Should I Become a Cryptozoologist?
Cryptozoology, or the study of unknown animals, referred to as cryptids, involves the application of science in the pursuit of finding new species and hybrid animals. While this field has its critics, several species presumed to be nonexistent have been discovered by these scientists, including the gorilla and the okapi. Cryptozoologists travel around the world following reports of strange sightings, documenting scientific evidence and sharing their findings with the public. Additionally, they may investigate known species that are reported out of their natural environments or look unusual in appearance. Travel may include working long hours in remote areas under all types of weather conditions.
College training in biology, zoology or a related field can be helpful for individuals considering careers as cryptozoologists, though a degree is not needed. Individuals looking to work in this field should have strong verbal and written communication, critical-thinking, observation and problem-solving skills. According to 2015 statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage for zoologists/wildlife biologists was $59,680 per year.
Steps to Become a Cryptozoologist
Step 1: Earn a Degree
Because cryptozoologists study undocumented animals, they need significant knowledge of the animal kingdom. Students interested in cryptozoology might consider pursuing an undergraduate or a graduate degree in either zoology or biology. It's important to note that degree programs specializing in cryptozoology are practically nonexistent, but students may be able to find elective courses in this topic through a zoology program.
Communications courses also might be helpful. Zoologists and biologists often receive research funding through grants. Effective communication skills may help cryptozoologists successfully propose a research project and thus receive grants to fund them. Additionally, cryptozoologists need adequate interviewing skills to question witnesses who claim to have seen mysterious creatures.
Field training is also important. Aspiring cryptozoologists should learn how to gather samples and document sightings. Some acquire this training in zoology or biology degree programs in which students go on field trips to observe animals and note behaviors. Others volunteer at zoos, aquariums, museums and nonprofit organizations. Volunteering can teach students how to catalog and organize animal specimens, explore animal habitats and prepare samples for testing.
Step 2: Research Hidden Animals
After learning about different types of known animals, cryptozoologists may research undocumented species. Since these hidden animal species are usually described from local experiences or legends, cryptozoologists can begin documenting sightings from these sources. Some famous cryptids that cryptozoologists have devoted their lives to finding include Bigfoot, the Yeti, the Mothman and the Loch Ness Monster.
Step 3: Obtain Funding
With so much negative press surrounding the field, it's difficult for cryptozoologists to earn a regular paycheck or fund research trips. While some of these individuals may seek grants, research in this field is often self-funded.
Step 4: Publish Your Findings
There are few, if any, reputable scientific organizations that publish cryptozoological research findings. In most cases, cryptozoologists may self-publish their work or submit their findings to consumer magazines or journals.
Cryptozoologists research undocumented species, and many of these workers are self-funded. While no degree is required, undergraduate or graduate studies in zoology or biology could be helpful.