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Thursday, August 21, 2014

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Famous Cryptozoologists

"In the 1950s, I was an angry young zoologist, indignant at the ostracism imposed by official science - we would say today the scientific Establishment - on those animals known only through the reports of isolated travellers, or through often fantastic native legends, or from simple but mysterious footprints, or the recital of sometimes bloody depredations, or through traditional images, or even a few ambiguous photos. Instances of this sort were, in fact, quite numerous.

These were attested to by files, often quite thick, which in general gathered dust at the bottom of drawers or, at the most, were considered as 'amusing curiosities'. It would have been much better to term them 'the secret archives of zoology', or even, since they were in some way shameful in the eyes of correct thinkers, 'the Hades of zoological literature'. It had in fact been decreed on high and, moreover, in a totally arbitrary fashion, that only those species for which there existed a representative specimen, duly registered in some institution, or at the least an identifiable fragment of a specimen, could be admitted into zoological catalogues. Lacking this, they were banned from the Animal Kingdom, and zoologists were morally constrained to speak of them only with an exasperated shrug of the shoulder or a mocking smile.

To propose devoting a profound study to sea-serpents, the Abominable Snowman, the Loch Ness monster, or to all such-like, amounted to straightforward provocation. Furthermore, no scientific publication would have accepted it for printing unless, of course, it ended with the conclusion that the being in question was the result of popular imagination, founded on some misapprehension, or the product of a hoax.

As for myself, however, in spite of my status as professional zoologist and my university degrees, I dreamed of delivering all of those condemned beasts from the ghetto in which they had so unjustly been confined, and to bring them to be received into the fold of zoology."

Heuvelmans, Bernard, Dr., On the Track of Unknown Animals,3rd ed. (London: Kegan Paul International Limited, 1995), "Preface to the Revised Edition," pp. xxiii-xxiv.

 

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1 Commandant Cousteau 3232
2 Bernard Heuvelmans 3222
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4 Richard Greenwell 4714
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6 John Willison Green 3341
7 Deborah Martyr 3048
8 Loren Coleman 4453
9 Maya Bykova 2846
10 Clyde Roper 7694

 

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