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Analysing Photographs of Cryptozoology.

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posted on Dec, 2 2006 @ 05:44 AM
In this post I will attempt to explain how to analyse, classify and/or debunk photographs (and videos) of a cryptic nature. This is not limited only to cryptids, as some aspects can apply to photographs of the paranormal, (ghosts, for example) or the odd alien photograph. Most of what I say will not apply to distance shots.
Most of this is simply common sense, as long as you know what you are looking for.

This has been broken down into different fields, some of which interchange with oneanother.

  • Anatomical Features
  • Anatomically Incorrect
  • Anatomical Equivalence
  • Facial Characteristics
  • Skeletal structure
  • Lighting Effects
  • Environment
  • Panorama
  • Body Language
  • Cryptozoological Cliches
  • Common Sense
  • What not to do

Anatomical Features.
When unsure what you are looking at, you should always start by actually looking at the creature in question. Obviously a close and clear shot will help.
Does it have legs? Does it have fins? Or doe it have wings? What is the shape of the body? Streamline or furry?
By simply looking at the anatomical features, you can learn more about the creature.

  • Head.
    This will be explained in depth later.
  • Feet.
    The feet of the creature will tend to dictate alot of aspects of the creature, Including, but not limited to it's environment, ground conditions and even the type of food it may eat. A few examples include:
    Paws and claws will suggest that the creature is carnivorous or omnivorous.
    Four toes on the front foot and five toes on the hind will suggest that it is of the rodent family.
    Hooves, or two toes will suggest that it will sugest that it is herbivorous, possibly originating from living on arid surfaces.
    Webbed feet will suggest that it is somewhat aquatic.
  • Tail.
    In terrestrial animals, a tail is primarily used for communication and balance.
    If a cryptid in a photogragh has a tail, we can check the positioning to look for deviations. For example, we can check to see if the tail is affecting it's center of gravity.
  • Skin.
    No animal has perfect skin. If the creature in question it is depicted as having perfect skin, it is most likely a fake.
    The 'coating' of the skin can help us understand what type of animal it is. Fur for a mammal, feathers for a bird and scales for reptile or aquatic.
  • Deviation.
    This is a big point to use if debunking a cryptid.
    Example: If the cryptid seems to be a deer, but is has legs half the size of what it's supposed to be, then maybe that is exactly what it is. A deer with half-sized legs; A mutant.

The above mentioned were examples. To fully appreciate the anatomical features, it must be activley applied to a photogragh, rather than just read it in text.

Anatomically Incorrect.
Similar to anatomical deviancy mentioned above, it is very simple to debunk a cryptid by seeing if it is anatomically incorrect. Look to see if it's legs can support it's build. Does the shape of the head suggest it's carnivorous yet the rest of the body suggests it to be a herbivor? Is it's back arched? If the animal is bipedal and does not have an arched back in an 'S' shape, it is physically impossible to support its own weight. It is pretty simple to work out whether or not it is anatomically incorrect.

Anatomical Equivalence.
You should use anatomical equivalence to class the cryptid. In other words, what traits does the cryptid in question share with another animal?
Example: Breasts? It is mammalian.
Example: Elongated snout? Tridactyla family.
Example: Dew claw? It is canine.
However, Do not generalise this. Some bears are known to walk on two legs. That does not make it a primate.

Facial Characteristics. (In mammals)
If you are lucky enough to come across a photograph of a (living) cryptid that is a close, clean shot of it's face, it's most likely a hoax. However, there are several points to remember to help class it.

  • Horns.
    There seem to be several cryptids that have horns. These cryptids normally have sharp teeth. I can tell you that these are all hoaxes. There are absolutely no known carnivores that have horns.
  • Eyes.
    Many close shots of cryptid faces seem to have glassy or glazed eyes. Unless it is aquatic, (or corpse or blind,) a cryptid will not have glassy or glazed eyes.
    Many cryptids are described as having red eyes, however as there are no photographs for any of these, I will not go into any more depth.
    In mammals, the positioning of the eyes dictate whether or not the animal is predator or prey. If the eyes are located straight in front of the face, it is omnivorous or carnivorous. Eyes located more to the sides will suggest that it is herbivorous.
  • Whiskers.
    Most carnivours have whiskers. These are used to assist in feeling for vibrations, helping in the hunt. Most cryptids that are supposedly carnivorus lack whiskers. This would suggest a hoax.
  • Jaws, Muzzle and Teeth.
    This is pretty much self explanatory. The jaws, teeth and muzzle dictate what the cryptid eats. It is easier to see what the animal eats in birds than in mammals. It harder to see what aquatic animals eat than in mammals.

Skeletal Structure.
Occasionally you will come across a photograph of a skeleton of an unknown animal. Don't shy away bececause of this. It is actually easier to analyse the skeleton than the actual animal.
You can see the teeth along with the shape of the skull. By doing this we can immediately know what it eats. Whether it is a carnivore or herbivore. By comparing the skeletal structure of this with other animals, we can determine what the animal is, or at least a relative of it. Obviously, there are hoaxes. There are three things to look for whilst trying to expose this.

  • Disfigurement
    Do the bones contradict eachother?
    Exmple: A skeleton with horns, molars and hooves will tend not to have light and frail ribs.
  • Discolouration.
    Do single bones have a different colour to other single bones?
    Exmple: A white skull with a dull brown skeleton is telling you something. They do not belong the the same animal.
    Exmple: Several light coloured ribs with several dark coloured ribs suggests that ribs may have been substituted.
    Discolouration of exposed bone does not apply. This includes teeth and horns.
  • Spine.
    Always look at the spine. The spine will dictate the animal's body shape and manner. If the animal is depicted to walk on all four limbs and has a clear 'S' shape spine, this is a hoax. (Example) The 'S' shape spine is designed to be a weight supporting shape to assist with an upright gait. Likewise, an animal depicted as upright with a straight spine is a hoax.
    You also need to keep in mind that if the weight of the head cannot be supported by the spine, you need to look at the shoulders and tail, as these help distribute the weight and balance.

Please do not try to debunk a skeleton on the basis of missing bones. Due to the nature of the skeleton, not all pieces are always present or available on discovery.

edit: corrected spelling in topic title

[edit on 12-4-2006 by William One Sac]

posted on Dec, 2 2006 @ 05:45 AM
Lighting Effects.
This applies to looking for evidence that it is a hoax, using photo-manipulation, such as photoshop or double exposure.
No method of photo-manipulation is completely flawless. The universal method for looking for photo-manipulation is looking at lighting effects.
Notice how the lighting of cryptozoological creatures in early photographs (Example) are completely different to it's surroundings. Ofcourse technology and methods were simple, but the methods are basically still the same.
Don't just look at the colouring between the animal and it's surroundings. Look at the shading. Is the shadow the same shade, angle and direction of the shadows in the surrounding? Does the animal even have a shadow?
Please note that looking for lighting effects do not apply with photographs taken at night using nightvision.

Look at the surrounding environment in relation to the creature. Make sure it is viable.
Example: A picture of a wooly mammoth or bigfoot in the desert is not viable.
Example: A 'Loch Ness Monster' type animal in a small or desolate lake is not viable.
Can it survive in it's surroundings?
Has it got places that it can evade sightings?
Knowing the evironment first hand will be an advantage.

This applies to a picture taken of an object or area, only to have the unusual animal discovered after development.
You have to ask yourself several questions. What is the photograph of? Why would someone take the picture of the object or area?
Also keep in mind, if the creature in question is in the center of the picture, it is unlikely that it was purely 'coincidental.'

Body Language.
If alive, look at the body language of the animal. Does it look to be in attack mode, fleeing, or just wandering around?
This is not as daunting as it sounds. Do not look at the features of the animal. You should rather look at it's silhouette.
If it appears to be stalking, what prey is visible?
If evading, but not evading the cameraman, what is it evading?
Is it facing the camera?
Look for anything that seems out of place or out of the ordinary.
You should also look at the size relativity of the creature. Not only relative to it's surroundings, but also relativity to itself.
Example: Compare the size of a small birds feathers to a large bird's. (Example)

Cryptozoological Cliches.
A cryptozoological cliche is niether good nor bad. It does not support that it is a hoax, nor does it help prove it as fact.
Cryptozoological cliches include, but are not limited to:

  • Hump-backs in aquatic serpents.
  • Fuzzy or out of focus pictures.
  • Only a glance or a few seconds of film.
  • Described as having red or glowing eyes.
  • Believed to be carnivorous.
  • Situations or conditions preventing pursuit or capture.

Common Sense.
Use it!

What not to do.
Do not say it is fraudulent without giving reason.
Do not keep to yourself. You may see or know something that other people may not
Do not take any of what I have said as fact. Due to the very nature of cryptozoology, the creature is unknown. It's rules may not apply to the rules of other animals.
Do not expect to have other people to believe that your own personal sightings are fact.
Do not take witness accounts as fact.

I hope this helps, and happy hunting!

Feel free to add any principal point I may have missed.

posted on Dec, 3 2006 @ 10:36 PM
This is a great thread. I am going to top this in the forum so that we can refer to it, and also add to it as needed.

posted on Dec, 5 2006 @ 07:30 AM
Thanks William!

I just thought it would be nice to share some 'wisdom' with those who want it.

I doubt there will be much feedback or addition though.

posted on Dec, 5 2006 @ 07:32 AM
Top notch stuff!

You have voted Gear for the Way Above Top Secret award.

Hopefully this thread will stop people making wild accusations after 30 seconds of studying a photograph.

Nice one.

posted on Jan, 18 2007 @ 09:23 PM
your last two example pictures don't work. It says that the server can't be found.

posted on Jan, 18 2007 @ 10:36 PM

Originally posted by dalilamahammer
your last two example pictures don't work.

Notice how the lighting of cryptozoological creatures in early photographs (Example) are completely different to it's surroundings. Ofcourse technology and methods were simple, but the methods are basically still the same.

You should also look at the size relativity of the creature. Not only relative to it's surroundings, but also relativity to itself.
Example: Compare the size of a small birds feathers to a large bird's. (Example)

Should work now.

[edit on 18-1-2007 by Gear]

posted on Sep, 20 2007 @ 03:18 AM
OH MY GOD!! That bird is huge!

looks almost like a crow but just blown up!

LOL Thanx for the post, it will certainly help alot of us when checking out the photos.

posted on Oct, 10 2007 @ 12:33 PM
Um is there any way on this site i can find some information on the mothman or new jersey devil that is updated 2007 not 2004

posted on Oct, 27 2007 @ 01:53 AM
Great topic! I would like to add my own methods. Using common sense is perhaps the most important factor. Your level of knowledge helps too. I have been using a tool for years now to determine whether a picture is fake or not. The histogram tool in Adobe photoshop works very well. For those of you who do not how to use it, there are tons of tutorials on the net. Photo inversion works well also. Convert the image to a negative, then analyze the pixels up close. If something has been retouched you will pick it up. Pixels tend to gradually transition colour as you scan across the image. Anything that instantly contrasts deserves a second look. Hope this helps.

[edit on 27-10-2007 by aguila]

posted on Dec, 18 2007 @ 02:24 AM
great job and as soon as i figure out how ill vote you way above.

posted on Dec, 22 2007 @ 12:28 AM
i swear when someone tells me how ill vote you way above i cant for the life of me figure out how.

posted on May, 13 2008 @ 09:41 AM
As a professional bone-digger, I consider those tips as well-stated. We learn the basics in school but the basics are easy to forget in the field.

Years ago, I worked a team in Mexico with a volunteer, Robert O'Neal, who became somewhat legendary in a relatively short time at spotting clues to where bones were hidden and then finding them.

When digging up the pieces, some of us - including me - often pieced together the wrong parts. O'Neal would interject that we'd forgotten the basics and start taking them apart and placing them properly with other pieces. We wanted him to stay on for another dig but he had unrelated contracts with some procurement office in Virginia that apparently paid more.

I don't know what happened to him, but his efforts reminded us, like your posting, that all of us can use some retraining from time to time.

posted on May, 16 2009 @ 08:29 PM
Wow, excellent thread. Two thumbs up.

posted on Oct, 30 2009 @ 06:07 AM
cryptids are the result of manipulation of the genetic influences of life forms. The genetic content and coding of a life form and can be modulated or mixed with the influences of another life form to create a synthesis.

posted on Dec, 29 2009 @ 07:35 PM
That's an excellent post! If you are fortunte enough to find a good skeleton, you can also tell the age and sex of the animal. Forensic anthropology is a fascinating field.

posted on Dec, 31 2010 @ 08:31 PM

Originally posted by Gr4ppl3r
cryptids are the result of manipulation of the genetic influences of life forms. The genetic content and coding of a life form and can be modulated or mixed with the influences of another life form to create a synthesis.

No.... Cryptids are creatures which are not recognised by science and/or whose existence is debatable for example Bigfoot

Lots of times a 'Cryptid' can be debunked or 'IDENTIFIED' in seconds using Google

A good example is here

most people laughed at the OP for posting the creature and 'debunked it' as a beaver or a capybara in fact its a Nutria.... Before you laugh at someone be sure you know your REAL ANIMALS

S&F for Op
edit on 31-12-2010 by Versa because: (no reason given)

edit on 31-12-2010 by Versa because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 31 2010 @ 08:36 PM
reply to post by Versa


To the OP many members used exactly many of the items you outlined in the defense of the Patterson film here....
Bigfoot/Sasquatch Fact or Fiction?

posted on Jan, 27 2011 @ 07:41 PM
reply to post by Gear

this isnt quite a cryptid type animal but it is a video i am looking for an oppinion on . it is supposedly alien footage taken from area 51. i think it is a hoax personaly

posted on Jan, 27 2011 @ 07:53 PM
I would suspect the ocean to have the largest amount of cryptids. I suspect the discovery of a leviathan soon.

Also, thunderbirds still exsist

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