Cryptozoology is the study of hidden animals (whether large or small), to date not formally recognized by what is often termed Western science or formal zoology but supported in some way by testimony (in its broadest definition) from a human beings. It is not an excat science as much of it goes beyond scientific explanation and more into the metasciences.
The term 'cryptozoology' derives from the Greek work 'kryptos', meaning 'hidden.' 'unknown,' 'secret,' 'enigmatic,' 'mysterious'; hence literally the 'study of hidden life'.
The term Cryptozoology was coined by Dr. Bernard Heuvelmans in his personal correspondence among colleagues in the 1950s, after the 1955 French publication of his book On the Track of Unknown Animals. The first published use of the word Cryptozoology was in 1959 by Lucien Blancou.
As I work in Metsciences I believe that most of the animals discussed in Cryptozoology are hybrid species (at least as far as our third dimensional reality is concerned). They exist in our realms or those that are parallel. They are able to enter our reality at certain times - then they leave - seem to disappear - much like UFO's and alien entities ehich have been witnessed by thousands of people throughout the planet's history. Soem species have always lived here - some have evolved through millennium - other just come in and out and are probabaly as confused about being in our realm as we are at seeming them.
Perhaps in your dreamtime you 'popped into' their reality and startled them by your strange appearance and odd behavior!
There are hoaxers who pretend to be entities from other realms - but in truth - there is much out there that we know little about. There are things constantly intertwining with our reality - if only for a split second on our timeline - then are gone. Most things of this nature have no explanation that we can prove with our limited sciences at this time.
Type 1 :
Animals known from native tradition, i.e. a "print" in the collective memory. Most mystery animals dealing relevant to cryptozoology are known by tradition, and therefore possess a vernacular name (or several ones) among the natives. It should be emphasized that many "classified" animals belong to this category : most people known the wolf or the bear, for instance, more by tradition than by any other means... Artistic representations of animals also fall into this category, unless they are directly related to an actual observation, thus relevant to the following category.
Type 2 :
Animals known by witness' account, i.e. a "print" in any of the five human senses. We indeed possess visual information (when the animal is observed), as well as auditive (when it is heard crying, whistling... or just moving), olfactive (when it is smelt), tactile (when it is touched), and even gustative (when it is eaten).
Type 3 :
Animals known by interaction with matter, i.e. a physical "print". Tracks and trails (print on the ground), photographies and movies (print on a pellicule), sonar echoes (electronic print), injury marks (claw, tooth... print), hybridization marks (genetic print), evidence of symbiosis with another species or modification of the environment (ecological print), etc.
Type 4 :
Animals known by anatomical fragments. Hears, feathers, fur, bone fragments, excrements, blood drops, tissue samples, etc.
Type 5 :
Animals known by an actual complet specimen. One could believe that cryptozoology is not concerned with this categorie, but there are indeed some controversial species relevant to cryptozoology, although they have been described from a specimen : for instance, the pygmy elephant (Loxodonta pumilio).
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