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Cryptozoology A To Z: The Encyclopedia of Loch Monsters, Sasquatch, Chupacabras, and Other Authentic Mysteries of Nature Paperback – August 5, 1999
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Too much of the book is devoted to cryptozoologists, both famous and rather obscure. There are pictures of virtual unknowns in the book who have virtually no serious scholarly work on cryptids and whose only virtue is having operated a web site and interviewed a few local yokels. These people compare with individuals such as Sanderson and Heuvelmans? No and they don't deserve to share the space.
It's my feeling that a lot of the name dropping in this book is nothing but that, and while the part of the book actually devoted to cryptozoological mysteries is worthwhile, it's sometimes spoiled by the frequent references to Mr. and Mrs. Joe Nobody.
Cryptzoology also as a field includes a host of other strange creatures, many famous such as the sasquatch (or Bigfoot), yeti (or Abomininable Snowman), and the Loch Ness Monster, others fairly obscure such as the waitoreke (an otter-like mammal that may exist in New Zealand), the marozi (the enigmatic spotted lion of East Africa), and the buru (a large unknown monitor lizard of the remote valleys in the Himalayas). To an educated person who prides himself on having read a great many nature and science books, many "cryptids" (animals of interest to cryptozoologists) seem outlandish and improbable, such as the skunk ape of Florida or even the Loch Ness Monster (as the loch in question has been combed over extensively, and any air-breathing monster would have long been discovered and documented). It is with the creatures that *just may* exist, that don't sound so improbable, that gives to me cryptozoology (and this book) its charm. Surely hairy wildmen don't haunt the rain forests of Washington state, but who is to say with absolute certainty the buru or the marozi don't exist?
Coleman and Clark cover the field well, with entries for famous and not-so-famous cryptids, as well as large animals that have come to light in the 20th century. In part, it is these newly discovered animals - the Komodo dragon in 1910, the coelacanth in 1938, the kouprey in 1961 - that help make the science of cryptzoology at least partially legitimate. In addition, they have entries for famous cryptzoologists such as Matthew A. Bille, a leader in cryptocetology (the study of hidden or undiscovered whales) and Bernard Heuvelmans, the "Father of Cryptzoology," whose has written numerous works on cryptozoology, particularly on mysterious hominids such as the yeti.
Whether cryptozoology is a legitimate and cutting edge science or a collection of real animals, folktales, myths, and legends all mixed together is for the reader to decide. Coleman and Clark treat the subject with seriousness and professionalism, and the book is fun to browse through, complete with nice illustrations of cryptids and cryptozoologists. A nice bibliography is included, along with a list of cryptozoology musuems and exhibits, periodicals, and websites.
This science should not be considered very low, and stereotyped as studied by clueless men and women, because it is not. It is a very intelligent science, offering one of the most intriguing searches--that being, the search for the unknown. Albert Einstein once said that the biggest adventure lies in finding things unknown. Hominology is also featured in this book, which is the study of humankind's closest relatives (Bigfoot, Yeti, Abdominable Snowman), besides apes. Hominology is the bridge between anthropology and zoology. This book will startle you with true accounts of some encounters, short bios of the people who are cryptozoologists, and cryptozoology organizations such as the International Society of Cryptozoology, and, of course, the cryptids themselves. Dig in.