Defining the Field

The word cryptozoology (in French, "la cryptozoologie") was coined by Bernard Heuvelmans in the late 1950s. It comes from the Greek kryptos ("hidden") + zoon ("animal") + logos ("discourse"), which when combined yield "the science of hidden animals." More accurately, cryptozoology is the study of the evidence for animals that are undescribed by science. The word first appeared in print in 1959 when Chief Game Inspector of the French Overseas Territories Lucien Blancou dedicated his book Géographie cynégétique du monde to Heuvelmans: "Bernard Heuvelmans, maître de la cryptozoologie" (Bernard Heuvelmans, master of cryptozoology). Heuvelmans has also credited Ivan T. Sanderson with inventing the word independently when Sanderson was a student, which would have been at Eton College in the 1920s.

The use of the word cryptid for unknown animals was proposed by John E. Wall of Altona, Manitoba, in a summer 1983 letter to ISC Newsletter.

Dracontology, now in use for the study of both Freshwater Monsters and Sea Monsters, was coined by French Canadian Jacques Boisvert in the early 1980s. It was accepted by l'Office de la Langue Française du Québec (as dracontologie) in 1984 and by the American Heritage Dictionary in 1985.

The term hominology was invented by Russian researcher Dmitri Bayanov in the early 1970s to describe the study of existing Ho-MINIDS that do not belong to our own species, Homo sapiens. In a letter to primatologist John Napier in 1973, Bayanov said the term was intended to "bridge the gap between zoology and anthropology."

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