Some say cryptozoology is the study of animals whose rumoured existence has not been substantiated. Others refer to this fringe 'science' as the search for, and study of, animals that are hidden or as yet unknown to science.

From an Australian perspective, at one end of the spectrum is the yowie - a bipedal hairy man not unlike the legendary American bigfoot. At the time of writing, no primary proof has ever been obtained for the existence of the yowie, but there is plenty of secondary 'evidence' including strange footprint casts and some very convincing anecdotal reports. They loom large in the belief system of the indigenous Aborigines' Dreamtime, but don't feature in any zoologocial text that documents the many strange and wonderful flesh-and-blood creatures that inhabit this continent.

At the other end of the spectrum (the more believable, if you will) is the so-called Tasmanian Tiger (Thylacine), the (declared extinct in 1986) marsupial carnivore that many believe still roams the wilds of Australia, particularly in Victoria and Tasmania. Apart from its stripes, it's distinctly unlike a tiger in every other respect (apart from its endangered status, if there are any remnant breeding colonies left) - more like a large bony dog with a kangaroo's tail.

In between are a raft of other animals - known and unknown, indigenous and exotic - that keep us all guessing.

The seekers of these wonderfully enigmatic creatures are almost as intriguing as their 'prey' - from the flesh-and-blood theorists to those that pontificate about paranormal qualities and parallel worlds; from the Indiana Jones-style adventurous researchers to the self-described armchair advocates.

We hope you enjoy our selection of articles, which feature some of the more well-known writers and researchers in this field.