One theory of the widespread myths of large hairy humanoids, the Asian Yeti, the American Sasquatch and the Australian Yowie, is that they were inspired by ancient memories of Neanderthals or other Homo related species.
My favorite is the idea that the Yeti is a real organism, but is actually a form of bear that tends to walk upright. My made up, totally unsubstantiated idea is during an Ice Age, polar bears made their way across the cold Mongolian Steppes somehow and ended up in the Himalayas. They adapted to the new environment finding new food sources and now walk upright more (or at least stand sometimes) because unlike the Arctic the Himalayans get very deep fluffy snow. Probably they’d be extinct by now but did exist in the last few thousand years and persist in indigenous knowledge from the area.
Yeah, it’s probably not true but it could hypothetically be. I’ve heard genetic testing of supposed yeti material often comes up as ‘bear’.
In terms of bigfoot it is possible some other primate species that was hairy and lived in forest existed thousands of years ago (similar to the above post by ecopete) and is retained in folklore from indigenous people that transferred to other cultures as well. A forest dwelling primate that was always very low in numbers might never leave any remains or fossils possible to detect. If so it’s got to be extinct too though.
I don’t think there’s much if any chance any of the big lake monsters are real, the ecology is against that being possible and their habitats too small. Perhaps seals, large fish, or even isolated whale populations persisted in some of the lakes that used to be attached to the ocean such as Lake Champlain (‘Champ’). Which leads me to a totally impossible made up idea that Lake Champlain is connected to Loch Ness via very long caves and it’s the same monster.
Some people seem to treat aliens as cryptids and i think it’s a near certainty that alien animal - analog creatures exist, though not on Earth obviously. Probably somewhere out there there are creatures that resemble bigfoot or nessie on other planets.
Standing upright would be a counterproductive response to deep snow, as it would concentrate the weight on 2 paws instead of spreading it out on 4
I also don’t think whale populations in lakes are realistic, I don’t think they can survive fresh water forever, and they surface too often to remain a mystery, any real lake monster has to breath water
A connection between loch ness and champlain can be disprove by the fact that such a cave would have to cross tectonic plate boundaries
Drop bears and coconut octopus are my candidates for cryptids found to be real.
yeah there’s zero chance that could exist it’s just a funny bad-sci-fi type idea
I am not sure this is always true for every niche, like a hug e bear is gonna sink in regardless, maybe standing on 2 legs would be advantageous sometimes. But it’s a totally fictitious scenario i made up anyway, so it most likely isn’t true.
If the snow is so deep that it is over the bears head then standing up, walking on 2 legs, and pushing the chest through the snow could be sort of plausible, but the snow will compress, so maybe just standing in place to get air in really deep snow?
Now that we have AI-generated images, “photographic evidence” of any cryptid is possible. Especially considering that people who want to believe have believed in some pretty bad-quality images and footage.
So funny, Vegemite hating drop bears:
Drop bears are basically real, they just aren’t bears or in Australia, here is a video of one “fishing” for caiman https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBOXAjdPxus
Gigantopithecus might be a contender. They would have been known to our human ancestors.
I have a friend who had a Bigfoot encounter. Interpret it how you will but there’s no convincing him he’s been mistaken after all these years.
(Bigfoot stuff is 5th to last paragraph. He talks about this quite regularly still, though.)
Excluding documented but purportedly extinct species, I think something like the black panther of the US. To date there have been no verified examples of melanistic cougars, but there are other examples of large black cats in the US. There’s been several documented cases of melanistic bobcats. Jaguarundi can have dark coloration, though are not particularly large (smaller than a bobcat). There’s only a handful of wild Jaguars currently alive in the US (near the Arizona border), and none are known to be melanistic, but historically they occupied more significant range in the southwest US, and around 10% of the population shows melanism in other locales. So presumably there have been large black cats roaming the wilds of the US at some point in recent history.
I was thinking of the Coconut Octopus from Terry Pratchett’s “Nation”. They eat coconuts and you don’t want one on your head. My wife also found this for me. https://zapatopi.net/treeoctopus/
A surprising number of “black panthers” seen in the US turn out to be black house cats. I’ve reviewed a couple of those records myself that were photo’d. It’s remarkable what people think they see and how they can misjudge the size of an animal at a distance. There’s never been a confirmed example of a black panther (that is, a cat the size of a cougar or jaguar that is black) in the wild within the US. But people still claim to see them. I say, show me the specimen or a good diagnostic photo.
Melanistic jaguars do occur but no farther north than southern Mexico.
As compared with how many new species of small critters discovered over the same time span? Snakes, lizards, frogs, not to mention invertebrates. And yet somehow cryptids are always megafauna (with very few exceptions, such as jackalopes). On land, there are fewer and fewer places for megafauna to remain undetected.
Now the ocean is another matter. The idea of a surviving Megalodon seems more plausible to me than any of the terrestrial cryptids, because vast areas of open ocean are still unexplored. But even Megalodon is problematic, because such a huge predator would need a prey base. Also, wouldn’t we expect to find its shed teeth in ocean floor dredge material, similarly to the way fossil shark teeth are found?
Last week a cougar sighting in an Oregon city turned out to be a large orange tabby cat. Indeed.
megolodon was a near-surface predator, in an ecological role more like the White Shark than any deep sea animal, so we would have noticed it, and if it evolved enough to remain undetected in the deep it would be a completely different species, not a megolodon, so I really don’t think megolodon is a plausible cryptid
Do I think large animals could go undiscovered in the deep sea? Absolutely, look at how hard it is to find giant squid, colossal squid, goblin sharks, and megamouth sharks, There could easily be other big stuff that we haven’t found
My first thought upon reading the title of this thread (and don’t take it personally, it isn’t directed at anyone. Just my reaction to the title)
"What Cryptids do you think are most likely to exist? " your mom.
But seriously now folks. I think that there are “extinct” species that have small populations still living.
Except the jackalope is real, in the sense that “horned” leporids do occur occasionally due to Shope papilloma virus infections. I suspect almost every cryptid has a real world origin story based on someone’s observation of a real animal, but then was embellished. Human imagination is a powerful thing.
To be entirely fair, I don’t blame people for the sightings of big cats, the illegal pet trade unfortunately makes it reasonable often enough. Just in my region:
- Panther sighted on rooftops in Armentières, then stolen from the zoo where it was kept after capture (2019)
- Cougar confirmed near Arras, never caught IIRC (2021)
- Serval captured in the middle of Lille, the biggest city in the region (2023)
Of course, I’m skeptical about there being enough prey to sustain large predators like that long term.
Also, I’ve met tibetan mastiffs that probably start rumours whenever they go for a walk…