Brigid Daull Brockway is technically a writer

Brigid Daull Brockway is technically a writer

A blog about words, wordplay, and etymology, with slightly more than occasional political rants.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The legendary yeti

I'd be skeptical if you told me there was a venomous, egg laying, duck billed, beaver tailed mammal, and yet, the platypus. ~ Some dude just now on Bones

Cryptozoology, as I've mentioned before, is the study of animals that haven't been proved to exist, like the yeti, the Loch Ness monster, and the teacup poodle (you can't convince me that's not just a rat with an afro). 
The Online Etymology Dictionary doesn't have an entry for cryptozoology, which is too bad because I'm curious. If I had to guess, I'd say it was coined by the folks who formed the defunct International Society of Cryptozoology. It comes from the Greek krypto, meaning hidden. It's not an official branch of zoology, by the way, or any science.
In fact, Dr. Temperance Brennen - yes, I'm still watching Bones - just pointed out that "cryptozoologists begin with the conclusion and then work backwards... that is not science. That's the opposite of science."
But that doesn't mean everybody who believes in creatures that  we can't prove exist are crazy, or even necessarily wrong. The people of the Congo knew about the okapi for ages before the rest of the world learned of them. Imagine trying to tell someone of the existence of a half-horse, half zebra looking thing that's actually a short-necked giraffe. I'd buy Nessie over that thing. Look at it. It looks Photoshopped. Badly Photoshopped at that. Looks like someone just pasted some zebra legs over a deformed giraffe and didn't even bother trying to blend.
Okapi, by the way, is the word given to the creature by the folks who lived alongside it. Wikipedia says it's a portmanteau of oka, which means to cut, and kpi, which refers to a striped design. Which is way better than the way the gorilla got its name.
I got blown off course somehow, and I've got things to do before bed, so I guess I'll just have to regale you with whatever I planned to regale you with later.

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