Abominable Science!: Origins of the Yeti, Nessie and other famous Cryptids (Columbia University Press)
Throughout our history, humans have been captivated by mythic beasts and legendary creatures. Tales of Bigfoot, the Yeti, and the Loch Ness monster are part of our collective experience. Now comes a book from two dedicated investigators that explores and elucidates the fascinating world of cryptozoology.Daniel Loxton and Donald R. Prothero have written an entertaining, educational, and definitive text on cryptids, presenting the arguments both for and against their existence and systematically challenging the pseudoscience that perpetuates their myths. After examining the nature of science and pseudoscience and their relation to cryptozoology, Loxton and Prothero take on Bigfoot; the Yeti, or Abominable Snowman, and its cross-cultural incarnations; the Loch Ness monster and its highly publicized sightings; the evolution of the Great Sea Serpent; and Mokele Mbembe, or the Congo dinosaur. They conclude with an analysis of the psychology behind the persistent belief in paranormal phenomena, identifying the major players in cryptozoology, discussing the character of its subculture, and considering the challenge it poses to clear and critical thinking in our increasingly complex world.
Praise for Abominable Science!:
"Nearly everyone -- scientist and layman alike -- would love the Loch Ness monster and other 'cryptids' to be real. Daniel Loxton and Donald R. Prothero, in their riveting exploration of cryptozoology, readily admit that some species (such as the living coelacanth and even the mountain gorilla) remained hidden to human experience until relatively recently. Yet they insist on hard evidence, thus running counter to the preferences of those who prefer to believe. Abominable Science! is a well-told, engaging story of skepticism. Loxton and Prothero present a lucid and compelling case to counter the false claims of cryptozoology."--Niles Eldredge, American Museum of Natural History, author of Darwin: Discovering the Tree of Life
"Here, at last, is a scholarly, fully referenced work that presents a thoroughly reasonable, well-argued, skeptical perspective on some of the most iconic 'cryptids, ' and it is fun to read and well illustrated to boot. Combining excellent and thorough research, ample references to the cryptozoological literature, and, most important, an appropriately level-headed, critical approach, "Abominable Science!" offers a novel, refreshing exploration of the world of cryptozoology."--Darren Naish, National Oceanography Centre, University of Southampton
Donald R. Prothero is one of the leading scientists and authors working in paleontology and evolution. He is a former professor of geology at Occidental College and lecturer in geobiology at Caltech. He is presently a research associate in the Department of Vertebrate Paleontology at the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum and is the author of more than 30 books and 250 scientific papers published in leading scholarly journals. He received his Ph.D. from Columbia University and is a fellow of the Geological Society of America, the Paleontological Society, and the Linnean Society of London. In 1991, he received the award for “Outstanding Paleontologist Under the Age of 40,” and was awarded the 2013 James Shea Award by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers for outstanding writing and editing in the geosciences.
Photo by Teresa LeVelle