10/29/2021

The Science Behind Cryptid Sightings

25:03 minutes

People around the world have long been fascinated by the idea that there are strange creatures out there, ones that may or may not exist. Tales circulate about cryptids–animals whose existence can’t be proved—like Bigfoot hiding out in American forests, or sea serpents lurking just below the water in coastal towns.

Despite the best efforts of monster hunting T.V. shows and amateur sleuths, there may never be concrete proof that these creatures exist. But that doesn’t stop people from analyzing strange photographs or odd carcasses and saying maybe, just maybe, cryptids do exist.

Darren Naish, a paleontologist and author based in Southampton, U.K., has a particular interest in looking at cryptozoology—from a skeptical perspective. His breakdowns of cryptid sightings from a scientific perspective have been published in Scientific American, his website, and in his book, Hunting Monsters: Cryptozoology and the Reality Behind the Myths. 

Darren speaks to guest host Sophie Bushwick about faked evidence, his relationship with cryptozoology, and how cryptids may lead to other pseudoscience beliefs.


Further Reading


Donate To Science Friday

Invest in quality science journalism by making a donation to Science Friday.

Donate

Segment Guests

Darren Naish

Darren Naish is a paleontologist and author based in Southampton, U.K.

Segment Transcript

The transcript for this segment is being processed. It will be posted within one week after the episode airs.

Meet the Producers and Host

About Kathleen Davis

Kathleen Davis is a producer at Science Friday, which means she spends the week brainstorming, researching, and writing, typically in that order. She’s a big fan of stories related to strange animal facts and dystopian technology.

About Sophie Bushwick

Sophie Bushwick is technology editor at Scientific American in New York, New York. Previously, she was a senior editor at Popular Science.

Explore More

The Rare, Native Species Haunting The Appalachian Mountains

While you dressed up as a witch or zombie this Halloween, these North Carolinians took the form of something much scarier: local species at risk.

Read More