Bernard Heuvelmans, the man widely dubbed the ‘father of cryptozoology’ (see Turner, this volume) deﬁned cryptozoology as ‘[t]he scientiﬁc study of hidden animals, i.e., of still unknown animal forms about which only testimonial and circumstantial evidence is available, or material evidence considered insuﬃcient by some!’ (1988, cited in Coleman and Clark 1999: 76). Turner’s opening chapter provides the historical context for the contemporary study of cryptozoology. Turner explains that the term ‘cryptid’ was coined in the late twentieth century to refer to the category of anomalous animals who were the purview of the emergent, hybrid (and frequently lay) discipline of cryptozoology. While cryptozoologists and their cryptid subjects existed in something of a liminal zone in academia and popular culture throughout the twentieth century, more recent discoveries of previously unknown animals such as the Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis) have reignited contemporary interest. Along similar lines to Heuvelmans, Eberhart deﬁned cryptozoology as ‘the
study of the evidence for animals that are undescribed by science’ (Eberhart 2002: xlvii, cited in Walsh and Goldman, this volume). However, in their chapter Walsh and Goldman argue that science ‘comprises disputed hypotheses and competing narratives’ and consequently there is no deﬁnitive ‘truth’ to be found in the pursuit of scientiﬁc knowledge and veriﬁcation alone. Surprisingly, this was a point also acknowledged by Heuvelmans himself who, despite conceiving of cryptozoology as a science, nonetheless recognised the beneﬁts of combining scientiﬁc theories and methods with those from a disparate range of disciplines:
[The h]idden animals with which cryptozoology is concerned, are by deﬁnition very incompletely known. To gain more credence, they have to be documented as carefully and exhaustively as possible by a search through the most diverse ﬁelds of knowledge. Cryptozoological research thus requires not only a thorough grasp of most of the zoological sciences, including, of course physical anthropology, but also a certain training in such extraneous branches of knowledge as mythology, linguistics,
archaeology and history. It will consequently be conducted more extensively in libraries, newspaper morgues, regional archives, museums, art galleries, laboratories, and zoological parks rather than in the ﬁeld!