Posted by: Loren Coleman on September 19th, 2007
Yep, that’s me. Getting carried away with my passion for all things cryptozoological. I noticed today on the web that one of those “ask” sites had this question: “What are the different fields in Cryptozoology?”
This was their “Best Answer – Chosen By Voters” – to wit – “Cryptozoology is a branch of zoology; I have never heard of it being divided into ‘fields.’”
Darn. Yikes, they picked the wrong answer by internet consensus? Okay, I couldn’t let that remain unanswered more completely, so here’s my Cryptomundo-refined answer to the question of cryptozoological subfields.
Cryptozoology, a sixty-year-old new subdiscipline of zoology, is divided into various subdivisions based on the type of cryptids (the unknown animals under pursuit) being studied. This division would follow closely that of the names of the cryptids. (“Cryptozoology” was coined by zoologist Ivan T. Sanderson in the early 1940s, and independently coined by zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans in the 1950s.)
Specifically, three of these cryptozoological subdivisions, for example, are:
1) Hominology – The study of hairy unknown hominoids refers to the research involving both cryptid hominids and cryptid pongids, known by names like Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Yeti, Yowie, Almas, and many others. Russian researcher Dmitri Bayanov coined the word “hominology” around 1973 in letters circulated among colleagues and then published in a Russian paper.
2) Draconology – The study of Lake Monsters is often used today to include the research on Sea Serpents and marine cryptids, but by strict definition, it applies only to Lake Monsters. It was coined by historian and diver Jacques Boisvert, a Quebec cryptozoologist. He was studying the cryptid (locally called Memphré) in Lake Memphrémagog on the Quebec-Vermont border. Boisvert consulted a monk at the monastery of St Benoit-du-Lac, asking for a term for the specific study of lake monsters, and draconology was born. (Some fantasy readers are upset because the word can also be seen to mean, “the study of dragons.”)
3) Cryptocetology – The study of cryptid cetaceans especially involves the booming research on sightings of ziphiids (beaked whales). This word was coined by French cryptozoologist Michel Raynal. He created it from cetology (the science of cetaceans) which already exists, and via adding the prefix “crypto.”
Updated information from Raynal confirms that in his correspondance with Bernard Heuvelmans, Raynal also used:
cryptornithology (birds), and
Various other subdivisions of cryptozoology exist, mostly based on the parameters of a search defined by what the animal reference points are for the alleged cryptids, but some divisions have also developed, historically, along geographic lines. For instance, a regional cryptozoologist might be interested in doing research on all Amazonian cryptozoology only.
So, Cryptomundo readers, what are some of the other subdivisions of cryptozoology?
Thanks for the cartoon contribution to the blog by Charles Berlin, which I have posted again today on purpose, upon the occassion of his birthday.