io9 Offers $2000 Bounty For Authentic Photos Of CryptidsS

This summer, io9 is going cryptozoological. We're offering a $2000 bounty to the person who sends us the best authentic photo or video of a "cryptid," or mystery animal. And that's just the beginning of Cryptid Summer.

Illustration of Sasquatch by Rick Spears (get his book about cryptids here!); photograph of the beach by Pichugin Dmitry/Shutterstock.

A cryptid, according to Wikipedia, is "a creature or plant whose existence has been suggested but that is unrecognized by a scientific consensus, and whose existence is moreover often regarded as highly unlikely." Think Bigfoot or the Montauk Monster. Cryptids are often urban legends, but there is a scientific side to these mystery animals, too. New life forms develop all the time, and in very unexpected ways. Many animals would have been considered cryptids until scientists began to study evolution and zoology. Think about Cryptid Summer as an opportunity to explore the strange side of evolution and life science.

The Bounty
io9 will be offering a $2000 bounty for the best photographic or video evidence of a genuine cryptid. In August, we will invite our panel of experts, including zoologists, the team behind excellent cryptid blog Cryptomundo, cryptid expert Loren Coleman, and a photoshop analyst, to judge which pictures are the most authentic. We'll give the bounty to the one that they judge to be the most mysterious yet authentic creature.

How to enter:
Send the picture as a .jpg attached to an email explaining where you took the photo, what you saw, and how the cryptid behaved. If you have a video, we prefer .mov files. Please include your full name and a way we can contact you. Do NOT send photos or video that you didn't personally take. Mail your photo or video to cryptidsummer@io9.com. Deadline to submit is August 5, midnight PST.

Note: We want pictures of living cryptids – no killing or capturing them! If you find a dead cryptid, you may use that picture. But our judges will vastly prefer living ones.

Don't have a cryptid photo or video? We still want to hear your stories.
Help your fellow cryptid hunters this summer by telling them where you saw cryptids, or heard about them showing up. You can post your stories in our Cryptid Summer Forum, or put your sightings upon our community cryptid map here.

While the bounty is out, throughout June and July, we will post updates on the best photos we've gotten, and ask you to vote on which ones you think are most likely to be authentic.

Something For The Fakers, Too
Want to give us your best fake picture of a cryptid? Well, start your engines. In July, we'll ask for your most awesome fake images of cryptids, and readers can vote on the best ones. If yours wins, we'll give you some free books and DVDs.