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Cryptozoology (from Greek κρυπτός, kryptos, "hidden" + zoology; literally, "study of hidden animals") refers to the search for animals which are considered to be legendary or otherwise nonexistent by the field of biology. This includes looking for living examples of animals that are considered extinct, such as dinosaurs; animals whose existence lacks physical support but which appear in myths, legends, or are reported, such as Bigfoot and Chupacabra;[1] and wild animals dramatically outside their normal geographic ranges, such as phantom cats or "ABCs" (an initialism commonly used by cryptozoologists that stands for Alien Big Cats).

The animals cryptozoologists study are often referred to as cryptids, a term coined by John Wall in 1983.[2]

Cryptozoology is not a recognized branch of zoology or a discipline of science[1] since it relies heavily upon anecdotal evidence, stories and alleged sightings.[3] Cryptozoology is a pseudoscience.[4][5]



The coining of the word cryptozoology is often attributed to zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans, though Heuvelmans attributes coinage of the term to the late Scottish explorer and adventurer Ivan T. Sanderson.[6] Heuvelmans' 1955 book On the Track of Unknown Animals traces the scholarly origins of the discipline to Anthonie Cornelis Oudemans and his 1892 study, The Great Sea Serpent.[7] Heuvelmans argued that cryptozoology should be undertaken with scientific rigor, but with an open-minded, interdisciplinary approach. He also stressed that attention should be given to local, urban and folkloric sources regarding such creatures, arguing that while often layered in unlikely and fantastic elements, folktales can have small grains of truth and important information regarding undiscovered organisms. Phantom cats (an example of living animals supposedly found outside of their normal range) are a common subject of cryptozoological interest,[8] largely due to the relative likelihood of existence in comparison to fantastical cryptids lacking any evidence of existence, such as Mothman.[9][10]

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