The Bane of “Crypto-zoologists”?

Posted by: Loren Coleman on July 30th, 2012

The blog io9 has a new offering, “Is this study the bane of crypto-zoologists” by Esther Inglis-Arkell. Go there and read it. I don’t even want to spend any time quoting it, because I find it lacking in clear content. But some items need to be taken to task for merely having a horrible headline and a condescending tone, throughout, like this one does.

First off, this is an ill-conceived title, in the wake of the Bane villain in The Dark Knight Rises.

Second, the word is spelled “cryptozoologists,” not “crypto-zoologists.” And ” miss-classified” is spelled “misclassified.”

It is not the “Proceedings of the Royal Society of B,” but the Proceedings of the Royal Society of Biological Sciences.

Why not mention the authors of the study? They are Diana O. Fisher and Simon P. Blomberg.

Why not be clear about what the study is titled? “Correlates of rediscovery and the detectability of extinction in mammals

Finally, OMG, why did Ms. Inglis-Arkell write this piece?

Oh, yes.

To make fun of cryptozoology.

To make fun of Finding Bigfoot.

To publish images of okapis.

Oh ya. Maybe Ms. Esther Inglis-Arkell just needed to fill her blog space? It seems as if she’s only interested, apparently, in making jokes about Bigfoot, and not engaging in a serious discussion.

Here’s what she says about herself:

Photo of Esther Inglis-Arkell

About Esther Inglis-Arkell

Esther Inglis-Arkell attended Dartmouth College to study physics before she came to San Francisco and started blogging about how to make things explode, historical events when things exploded, and occasionally writing about comics, tv, and movies in which things explode. She’s written for Io9, Comics Alliance, and 4thletter. None of them have exploded yet, but hopes are still high.

It is her ambition to write a little of everything, from memo to manifesto. Internet television scripts are helping her to her achieve that.”

Another bio is here.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

13 Responses to “The Bane of “Crypto-zoologists”?”

  1. Joe Wilson via Facebook responds:

    Yeah, what’s the point of this article? To show that animals who are classified extinct aren’t always actually extinct?

  2. Garrus01 responds:

    Don’t take her seriously, Coleman. That bio is more what I would expect from one of the staff than an actual journalist. In other words, might as well ignore her. Funny thing is, to my knowledge there’s never BEEN a serious, large expedition in terms of finding Bigfoot outside of what we, who can do so on our spare time only, are capable of…and we have pretty solid evidence *of* Bigfoot anyway, in the form of mountains of tracks and sightings. Though I do think the primate’s population is fragmented and it itself is endangered.

  3. red_pill_junkie responds:

    I don’t want to attack Miss Inglis-Arkell —for starters, she has a pretty cool name— but IMO the article was pretty unbalanced.

    io9 is one of the most visited websites in the Geek blogosphere, so I would imagine that with such clout Inglis-Arkell would have had the chance to seek the opinion of someone like Jeff Meldrum or maybe even Jane Goodall, but in the end mentioning just Finding Bigfoot on the side of cryptozoology felt like a cheap shot, or at the very least a lazy decision.

  4. Fhqwhgads responds:

    So if I look for my missing key 11 times on the dining room table, and each time I fail to find it, I can conclude that the key never existed?

    After all, the most important part of her post is, “A species is classified as extinct when no one has seen it for fifty years or after an exhaustive, extensive search has yielded nothing.” Regardless of whether or not Bigfoot is a new biological species, it has certainly not been 50 years since the last sighting; also an “exhaustive” search not only has never been made, it is really impossible to exhaustively search even, say, the state of Washington.

    A more telling criticism of shows like Finding Bigfoot is not that they claim failure, but that they invariably claim some manner of success regardless of how poor their evidence is.

  5. alan borky responds:

    This’s the response I just posted on the site:

    Esther the crux of this piece to me’s your observation “what about species that haven’t been discovered at all? What about the ones that exist only in legend? How long before we give up?” because there’s two possible interpretations of your meaning.

    On the one hand you’re merely reporting a possible inference of Fisher and Blomberg’s analysis applied to cryptids (though I’d argue if the likes of Bigfoot or Yeti exist you’re dealing with something closer to a persecuted minority or wanted criminals actively seeking to stay off the radar rather than a ‘dumb’ animal and therefore Fisher and Blomberg isn’t applicable).

    On the other you’re trying something similar to Richard Wiseman calling for a guillotine to be declared whereby psi phenomena has to be proved to him and his cohorts’ satisfaction by the time they’re having their Saturday evening baked beans in front of the latest Simon Cowell extravaganza otherwise we must all agree to stop researching the subject anymore and accept it doesn’t exist.

    If the latter then I’ll say to you what I usually say whenever I encounter a comment on a paranormal website to the effect “Is it only on your deathbeds you losers’re finally go’n’o realise there ARE no ghosts flying saucers Bigfoot or Nessies and you’re wasting your lives?”

    Is it only on YOUR deathbed people like YOU are finally go’n’o realise YOU’RE wasting YOUR lives try’n’o put a stop to other people pursuing their legitimate interests simply because it irritates you?

    Hopefully though you’re not so closed minded as that and you understand the moment something like say a Bigfoot or a Nessie’s finally discovered’s the moment when the claim of a complete lack of evidence instantly evaporates because suddenly some of those blurry photos and odd anecdotes turn out to be invaluable natural history data of the creature’s activities (as opposed to ‘photoshop jobs’ and ‘meaningless ramblings of the deranged and confused’).

    I note though that not a few cryptozoologists have decided you ARE that type whereas I’m more suprised you haven’t received a battering from the Batman community for your sneaky but clever insertion of the meme of the moment BANE into your headline!

    [I agree with rpj though I love her Little House on the Prarie style name and I imagine her responding to Nick’s tirade with the words “Is it ’cause I is Inglis?”].

  6. mandors responds:

    Wouldn’t give the blog the benefit of a web hit just for another self-promoting lameoid trying to break into the present intelligentsia. It’s easy really. Just adopt an attitude and surround yourself with tidbits of “conventional wisdom” and clichés. Mix in a dose of genuflection to political correctness, and, voila, you too can be part of the narrow intellectual elite.

    But all kidding aside: Darmouth Physics Department to lame SF blogger? Wow, I’d call that a serious academic tailspin.

  7. DWA responds:

    “in the end mentioning just Finding Bigfoot on the side of cryptozoology…”

    Thanks, red_pill. How refreshing it is to occasionally do what people like Ms. Hyphen are doing here: dismissing something without looking at it.

    I may read it for entertainment. But you are seeing my opinion of it before I even do: it’s a pile of poppycock.

    Care to contest me, Ms. Hyphen?

    Consider evidence, for a change. Then I might consider you.

    The grist of cryptozoology is the grist of zoology, says here. Which rules out FB, men in ape suits, silly videos, and other things like that.

    Ms. Hyphen: please try to spend your spare – it must be! – time more profitably than by writing things knowledgeable people can dismiss without reading them.

  8. DWA responds:

    Well, I read it, and I was right, precisely for the reasons I thought I would be, because Hyphen said just what I knew she would say.

    And here it is:

    “But what about species that haven’t been discovered at all? What about the ones that exist only in legend? How long before we give up? Apparently, after about eleven searches. One or two concentrated efforts don’t have much of a chance of finding an animal even if it is out there. The chances of finding the species increase steadily up until about six searches have been made. After that, the odds don’t increase. Get to about eleven searches, and you’ve got a true indication that no one will ever find what you’re looking for. It isn’t there. How many episodes of Finding Bigfoot have there been?”

    Silly Hyphen!

    Dismissing FB as what we know it is – a TV program for ratings and exposure, not a search for anything – how many Bigfoot expeditions have there been, in history?

    Two. Grand total time, two months approximately.

    That isn’t even ONE search, much less eleven. And both of those expeditions, had they had mainstream-accredited scientists on board, would have come back saying: NOW we search until we confirm it. Because it appears to be out there.

    Stick to what you know, Hyphen.

  9. corrick responds:

    Her sarcasm aside, I would agree that the scientific study she cited is probably correct.

    In summery it is that in a specific location, if after about six attempts by qualified scientists fail to find that animal, it most probably isn’t there. While that study isn’t good news for any lake monster buff, it really doesn’t do much to dampen hopes for those interested in possibly unknown animals.

    Here’s why. Vagrants. This is the zoological term used for animals found well outside their “known” specific geographic range. Only in the last 50 years has the idea of vagrants been accepted and perhaps only in the past 25 years widely so by mainstream zoologists. That most “extinct” animals recently rediscovered have been found at the fringes or even outside their previously “known” territories.

    Guess what it all means is that if your cryptid of choice can fly, walk, crawl or lives in saltwater then this study offers nothing to dampen your “evidence” hopes or dreams of any possible cryptid.

    Except for those alleged cryptids in small contained areas. Like lake monsters.

  10. springheeledjack responds:

    She shoots her own argument in the foot (yes, pun intended), when she talks about writing off animals that haven’t been seen for 50+ years only to have them come back or be seen again…she’s not exactly pushing the idea that if it ain’t been found it can’t be out there…

    sigh…as has been said, it’s easy to make general statements when you don’t know what you’re talking about…other than that, eh? She’s not going to set the crypto world on fire with that one…

  11. DWA responds:

    Typical of what critics of crypto don’t understand about the search for unknown, unconfirmed or possibly extinct animals is this little critical tidbit:

    When one is searching for possibly extinct animals, the search is for an animal whose existence is accepted; whose sign is known, and accepted; and for which the researchers are actually diligently searching for evidence.

    For cryptids: no one knows what their sign looks like; no one believes anyone who says they saw one. And other than amateurs with real lives and surreal jobs, who can devote the occasional weekend at best (again, I note, with two historical exceptions of which I am aware), NO ONE IS EVEN LOOKING.

    And the ones who are looking – with notable exceptions – don’t even know what they are looking for.

  12. Kenji responds:

    I used to be an avid io9 fan but I have long since stopped reading that crap, as much as they link to interesting stories so do other sites, and they are not filled with sexists, elitists or just plain dickish people and writing. I’ve seen comments removed because they provided info that countered the articles they write, I’ve seen users banned for not agreeing with writers and I’ve even read articles and responses by staff that try to justify the way they treat people and their lack of diversity as if we owe them for what they do and only ignorant philistines would not agree with them.

    The sites pompous, elitist and filled with readers and writers that love nothing more than to rip on anyone who isn’t like them or doesn’t agree with them. It’s a gawker website, they are all pretty much locked into that ecosystem as it’s what seems to keep them trendy hip and above reproach. They need to pander to established thought in order to seem relevant and make money, not the grandest of ideals but they’re a business and a subsidiary, can’t really expect class or integrity from them.

  13. stranger responds:

    Judging from her photo and bio, I am guessing she is angry because she went out with Bigfoot once and afterwards he never called her back.

    At least that would explain why he is hiding!

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