Karl Shuker
Karl Shuker with a Smilodon skull.
Karl Shuker with a Smilodon skull.

Karl P N Shuker (born 1959) is a British zoologist, cryptozoologist, and author living in the West Midlands, England. He works as a full-time freelance zoological consultant, media consultant, and noted12 author specializing in cryptozoology.


Shuker has a BSc/Honours in pure zoology from the University of Leeds and a PhD in zoology and comparative physiology from the University of Birmingham. He is a Scientific Fellow of the Zoological Society of London, a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society, a consultant for the Centre for Fortean Zoology, and a member of the Society of Authors.345


Shuker is one of the leading cryptozoologists in the English speaking world. He has authored numerous articles and fourteen books, including the cryptozoological works Mystery Cats of the World (1989), The Lost Ark: New and Rediscovered Animals of the 20th Century (1993; expanded in 2002 as The New Zoo), and In Search of Prehistoric Survivors (1995), as well as two worldwide bestsellers - A Natural History (1995; reissued in 2006), and The Unexplained (1996; reissued in 2002).6

Shuker was the first cryptozoologist7 to bring to widespread public attention a considerable number of cryptids that were previously little-known. These include the Sri Lankan horned jackal and devil bird, Gambo, the Gambian sea serpent, Goodenough Island mystery bird, New Guinea ropen and devil pig or gazeka, Scottish earth hound, Indonesian veo and horned cat, New Caledonian du, Irish dobhar-chú, Shatt al Arab venomous mystery fish, Zanzibar makalala, Ethiopian death bird, Zululand kondlo, Arctic North American waheela, Kellas cat, Mongolian Death Worm, Hungarian reedwolf, Fujian blue or Maltese tiger as shown on the cover of Mysteries of Planet Earth (1999), Welsh cenaprugwirion, bigfin squid, St Helena sirenian, Timor Sea ground shark, and crowing crested cobra.

Aside from his own publications, Shuker pens two regular cryptozoological columns ('Alien Zoo' and 'The Lost Ark') in Fortean Times, is a contributing editor and cryptozoological columnist for Strange Magazine, and is a regular contributor to Fate Magazine and related publications. In addition, he is the zoological consultant for the Guinness World Records.8910

He has acted as a consultant for several television specials and series, including Discovery TV's Into the Unknown. He has also served as a question setter for the BBC's quiz show Mastermind.1112

In November 2001, Shuker became a £250,000 prize winner on the British version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?.13

In 2005, Shuker was honoured by the naming of a new species of Loricifera after him, Pliciloricus shukeri.14


  • Mystery Cats of the World (1989), Robert Hale, ISBN 0-7090-3706-6
  • Extraordinary Animals Worldwide (1991), Robert Hale, ISBN 0-7090-4421-6
  • The Lost Ark: New and Rediscovered Animals of the 20th Century (1993), HarperCollins, ISBN 0-00-219943-2
  • Dragons - A Natural History (1995), Simon & Schuster, ISBN 0-684-81443-9; republished (2006), Taschen
  • In Search of Prehistoric Survivors (1995), Blandford, ISBN 0-7137-2469-2
  • The Unexplained (1996), Carlton Books, ISBN 1-85868-186-3
  • From Flying Toads To Snakes With Wings (1997), Llewellyn, ISBN 1-56718-673-4
  • Mysteries of Planet Earth (1999), Carlton Books, ISBN 1-85868-679-2
  • The Hidden Powers of Animals, (2001), Reader's Digest, ISBN 0-7621-0328-0
  • The New Zoo: New and Rediscovered Animals of the Twentieth Century (2002), House of Stratus, ISBN 1-84232-561-2
  • The Beasts That Hide From Man (2003), Paraview, ISBN 1-931044-64-3
  • Extraordinary Animals Revisited (2007) CFZ Press, ISBN 1-905723-17-1
  • Dr Shuker's Casebook (2008) CFZ Press, ISBN 1-905723-33-1
  • Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Animals on Stamps: A Worldwide Catalogue (2008) CFZ Press, ISBN 1-905723-34-2

Consultant or Contributor

  • Man and Beast (1993)
  • Secrets of the Natural World (1993)
  • Almanac of the Uncanny (1995)
  • The Guinness Book of Records/Guinness World Records (1997-Present Day)
  • Mysteries of the Deep (1998)
  • Guinness Amazing Future (1999)
  • The Earth (2000)
  • Monsters (2001)
  • Chambers Dictionary of the Unexplained (2007)
  • Chambers Myths and Mysteries (2008)
  • The Fortean Times Paranormal Handbook (2009)

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