No, I have no idea how old this article is, a friend of mine sent me the link. However, Iwould like to comment.
I do not call myself a cryptozoologist, though I do consider myself an Elficologsit. Many may consider it the same thing, I on the other hand, have found fine lines.
Cryptozoology, yes, is very similar to my profession in that it is the study of mythological beings. However, I have known few of my collegues to go out and actively search for, say, a Yeti or Bigfoot. Not the more respectable ones, at least, who consider cryptozoology to be a genuine science. We call these degraded version of ourself ‘glory-seeking, fame-starved goose hunters’ with no respect for themselves.
True cryptozoology, I belive, as there is apparently no definate parametes of the occupation, is the study of where these myths came from. WE may gp out and dig up bones, yes, but they are to uncover truths, no faeries. For example the story of the Dragonet of Mount Pilatus may have very well been inspired by the finding of a pterodactyl skeleton, and likewise the ever-popular cyclops on the finding of an elephant skull. These are the truth we seek. The origins of the myth, not the myth itself. Unfortunatley, the uneducated amature with the flare for the dramatic may say otherwise. That, my friends, is where you get your yeti-hunters and loch ness monsters.
Blessed Be and there’s my .02 :slight_smile:

Welcome to the Straight Dope Message Boards, Boadiccea, and we hope you’ll post often.

When posting in this forum, it is helpful to others if you provide a link to the Staff Report upon which you are commenting. In this case: What’s up with cryptozoologists, the guys who investigate mythical beasts?

Your point is well taken. The column, obviously, was focused on those who go out looking for such beasts (like, say, roc-hunters), not on those who study their literary origins. But I presume that would be a mythologist, rather than a crypto-zoologist.

Of course, such speculations can be way off: I’ve heard that a myth is as good as a mile. ::: ducking :::

Of course, there are new species being discovered all the time, as cryptozoologists are fond of pointing out. (Though they generally forget to mention that the vast majority of these are insects, soil creatures, deep-sea fishies, etc.) And there have been cases of animals unknown to Western science but well-known to the natives, which weren’t “discovered” until someone went following-up on the legends. Gorillas, if I’m not mistaken, and okapi fall into this category.

And this isn’t limited to the 19th century explorers, either – within the last decade, scientists confirmed the existence of a new species of deer from deep in the Indo-Chinese rainforests. But again, these folks don’t call themselves “cryptozoologists,” but rather plain old “biologists.” I forget the exact circumstance of the deer, but I believe they had found a skull and skin they couldn’t identify in a local market, leading them to believe there might be something interesting up in the hills. That made it easier to get support for the expedition. Even without the evidence, a biologist might plausibly write a grant to survey the fauna of given area, with the thought of tracking down a legend in the back of his mind.

Cryptozoology – it’s not just for anthropologists anymore!

– Beruang