“A sharp analysis of the quest for unreal critters―cryptids, as they are called―and the people who pursue them . . . entertaining and thoroughly documented.” —The Wall Street Journal
Throughout our history, humans have been captivated by mythic beasts and legendary creatures. Tales of Bigfoot, the Yeti, and the Loch Ness monster are part of our collective experience. Now comes a book from two dedicated investigators that explores and elucidates the fascinating world of cryptozoology.
Daniel Loxton and Donald R. Prothero have written an entertaining, educational, and definitive text on cryptids, presenting the arguments both for and against their existence and systematically challenging the pseudoscience that perpetuates their myths. After examining the nature of science and pseudoscience and their relation to cryptozoology, Loxton and Prothero take on Bigfoot; the Yeti, or Abominable Snowman, and its cross-cultural incarnations; the Loch Ness monster and its highly publicized sightings; the evolution of the Great Sea Serpent; and Mokele Mbembe, or the Congo dinosaur. They conclude with an analysis of the psychology behind the persistent belief in paranormal phenomena, identifying the major players in cryptozoology, discussing the character of its subculture, and considering the challenge it poses to clear and critical thinking in our increasingly complex world.
“As valuable for its analysis of the hunted as it is for the light it shines on the still-hopeful hunters.” —Publishers Weekly
“Highly recommended for readers looking for scientific but accessible evaluations of the existence of five notable cryptids that have captured our imaginations.” —Library Journal (starred review)
Loxton and Prothero (Reality Check) stake out the world's best-known (if never observed) cryptids and unsurprisingly come up with zilch. But that doesn't mean the hunt isn't an interesting one. In their breakdown of cryptozoology, the skeptical duo (Loxton is the editor of Junior Skeptic magazine) covers a vast swath of territory, from biology, geology, paleontology, and genetics, to anthropology, sociology, and folklore. Classic cryptids like Bigfoot, the Yeti, the Loch Ness Monster, and sea serpents, as well as the lesser known Mokele Mbembe, an Apatosaurous-like dinosaur supposedly rampaging through the Congo, each get their due (and are duly dismissed as myths) in chapter-long entries. Loxton and Prothero ultimately conclude that "there is no solid evidence that any of the cryptids discussed in this book exist and much evidence that their existence is extremely unlikely." So why the obsession with these fanciful beasts? And what of the weird world of amateur cryptozoologists? The authors address these questions and others in the illuminating final pages, where they rail against the dangers of pseudoscience and provocatively tie cryptozoology to the politics of creationism. This work is as valuable for its analysis of the hunted as it is for the light it shines on the still-hopeful hunters. 88 illus. and photos.