In terms of what the percentages should be derived from, there are a number of pertinent factors which, when considered together, can give us a sense
of a given cryptid's chances of actually existing and being found. The first of these is clearly
Environment is perhaps the most crucial factor in determining the odds of a cryptid’s existence, as well as the likelihood that it will be
eventually discovered. To illustrate this point, consider the Loch Ness Monster. A common theory put forward by sceptics to discount the existence of
Nessie is the fact that Loch Ness itself is a restricted environment. Not being open to the sea, there are only a limited number of places in which
the Monster could conceivably hide in the Loch. Theoretically, a cryptid living in a closed environment should be easier to discover than one living
in an open environment, such as the open ocean. This was the reasoning behind a BBC expedition in July 2003, which employed satellite navigation
technology in conjunction with 600 sonar sensors to “sweep” the entire length of Loch Ness in an unsuccessful attempt to locate the monster
(Reference - BBC
). Supporters of Nessie argue in turn that unknown caves might exist
below the Loch’s surface which enable the creature to remain hidden from public view for much of the time. Despite this argument, it is not
unreasonable to argue that a large cryptid, living in an enclosed space, should prove easier to find than one which is supposed to exist in an open
space. A more confined space means less room to hide and a subsequent greater likelihood of the cryptid being found.
In contrast, Bigfoot and his many cousins are supposed to exist across an impossibly wide area. Whilst Nessie’s abode is specifically Loch Ness
itself, Bigfoot’s might be something as general as “the continental United States”, whilst the Yeti’s might be “the Himalayas”. With such
enormous areas in which to roam, there is less chance of these cryptids being discovered. Furthermore, there is less chance that a cryptid which
exists in a vast, open environment will be encountered by human beings than one which exists in a closed environment. Added to this is the fact that
those environments which are considered home to enigmatic cryptids, such as the forested areas of America or the depths of the ocean, are visited only
occasionally by humans, making chance encounters with cryptids extremely unlikely. Simply put, the greater expanse covered by a given cryptid’s
environment, the more chance that cryptid has of remaining undiscovered by humans. It is no coincidence that those cryptids who remain undiscovered
are said to exist in large, unspecified environments (Mokele Mbembe, for example, who is supposed to exist somewhere within the depths of the
The next factor to consider is the availability and validity of eyewitness reports. Whilst this factor may itself be related to environment, it can be
generally assumed that those cryptids with a large volume of eyewitness sightings are more likely to exist than those with few eyewitness accounts. If
one person describes an unknown creature, their account may be attributable to any number of factors. However, if hundreds or thousands of people
report seeing creatures which appear similar in many of their basic features, then it is more reasonable to assume that they are describing a
legitimate creature which is simply unknown to biology at present.
For this reason, cryptids such as Bigfoot, which have thousands upon thousands of eyewitness reports, in which they are relatively uniformly
described, with similar attributes, are more likely to actually exist than cryptids such as the Mongolian Death Worm, which has a significantly lower
number of eyewitness accounts.
Furthermore, a cryptid is more likely to be considered real if eyewitness accounts are uniform across a number of distinct regions. Using the example
of Bigfoot again, we can see that accounts of Bigfoot from the United States are fairly similar to accounts of the Himalayan Yeti, many thousands of
kilometres away. Thus, it is more likely in this case that people are seeing a cryptid which genuinely represents an unknown species of creature.
Similarity to Known Creatures
Most creatures which are discovered are variants on known creatures. Although new species are being discovered every day, they are typically new
species of insect, or bird, or other known orders of animal. It is rarer that an entirely unknown animal species is discovered. For this reason, it is
reasonable to assume that a cryptid has more chance of existing if it represents a variant on some type of known creature. Under this theory, a
Thunderbird, which is essentially an extremely large bird, is more likely to exist in some form than the Chupacabra, which appears to be a unique form
of creature with no obvious parallels amongst known animals. In the same way, Bigfoot, which is essentially a variant of the ape species, is more
likely to exist than the Jersey Devil, which again appears to be a unique creature in its own right.
Similarly, a creature which is a variant of, or member of, a species which has long been extinct is less likely to exist than one which is a variant
of or member of a species which has only recently become extinct. Thus, the Tasmanian Tiger is more likely to exist than a living Plesiosaur. However,
its is important to note that exceptions to this rule can indeed occur. Take the Coelacanth
example, a fish believed extinct since the days of the dinosaurs, until it was discovered off the east coast of South Africa in 1938.
Despite this, it is logical to assume that a creature which has been extinct for millions of years is less likely to currently exist than a creature
which has only been extinct for decades.
Devising A System
When we consider these three crucial elements in determining the likelihood of a cryptid’s existence and potential for discovery, we find ourselves
better able to quantify this potential. To illustrate this in a very basic way, I have devised a system which ranks each creature on a scale from 1 to
10 in each critical area. To demonstrate this, I shall begin with Bigfoot:
Environment: 8 (Where 1 is a small, enclosed environment such as a small pond and 10 is a vast, largely unexplored area such as the bottom of the
A vast, often unexplored environment which is occasionally visited by human beings and which provides a myriad of hiding places and a wide area in
which to remain undisturbed.
Eyewitness Reports: 9 (Where 1 represents a handful of eyewitness reports which are questionable in their authenticity and 10 represents tens or
hundereds of thousands of credible eyewitness accounts).
Many thousands of people have reported seeing Bigfoot, and their reports are very often uniform in their description (although it is pertinent to
point out that this may reflect perception rather than observation). Furthermore, similar reports are found in equal numbers in distinct environments
across the globe.
Similarity to Known Creatures: 7 (Where 1 indicates a wholly unique creature bearing no resemblance to any type of known animal and 10 represents a
known, recently extinct species such as the Tasmanian Tiger).
Often said to be the missing link between Man and Ape, Bigfoot clearly resembles known species of ape in descriptions. His similarity to another known
creature – humans – adds to his score in this area. He loses points, however, for being noticeably distinct from either species.
If we extrapolate this, we can presume that Bigfoot has an 80% likelihood of existing and being discovered eventually. Whilst there are any number of
other factors which might complicate this admittedly simple system (and please feel free to add some of your own), it does help to demonstrate that
considering a few important factors can help us to approach the possibility of a cryptid’s existence from a more quantifiable position.
Now, who wants to do the numbers for Nessie or Mokele Mbembe?
[edit on 9/11/05 by Jeremiah25]