What do YOU want to be when you grow up?
Apparently there's a whole group of youngsters who want to go into the field of forensics. My younger cousin included. It's known as the "CSI effect," which is also thought to be responsible for the increased visibility and weight given to forensic science in the courtroom. Must admit that I've not gotten into watching CSI, but the thought of morgues and autopsies and crime scenes gives me the willies... but I'm glad someone is interested in the field!
On a related note, would you want to become a cryptozoologist? Your field of study would be on cryptids, or "animals that are rumored to exist." (The span of intellectual interest NEVER fails to amaze.)
Here are some of the cryptids that you could be studying:
Bigfoot (aka Sasquatch):
Thought to be a hairy, ape-like creature living in the backwoods of the United States and Canada. So named after reports of huge feet (up to 20 inches). Suspected by some to be a Gigantopithecus (giant ape that is thought to have died out 100,000 years ago.)
Homo floresiensis (aka Ebu Gogo):
Race of little people who abduct children, speak in murmurs and are thought to reside on the Indonesian island of Flores. In 2003, the remains of a humanoid species called Homo floresiensis was discovered in caves on the island.
Loch Ness Monster:
Marine reptile thought to live in Scotland's Lake Ness. Suspected by some to be a plesiosaur.
Thylacine (aka Tasmanian tiger):
Large carnivorous marsupial that lived in Australia. Became extinct in 1936, but reported sightings of this creature still occasionally occur.
And lest you think that the field is full of fluff, cryptids of the past have been discovered. (Which I guess means that they lose their cryptid status and fall into the realm of just another real animal. Imagine that.) Here are some of the ex-cryptids:
For centuries, westerners were regaled with tales of a giant ape that lived in the remote jungles of Africa. Tales abounded about how the ape was larger and much stronger than the strongest man. Date of de-cryptidization: 1847.
Myths about giant squids werer verified by Japanese researchers who baited and filmed a live giant squid. Date of de-cryptidization: 2005.
Animal with zebra-striped legs and a giraffe face. Lives in the Congo rain forest. Date of de-cryptidization: 1901.
Coelacanth (aka Gombassa or Mame)
An ancient fish thought to be extinct for millions of years. Previously known only through fossils. Date of de-cryptidization: 1938.
The only thing I'd like to add, is that while it is amazing to find new species and learn about the amazing biodiversity on Earth, we humans are quite barbaric in our quest for knowledge. For the sake of "learning," new species are caught and "studied," aka observed and then killed to study their innards. Or if they are not purposely killed, they are accidentally killed because we take them out of their environment, which happened to have life-sustaining properties for said species. Remember the hullabaloo back in April about the catching the "one of the oldest fish" ever? Maybe I'm in the minority, but I think it's far from a matter of national pride to be eating a fish that managed to survive longer than any of us will. Heck, if I were a yet unknown species and had any sense I'd stay away from us as long as possible.