Bigfoot

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Frame 352 from the Patterson-Gimlin film
This article is about Bigfoot, an unconfirmed North American ape-like creature. For the monster truck, see Bigfoot (truck).

Bigfoot is the name given to a large creature allegedly living in the remote wilderness areas of the United States and Canada. His areas of alleged habitat include southwestern Canada, the Great Lakes, the Pacific Northwest, the Rocky Mountains, the forests of the U.S. Northeast and the U.S. Southern states. An alternative term is Sasquatch.

Along with the Loch Ness Monster and Yeti, Bigfoot is perhaps the most famous creature in cryptozoology.

The modern Bigfoot phenomenon began in 1958 with reports of enormous footprints in Humboldt County, California. While most Bigfoot encounters (including the best-known ones) are from the Pacific Northwest, similar encounters have been alleged from much of North America. There are many earlier accounts of large, hairy, apelike or "wild man" creatures (or reports of inexplicable large, human-like footprints) from the Pacific Northwest, perhaps dating back to the late 18th century; some researchers have argued these accounts are consistent with more contemporary Bigfoot reports. As noted below, some of these early accounts are of doubtful authenticity, and critics have questioned the accuracy of interpreting older reports through modern preconceptions.

Most mainstream scientists have found existing Sasquatch evidence unpersuasive, and generally consider such evidence and sightings the product of mythology, folklore, misidentification or hoaxes. Many academics and professionals contend that further study is a waste of time, but others have argued that though current evidence may be lacking, evidence should be evaluated objectively as it arises. Others (including an active subculture composed primarily of amateurs) continue research and consider the existence of Sasquatch a possibility.

Contents

Description

Witnesses generally report similar features: A large, apelike bipedal creature usually 7 to 9 feet (2.1 to 2.7 m) tall, broad shouldered and strongly built. The head is small, pointed and low-set; sometimes a low crest or ridge is reported on top of the skull; sometimes a more rounded head is reported. The eyes are usually described as small and hidden below a pronounced brow. Excepting the face, hands and feet, short shaggy hair covers the body. Hair color is reported as usually being black or dark brown, though rust, reddish, sandy, or silver colors are occasionally reported.

Enormous human-like footprints lend the alleged creature its name. Ecologist Robert Michael Pyle describes them: "Tracks commonly measure fifteen to eighteen inches or more in length. They have five toes, a double-muscle ball, and a low arch." (Pyle, 3) Though Pyle doesn't mention it here, most alleged tracks are much wider than human feet, perhaps seven to eight inches wide.

A strong, foul odor is sometimes associated with Bigfoot, reminiscent of feces, sewage or strong human body odor.

Sasquatch vocalizations are sometimes alleged, primarily either a high-pitched shriek or whistle; or a low-pitched, guttural grunting.

Regarding Bigfoot's diet, anthropologist Grover Krantz writes that "The kinds of food that are consumed by sasquatches are reported by many observers; how many of these reports are accurate is a matter of diverse opinion." (Krantz, 159) He also adds that "In general I would describe the sasquatch as omnivorous. It is probably mainly a vegetarian and what might be described as an 'opportunistic carnivore'." (ibid, 160-161)

Most sightings are at night, leading to speculation that Sasquatch are nocturnal; some witnesses report what Pyle calls "red eyeshine," similar to that of recognized nocturnal animals. (Pyle, 209) Individuals are usually reported; rarely do witnesses report pairs or family groups. Males are more commonly reported than females.

Etymology

"Sasquatch" and "Bigfoot" are often used interchangeably in popular and scientific literature, though the words have different origins worth noting.

Bigfoot

Primatologist John Napier asserts that "the term Bigfoot has been in colloquial use since the early 1920's" to describe large, unaccountable human-like footprints in the Pacific northwest. (Napier, 74) However, according to Loren Coleman and Jerome Clark, Andrew Genzoli deserves credit for the first formal use of the word on October 5, 1958, (Coleman and Clark, 39-40) and Bigfoot is probably the better-known and more common term.

Genzoli was a columnist and editor at The Humbolt Times, a small newspaper. That day's front page story showed Jerry Crew--bulldozer operator on a road-building crew--holding an enormous plaster cast of a footprint, and the text began with, "While the tracks of old Big Foot have been in evidence for some time..." before detailing the workers' claims to have discovered enormous human-like footprints at an isolated work site. [1] (http://www.n2.net/prey/bigfoot/stories/rocky.htm)

Genzoni's story was picked up by the Associated Press, and eventually garnered international attention which Krantz characterizes as culminating several years later in "sasquatch mania". (Krantz, 5)

It's worth noting that Crew was overseen by Wilbur Wallace, brother of Ray Wallace, who later claimed both to have conclusive evidence of Bigfoot's reality, and to have hoaxed substantial amounts of Bigfoot evidence. Wallace was poorly regarded by many who took the subject seriously; Naper wrote that "I do not feel impressed with Mr. Wallace's story" regarding having over 15,000 feet of film showing Bigfoot. (Napier, 89)

Sasquatch

The word "Sasquatch" was coined by J.W. Burns in the 1920's. Burns was a school teacher at a British Columbian Chehalis reservation, and collected Native American accounts regarding large, hairy creatures said to live in the wilds. Burns noted phonetically similar names for the creatures. Loren Coleman and Jerome Clark write that Burns' "Native American informants called these beasts by various names, including 'sokqueatl' and 'soss-q'tal', and Burns decided to invent one term for them all." (Coleman and Clark, p. 215)

In 1929, MacLean's--a popular Canadian general-interest magazine--published one of Burn's articles ("Introducing British Columbia's Hairy Giants"), which incuded the word "Sasquatch." Burns presents several Sasquatch accounts as utterly genuine: "Disregarding rumor and hearsay, I have prevailed upon men who claim they had actual contact with these hairy giants, to tell what they know about them. Their stories are set down here in good faith." [2] (http://www.n2.net/prey/bigfoot/articles/burns.htm) (In 1940, The Wide World, a Magazine for Men published a slightly different version of Burns' 1929 article.[3] (http://www.n2.net/prey/bigfoot/legends/jwburns.htm) )

Burns' neologism was used by others, primarily in the Pacific northwest: Hunter and Dahinden reprint a story from the March, 1934 Vancouver Province which begins, "The fearsome Sasquatch have returned" and further describes one Frank Dan's account that he "came face to face with a hairy giant." (Hunter and Dahinden, 34)

After the widespread publicity surrounding the 1958 Humbolt County, California Bigfoot reports, researchers began searching old newspapers and documents for similar accounts, thus rediscovering and popularizing Burns' term. To many ears, "Sasquatch" has a less sensationalistic association than does "Bigfoot", and is consequently more popular among researchers who strive for legitimacy.

Popular Culture

Whether they are real creatures or not, Bigfoot has had a demonstrable impact as a cultural phenomenon. The meanings of the words "Bigfoot" or "Sasquatch" are quickly understood by most individuals, and have been used in advertising and applied to many products, such as pizzas, skateboards, skis, an internet search engine, computer hard drive series, gas station, and a monster truck. Characters resembling or inspired by bigfoot would include Star Wars' Chewbacca, a wookiee, and a cameo appearances in The Simpsons, South Park, and even The Six Million Dollar Man.

Many have written on the subject, demonstrating a broad spectrum of approaches: from lurid tabloids to a small body of serious scholarly work. There have been several "Bigfoot" related novels, at least one feature length motion picture (Harry and the Hendersons), as well as a Marvel Comics character named Sasquatch.

There are annual Bigfoot-related conventions, and the creature plays a role in Pacific Northwest tourism, such as the annual "Sasquatch Daze" in Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia. Napier wrote that "Bigfoot in some quarters of North America has become big business ... It can no longer be considered simply as a natural phenomenon that can be studied with the techniques of a naturalist; the entrepreneurs have moved in and folklore has become fakelore." (cited in Pyle, 160)

Regarding Sasquatch, Skamania County, Washington, passed a law in 1969 that "any willful, wanton slaying of such creatures shall be deemed a felony" subject to substantial fine and/or imprisonment. The fact that this legislation was passed on April 1 did not escape notice, but County Commissioner Conrad Lundy said, "this is not an April Fool's Day joke ... there is reason to believe such an animal exists." (cited in Pyle, 278) Hunter and Dahinden record their own "speculation that Skamania County authorities had their ears tuned much more to the music of a publicity bandwagon than to any song of distress" for Bigfoot. (Hunter and Dahinden, 135-136)

Formal Studies

Prior to and for some years following the 1958 Humbolt County Bigfoot reports, active research was confined primarily to amateurs. They embraced a variety of approaches, producing works that ranged from praiseworthy to nonsensical. See Formal Scientific Studies of Bigfoot or Sasquatch.


Existence

Arguments against

Overview

  • Generally, mainstream scientists and academics "discount the existence of Bigfoot because the evidence supporting belief in the survival of a prehistoric, bipedal, apelike creature of such dimensions is scant."[4] (http://skepdic.com/bigfoot.html) Furthermore, the issue is so muddied with dubious claims and outright hoaxes that many scientists do not give the subject serious attention.
  • Napier wrote that the mainstream scientific community's indifference stems primarily from "insufficient evidence ... it is hardly unsurprising that scientists prefer to investigate the probable rather beat their heads against the wall of the faintly possible." (Napier, 15)
  • Anthropologist David Daegling echoed this idea, citing a "remarkably limited amount of Sasquatch data that are amenable to scientific scrutiny." (Daegling, 61) He also suggests that mainstream skeptics should take a proactive position "to offer an alternative explanation. We have to explain why we see Bigfoot when there is no such animal." (ibid 20)
  • While he does have some pointed criticism for mainstream science and academia, Krantz concedes that while The Scientific Establishment generally resists new ideas ... there is a good reason for it ... Quite simply put, new and innovative ideas in science are almost always wrong." (Krantz, 236)

Eyewitness Reports

  • A number of people report Bigfoot sightings, but it's been suggested such reports could easily be explained by hoaxes and confusion about what they really encountered. Similarly, Napier wrote that, however accurate and sincere they might seem, "eyewitness reports must be treated with considerable caution ... Although we don't always know what we see, we tend to see what we know." (Napier, 19) He also adds that "without checking possible [ulterior] motivations, they [eyewitnesses] cannot be acceptable as primary data."(ibid, 198)
  • Most of the areas where Bigfoot has been reported are near habitats of bears, notably including the grizzly bear. Bears are large and furry and often stand up on their hind legs, leading to speculation that Bigfoot witnesses mistook bears for something more exotic.
  • Bigfoot researchers claim there are many sightings that predate the worldwide interest in the subject. It's been suggested that such stories were either not reported until afterwards, or have little to no resemblance to typical Bigfoot sightings, suggesting that people were distorting, misinterpreting, or selectively citing these accounts to support their own conclusions.
    • Jerome Clark argues that the "Jacko" affair , involving an 1884 newspaper report on an apelike creature captured in British Columbia (details below), was a hoax. Citing research by John Green, who uncovered the fact that several other contemporary British Columbia newspapers regarded the alleged capture as most dubious, Clark notes that the New Westminster, British Columbia, Mainland Guardian wrote, "Absurdity is written on the face of it." (Clark, 195)

Native American and other Folktales

  • Bigfoot researchers frequently assert that Native American legends have stories of Bigfoot-type creatures, arguing that these legends support Bigfoot's actuality. Clark writes that "such beliefs are usually taken out of context and selectively cited ... Comparable monsters loom large in a number of North American Indian mythologies; they warn members of violating taboos and serve other, more complex functions within tribal societies." (Clark, 28)
    • In "On the Cultural Track of Sasquatch", Wayne Suttles offers a detailed examination of legends so cited from various Pacific northwest tribes, including tales from the Salish, Lummi, Samish and Klallam peoples. Suttles confirms the oft-repeated observation that none of the groups makes "real/mythical or natural/supernatural dichotomy." (Sprague and Krantz, 43) Ultimately, however, Suttles concludes that rather than being inspired by a real creature, "It seems more likely that these beliefs have grown out of several sources and have been maintained in several ways. One of the sources may have been a real man-like animal. But I must reluctantly admit that as I have presented data and organized arguments, I have found its track getting fainter and fainter." (ibid, 71)
  • In northern Europe there was formerly a belief in trolls, which some have suggested is similar to Bigfoot legends.
  • Daegling suggests that Sasquatch fills a basic human need for mysteries and monsters: "People don't construct websites devoted to the bear they saw last summer, but they do for Bigfoot." (Daegling, 21)

Alleged Physical Evidence

  • Physical evidence cited as supporting the existence of Bigfoot has been ambiguous at best, or hoaxes at worst. There have been no dead bodies, bones or artifacts. There have been reported samples of fur and feces, but analyses have varied widely, and none have been ruled conclusively (or by multiple authorities) as originating from any unknown animal. All reputed Bigfoot samples studied using DNA testing were judged to have come from common animals.
  • Alleged Sasquatch footprints are often cited by researchers as important evidence, but mainstream science has been generally unimpressed, citing the possibility of hoax, among other problems.
  • Considering how many amateur and professional researchers have been seeking Bigfoot evidence for decades, the absence of such evidence seems to some sufficient evidence that Bigfoot does not exist.

Audio and Visual Evidence

  • There are photos and motion pictures of allegedly genuine Bigfoots (as well as audiotapes of their supposed vocalizations), but critics note that these are often of poor quality, making analyses troublesome or even worthless.
  • At least one film (the Patterson-Gimlin film) shows something that is definitely not a bear, and this film was for a long time considered the strongest evidence for Bigfoot. Wallace claimed to have been involved in hoaxing the film, and opinions remain divided as to the film's authenticity; many experts have judged it a hoax, Napier among them. See Patterson-Gimlin film for further information.

Alleged Hoaxes

  • Wallace claimed to have produced a substantial amount of hoaxed evidence from 1958 onward in a prank that continued beyond his expectations. Wallace's family published many of the details following his 2002 death, and critics have offered this confession as evidence against Bigfoot's existence.

Proposed Creatures

  • The hypothesis that Sasquatch might be a late surviving representative of the Gigantopithecus blacki is generally considered highly speculative. Rigorous studies of the existing fossilized remains seem to indicate that G. blacki is the common ancestor of two quadrupedal genera, represented by the Sivapithecus and the orangutan (Pongo). Given that most scientists argue Gigatopithicus was a quadruped, it seems most unlikely it could be an ancestor to a biped, as Bigfoot is said to be. Furthermore, it has been argued G. blacki's enormous mass would have made it difficult for it to adopt a bipedal gait.

Arguments for

Overview

  • As noted above, most mainstream experts find current evidence regarding Bigfoot unpersuasive. A number of prominent experts, however, have spoken out on the subject, offering sympathetic opinions. In a 2003 Denver Post article, Jane Goodall said, "People from very different backgrounds and different parts of the world have described very similar creatures behaving in similar ways and uttering some strikingly similar sounds ... As far as I am concerned, the existence of hominids of this sort is a very real probability."[5] (http://www.denverpost.com/Stories/0%2C1413%2C36~53~1089877%2C00.html)
  • Coon's "Why the Sasquatch Must Exist" was presented by the prominent anthropologist during his life, but only published after he died. He wrote that "Even before I read John Green's book 'Sasquatch: The Apes Among Us', [first published in 1973 ] I accepted Sasquatch's existence." (Markotic and Krantz, p 46) Coon examines the question from several angles, stating he is confident only in ruling out a relict Neanderthal population as a viable candidate for Sasquatch reports.
  • As noted above, Napier generally argued against Bigfoot's reality. But he also argued that some "soft evidence"--eyewitnesses, footprints, hair and droppings--is compelling enough that he advises against "dismissing its reality out of hand." (Napier, 197)
  • The late Grover Krantz suggested that most academics who contend Bigfoot does not exist lack even a passing familiarity with the small body of serious scholarly work on the subject, and have not examined available evidence, some of which, Krantz contended, was very persuasive. Supporters have argued this constitutes a bias on the part of many academics who have chosen to ignore or minimize the serious efforts of many qualified experts.
  • Similarly, Daegling writes that "It is a fair point echoed across the board by the advocates; the scientific establishment seems to reject Bigfoot reflexively without so much as feigning an interest in examining the evidence." (Daegling, 61)
  • Krantz and others have argued that a double standard is applied by many academics to Sasquatch studies: When a claim is made or evidence is presented alleging that Sasquatch is genuine, enormous scrutiny is applied to the claim or evidence, as well it should be. Yet when individuals claim to have hoaxed Bigfoot evidence, their claims are often quickly accepted, though they typically lack corroborative evidence.
  • In 2004, Henry Gee, editor of the prestigious Nature, wrote of an unexpected discovery, that "The discovery that Homo floresiensis survived until so very recently, in geological terms, makes it more likely that stories of other mythical, human-like creatures such as yetis are founded on grains of truth ... Now, cryptozoology, the study of such fabulous creatures, can come in from the cold" [6] (http://www.nature.com/news/2004/041025/full/041025-2.html).

Eyewitness Reports

  • The vast majority of Sasquatch reports are generated from areas that are low in human population densities. In addition, most reports are made near rivers, creeks or lakes, and from areas where annual rainfall exceeds twenty inches (500 mm). Researchers point out that these common factors among most sightings indicate patterns of a living species occupying an ecological niche, as opposed to hoaxed sightings.
  • Krantz noted these same points, and offered a detailed proposal for Sasquatch ecology and social behaviour. (Krantz, 158-171)
  • As noted above, critics have suggested that people have mistaken bears for Bigfoot. Some Bigfoot witnesses, however, include experienced hunters and outdoorsmen who claim to be familiar with bears, and report the creature they saw was not a bear. Biologist John Bindernagel argues there are marked differences between bears and Sasquatch reports that make confusion unlikely: "In profile, the bear's prominent snout is markedly different from the Sasquatch flat face. In front view, the Sasquatch squarish shoulders contrast with the bear's tapered shoulders. The Sasquatch has relatively long legs that allow for a graceful stride, in contrast with the short-legged shuffles of a bear when it walks on its hind legs. A bear's ears are usually visible, while the Sasquatch apparently are hidden under long hair."[7] (http://www.rfthomas.clara.net/papers/binder.html) Krantz made similar arguments. (Krantz, 5)

Native American Accounts

  • As noted above, it's been argued that Bigfoot researchers are distorting or misinterpreting Native American accounts in their search for early evidence supporting Bigfoot's reality. Researchers typically argue that such folktales should not be taken literally, but rather should serve as guideposts. In folklore, such putative Sasquatch are often attributed supernatural powers, but this does not necessarily mean the tales should be discredited, as many common animals in Native American legends are attributed supernatural powers, and furthermore, Native American legends frequently make no distinction between natural and supernatural.
  • Similarly, "Some Bigfoot hunters believe that the creature's earliest history can be found in ancient Native American legends, particularly in the tales of the Witiko, or Wendigo, a giant spirit-beast from the lore of the Algonquin tribe." [8] (http://pages.emerson.edu/students/benjamin_delahaye/ml/tales.html).
  • A 1924 Seattle Times story titled "Clue to 'Gorilla Men' found, may be lost Race of Giants" reports on a legend of the "Seeahtik", a Clallam word for what are described as creatures "seven to eight feet tall" with "have hairy bodies like the bear". The Seeahtik are attributed supernatural powers, and were presumed to have recently become extinct or nearly so.[9] (http://www.n2.net/prey/bigfoot/legends/seeahtik.htm)

Native American Artifacts

There are various Native American artifacts cited as compelling circumstantial evidence for the actuality of Sasquatch.

Stone Heads
  • Pyle writes that "Certain artifacts suggest that some Amerindians were acquainted with something having the visage of an ape." Pyle cites "several carved stone heads from the Columbia River basin," (Pyle, p146) Pyle also notes that prominent paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh wrote in 1877 that "Among the many stone carvings [from the Columbia] were a number of heads, which so strongly resemble those of apes that the likeness at once presents itself." (ibid)
  • Furthermore, Pyle notes that the stone carvings are prehistoric (a conclusion supported by B. Robert Butler, who determined the heads dated from Wakemap Middle Period, 1500 BC to AD 200 (Halpin and Ames, 299) depicting "prognathous, chinless faces with heavy brow ridges and in at least one case a sagittal crest." Pyle adds that such "relics do not prove that Bigfoot exists or that they [natives] had contact with apes, but they do raise some uncomfortable questions."(Ibid, 146)
  • These artifacts are discussed at length by anthropologist Roderick Sprague in "Carved Stone Heads of the Columbia and Sasquatch." Dozens of similar stone heads were recovered, and most depict common animals. Sprague examines seven carved heads which he argues have distinctively monkey- or ape-like features. Like Pyle, Sprague notes this does not necessarily support Bigfoot's actuality, but Sprague sees the question of what inspired the carved stone heads as intriguing and unresolved.
Face Masks
  • Anthropologist and ethnologist Marjorie Halpin's paper, "The Tsimshian Monkey Masks and Sasquatch" describes two wood facemasks collected from the Niska tribe. One, obtained by Lieutenant G.T. Eammons in about 1914, and another, obtained by C.M. Barbes in 1927.

Eammons described the artifact as depicting "a mythical being found in the woods and called today as a monkey." (cited in Haplin and Ames, 211) Halpin reports that physical anthropolgist R.D.E. MacPhee examined the Eammes mask, and noted it had both monkey- and ape-like features, but could not match it exactly to any recognized species. (ibid, 212) Halpin details the elaborate folklore and rites related to the masks regarding a creature called "pi'kis", which has both human and animal traits (especially connected to otters) , describing the legendary creature as occupying a "dangerously close intersection between human and animal" in native lore. (ibid, 225) As with the carved stone heads, Halpin notes these monkey-like masks alone do not prove Sasquatch is real; rather, they are curious artifacts which warrant further investigation.

Alleged Physical Evidence

  • Absence of fossilized evidence is not evidence of fossil absence. Sasquatch is not represented in the fossil record, but neither are gorillas and chimpanzees. Coleman and Patrick Huyghe note that "no one will look for such fossils, if the creatures involved are not thought to exist in the first place. But even with recognized primates, fossil finds are usually meager at best."(Coleman and Huyhge, 162)
  • Regarding the lack of Bigfoot remains, Krantz suggested this alone is not a valid argument against the creature's actuality. He noted that most animals hide before they die and are then quickly lost to scavengers, writing that "I have yet to meet anyone who has found the remains of a bear that was not killed by human activity." (Krantz, 10)
Footprints
  • Photographs or plaster casts of presumed Sasquatch footprints are often cited by cryptozoologist as important evidence.
    • Krantz writes that "the push-off mound in midfootprint is one of the most impressive pieces of evidence to me." (Krantz, 36) This is a small mound of soil created "by a horizontal push of the forefoot just before it leaves the ground" present in some alleged Sasquatch tracks. (ibid) Krantz argues that neither artificial wood nor rubber Sasquatch feet can create this convincing feature.
  • Krantz notes that "The comfortable walking step for humans is about half the individual's standing height, or a trace more. Sasquatch step measurements correspond, in general, to stature estimates that are reported from sightings." (Krantz, 22) Krantz also reports that reputed Sasquatch steps are "in excess of three feet" (Krantz, 21), arguing this enormous step would be difficult or impossible for hoaxers to create artificially.
  • Coleman and Clark write that there are some footprint hoaxes, but argue they are often clumsy in comparison to presumably genuine prints, which "show distinctive forensic features that to investigators indicate they are not fakes". (Coleman and Clark, 42) Similarly, Krantz notes that "Toe positions can and do vary from one imprint to another of the same foot. We have several clear examples of this. It is my impression that sasquatch toes are more mobile than those on civilized human feet", and that hoaxing this detail would require detailed anatomical knowledge, making a hoax unlikely. (Krantz, 23)
  • Researcher Henry Franzoni writes that "A strong piece of evidence which suggests that the footprints are not a due to a hoax or hoaxers is from Dr. W. Henner Farenbach. He has studied a database 550 track cast length measurements and has made some preliminary observations ... The gaussian distribution of the 550 footprint lengths gives a curve that is very similar to the curve given by living populations of known animals without much sexual dimorphism in footprint length. The standard error is very low, so additions to the database will not affect the result very much. It is not very likely that coordinated groups of hoaxers conspiring together for 38 years (the time span covered by the database of track measurements) could provide such a 'life-like' distribution in footprint lengths. Groups of hoaxers who did not conspire together would almost certainly result in a non-gaussian distribution for the database of footprint lengths." [10] (http://www.rfthomas.clara.net/papers/faq.html#q1)
  • Similarly, in "Population Clines of the North American Sasquatch as Evidenced by Track Length and Average Status," anthropologist George Gill writes that "The preliminary results of our study support the hypothesis that Sasquatch actually exists ... not only seem to exist, but confirm to ecogeographical rules."(Halpin and Ames, 272)
  • A series of alleged Bigfoot tracks found near Bossburg, Washington, in 1969 appeared to show the creature's right foot was crippled. The deformed footprints are consistent with genuine disfigurement, and some argue that a hoax is unlikely. John Napier wrote of this case that "It is very difficult to conceive of a hoaxer so subtle, so knowledgeable — and so sick — who would deliberately fake a footprint of this nature. I suppose it is possible, but it is so unlikely that I am prepared to discount it".[11] (http://www.rfthomas.clara.net/papers/cripplefoot.html) Krantz declares that "analysis of the apparent anatomy of these tracks proved to be the first convincing evidence ... that the animals were real." (Krantz, 54)
Hand Prints
  • Krantz has cited as persuasive two alleged Sasquatch handprints taken from northeastern Washington in the summer of 1970. The prints were of a left hand, showing a very broad, flat palm (more than twice as broad as Krantz' own larger-than-average hands) with stubby fingers, lacking an opposable thumb. Krantz writes that the prints have "many irregularities ... which cannot be identified in terms of human anatomy." (Sprague and Krantz, 118)
  • Another pair of handprints were recovered in the late 1980s by Paul Freeman and given to Krantz for analysis; for similar reasons, Krantz judged them genuine. (Krantz, 47-51)
Fingerprints
  • Krantz has cited several Sasquatch hand and footprints containing dermal ridges (fingerprints), which are present only on humans and other primates. Krantz reports that he offered casts of these prints to "more than forty" law enforcement fingerprints specialists across Canada and the United States. Krantz describes their reactions as ranging from "'very interesting' and 'they sure look real' to 'there is no doubt these are real.' The only exception was the Federal Bureau of Investigation expert who said approximately, 'The implications of this are just too much; I can't believe it's real.'"(Krantz, 71)
    • Krantz offered these same casts to physical anthropologists and primatologists. Conclusions were similarly varied, with several quickly ruling them hoaxes after only a quick examination before returning the best cast to Krantz, "as though it might be contagious."(ibid) Notable was Tim White of the University of California at Berkeley "found no good reason to reject them."(ibid) Opinion remains divided, however, with suggestions that the man who "discovered" the prints had confessed to other hoaxes [12] (http://www.n2.net/prey/bigfoot/articles/skeptical.htm).
  • One of the casts with visible fingerprints showed sweat pores. Krantz reports that "police expert Benny Kling ... commented that anyone who could engrave ridge detail of such quantity and quality should be making counterfeit money." (Krantz, 77) This same print showed displayisa, a common minor irregularity. Krantz writes that "The late Robert Olson was particularly impressed with this irregularity, as was Ed Palma of the San Diego Police Department." (ibid)

Overall, however, Krantz was disappointed by the mixed responses regarding the dermal ridges, reinforcing his conclusion that only a holotype would persuade professionals that Bigfoot is real.

Body Cast
  • The so-called Skookum Body Cast was collected in the summer of 2000, and researchers argue it could be the impression of a Sasquatch. Prominent primate expert Daris Swindler said that "in my opinion the impression is not made by a deer, a bear or an elk nor was it made artificially. The Skookum body cast is that of an unknown hominoid primate." [13] (http://www.n2.net/prey/bigfoot/reviews/bestof.htm)
Hair and Feces
  • There have been analyses of purported Sasquatch hair and feces. Some were deemed hoaxes, and more came from common animals. A few seemed more puzzling: Coon reported that Stephen Irosen of the University of Maryland examined alleged Sasquatch hairs recovered from Washington state, declaring the hair "as being that of an unknown primate--and he has hair on file from most living primates of the world." (Markotic and Krantz, 48)
  • In "Analysis of Feces and Hair Suspected to be of Sasquatch Origin", Anthropologist Vaughn M. Bryant Jr. and Ecologist Burleigh Trevor-Deutch report the analysis of six alleged Bigfoot hairs recovered near Riggins, Idaho. Roy Pinker, a police science instructor at California State University, Los Angeles, determined that "the hairs did not match specimens from any known animal species and that they had some characteristics common to both humans and nonhumans." (Halpin and Ames, 296)

Audio and Visual Evidence

  • Arguments have been made that the Patterson-Gimlin film depicts a genuine creature; Krantz, for one, expressed this view, and Pyle, while not endorsing the film as authentic, writes that it "has never been convincingly debunked." (Pyle, 208) See Patterson-Gimlin film for further information.
  • Analyses of purported Sasquatch vocalizations have been recorded and analyzed, leading bioacoustics expert Dr. Robert Benson of Texas A&M University to report that some recordings "left him puzzled," and helped change his opinion "from being a raving skeptic to being curiously receptive."[14] (http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2002-10-31-bigfoot-cover_x.htm)

Alleged Hoaxes

  • Sasquatch researchers have noted a difference between suggesting that something might be the result of a hoax, and stating flatly that something is the result of a hoax. Many mainstream skeptics frequently declare that Sasquatch reports-especially footprints--are hoaxes, but rarely do they test or demonstrate a specific method or mechanism that would produce results consistent with initially offered evidence.
  • Regarding supposedly hoaxed Sasquatch footprints, primatologist John Napier acknowledges that there have been some hoaxes, but also writes that hoaxing is often an inadequate explanation: "We must be prepared to accept the existence of a conspiracy of Mafia-like ramifications with cells in practically every major township from San Francisco to Vancouver. Even if we accept the conspiracy angle there is still another hurdle to be jumped. How could footprints of such realism and functional consistency have been made? Rubber-latex molds bonded to a boot or shoe might explain how the footprints are reproduced, but the mechanical problems would be immense, particularly when it is borne in mind that the hoaxer would have to walk considerable distances over difficult terrain wearing such unwieldy contraptions. There is also the problem that footprints are found in conditions where an ordinary man is too light to make any impressions in the substrate. However, it is not impossible that some of the footprints were made in this way."[15] (http://www.skygaze.com/content/strange/Bigfoot.shtml)
    • (Pyle characterizes Napier's argument on this more directly: Napier "concluded that a hoax sufficient to explain the facts was even more unlikely than the animal itself." (Pyle, 186)
  • Similarly, Krantz argues that hoaxing does not explain the vast majority of Bigfoot prints: "The first and most obvious problem with this is the sheer number of tracks that are known to have been found, and the number of them that can be estimated to have occurred ... the supposed fakers would have to spend the vast majority of their time driving, riding and hiking from one location to another. (This also ignores the difficulty of people putting tracks in many places without leaving evidence of their own presence.) ... the skeptics must postulate a well-organized team of one-thousand people, working full-time, who are spread all over North America with their greatest concentration in Pacific Northwest." If not a small, well-organized group, Krantz estimates "something like 100,000 casual hoaxers" would be required to explain the footprints. (Krantz, 32-34)
  • As noted above, Ray Wallace claimed to have begun the modern Bigfoot phenomenon in 1958 by using phony foot casts to leave "Bigfoot" prints in Humbolt County, California; Wallace's family received major press attention in 2002 when they detailed what they said were Wallace's claims. The family's claims have been disputed, however. One writer argues, for example, that "The wooden track stompers shown to the media by the Wallace family do not match photos of the 1958 tracks they claim their father made. They are different foot shapes." [16] (http://www.bfro.net/news/Wallace.asp)

Proposed Creatures

  • Krantz argued that a relict population of Gigantopithecus blacki was the most likely candidate to explain Bigfoot reports; he championed a view that Gigantopithicus was bipedal based on his analysis of its jaws.
  • Bourne writes that Gigantopithicus was a plausible candidate for Bigfoot. He writes that since most Gigatopithicus fossils had been recovered from China, and also that extreme eastern Siberia has forests similar to northwestern North America, it was not an unreasonable notion that Gigantopithicus could have migrated across the Bering Strait like many recognized animals had. "So perhaps Gigatopithicus is the Bigfoot of the American continent and perhaps he is also the Yeti of the Himalayas." (Bourne, 296)
  • If an animal like Sasquatch ever existed in North America, it's been argued a likely candidate would be a species of Paranthropus, such as Paranthropus robustus, which would have looked very much like Sasquatch, including the crested skull and naturally bipedal gait. This was suggested by Napier, and by anthropologist Gordon Strasenburg.
  • There is also a little known subspecies of Homo erectus called meganthropus which actually grew to enormous proportions, though most recent remains of the hominid are more than 1 million years old, and have only be found several thousand miles away from North America.

List of Notable Figures

Notable Bigfoot sightings and reports

See also this external link (http://www.rfthomas.clara.net/cb/1818.html) for a detailed list of Bigfoot reports.

Footnotes

  1. The method of locomotion for Gigantopithecus is not entirely certain, as no pelvis or leg bone has been found, the only remains of Gigantopithecus discovered are teeth and mandible. A minority opinion championed by Grover Krantz holds that the mandible shape and structure suggests bipedal locomotion. The only fossil evidence of Gigantopithecus—the mandible and teeth—are U-shaped, like bipedal humans, rather than V-shaped like the great apes. A complete fossil specimen with the pelvis and leg bones would be necessary to conclusively resolve the debate one way or the other, and to date are absent.
  2. Gorillas are in the same class as chimpanzees; gorillas are more closely related to humans and chimpanzees than they are to orangutans.

Sources

  • Bayanov, Dmitri, "America's Bigfoot: Fact, Not Fiction," 1997, Crypto-Logos, ISBN 5-900229-22-X
  • Bourne, Geoffrey H and Maury Cohen, "The Gentle Giants: The Gorilla Story, 1975, G.P. Putnam's Sons, ISBN 399115285
  • Bryant, Vaughn M . and Burleigh Trevor-Deutch, "Analysis of Feces and Hair Suspected to be of Sasquatch Origin" (in Halpin and Ames)
  • Byrne, Peter, "The Search for Bigfoot: Monster, Man or Myth," Acropolis Books, 1975, ISBN0874911591
  • Clark, Jerome, "Unexplained! 347 Strange Sightings, Incredible Occurrences and Puzzling Physical Phenomena, Visible Ink, 1993, ISBN 0810394367
  • Coleman, Loren and Jerome Clark, "Cryptozoology A to Z, Fireside Books, 1999, ISBN 0684856026
  • Coleman, Loren and Patrick Huyghe, "The Field Guide to Bigfoot, Yeti and Other Mystery Primates Worldwide, 1999, Avon Books, ISBN 0380802635
  • Coon, Carelton, "Why Sasquatch Must Exist" (in Markotic and Krantz)
  • Daegling, David J, "Bigfoot Exposed: An Anthropologist Examines America's Enduring Legend, Altamira Press, 2004, ISBN 0759105391
  • Gill, George "Population Clines of the North American Sasquatch as Evidenced by Track Lengths and Average Status" (in Halpin and Ames)
  • Halprin, Marjorie, "The Tsimshan Moneky Mask and Sasquatch (in Halpin and Ames)
  • Halpin, Marjorie and Michael Ames, editors, Manlike Monsters on Trial: Early Records and Modern Evidence, University of British Columbia Press, 1980, ISBN 0774801190
  • Hunter, Don with Rene Dahinden, "Sasquach/Bigfoot: The Search for North America's Incredible Creature," Firefly Books, 1993, ISBN 1895565286
  • Krantz, Grover S., "Big Footprints: A Scientific Inquiry into the Reality of Sasquatch, Johnson Books, 1992,
  • Markotic, Vladimir and Grover Krantz, editors, "The Sasquatch and Other Unknown Primates, Western Publishers, 1984, ISBN 0919119107
  • Mozino, Jose Mariano, Noticas de Nutka: An Account of Nootka Sound, Iris Higbe Wilson, editor and traslator, University of Washington Press, 1970
  • Napier, John "Bigfoot: The Sasquatch and Yeti in Myth and Reality, 1973, E.P. Dutton, ISBN 0525066586
  • Pyle, Robert Michael, "Where Bigfoot Walks, Houghton Mifflin, 1995, ISBN 0395441145
  • Shakley, Myra, Wildman: Yeti, Sasquatch and the Neaderthal Enigma," Thames and Hudson, 1973
  • Sprague, Roderick, "Carved Stone Heads of the Columbia and Sasquatch" (in Halpin and Ames)
  • Sprague, Roderick and Grover Krantz, editors, "A Scientist Looks at the Sasquatch II, University Press of Idaho, 1978, ISBN 0893010618
  • Suttles, Wayne, "On the Cultural Track of Sasquatch" (in Sprage and Krantz)
  • Wasson, Barbara, Sasquatch Apparitions: A Critique on the Pacific Northwest Hominoid, 1979, self-published, ISBN 0961410507

See also

External links

de:Bigfoot es:Pie Grande eo:Restaĵa homeculo fr:Sasquatch ja:ビッグフット nl:Bigfoot

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