Friday 19 February 2010

Is it time to professionalise Cryptozoology?

I was thinking about what to write about today and it suddenly occurred to me what is it a cryptozoologist ? Is there a definition of a cryptozoologist? I looked up a couple of definitions on the internet.

Cryptozoology (from Greek κρυπτός, kriptos, "hidden" + zoology; literally, "study of hidden animals") refers to the search for animals which are considered to be legendary or otherwise nonexistent by mainstream biology. ...

Cryptozoology - is the study of and search for animals which fall outside of contemporary zoological catalogs. It consists of two primary fields of research .The search for living examples of animals taxonomically identified through fossil records, but which are believed to be extinct and the search for animals that fall outside of taxonomic records due to a lack of empirical evidence, but for which anecdotal evidence exists in the form of myths, legends, or undocumented sightings, such as big foot and dragons.

That seems to say it all. So how do you become a cryptozoologist? The short answer is you don’t because you cannot study for qualifications in it, though you can study zoology, myth and folklore, anthropology and marine biology, all which will help. Or in my case I find my psychology background a help in weeding out the more suspicious eye witnesses and also my training as a social science researcher helps me with trying to interview as objectively and scientifically as possible. I have also done some study in anthropology, communities and folklore and myth. Does it make me a cryptozoologist though? Not really, I think of myself as an amateur despite being around for years. I don’t see myself on the par with Loren Coleman or Nick Redfern or the guys at CFZ.

The problem is with no academic ancestry as it were, anyone can claim to be a cryptozoologist and an expert having read a few books or claiming to have seen something. You could sit by Loch Ness or Okanagan Lake for 10 years and claim to be an expert, and who could dispute it? Frank Searle claimed to be the expert on Nessie but some if not all of his photographs were very dubious. The question is what can we do about it? Maybe it is time for a professional organisation to be set up where people can register as a member by proving their worth as it were , through proof of study and expertise. I believe you can become a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society, just by writing an application to show how you have been an explorer or studied a place, without any formal qualifications. So any one out there got an ideas on what we could do to set up an organisation for cryptozoologists to be recognised? There could be student/ apprenticeship membership for those just learning, or younger members and grades of membership up to whatever a top cryptozoologist would be. I would be in the rank and file of amateur I think lol. Maybe people would not want an organisation and prefer just to do their own thing but perhaps it is time to resurrect an international cryptozoology society to register those who do and recognise their worth.


Tg Powell said...

Very good article Lindsay. I must agree 100%. Although I don't think that even traveling the globe because you have the money to do so warrants the title either. A lot of the people that are "names" in the business, do so without credibility. Yes time in the trenches does count. But I also think you need to contribute more than climbing hills in Wisconsin or drinking binges in the Caribbean looking a Chupacabra's make anyone an expert as well. This is the reason we hold the recognition of all beliefs at cryptoflorida. No one is an expert. As you stated, a bookworm could maintain all the knowledge of the hidden subjects we search for. Some of us have had first hand, real, experiences. Others read about them and learn. Do you know if Loren has ever had a first hand encounter?


Tabitca said...

Hi Tg
I would email Loren and ask him. His email is on the internet and on cryptomundo. He is very approachable and will reply but there maybe a delay if he is busy.