Abominable science! : origins of the Yeti, Nessie, and other famous cryptids

by Daniel Loxton

Other authorsDonald R. Prothero
Paper Book, 2013



Call number

QL88.3 .L69 2013


New York : Columbia University Press, 2013.


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.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member hillmeredith
Abominable Science! is a series of essays written in turn by Daniel Loxton, editor of Junior Skeptic Magazine and Donald Prothero a professor of Geology and Geobiology. In turn they examine various "cryptids" explain why the so-called proof of their existence is bogus and finish with an essay on why we want to believe and what we need to do in order to actual be credible "monster-hunters". It was fascinating to hear the history of these various animals, who knew that Nessie is probably the dinosaur from King Kong? Although Loxton and Prothero masterfully shred the assertions of cryptozoologists, they never judge or sneer at those who do spend their lives looking for Bigfoot and friends. They support the desire to find the impossible, they just want us to do it in a scientifically responsible manner. An excellent book for skeptics and science geeks of any age. I would strongly recommend for Middle grades and up.… (more)
LibraryThing member AndreasJ
A skeptical look at famous cryptids - Bigfoot, the Yeti, Nessie, the Great Sea Serpent, and Mokele Mbembe (the alleged modern dinosaur from the Congo) - rounded off with a look at cryptozoology and monster belief as a sociological phenomenon.

Believers in the aforementioned critters will likely dismiss this as yet another reductive debunking by narrow-minded exponents of the mainstream (ignoring Loxton having started out as a youthful monster enthusiast and insisting that only increasing knowledge, not any antipathy towards cryptozoology or cryptozoologists, have turned him into a skeptic). For the rest of us, however, it's a delightful look at well-known zoological myths, their cultural history, and the subculture of cryptozoology enthusiasts. There can be no scientific study of the Loch Ness monster, but there can and should be one of how and why people believe in Nessie.… (more)


Original publication date



0231153201 / 9780231153201


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