Cryptozoology is the study of animals that haven't been proven to exist. It comes from the Greek word "kryptos" for hidden, and zoology, a study of animals. Animals that are subjects of cryptozoological study are called cryptids.
Cryptozoology is the victim of several unfortunate circumstances which have prevented it from being more widely recognized among the scientific community. According to a 2011 paper, some of these include the sensationalization of reports by the media, cryptids being widely regarded as jokes by the general public, and the influence of fringe paranormal researchers referred to as "paracryptozoologists" within the movement.