Thursday, December 19, 2013

Cryptozoologist Loren Coleman wraps up 2013

Loren Coleman, indefatiguable chronicler of cryptozoology, has published his accounts of significant deaths in the field in 2013, his nomination of cryptozoologist of the year (Dr. Bryan Sykes, who disproved most yeti'sasquatch hair evidence but apparently has discovered there was a brown/polar bear relative in the Himalayan region within historical times and maybe still extant), and the Top Ten Events in cryptozoology in 2013. 

Coleman's Top Ten are:

1. Discovery of the Kobomani Tapir (Tapirus kabomani) and other new creatures (a huge discovery, both in size and in scientific importance.)
2. Sykes' "snow bear" (which may still be a living species: there are mysteries about the bear populations of Asia.)
3. Sightings of "Little people" (may be related to the "hobbits" of Flores and/or the orang-pendek, the almost-proven ape of Sumatra, though these new reports seem to concern creatures SO little (20 inches tall) as to be hard to accept as any real animal.)
4. Mystery hominids found through DNA to have interbred with ancient humans
5. A spate of lake monster sightings, plus a "sea serpent" off Maine (I didn't find anything new or compelling in the lake monster cases, some of which were hoaxes: The Maine sea creature is kind of interesting, though it MIGHT have been a swimming moose "blown up" by excitement and the difficulties of estimating sizes across water.)
6. An out of place animal of unknown origin, a leopard, killed in Indiana (a good reminder that people reporting animals that "can't be there" can be right.)
7. Person shot while running around looking for Bigfoot (I'm amazed this didn't happen long ago.)
8. Discovery Channel's fake Megalodon shark documentary, which a lot of people still think was real
9. Interesting "snowman" footprints from Russia (In this entry Coleman mentions a related topic, the ridiculous Ketchum sasquatch DNA claims.)
10. Another sign of crypotozoology in popular culture: Safari Ltd's "Cryptozoology Toob" of small animal models.

Loren does a lot of things with his Top Ten that I like. He doesn't restrict it to events which marked progress: he picks out the most newsworthy even when they involve casting doubt or disrepute on crypytozoology.  He doesn't focus narrowly on reports and evidence: he understands that, however many of us like to think about this in scientific terms, the fact is that science, culture, and media are inextricably intertwined in the modern world.  While Loren tends to be more accepting of sighting reports than I sometimes think warranted (he classes about 80% as mistakes and hoaxes: I think the figure works out to be higher), and we disagree on the possibility of some creatures (we will not, ever, find a giant long-necked mystery animal in a lake), he is more cautious than some cryptozoologists and is willing to call out a hoax as a hoax (e.g., Ketchum). 

So congratulations, Loren, and Merry Christmas!

ADDED: Loren pointed out a a couple of mistakes I'd made in this post (my fault: I didn't quality-check it) and asked if I really thought I could be so certain about long-necked lake monsters. I am, and the rejection of that possibility is now, according to Loren, known as Bille's Dictum.  I''ll "own that," as my daughters would say.  Thanks, Loren.


omegaman66 said...

I know of a bigfoot hoaxer that was run over by cars but not any that were shot. Is the shot story true or is there some confusion over the man hit by a couple of cars?

Incedentally this is MORE evidence that bigfoot does not exist. My logic: Are there more bigfoot creatures out there this very instant or are there more people dressed as bigfoot perpetrating a hoax? If bigfoot exist surely there are many more bigfoot animals running round than hoaxers!

So if that is the case why do we have more dead hoaxers than dead bigfoot creatures?

Matt Bille said...

There are claims, historical and recent, of sasquatch being shot. There's no reason to believe any of those claims.