another explanation is more likely. (What you don't want to do is create and use a methodology that just continues to provide more and more poor-quality evidence.)

4) Follow through on the methodology. If you acquire evidence, it should be made available for scientific evaluation.

Success in cryptozoology is not dependent on the satisfactory confirmation of a new species. While that's a great scenario, it is also good to be able to clear away chaff, finding evidence for hoaxes or misidentifications.