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Friday, April 22, 2016

The Cadborosaurus Wars

Over the last few months, I and two of my colleagues have been involved in an interesting dialogue in the literature. It concerns the entity dubbed ‘Cadborosaurus’ – a marine, horse-headed ‘mega-serpent’, supposedly reported by witnesses from the waters off British Columbia and elsewhere in the North Pacific. People who read my stuff (both here and in print) will know that I have more than a passing interest in cryptozoology, and especially in ‘sea monsters’; indeed, I’ve written about ‘Cadborosaurus’ quite a few times. As I always say, this interest in cryptozoology might be a dumb thing to admit, given the negative stigma attached to the field. And I’m sure that it’s based in part on adherence to the nave and childish hope that sea monsters, relicts hominoids and such might actually be real.
Nevertheless, I remain interested in cryptozoology both because I think that some eyewitness accounts are really intriguing and difficult to explain, and because I’m interested in how people perform as observers of wildlife (see Paxton 2009). Unlike many who class themselves as sceptics, I’ve tried to understand where cryptozoologists are coming from, I’ve read and (do still read) the cryptozoological literature, and I don’t think that we should necessarily reject cryptozoological hypotheses as untenable without looking at the data (such as it is) first.

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