Looking through my facebook news feed, I saw yet another Buzzfeed quiz that wants to steal our time. This one is an attempt at making a quiz about paranormal beliefs.
I say attempt because the paper it links to as being an "expansion" of (Tobacyk 1988) recognized that there are multiple subsets of "the paranormal" that people can have varying opinions about. e.g., Someone can think that psi powers are completely and utterly false, while still having very strong religious beliefs: that person accepts a subset of the paranormal while denying another subset.
I was okay with skimming along the quiz until I encountered:
As you might notice, I like the jackalope as an icon. But I know jackalopes are not real. I think everyone knows they are not real. I don't even think of them as being cryptids, because I don't think any cryptid fan or 'researcher' thinks they are real. So this leads me to my titular question: are jackalopes cryptids?
On the side of yes, let's go defining the word. Cryptids are unexplained aspects of zoology that encompasses both paranormal and normal aspects. Tobacyk (1988) cited Broad (1953) as defining paranormal phenomena as those that, if genuine, would violate basic limiting principles of science. Jackalopes are paranormal in the sense that they are the offspring of jackrabbits and pronghorn antelope: such a cross would violate biology in several ways. So jackalopes could be considered a paranormal cryptid.
On the side of no, let's remember what jackalopes are not. Jackalopes are not argued, by anyone, to be real. There are no tv shows about hunting them, there are no documentaries on youtube claiming to have found them, there are no pseudoscientific journals claiming to have their DNA.
To me, jackalopes are basically 20th century unicorns: animals invented by locals to scam travelers. Unless we're considering unicorns as cryptids, then jackalopes don't fall in there either.