Origins of the Yeti, Nessie, and Other Famous Cryptids
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.
Loxton and Prothero have written what may well be the most important work to date on cryptozoology, taking its rightful place in the annals of skeptical literature in particular and scientific literature in general. Abominable Science! is the defining work on cryptozoology of our generation.
from the foreword by Michael Shermer, author of The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies
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
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
[ Abominable Science!] is as valuable for its analysis of the hunted as it is for the light it shines on the still-hopeful hunters.
Highly recommended for readers looking for scientific but accessible evaluations of the existence of five notable cryptids that have captured our imaginations. Likely to be popular.
Groundbreaking.... A must-have. There is nothing else like it.
[Loxton and Prothero] offer us a sharp analysis of the quest for unreal critters--cryptids, as they are called--and the people who pursue them, shining an arc light onto the hoaxes and faked photos, the made-up films, faux corpses, delusions, lies and plain bad science that plague the field.... [An] entertaining and thoroughly documented book.
The authors, eminent and intrepid sceptics, seek evidence of fabulous big beasts and find nothing but fakes, folklore, pseudo-science and anecdote.
[ Abominable Science!] is a never less than rigorous examination of the evidence, and a cultural history of cryptozoology.
A good hard look at cryptozoology.... Loxton and Prothero lay bare the psychological roots of why such mythical creatures exist in our own minds.
Skipping cryptozoology's usual sensationalism, [ Abominable Science!] separates history and folklore from hoaxes and fakelore.
[ Abominable Science!] successfully reveals the influence of popular culture on what we think we see.
They offer us a sharp analysis of the quest for unreal critters--cryptids, as they are called--and the people who pursue them, shining an arc light onto the hoaxes and faked photos, the made-up films, faux corpses, delusions, lies and plain bad science that plague the field.
[ Abominable Science!] goes back to the foundations of the Bigfoot legend and picks off the fur piece by piece.
An exhaustively-researched, color-illustrated volume that details the cultural forces (and often individual people) responsible for shaping these beasts in the public's imagination.
Any science and nature collection should consider this a lively and loving acquisition.
Abominable Science! is science writing at its best.
Many good laughs... Loxton and Prothero have done a fine job of describing monsters that have an entertainment value for everyone...
Foreword by Michael Shermer
1. Cryptozoology: Real Science or Pseudoscience?
2. Bigfoot: The Sasquatch
3. The Yeti: The Abominable Snowman
4. Nessie: The Loch Ness Monster
5. The Evolution of the Sea Serpent: From Hippocamp to Cadborosaurus
6. Mokele Mbembe: The Congo Dinosaur
7. Why Do People Believe in Monsters? The Complexity of Cryptozoology
Read an excerpt from the chapter "Bigfoot: The Sasquatch"
2014 Outstanding Title in University Press Books for Public and Secondary School Libraries, American Association of University Presses