The deep diving robot that explores the ocean off Monterey Bay takes photographs of tiny new species almost every time it goes down. In Alaska, astoundingly, a new species of beaked whale, 24 feet long, was discovered only in 2016. Numerous new species on land have been discovered in recent years, including a gorgeous big cat in Indonesia called the “clouded leopard.” You have likely never heard about these creatures in popular media, because none of them fit what the “cryptozoology” audience is looking for, which says plenty about the psychology of these people.
Apparently, to trigger the enthusiasm of the cryptid hunters, a creature has to be something straight out of a Hollywood monster movie. It needs to be colossal, for starters, preferably carnivorous and menacing, and it would help if it bore no resemblance to any other life form. Deep ocean beasties are fine, but they would have to be able to travel to and from the high pressure zones, like sperm whales do. Permanent residents of the abyss would hold limited interest, because they could never interact with, or otherwise menace, human beings. To be a real monster of cryptozoology requires that an animal take part in a human storyline.
This gives short shrift to an awful lot of interesting creatures that are being discovered these days. It also limits the cryptozoologists’ importance in biological science (which is limited to the vanishing point anyway.) Did cryptozoologists rejoice, or even notice, when in 2001 the “gladiator insect” was discovered in Namibia? This living animal represents not a new species but a new order of insect, the first new order discovered among insects since 1915.
The new animals we are finding are small, simple life forms, like bugs and birds and sea jellies. The chances of a cryptozoological superstar turning up grow smaller every day. The reality is, there would be evidence of such a rampaging beast. Even if it was living in the deep oceans, we would be finding carcasses with bites taken out, bigger than shark-sized. There would be other environmental evidence, not to mention some dead cryptids. That is not happening. The cryptozoo crew is reduced to studying and restudying the Patterson Bigfoot film, over and over and over. If only they had spent a thousandth as much time studying the background of the shifty, shady Patterson himself, they might have spared themselves that frame-by-frame scrutiny of his masterpiece.
Apart from ape men, the other superstar of cryptozoology is the lake monster, preferably one in Loch Ness, Scotland. But fakes and mistakes are the constant hallmark of that mystery, too. The killers of Nessie are these facts: For ten years in the 1960s a dawn-to-dusk observation was conducted of the entire surface of Loch Ness by thousands of volunteers – with zero results. No reports of a monster can be found prior to the 1930s, when a local hoaxer started the myth. In the Victorian Age, the lake was a major tourist destination. Nobody reported any monsters. The so-called ancient sighting by Saint Columba comes from an old book of tall tales about the adventures of the saint; it is a compendium of fanciful myth and legend, and to cherry-pick one story of a monster in the River Ness (not even Loch Ness!) is intellectually dishonest.
Real animals are simply not so elusive. If a large animal species existed near a human presence we would know of it, conclusively, and have a carcass. Snow leopards are exceedingly rare and elusive, and are well known to science. But maybe someday a creature that is a Creature will surface in some Black Lagoon, and the cryptid buffs will have their moment of triumph. Much more likely is that the only real monster on earth is homo-sapiens.