Definition of cryptid

Cryptid (from the greek “κρύπτω” meaning ‘hidden’) is a term which is used in cryptozoology to refer to a creature whose existence has been suggested but has never been given scientifical credit. Such entities include chupacabras, Bigfoot, Yeti, the Mokele Mmembe and the Loch Ness Monster.

The term was coined by John E. Wall in a 1983 letter to the International Society of Cryptozoology newsletter.

Evidence for the existence of cryptids is typically limited to anecdotal evidence or other forms of evidence insufficient to withstand normal scientific scrutiny by the general zoological community.

The term ‘cryptid’ has also been applied by cryptozoologists to animals whose existence is accepted by the scientific community, but which are considered of interest to cryptozoology, such as the coelacanth, once believed to be extinct, and the okapi, at one time thought to be entirely fictitious.

The existence of several cryptids has been debunked through scientific investigation by cryptozoologists, zoologists, and other interested parties. Some allegations have been exposed as deliberate hoaxes (for example, The Surgeon’s Photograph). Still, cryptozoology is a subject that has made its way into popular culture, as illustrated by shows like Monster Quest, Destination Truth and The Secret Saturdays.