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Cryptozoology Needs More Field Researchers!

Posted by: Adam Davies on May 21st, 2011

Extreme Expeditions

Adam Davies, Extreme Expeditioner, joins the blogging team at Cryptomundo.

You can purchase a copy of his book, Extreme Expeditions, by clicking on the cover image above.

One of the most frequent questions that I am asked is “how can I get involved in Cryptozoology?”

I have a very straightforward answer to this “Get out there and and some field research if you can, or if not, sponsor or help others to do it.”

Cryptozoology really needs more field researchers, and I want to give you two examples of why I consider it to be so important.

In her book Wildmen, Yeti, Sasquatch and the Neanderthal Enigma, Myra Shackley speculated on the potential range of the Almas, the Mongolian hominid.

Quoting form the research of explorer Dordji Meiren, she writes “Meiren, who lived in the Gobi area and was a member of the Academy of Sciences, recalled that during the period 1807-67, Almas were reported from Khalkha, the Galbin Gobi, and Dzakh Soudjin Gobi, as well as from Inner Mongolia. They were especially numerous in the Gourban Bogdan Gobi, Chardzan Gobi,….and numerous other places. According to Meiren,their numbers had decreased dramatically by 1867-1927, and after this date they seem almost to have disappeared, except form the province of Khovd, and the Southern Gobi. The Mongol hunters themselves concluded that the Almas were becoming very scarce.”

In 2006, I traveled thousands of kilometres looking for evidence of the Almas in Mongolia. Sadly, there appeared to be very few recent sightings of the creature.

Professor Navaan, the respected Mongolian academic, who was in his eighties when I met him in Ulan Bator, told me that the last credible sighting he had investigated was that of a Russian Colonel in 1921. I am aware of other sightings, such as those in the 1940’s, this was his view.

As I traveled across Mongolia, it was clear that most Mongolians knew little of the Almas except in children’s tales, People who lived near the so called Mountain of the Almas, near Bulgan, for example, told me this directly.

It was only when I got to an area around Hovd, that I could find two examples of tangible accounts, both from the 1990’s. A hunter called Ulzi had seen an Almas, which he described as “Standing like a man, but running like an animal.” Also in the 1990’s, a local newspaper had also had reports of footprints in that same area a few years ago. However, no other local people had anything to contribute. The Kazakh people I interviewed said that they had heard of somebody seeing it, and many talked about it emitting a strange whistling noise. None of their number could point me to anyone who had seen one, however.

Extrapolating the decline in numbers since the 19th Century, it is possible on this basis to conclude that the Almas is past or on the brink of the point of extinction.

A similar conclusion can be drawn with the Orang-Pendek. Although I have had no difficulty in procuring eyewitness reports of recent activity, again they are in a very concentrated area of Western Sumatra, in contrast with the widespread accounts of the creature living in many parts of the island over the past few centuries.

Why? I think a modern example neatly illustrates this.

I once traveled down a small road through Western Sumatra, marveling at the beauty of the pristine virgin rain forest which surrounded me. It was beautiful, and I felt excited that I was soon going to be exploring it.

When I traveled that same route five years later, the place was full of Palm Oil plantations. I traveled that route for half an hour, and everything was gone. I was devastated. There is not a day that has gone by since when I don’t think about it.

I would like you, for the purposes of this article, to consider as a starting point that both creatures exist, rather than speculate if they do. Taking this into account, it is clear that human population and expansion, and subsequent environmental erosion, are rapidly pushing these creatures to the edge of extinction.

I truly believe that time is running out for some of our cryptids, and that is one of the main reasons I spend thousands of pounds of my own money, as well as most of my spare time, in searching for credible scientific evidence of them.

To do nothing, or to leave them alone, is just not an option.

So, field research NOW is an imperative. Either conduct it yourself, or help others to do so.

We really need as much credible scientific evidence as we can gather.

If you need my advice, I am happy to help!

About Adam Davies
I am an explorer, adventurer, and a cryptozoologist. I've traveled to some of the most remote and dangerous parts of the world in search yet-to-be-discovered animal species. From the dense jungles of the Congo and Sumatra, to the deserts of Mongolia, and the mountains of Nepal, I have traveled the world in search of scientific evidence of the existence of these creatures.


8 Responses to “Cryptozoology Needs More Field Researchers!”

  1. Loren Coleman responds:

    Welcome, Adam.

    Of course, your overall point is well-taken, but allow me to give some important counter-points:

    1. Most casual cz and Bigfoot “fieldworkers” hardly have any training in collecting evidence. Many may actually, unfortunately, be damaging the worth of the future value of a sighting location, evidence, and more, due to bad techniques or casual collecting.

    2. Funding of qualified field researchers may be a more longterm need than actually flooding the forests and lakes with more and more unqualified trekkers and seekers.

    3. Not everyone is cut out for fieldwork, due to specialized skills, and we all should encourage a multiple array of cryptozoology specialists, in the labs, in academia, in the libraries, and in the field.

    4. Due to aging of researchers, like myself, who may have done fieldwork for four decades, there should be more openness about realizing that more trainers, more academics, and more chroniclers are needed too, all in cryptozoology.

    5. Field researchers are great, but as Heuvelmans saw it, there is more room for lots of other folks too, in this field.

    All my best,
    Loren

  2. Adam Davies responds:

    Loren,

    Thanks for your comments.

    I totally agree with your points about the need to train more people in the collection of samples, and how to approach fieldwork. Is is important that those who embark on this kind of research gain as much knowledge as they can. Specifically, I have used some of your work to help me ascertain where best to conduct searches for cryptids in the past, and will continue to do so.

    I would like to see more new field researchers develop their skills, and with the proper training, I hope we can all make a valuable contribution. My own kids,Oliver 12 and Gabriella six, have a real love of fieldcraft (they were on a show with me on Discovery Canada Thursday night), and I would like to encourage
    others to do this in the future.

  3. size 13 responds:

    I do agree with Loren, but for me and hundreds of others, it’s all about having enough funds to stay out in the field and more often. Not tons of money but enough to stay out for several weeks at a time.There are plenty of Squatch here in Texas and Oklahoma, because there are tons of woods to explore and that’s going to take weeks of foot work following the river bottoms and creeks. I speculate that there are as many Squatches here as in the PNW but more spread out and far more woods, lots of area to cover. One would need some funding to do this rather than putting in 50 hours a week earning it and being too worn to go out on just the weekend. We need more full timers out in the field.

  4. Mr. Elekom responds:

    Could you guys do a blog post about the basics of gathering data and samples?
    “I totally agree with your points about the need to train more people in the collection of samples, and how to approach fieldwork. Is is important that those who embark on this kind of research gain as much knowledge as they can.”
    I know I would greatly appreciate it and I’m sure others would too.

  5. DWA responds:

    Size 13 says it.

    Part-time isn’t gonna do this. Full-time researchers are needed.

    Every time, it seems, that a group like the TBRC spends three days out, they have several somethings happen that seem pretty much a stretch to attribute to known phenomena. Then, everybody goes back to their real lives and their surreal jobs.

    Does no one have the curiosity combined with the money to find a crypto-Jane Goodall, give that person a grubstake, and get them out in the field for months, or years? I’d contribute as hefty a chunk as I could spare to that. I’m considering whether I couldn’t be the guy that gets sent out there. But as with most of us my job does too many nice things for me – including allow me to spend a lot of time outside, and a lot of time boosting the search here, without worrying where my next meal is coming from. There’s that family (three kids, none out of the nest yet) too.

    I don’t envy you, Adam, because my choices are mine and they’ve worked for me. Good on ya, though. It’s clear you made good choices too. There aren’t enough of you, spending enough time. And ain’t it always money.

    I’m just going to keep doing my bit, keeping my eyes open for the odd bit of evidence (the BFRO is a bit overdue to get back to me) and keeping the flies off your back here. Might even have the odd tip for what that’s worth. Stiff upper lip and all that, carry on.

  6. graybear responds:

    Every one always brings up Jane Goodall when they begin to talk about or more strongly consider field work. In one way it is perfectly natural to do so; Ms. Goodall is the chimpanzee researcher for both the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. But it should be remembered that, when she began her research, she had no advanced degrees, almost no experience in field research, and very little in the way of funding. Her habit of naming the chimps she observed got her hung (metaphorically) by the established researchers who she would ultimately left in her dust (also metaphorically).

    But she had several advantages over Bigfoot researchers, first among them was the simple fact that she knew that chimpanzees actually existed! And this simple Bigfoot fact was acknowledged by the scientific establishment. She also knew, within a few miles, just where she could find chimpanzees, and that she probably wasn’t going to be torn limb from limb by them.

    Bigfoot researchers don’t have these simple advantages.

    Nevertheless, a short list of things the wanna-be researchers should keep in their vehicle would be helpful. A small digital camera that you know how to use is a must, plaster and a gallon or so of water (always a smart move anyway) and a mixing bucket, a tape measure with BIG, BRIGHT printing, a usable flashlight, a compass, a voice recorder for interviews with eyewitnesses and a pencil and drawing pad. This is by no means comprehensive, but it would be a good and reasonably inexpensive start. You could probably add tweezers and plastic bags for hair and scat samples and ….

  7. PhotoExpert responds:

    Adam–Welcome to Cryptomundo! I am certain I speak for all members when I say, we are glad to have you as part of the blogging team. Hopefully, you have visited the site many times over the last couple of years, at least when you are not out on an extreme expedition. If you are not familiar with this site, it is a great site and people have strong opinions. This makes for a lively conversation! I think most of the time you are going to enjoy blogging here. But when one of those “lively” conversational threads come up, don’t internalize everything a person has to say in their post. Thick skin helps a lot! LOL

    Anyway, great to have you here as the newest Cryptomundo blogger! You will make a great addition to the team. I think I get what you are saying in your post. I think you are basically saying that if an opportunity arises for cryptid field research, if you have assets that are valuable and can contribute something, don’t miss out on that opportunity. Am I correct? In other words, be involved if an opportunity presents itself, while not having a negative impact.

    You know, come to think of it, the members here at Cryptomundo have contributed to cryptozoology by just posting and making the public aware of certain things. That is a contribution in itself.

    Have a great week everyone!

  8. lapzod responds:

    Good read!

    I’m looking forward to your posts! Hopefully you can do a few more on the research side of crypto.



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