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DanSchwent

Dantastic Book Reviews

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Abominable Science!: Origins of the Yeti, Nessie, and Other Famous Cryptids - Daniel Loxton;Donald R. Prothero Abominable Science talks about the origins of cryptids like Bigfoot, the Yeti, the Loch Ness monster, sea serpents, dinosaurs currently living in Africa, and cryptozoology in general.

Official Business: I got this from Netgalley. Thank you, Netgalley!

Confession time: When I was a kid, I was way into books like this, most written by Daniel Cohen. If the book had blurry photos of Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster, or UFOs, I was all over it. When you're a kid, it's easy to swallow all that bullshit and not notice the taste. After all, the world is an enormous place when you're a kid, with plenty of room for things like Bigfoot, mammoths in Siberia, brontosauruses in Africa, and aliens all over the damn place. As you get older, your bullshit tolerance is worn down and it gets harder to believe in things like the Yeti. I still watch Monsterquest, though, but only for entertainment purposes, although they did find a colossal giant squid once.

Abominable Science debunks cryptids like Bigfoot, exposing known hoaxes and offering possible explanations for witness accounts. The tone is very academic and dry but there are occasional bits of humor. It wasn't something I could blaze through in a couple sittings.

Abominable Science follows the evolutions of various cryptids. Did you know the word "yeti" comes from the word "yeh-teh," which is a word the Nepalese use for more than one mountain animal, and no one reported seeing a white yeti until after someone coined the term Abominable Snowman? Sea serpent trends are explored, like why do a lot of sea serpents have heads and manes like horses?

Known hoaxes are exposed and some unexplained cases are dissected. You know that famous Bigfoot footage from the 70's? One of the men responsible was known to be an untrustworthy, used car salesman type of person and a friend of his came forward and alleged he was the one in the costume. And that famous Loch Ness monster photo? It was admittedly a model but that doesn't stop people from presenting it as evidence. And how about the fact that no one reported seeing a plesiosaur-looking creature in Loch Ness until AFTER the premiere of King Kong in Scotland, which happened to briefly depict a plesiosaur?

What I found even more interesting than the known hoaxes was the lengths that Bigfoot researchers and similar people would go to suppress evidence of hoaxes. Also, some cases, like that of a small Bigfoot-like primate like Jacko that allegedly lived on a farm, were debunked over a hundred years ago but are still cited as evidence today.

Something I didn't know: Some cryptozooologists are hoping to find relict dinosaurs in the hopes that it will disprove evolution and boost creationism.

Abominable Science is full of interesting information but could have been a more engaging read. Three stars.