I just read an interesting article published in The Scientist today about cryptozoology, a field of research specializing in the study of animals about which only anecdotal or partial evidence exists. In other words, no actual specimens have been studied...think Big Foot or the Loch Ness Monster. There is now a new peer-reviewed scientific journal, The Journal of Cryptozoology, specializing in the topic that is edited by Karl Shuker, a zoologist and comparative physiologist at The University of Birmingham (UK).
Shuker is hoping that by having a stringent peer-reviewed process, the articles published in this journal may be taken seriously by the scientific community as opposed to just publishing unsubstantiated fantastical stories about legendary creatures. As quoted in The Scientist, Shuker states "If cryptozoology is approached in a rigorously scientific, objective manner, it is no more a pseudoscience than is any other branch of zoology.”
Darren Naish, a paleozoologist from the U.K.’s National Oceanography Centre (University of Southampton) also dabbles in cryptozoology as he uses the field of vertebrate paleontology to examine odd carcasses or to determine the possibility of whether supposedly extinct creatures could still be roaming the Earth (i.e. a plesiosaur posing as Nessy, or the like). Another example from The Scientist is Jeff Meldrum (Idaho State University), a specialist in primate functional foot morphology, who actually examines potential sasquatch footprints to assess the possibility that they are the real deal.
Here is a fun video of America's version of the Loch Ness Monster in Lake Champlain:
Could plesiosaurs still exist?? Stay tuned to the field of cryptozoology to find out!