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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

The Living on Earth Almanac

Air Date: Week of

Facts about... Cryptozoology.


CURWOOD: Most scientists studying animals are concerned with those they know exist or at least once existed, but one field of study concerns itself with animals that we're not quite so sure about. It's called cryptozoology, and it means the study of hidden animals. Cryptozoologists stalk previously undescribed and, some would say, nonexistent creatures. The list includes new species of lizards, monkeys, and other ordinary critters, but also beasts of mythic proportion like the Loch Ness Monster or the Mokele Embembe, a dinosaur-like being that reportedly lives in a swamp in the Congo. While cryptozoology has a bit of a tarnished reputation in academic circles, its defenders note that much of the Western science of zoology was essentially cryptozoology until scientists in Europe's colonies started sending exotic animals back home. Cryptozoologists also like to point out that the gorilla was considered a mythical beast until the early 19th century, and that the modern coelacanth, a fish presumed to be extinct for millions of years, wasn't found until 1938. And for this week, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.



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