rating: 0+x

Basic Information

Cryptozoology (from Greek κρυπτός, kruptos, "hidden" + zoology; literally, "study of hidden animals") is the study of and search for animals which fall outside of contemporary zoological catalogs. It consists of two primary fields of research:

  • The search for living fossils - living examples of animals taxonomically identified through fossil records, but which are believed to be extinct.
  • The search for animals that fall outside of taxonomic records due to a lack of empirical evidence, but for which anecdotal evidence exists in the form of myths, legends, or undocumented sightings.

Those involved in cryptozoological study are known as cryptozoologists; the animals that they study are often referred to as "cryptids", a term coined by John Wall in 1983. Cryptozoology has seen very little attention from the mainstream scientific community because it does not follow the scientific method in attempts to support its claims and because of its attention for megafauna cryptids such as Bigfoot, the Yeren, and the Loch Ness Monster which appear often in popular culture but for which there is little or no scientific support. We've got a big list of strange critters on the Cryptid page.

Cryptozoology in the News


Game and Story Use

  • A campaign can revolve around the pcs being or working for cryptozoologists, scouring remote areas going after one creature after another.
    • Even if the creatures they are after are real, they'll likely come across many hoaxes.
      • The players might even create their own hoaxes, either to get credit for the find or to discredit whoever falls for it.
  • In a fantasy setting with a lot of fantastic monsters, cryptozoology can be even more interesting and very dangerous to pursue.
    • Just because some 'fantastic' monsters exist in a world doesn't mean they all do. A world can have dragons but no manticores, which doesn't stop there being stories about them and cryptozoologists trying to find them. The players are likely to have no idea whether the creature they look for exists or not.
    • George R. R. Martin's Westeros is a prime example - readers are told repeatedly in the first book that several species are either imaginary or extinct. Even before that book end, at least some of those claims are shown to be untrue.
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License