Cryptozoology is, literally, the study of hidden animals. It is the study of such creatures as the Australian bunya, Bigfoot, the Chupacabra, and the Loch Ness monster. It is not a recognized branch of the science of zoology. Cryptozoology relies heavily upon testimonials and circumstantial evidence in the form of legends and folklore, and the stories and alleged sightings of mysterious beasts by indigenous peoples, explorers, and travelers. Since cryptozoologists spend most of their energy trying to establish the existence of creatures, rather than examining actual animals, they are more akin to psi researchers than to zoologists. Expertise in zoology, however, is asserted to be a necessity for work in Cryptozoology, according to Dr. Bernard Heuvelmans, who coined the term to describe his investigations of animals unknown to science. This focus on evaluating the evidence for "criptids" was continued by the International Society for Cryptozoology, which is now defunct. Dragon of the Ishtar Gate - In 1902, archaeologists unearthed the remains of the infamous city of Babylon, including its fabled Ishtar Gate. The Gate's most intruiging feature is a relief carved in the stone, depicting two creatures. The first -- called the Re'em -- was easily identified as the now extinct type of cattle called the urus, but the second creature -- the Sirrush -- wasn't so easily identified. With a long scaled body and tail, a long neck and lizard- or snake-like head, the Sirrush also claimed a rather unique feature -- bird-like feet on its hind legs. It was an odd looking creature by the standards of its 1902 discoverers, however we now know that several species of dinosaurs did indeed have bird-like feet.
Was the Dragon of the Ishtar Gate a relic dinosaur? Some think so, some don't. Did it even exist anywhere but in the minds Babylonian artists? As with all cryptids, this too is a point of contention.
In the late 1930s, a science writer by the name of...
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