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On every continent and in every nation, animals unrecognized by modern science are reported on a daily basis. People passionately pursue these creatures—the name given to their field of study is cryptozoology. Coined in the 1950’s, the term literally means the science of hidden animals. When the International Society of Cryptozoology (ISC) was formed in 1982, the founders declared that the branch of science is also concerned with "the possible existence of known animals in areas where they are not supposed to occur (either now or in the past) as well as the unknown persistence of presumed extinct animals to the present time or to the recent past...what makes an animal of interest to cryptology is that it is unexpected."
This reference work presents a "flesh and blood" view of cryptozoology. Here, 2,744 entries are listed, the majority of which each describe one specific creature or type of creature. Those entries cover creatures that have been reported from an extremely wide variety of locations worldwide, and throughout recorded history. Other entries cover 742 places where unnamed cryptids are said to appear; profiles of 77 groups and 112 individuals who have contributed to the field; descriptions of objects and events important to the subject; and essays on cryptotourism and hoaxes, for example. Appendices offer a timeline of zoological discoveries, annotated lists of movies and television series with cryptozoological themes, a list of crypto-fiction titles and a list of Internet websites devoted to cryptozoology.
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Michael Newton is also the author of The FBI Encyclopedia (2003, "highly recommended"—Library Journal). He lives in Nashville, Indiana.From Booklist:
The continuing search for Nessie, Bigfoot, sea serpents, and other mysterious creatures, or cryptids, is a fascinating subject. The discovery of living coelacanths, long believed extinct, fuels the imagination that other creatures, such as dinosaurs, may still walk the earth. This encyclopedia presents the latest information on sightings and hoaxes.
Concentrating on plausible creatures, not paranormal entities such as ghosts, the volume consists of 2,744 alphabetically arranged entries describing 1,583 creatures as well as places, people, and more. Two essays on Cryptotourism and Hoaxes are included. Some entries are accompanied by small black-and-white illustrations and photographs. Longer entries on Alien big cats, Nessie, and Octopus (giant) provide much information on these mysteries, describing sightings with dates and locations and giving possible explanations. The author is careful to not offer opinions of the validity of sightings but does refer to documented evidence calling them into question, as with recent sightings of the extinct Passenger pigeon. This is the opposite story from the Eastern cougar, where numerous sightings are forcing a reconsideration of their extinction. Each article ends with a list of sources with complete citations for those titles not included in the bibliography and short citations for those that are included. A glossary, six appendixes (a time line, a filmography, Internet links, and more), a bibliography, and an index complete the work.
Cryptozoology is treated in several other books. Cryptozoology A to Z: The Encyclopedia of Loch Monsters, Sasquatch, Chupacabras, and Other Authentic Mysteries of Nature (Simon & Schuster, 1999) provides an overview with approximately 100 entries. Mysterious Creatures: A Guide to Cryptozoology (ABC-CLIO, 2003) has half the entries (1,125 compared to 2,744) of the Encyclopedia of Cryptozoology and is arranged more as a field guide. The depth of coverage in the current work makes it an excellent purchase for academic, high-school, and public libraries whose patrons are interested in this subject. Abbie Vestal Landry
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