Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Cryptozoology - I Think Big Foot is My Cousin

Out of the 200 established branches of mainstream science the field of cryptozoology seems to be having trouble fitting in. Some would say that is because it is not real “science” to begin with, but of course all of the sciences started out as such, all were at one point on the “fringe” before gaining acceptance.

Remember that annoying idea that the Earth was NOT the center of the universe? Yeah, even that caught on eventually.

For those who may not know, “cryptozoology” is the study and search of animals that are rumored to exist. You have your more colorful examples: Big Foot, Nessie and one of my favorites… the chupacabra (aka the goat sucker), but you also have a treasure chest full of “normal” animals; many of which have been verified and have been added to science’s record of animal kingdom species.

And there still is a lot of work to be done! To date about 1.3 million species have been discovered and cataloged, with another 7.4 million (not including bacteria) left to go according to some estimates. These estimates include all species, not just animals, but it shows that there is plenty out there left to explore. In fact base on the 8.7 total million species on our planet, it has been said it will take researchers another 1000 years before they finish cataloging them all.

OK, but what about Big Foot and the rest like him!? Well, new evidence is always turning up even though FOX News and CNN will not report it because they are too busy reporting who is shacking up with who, who is stealing from who or which politicians are currently lying (try all of them). But there really is new and old evidence out there on the books.

Geneticist and Professor Bryan Sykes recently found DNA evidence for the existence of the Yeti. He concluded that it perhaps was a species that descended from that of an ancient polar bear instead of some kind of ape. This is perhaps what the people where seeing all along. Still, that means the Yeti was real after all, just a little different than what the hype made it out to be. Still just as cool!

But the mother of all cryptids would be Mokele Mbembe, the dinosaur-like creature reported to inhabit the swamps of central Africa. Don’t laugh. The indigenous tribal people have been shown pictures of animals both indigenous to Africa and some that were not. The ones that were not from Africa they had trouble identifying, but when shown a picture of a sauropoda dinosaur, it was identified at least part of the time as “Mokele Mbembe” and regarded with fear.

Many expeditions have been launched in search of the creature with mix results but the stories still persist, going back as far as 1776 when a French missionary witnessed huge footprints allegedly made by the creature. There was even a 1985 movie based on Mokele Mbembe called Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend.

So how can Mokele Mbembe or any other ancient beast still be around after all this time? Good question. In the case of Mokele Mbembe it is said to inhabit the Lake Tele region, one of the most treacherous on Earth and difficult to navigate by humans. But then of course there are many species that have been enduring for millions of years with little change which we don’t give a second thought too: alligators, ants, sharks, jelly fish and even some species of plants…

The coelacanth is another example. It was thought extinct for 400 million years until a near genetic copy of it was found alive and intact in 1938 off the cost of southern Africa. In fact, I have had the privilege of seeing a preserved coelacanth body at the California Academy of Sciences during my visit to that museum in 2010.
So to all of you out there, who believe in the cryptids, don’t lose the faith! The search goes on, why? Because we humans have the need to explore and many of the cryptids of our world have already been found only giving us the excitement to go on!


Isaac Hulke

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