I am completely enamored with Cryptozoology. The name comes from a fancy-sounding Greek word that means “study of hidden animals.” It gets absolutely no love as a hard science (something about that pesky disregard of the Scientific Method) but the animals that Cryptozoologists study, Cryptids, hold a special fascination.
It seems like the stuff of fantasy until you realize that some of these animals, thought previously to be the result of wacky scientists experimenting with the wrong chemicals or spending too much alone time in the wild, actually turned out to be real. The kangaroo, okapi, mountain gorilla, giant squid, platypus and dinosaur were all thought to be fictional creatures at one point.
Cryptids play a central role in some of my favorite books including Jules Verne’s TWENTY THOUSAND LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA (giant squid), Michael Critchton’s CONGO (homicidal hybrid gorillas) and JURASSIC PARK (dinosaurs), Maggie Stiefvater’s WOLVES OF MERCY FALLS series (werewolves), and China Miéville’s KRAKEN (more massive squids!)
Perhaps it’s only a matter of time until we find irrefutable proof of Big Foot, the Loch Ness Monster or my personal favorite, the Chupacabra.