The Cryptozoologicon is here!

Updated from a post announcing that it was on its way on Oct 13, 2013. It is now here! Another do not miss cryptozoology book.

The Cryptozoologicon – by John Conway, C. M. Kosemen and Darren Naish – is published by Irregular Books.

via Tales from the Cryptozoologicon: BUNYIP | Tetrapod Zoology, Scientific American Blog Network.

Cryptozoologicon [is] a beautifully illustrated work focusing on cryptids, the (sometimes mundane, sometimes bizarre, sometimes nonsense) creatures of the cryptozoological literature. We’re just about done and are looking to launch soon… in fact, we’ve created so much material that we’re now going to be producing TWO VOLUMES.Cryptozoologicon Vol I launches soon in 2013; Vol II will follow soon after.

Darren Naish is a science writer, technical editor and palaeozoologist (affiliated with the University of Southampton, UK). He mostly works on Cretaceous dinosaurs and pterosaurs but has an avid interest in all things tetrapod. His blog, Tetrapod Zoology, is STELLAR, especially when he talks about pterosaurs, cryptids and movie monsters. He is the go-to person when mysterious dead things are found such as the Montauk Monster and the San Diego Demonoid.

The Cryptozoologicon (Volume I): here, at last | Tetrapod Zoology

The basic premise of the Cryptozoologicon will be familiar if you’re a regular Tet Zoo reader. Inspired by the numerous exercises in speculative zoology that have long been typical of the cryptozoological literature, we’ve taken a bunch of mystery creatures (some reasonable, some silly, some ridiculous and disproven) and have devised our own visions of them; our own speculations on their evolutionary history, ecology and biology. The overall take is sceptical (god, how I so hate the fact that some cryptozoologists regard this as a bad thing…): we provide a historical review and evaluation of the mystery creature concerned (there’s a lot more text here than inAll Yesterdays) (Conway et al. 2013).

John Conway and C.M Koseman are the artists.

Image by John Conway, from the forthcoming Cryptozoologicon

Image by John Conway, from the Cryptozoologicon

I am so excited for this book. Check out their previous book of speculative zoology, All Yesterdays.

This is another example of how cryptozoology is split into those who do science (and other professional things) for a living and those do crypto-stuff just to bolster their belief in their favorite cryptid. I love that there are now better options, scholarly and fantastic, for those interested in this subject area.

For cryptozoology book options, see our Book Recommendation page.

  12 comments for “The Cryptozoologicon is here!

  1. Harold Renshaw
    October 13, 2013 at 10:19 AM

    I’m also excited about the news of this scholarly effort. I think we’ll soon see a pocket version that cryptospotters can carry in a pocket of their utility vests as they go out with their notebooks looking for those illusive beasts. They can form local clubs and have competitions as well as awards and prizes for the most sightings. It’s the dawning of a new era in spotting.

  2. October 13, 2013 at 10:58 AM

    If they get their pocket handbooks, they could use the same vocabulary as the Twitchers
    ['_vocabulary ] and perhaps call themselves Crypters. The very keen ones, who look for the footprints and droppings of the creatures, could be known as Crapters.

  3. spookyparadigm
    October 13, 2013 at 10:59 AM

    And those links led me to the Bunyip song which terrified me as a child. I have to assume it was the background music and wailing, because I’m just not seeing what was so awful (unlike the Darby O’Gill banshee that terrified me around the same age, that one I get)

    • Lagaya1
      December 4, 2013 at 5:09 PM

      I had never heard of the Bunyip. Looking at the video, I first guessed American Indian folklore, but then saw kangaroos, so must be Australian. Is it Aboriginal folklore, or something more recently contrived?

  4. spookyparadigm
    October 13, 2013 at 11:28 AM

    Ok, more serious post:

    1. This is quite similar in tone to two documentary/speculative fiction shows which ran on animal planet. One was on werewolves, the other was on dragons. The dragons one imagined dragons to be real, and used various myths of dragons to explore both the concept of evolution, and to showcase various real-world animals (bombardier beetles became the analog for fiery breath, and so on). The werewolf one was VERY X-files (being filmed in Canada didn’t hurt) with some combination of cop and scientist investigating some strange occurrences (which turn out to be a pack of werewolves, cast somewhat like Roma in being clannish and mobile) and at the same time being informed by the discovery of an ancient Norse berserker, which provides the key (lycanthropy as a less lethal form of rabies, or something like that IIRC). The Dragon episode was shot like your typical early 21st century nature doc (shifting between the lab and CGI, having a quest at its core, in this case the study of a dragon skeleton unearthed in a cave), while the Werewolf one as noted was basically an X-File. The Dragon one was clear fantasy, the Werewolf one was less so, but obviously dramatic (the end part was shot like a true crime reconstruction, but it was not framed as such, so they didn’t cross the line, but came close).

    Both of those seem somewhat in the vein of these books, and were acceptable. But you’re quite familiar with the third in the series: Mermaid: The Body Found or whatever it was called.

    Now these books are obviously not like that, they are exploring the myths, and then having science fun with them, but that leads me to

    2. As I sort of discussed in the waay chivo comments, the heart of cryptozoology (especially once it gets out of Heuvelmann’s hands) is taking other people’s myths and spirit beliefs, and turning them into flesh-and-blood creatures, often though not always tied into extinct creatures in the fossil record. It seems like this tendency to forcibly euhemerize (and by doing so, codifying these “creatures” in ways that are inappropriate, and removing some of their mystique while only adding supposition) should be discussed. I think of this sort of exercise as akin to the D&D practice known as Gygaxian Naturalism, of taking a shadowy spirit creature of lore, and creating mechanical systems for how it works, giving it an ecology, and maybe even sticking it in a made-up taxonomy (do the undead really need uncladistics?).

    I’d post this over on the tetrapodzoo blog, but I don’t like linking social media together when it is avoidable.

  5. Chris Howard
    October 13, 2013 at 9:01 PM


    Haven’t you people seen Army of Darkness, or read any Lovecraft?

    Oh? My bad. Cryptozoo-uh-hoozy-what. ;-)

  6. October 13, 2013 at 9:48 PM

    From the title I actually thought there was going to be some sort of convention. I was looking forward to a bit of real life trolling. Slightly disappointed now :(

  7. neko
    October 14, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    I agree with switch. The use of the suffix -con has become overloaded, so I am anti-con.

    I mean, I’m pro-contra-con. No… wait, Yes! NO!

    Confound it!

  8. December 4, 2013 at 3:37 PM

    Hey it’s fun, I wish our group had a cool convention near by we could go to….

  9. December 5, 2013 at 10:54 AM

    As a long time fan of Naish (even though I very rarely comment) this is definately on my list.

    And really, you’ve gotta follow his podcast too!

  10. Paul C.
    December 20, 2013 at 6:42 PM

    I rarely enter into Internet debates these days, but Sharon I disagree with your statement at the tag end of this post that the field is simply divided into people “who do science (and other professional things” and those who do crypto-stuff to bolster their beliefs. I know people both here in Australia and worldwide who are not scientists, nor ‘professionals’ (I’m not sure exactly what that means) but who are simply inquisitive, open-minded and rational, not slaves to any particular belief system. I enjoy Monster Talk, but sometimes it appears to be a simply a sarcasm society, and tagging people this way just further polarises the field. You can be interested in the subject and not a “believer”. I’ve always thought that Tony Healy and my crypto-books always took that line – we never argued for a cryptid’s existence, just simply documented the data.

    • December 20, 2013 at 7:25 PM

      Belief will bleed into it on the sciencey side too but I am mainly thinking about the huge gap between Bigfoot hunters and Yeti advocates who have unshakeable belief and those who do more scholarly work. There will be those that don’t fall into either camp but my experience with the range of people shows me there is CLEARLY a bimodal distribution.

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