In the study of cryptozoology, a cryptid is any animal or creature that has been reported to have existed, but has not been proven to. The literal meaning of the word is "the study of hidden animals". Their presumed existence is often derived from anecdotal evidence and/or other evidence insufficient to prove their existence with scientific certainty. cryptids are also uncommonly known by the term Unidentified Mysterious Animals or UMA, an intended variation on the popular term UFO. The English use of the term was coined by John E. Wall in 1983 and has been used ever since to describe the creatures which are the focus of cryptozoology. The term cryptid may include creatures such as the Yeti, Thunderbird or Loch Ness Monster, or relict animals (once presumed extinct) such as the coelacanth. The term is also used to describe now confirmed animals such as the okapi, once thought to be a fictional animal until it was discovered in the early 1900s.

cryptids have existed for many ages, although earlier cryptids such as the griffin or dragon, are by and large considered mythical creatures which have never existed other than in popular fiction. Early cryptids include creatures such as the Kraken, which have now entered into legend as fictious entities or have since been debunked and attributed to exaggerated sightings of creatures unknown in earlier times. Other cryptids include those which were known to man, but have since been pronounced extinct, as was the case with the moa and thylacine which are both reported to be living today. Despite the large number of reported cryptids, most are never proven and a large portion are debunked through thorough scientific investigation.

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