What do megamouth sharks, hoan kiem turtles, and the giant squid all have in common. Sixty years ago, scientists would have told you that none of them exist. As I read the Houston Chronicle’s front page report on Tuesday that a giant squid had been fished up by fisherman off the coast of Louisiana, I imagine that I felt more excited than most people. Yes, I knew that the animal exists because the mysterious creature was proven to exist in 1954, when the first giant squid was captured.
Nevertheless, reading the article excites me because it reminds me of the constant discovery of new animals, many thought to be fictional. The discoveries excite me because they give me a chance to marvel and wonder at how many other animals, that I am told are fiction, may still be out there waiting for discovery. I certainly do not believe that science has discovered all of nature’s secrets.
Naturally, I am not the only person who shares this sense of wonder and excitement about the seemingly limitless possibilities of nature. There is a whole science dedicated to the discovery of creatures that are considered extinct or mythical. This science is called "cryptozoology" and is a fascination of mine. I enjoy watching programs such as “Monster Quest
” or “Destination Truth
” and ponder whether the mysterious creatures sought on the show can truly exist.
Likewise, I also enjoy reading good books on cryptozoology. The fascinating book Cryptozoology A to Z
provides an indepth listing of hundreds of the controversial creatures, some probable and some farfetched, that cryptozoologists seek. I find reading about all of these creatures and learning the stories behind their legends extremely fascinating.
While most of my family considers me crazy for having such interests, I keep in mind that up until 1976, the megamouth shark was considered a myth relegated to the realm of cryptozoology. And yet, the shark was proved to be a real animal. Likewise, the Hoan Kiem Turtles were considered to be a mythical, or at most extinct, animal until they were discovered in 1967. And, of course, the giant squid is another creature that belongs to the ranks of fictional creatures now know to be real. If these animals and others, which modern science once scoffed at cryptozoologists for believing in, can turn out to be real, then I believe that an open-mind should be taken toward some of the other animals that cryptozoologists claim exist.
So, when you see the article about the giant squid in the Chronicle, or whenever you see a new article about the many new animal species that are discovered daily, I hope that you will share in my wonder of the many unique creatures that exist in our world waiting to be discovered.
Do you have any unusual or legendary creatures that you believe in?