Richard Dawkins is an outspoken evolutionary biologist, a staunch atheist, and an avid writer. He illustrates some very interesting points in his writing, one of which being his concept of the unknown. In his 2006 book “The God Delusion,” he conveys the argument of the unknown void as an apparatus that defines humanity’s overall lack of understanding. If all the factual truth of the universe were a pie, mankind has only tasted a mere crumb. Not even a minuscule slice. A crumb, and we didn’t even get to eat it. Even with all our technological advancements, the real truths of the universe are still so far beyond our understanding, one could almost speculate we live in an illusion of self-erected lies which we have come to dub “factual truth.”
Although Dawkins uses the unknown void concept as an argument against religion, its fine points can be applied elsewhere. In this case, the unknown wonders that encompass our planet. There are species of life we have yet to discover, and others we have falsely declared extinct. In the last cryptozoology article, I raised question as to whether or not a Megalodon shark is still be alive, speculating that it plausibly could be. After all, in 2011, National Geographic speculated that only 14% of the planet’s wildlife has been discovered and classified, leaving a balking 86% in the realm of the void. Given the odds, the Megalodon Shark could be one of many creatures within this massive majority. Just this past week, a Megamouth Shark was caught off the coast of Shizuoka, Japan. It is believed to be the 58th sighting of one ever recorded. Even with all our cameras and technology, this creature evades humanity’s prying eyes. It most certainly is not alone.
The largest confirmed land animal alive today is the elephant, with adults growing over ten tons in weight. Land mass covers only 30% of the earth’s surface, and within that small margin, a beast like the elephant exists. Given the sheer unrestricted size of the ocean, one could only begin to imagine the capacity it carries for a true beast. Proportionally speaking, it would only make sense that creatures well over 100 feet in length would be lurking within its depths, not to mention the sheer fact that the ocean essentially is a void all of its own. Given all the mystery of this planet’s unclassified species, and the fact that most of them live within an ecosystem we know so little about, who could possibly begin to speculate what is or isn’t down there?
Let’s shift away from the oceans and into one of the world’s great lakes – Loch Ness, Scotland, home to one of the most famous cryptids ever reported, The Loch Ness Monster. This beast has been sighted by humans for centuries. Despite the fact it has yet to be confirmed by science, a number of compelling arguments, photos, and videos have surfaced over the course of the years. And with them, a lot of hoaxes and false evidence has surfaced with it. But putting the fish tales aside, Nessie has an immense eco system to hide in and would definitely be the apex predator. Loch Ness Lake is the largest in Britain and has enough water to hold the world’s population ten times over. The lake also never freezes, allowing the creature to surface for air year-round. The search for the beast has raged since the 1930s, but thus far, it has evaded discovery. Scientists theorize if they knew what its diet consisted of, they could find it. Though the cryptid has been tarnished by a number of hoaxes, there are those in power who believed in its existence – In 1979, Margret Thatcher considered declaring the species “protected” and also wanted to deploy dolphins to search for it. However, if the creature were discovered, it would undoubtably be sought by poachers, and so a search was never officially conducted.
The Loch Ness Monster’s description appears to be congruent with that of an ancient Plesiosaurus. This dinosaur is thought to have gone extinct during the Cretaceous Period, along with the Coelacanth, a 2-meter fish that was mentioned in the last cryptozoology article as evidence that dinosaurs have indeed been re-discovered. Sightings of the Loch Ness Monster have gone on for so long, one wonders if there is more than one. After all, if it were the only beast left of its kind, surely it would have died off by now without a mate to reproduce with. But the most compelling thing to realize is even if it is alive, what does it matter? It’s not a magical phoenix. It’s an animal. One of the rarest on the planet, and nothing more.
So, where else does the void of Mother Nature’s mysteries take us? For the closing point of this article, let’s plunge miles beneath the earth. In the 2005 horror film The Descent, a group of amateur spelunkers become trapped in an unexplored cave deep underground. There, they discover a race of blind, carnivorous humanoid monsters which hunt them down and terrorize them. Sounds far fetched… or does it? A number of the world’s caves remain undiscovered and unexplored. Each cave consists of thousands of miles of tunnels and networks, potentially providing host to some of the most indigenous eco systems on the planet. How could anyone speculate what could evolve in such a unique and isolated part of the world? Perhaps there really are creatures down there similar to the horrifying beasts of The Descent.
Make no mistake, these articles are written to raise question, provide intrigue, and spark debate. To me, the field of cryptozoology is one of the most fascinating topics that is still largely dismissed– and shouldn’t be. To deny its doctrines is to declare Mother Nature’s 14% minority share of discovered species complete and whole. Obviously, such a notion is ludicrous. Science has no room for ignorance in the face of the unknown.
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