The Future Of Cryptozoology

Discussion in 'Cryptozoology: General' started by lordmongrove, May 15, 2018.

  1. lordmongrove

    lordmongrove Justified & Ancient

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  2. Jim

    Jim Abominable Snowman

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    Some recent-relatively_recent discoveries of large animals include the Megamouth Shark, the Kabomani Tabir and the Vu Quang Ox. I remain skeptical of many cryptid claims, but I believe there's still some out there.
     
  3. Sharon Hill

    Sharon Hill Complicated biological machine

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    I find a WHOLE LOT to disagree with here. Redfern is in a particular neighborhood of cryptozoology. That side of town has gone to the dogs (more like dogmen, because that subject and paranormal themes DOMINATE cryptozoological meetups here in the US). Redfern has deliberately ignored, unless forced to acknowledge, the more scholarly side of cryptozoology which is, in fact, flourishing. Researchers and writers in this scene don't push out several volumes of witness stories and speculation on the monster of the day, but take years to put out original research and thoughtful commentary. They focus on the zoology and folklore aspects. I've focused on how science is invoked (typically by amateurs) like those on TV shows and in Bigfoot hunting groups, but others have actually provided excellent explanations for cryptid tales. Here are some examples:
    • Abominable Science - Loxton and Prothero
    • Lake Monster Mysteries - Nickell and Radford
    • Searching for Sasquatch - Brian Regal
    • Hunting Monsters - Darren Naish
    • Tracking the Chupacabra - Ben Radford
    • The Secret History of the Jersey Devil - Regal and Esposito
    • Bigfoot, Yeti and The Last Neanderthal - Bryan Sykes (title may be different in the UK)
    Those are just pretty recent ones. And there are even published papers by Sykes, Regal, Naish, Paxton, and others. I believe more are to come. But Redfern doesn't like these. They don't promote mystery. They are complicated. (The Jersey Devil isn't even an animal!) Well, cultural items have very complicated origins, and often not the obvious ones, either. So, my questions has been to self-styled cryptozoologists* - what is your goal? Are you looking for the best answers to explain what people say they see? Or are you trying to indulge your belief in monsters and myths and to be a "monsterologist"?

    *none of the authors listed would call themselves that, I suspect.

    Daniel Loxton called it the "post-cryptid" cryptozoology phase that we are in now. TV monster shows are fictionalized. The solid research to get done right now is pretty difficult.
     
  4. oldrover

    oldrover Justified & Ancient

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    I agree with what you say, I wish you'd said it though in a less bombastic tone, and without resorting to the use of your caps lock to emphasise points that stood perfectly well on their own.
     
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  5. Sharon Hill

    Sharon Hill Complicated biological machine

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    The tone is appropriate considering Redfern's hypocrisy - he's appeared on plenty of TV shows. Pop Cryptozoology is horrid - try being a woman in a discussion on a comment thread on a Bigfoot website. They are sewers. But if you just object to that and three words in CAPS in this post, I'm pleased. Sometimes emphasis is also appropriate.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2018
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  6. oldrover

    oldrover Justified & Ancient

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    Redfern isn't here though, and while the content of the thread refers to something by him, this is a post by someone else entirely. Believe me though, I find some of his comments in the article more irritating than you did. At least I assume I did. And while I've no idea what your experiences have been in bigfoot threads, I'm sure some if them were unpleasant, that's not the issue here.

    My opinion is that while I agree with what you say, to me it didn't read like a considred reply.
     
  7. Sharon Hill

    Sharon Hill Complicated biological machine

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    My apologies to those who were offended. This is my particular area of interest and past research - I'm passionate about it. It's an internet forum, though. I'd be dismayed to have tone police about when I didn't even swear or use sarcastic emoticons. :dpoo:
     
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  8. Jim

    Jim Abominable Snowman

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    Although I'm not always in agreement with lordmongrove's contributions. He's active in the field of cryptozoology (more than most of us), to the point he goes on expeditions. I would respect the fact he sited the post.
     
  9. Andy X

    Andy X Portent

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    It's not my intention to have a pop at Mr Redfern, but he does seem to be one of a growing band of 'Swiss Army Knife' researchers who can be relied upon to knock out a book a month and are always on hand to do a radio/podcast interview or address a conference (supply and demand, I suppose - I've lost count of the Fortean / Paranormal podcasts around at the minute) and the rest. I've no problem with that: after all, everyone needs a job (or most people do). Some are quite serious, and yet as we all know, some of this programming can be regarded as mere entertainment, which is fine too.

    But I'll admit to finding him a bit dull and rambling to listen to. I suspect his career has grown from a genuine enthusiasm but he's spreading himself as thin as he possibly can. Again; everyone needs to earn a living and I wouldn't turn down free travel to see the world and get paid to bang on about UFOs (ETH) / UFOs(extra/ultradimensional) / Cryptids / Demonic Possession / Ghosts / Poltergeists / NDEs / Clairvoyance / Precognition / PK / Telepathy / Ancient Astronauts / Forgotten History / Alchemy / Masonic / Illuminati Conspiracies, and so on, depending on the requirements of the client.
     
  10. lordmongrove

    lordmongrove Justified & Ancient

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    My answer to your question 'what is your goal?' I investigate reports of cryptids with an open mind. I select ones that sound biologically and ecologically feasible then i go into the field to search for them and glean any information i can from witnesses and native peoples.I take biological samples where i can and record my work. Sometimes the target animal is more reasonably explained by folklore or a distortion of folklore. For example, the serpentine ninki-nanka of West Africa seems to be a bogey man that has evolved from a demonization of pre-Islamic python worship. But others, like the orang-pendek have a strong possibility of existing. Elsewhere we have discovered the distortions of stories as they travel to the Western world. The idea of the Mongolian deathworm killing with electricity is looked on as folklore by the Gobi nomads but they still see and describe a creature that sounds very like an unknown species of worm lizard.
    I do not 'indulge my belief in monsters' as you condescending put it . By the way you write it seems to me that you think this is some sort of a silly game. It is not. It is expensive, exhausting and can be highly dangerous. I don't risk life and limb and waste my slim resources on silly games or expensive holidays. I've fallen off cliffs, been swept away by rapids, been stalked by a tiger, attacked by a spitting cobra, been covered in leeches and ticks, caught in a sandstorm and been in the heart of a tornado. Why? Because this research needs to be done. Very few people are seriously looking into this. I put as much time and resources as i can into this because there may be something at the bottom of these stories.
    Sykes's book (called 'Nature of The Beast' in its original printing) is by far the best and most important book ever written on surviving hominins / hominids. Naish and Paxton are personal friends of mine.
     
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  11. PeteByrdie

    PeteByrdie Privateer in the service of Princess Frideswide

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    I believe the tone is Ms Hills' usual one, and it's served her well, Even if it's an odd fit with the typical members of the forum. I've read a fair bit on cryptozoology, and it seems to encompass a wide variety of phenomena not necessarily related on the face of it. It's odd to me that those such as Lord Mongrove, who assesses the flesh-and-blood viability of cryptids and actively seek them, happily tolerate those who invite into the discipline all kinds of ostensibly supernatural beings. There could be said to be considerable overlap, particularly when a putative being is augmented by folk-belief, which we know bestows supernatural elements even on well known animals. But there is overlap between all areas of study. Ultimately, while I'm open to the supernatural, when I have my cryptozoology head on I want to read about potential new lifeforms, not weredogs or kelpies.

    But really the only thing about cryptozoology I find slightly annoying and perhaps detrimental to the subject a little is the determination to assign creatures from the fossil record to cryptids. They are never a precise match, perhaps predictably. Differences are usually explained by evolution in the creature since it's appearance in the fossil record. But if that's the case, it instantly becomes a fruitless exercise. If the match isn't exact, given the paucity of the fossil record for most kinds of life, it's at least as likely that a cryptid is something that hasn't been preserved, or something that's unknown from fossils.
     
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  12. AlchoPwn

    AlchoPwn Abominable Snowman

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    On the contrary, science LOVES new discoveries, but those discoveries need to be supported by evidence. You can't say you discovered an invisible pink unicorn without actually presenting some of its invisible pink hair, or its invisible pink carcass. Sometimes science can seem closed minded, but skepticism is necessary in any quest for the truth otherwise any stupid BS will pass and you might as well be putting money on the plate for a cult. Science has been continuously interested in claims of the paranormal and the cryptozoological, and I know many scientists who have stated that they would love to have had a genuine experience of the supernatural, and most lament that rare events such as UFOs and cryptids are hard to get evidence for. On the other hand, sometimes science is all over it, such as the Hessendalen Lights in Norway.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hessdalen_lights
     
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  13. Yossarian

    Yossarian Junior Acolyte

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    I can second that - I worked in conservation for a few years (though sadly most of my contributions were of the long hours scowling at spreadsheets variety, rather than getting out there in a field), and some of the most inspirational and influential people in my life were people I met in that field, working with critically endangered animals.

    Any time I raised a cryptozoological topic, there was always someone - sometimes enthusiastically, sometimes more sheepishly - who would admit that they desperately wanted to find proof of Orang Pendek's existence, or that it was stories of cryptids that got them into the field in the first place, or otherwise expressed an interest. Even one of my heroes, Gerald Durrell, harboured fantasies of finding Pterodactyls in the Amazon.

    The point is not that scientists are closed-minded, it's that they work every single day with the nuts and bolts of what actually constitutes evidence and proof, and aren't so quick to accept a folk story and a grainy photograph as proof positive of an animal unknown to science, particularly if it lies well within their field (the conservationists with whom I've discussed Orang Pendek all worked very closely with orang-utans, gibbons and lemurs). But that's not to say that they don't still desperately want the stories to be true. By and large, I think an awful lot of scientists want to be proven wrong, and want to be faced with a discovery that throws everything we thought we knew into question, because that's so much more exciting!


    I will say that I balk at supernatural suggestions around cryptozoology. It's one thing trying to prove the existence of a flesh and blood cryptid, but when you start positing that maybe Bigfoot can travel between dimensions or what-have-you, you're into incredibly dodgy territory. On one hand, it sounds like you're inventing supernatural explanations for your lack of observable evidence, on the other, you're asking a lot of anyone wishing to objectively study your cryptid - it's one thing to argue for the existence of an undiscovered species, but if your argument hinges on also arguing for properties that fly in the face of natural science, you're setting yourself up to fail.
     
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  14. lordmongrove

    lordmongrove Justified & Ancient

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    I don't agree with allot of Nicks writings on supernatural bigfoot and such like but he is right in putting the boot into those awful shows. I think they do more to drag cryptozoology down. I'm with you on the whole linking of cryptids to fossil species. It may be applicable in a few cases but mostly it's spurious. Some may be decendents of fossil lineages but they would have been changed by evolution and not be static in time.
     
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  15. Sharon Hill

    Sharon Hill Complicated biological machine

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    Richard, I mean this without sarcasm, you are a unique individual in the field. I was not referring to you in my commentary. That's a hazard of generalizing by using an encompassing term "cryptozoologists" - it's an extremely broad spectrum. I sometimes visit the Cryptozoology page on Facebook and just can't be bothered with the common topics there - dragons, mermaids, fake YouTube vids as "evidence". I suspect this is what more serious researcher are referring to about the field being "ruined" as well as the blatant hoaxing and clowns that made outrageous claims that melted under basic scrutiny. I'm well aware it's not a game and I wouldn't be here talking about if I thought so. I think there are a lot of good people and a lot of money- and attention-grabbers. I've been doing my due diligence in studying the cryptozoo-canon for about 30 years now. I take it quite seriously, to the dismay of my skeptically-minded friends. I thought Nick's post was overly simplistic and disingenuous. But, thanks to a considerate soul who pointed him to this posting, we're discussing it privately.
     
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  16. Sharon Hill

    Sharon Hill Complicated biological machine

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    I see the major crushing blows to cryptozoology credibility were the clown shows of people like Biscardi, Dyer, Ketchum, Smeja, and Standing. Then, the supernatural creep set in. Now popular topics are ultraterrestrials, portals, tulpas and shapeshifters. The hot cryptids today are dogmen and mothmen (biologically absurd, both). So it doesn't make sense to talk about expeditions into the wilds in one paragraph and then condone paranormal explanations close behind.

    While there is little disagreement about the crap portrayal of paranormal topics on TV, I see the slide in quality discourse and research as having a closer connection to the Internet - forums, websites, YouTube, Facebook. There have just not been that many "reality" cryptid shows.

    When it comes to the zoology part, today that means DNA or remains. Since that isn't easy and not happening, we've rolled back into non-science-based cryptozoology which is more and more creepy stories about myth-like monsters. I think that's great for its purpose, just when those stories get discussed it terms of science and knowledge or even folklore (by people who aren't folklorists except through Google U.), that's bogus.
     
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  17. oldrover

    oldrover Justified & Ancient

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    Lordmongrove, you really are unique. I wouldn't put you in the same category as anyone in all this. Every time I've got something negative to say about the field I always put in a caveat, that there are decent people out there, you are that caveat.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2018
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  18. lordmongrove

    lordmongrove Justified & Ancient

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    Thanks Old Rover, that's really touching. We will have to sink a few pints together some day.
     
  19. lordmongrove

    lordmongrove Justified & Ancient

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    Thanks Sharon, that's very kind of you. I do what i do because i think there may be discoveries still to be made. I'm not trying to make the world believe in monsters. Youtube hasn't helped with every decomposed raccoon / sloth / porpoise being touted as a monster and countless men in gorilla costumes. But the tragedy is that beneath all the rubbish there may well be some real, unknown species of large size still to be found.
     
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  20. lordmongrove

    lordmongrove Justified & Ancient

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    The CFZ work with several labs around the world for DNA analysis, most notably Tom Gilbert and his team at Copenhagen University who are kind enough to devote some of their time to samples we bring back. Lars Thomas also of Copenhagen Uni works on hair structure.
    I've been trying to interest TV in science based cryptozoology for decades, they are not interested. They always say it will cost too much or that it's not paranormal so they are not interested. Case in point, some years ago i was contacted by a researcher for a series called Jane Golding Investigates. They wanted something set in the UK or Europe. I gave them the idea that many lake monsters may be very large specimens of known fish like eels, wels catfish and sturgeon. I gave them an idea of how who could attract and bait the fish in order to film them. The researcher was delighted but the producer rejected it because it was 'too real', it was natural history rather than guardian angels, aliens or healing spirits. The exact words!
     
  21. Sharon Hill

    Sharon Hill Complicated biological machine

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    Sad. Hollywood is out of touch with what people want. There is room for shows better than cookie-cutter pseudoscience programming.
     
  22. lordmongrove

    lordmongrove Justified & Ancient

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  23. lordmongrove

    lordmongrove Justified & Ancient

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    This looks like it may shape up to be a decent, science based crypto show
     
  24. stuneville

    stuneville Amministratore principale Staff Member

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    This is something I brought up in an FT piece a couple of years ago (Ghosties and Ghoulies and Low-Lighty Beasties). Whilst it did poke fun at Finding Bigfoot, Mountain Monsters, etc I was also making the serious point that there was no apparent attempt to seriously analyse or debate anything, preferring instead to switch on the infra-red and start banging trees. I remember you and I having a chat about it at the time, when you said that if anything would drive a creature out of sight it'd be a bunch of people crashing about and making noise. However, as i concluded in the piece and as you state above, producers aren't interested in the mechanics of cryptid (or ghost) investigation. People sitting very still in the dark with a 98% chance of nothing beyond an odd noise happening doesn't make for riveting TV, and advertisers only court channels that they think people will actually watch, so it's market pressure as much as anything else.

    I think what we're seeing is the unravelling of Cryptozoology in its current form - but this happens with all Fortean stuff on a cyclical basis. Crypto's been centre-stage for a while and is now in the descendant (it was ghosts prior to this, and UFOs in the 90s: the profile cycle lasts about ten years.) UFOs are on their way back up now, and crypto will quietly retire back-stage where the hardcore of researchers will continue as usual. Cryptozoology is also intrinsically self-limiting - discovery of a hitherto unknown creature is always great, but once identified, tagged, etc it becomes just "zoology". Crypto can only ever be about what's not yet found.

    As for Nick, I think his heart is in the right place, but he's pragmatic enough to know that to make a living at this he needs to write what people want to read. It's fair to say what people on here want to read will be somewhat different from what mass-market readers want - we have a ton of context and surrounding knowledge - but selling 100 copies of a thick, scholarly tone at £20 a shot doesn't pay as much mortgage as 1500 relatively lightweight ones at a tenner. However distasteful it may be, you can't escape economics.

    So that's my point. Cryptozoology will live on with a much lower profile. It is a scientific discipline in its own right, but it's at the mercy of social sciences - sociology, economics - and pop-culture. Its time will come again.
     
  25. lordmongrove

    lordmongrove Justified & Ancient

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    Yep, that's about right. I wonder what would happen if someone did get concrete proof of one of these things though?
     
  26. Mikefule

    Mikefule Michael Wilkinson

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    I think the problem here is one that is common to many fields, Fortean and otherwise.

    The term "cryptozoology" has widened in scope until it has become almost meaningless.

    At one end of the spectrum are serious researchers who are seeking physical evidence to confirm or refute essentially credible witness evidence of unknown but plausible creatures.

    At the other end, there are people who are excited by big scary monsters and will come up with pseudoscientific rationales for so called "cryptids" that would defy the laws of normal science. (Example: something roughly human sized and with wings sprouting out of its back could not generate enough lift to fly, so perhaps it is an inter-dimensional being.)

    Between these extremes are various positions with varying degrees of credibility.

    The problem is then that the people at the "rationalising" end of the spectrum use the word "cryptozoology" to add a spurious scientific respectability to their own area of interest and, in so doing, they cause an equal and opposite reaction in the general public. Someone with a genuine scientific interest in a plausible area of cryptozoology may find that his or her work is popularly lumped together with that of all the people who believe in werewolves and mothmen and the like.

    In a similar way, anyone who tries to present a serious case for Loch Ness containing an "unknown species" will not get as far as describing a 6 foot eel or a subspecies of sturgeon before the journalist is already reaching for his or stock images of plesiosaurs towering over terrified highlanders.

    Cryptozoology seems to encompass a wide range of disciplines and areas of interest including, but not limited to:
    1. Inquiries into credible reports of unknown species that would plausibly exist in the environment they are said to inhabit: an unknown species of ape in a large area of sparsely populated jungle, for example.
    2. Inquiries into credible reports of known species in alien environments. Big cats on Dartmoor, for example.
    3. Inquiries into widespread reports of creatures that are not necessarily impossible, but seem unlikely to have remained undiscovered for so long. Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Yeti, for example.
    4. Inquiries into the possibility that a known species assumed to be extinct may exist as a small surviving population in a remote area.
    5. Inquiries into credible reports of extreme examples of known species: an individual python or crocodile substantially larger than any previously killed, photographed, or captured.
    6. Interest in a possible factual basis for creatures described in myth or legend: species or individual animals that may have existed even if the stories have subsequently grown in the telling.
    7. Interest in strange and unknown creatures described in myth or legend, but with the clear understanding that this is a study of myth rather than of real things.
    8. Interest in creatures described in modern folk tales and news reports, but from a sociological perspective. This is the sensible position that "I know that Slenderman is a recently invented fictional entity, but it is fascinating to study how people have come to regard him as a real phenomenon."
    9. An apparent belief in weird and impossible creatures described in folk tales and news reports. Such a belief can always be rationalised by the believer. Inconsistencies in descriptions may be attributed to shape shifting ability. Breaches of the known laws of physics are attributed to some poorly-defined but convenient inter-dimensional origin. These are the people who may try to borrow credibility from those at the top of this list and, in so doing, discredit their serious scientific work.
    Some people would lump all these together as cryptozoology. A purist might only admit the top 1, 2, or 3 on the list. The trouble is, it is not possible to stop someone else using a word to describe their particular field of interest. Maybe the purists need to come up with a more specific and less "nickable" word for their endeavours.

    Meanwhile, I can't help feeling that if someone was searching the Amazon rain forest for a species of small dragonfly widely believed to be extinct, they would be an entomologist or naturalist, rather than a cryptozoologist. If they were looking for a species 5 foot tall ape known to the locals as "the old man of the forest" they would probably be called cryptozoologists. Strange.
     
  27. Jim

    Jim Abominable Snowman

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    It’s really not that complicated. Cryptozoology is the science-pseudoscience of mythological entities and or animals thought to be extinct.
     

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