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What is the best evidence to support the existence of Bigfoot?

Whether or not "bigfoot" is real, the "bigfoot phenomenon" is real. This idea was first enunciated by Dr. Robert Pyle, in his book "Where Bigfoot Walks". The "bigfoot phenomenon" is the certain fact that we continue to receive "bigfoot" sighting reports, and we continue to find "bigfoot" footprints in the forest. Something is making the footprints, and something is being seen in the Pacific Northwest by human observers.

Below is a pretty thorough list of explanations for "bigfoot":

1. A large, hairy humanoid with a common ancestor to man, of an animal species yet unknown to science
2. A psychic projection akin to poltergeists and hauntings (i.e. supernatural being)
3. Various misidentifications of known animals, such as bears
4. Escaped gorillas or chimpanzees from zoos and circuses
5. Pranksters dressed in costumes (i.e. hoaxes)
6. An unknown creature with a highly evolved set of defense mechanisms allowing it to adapt to its surroundings to blend into its immediate environment
7. Interdimensional entity that comes from another dimension or plane of existence that occasionally enters our "sphere" of life
8. An extraterrestrial species from another planet in our Universe
9. A demonic manifestation
10. Mass media sensationalism
11. Need-fulfillment (in other words, it's fun and exciting to "see" Bigfoot, especially in a world where mystical beliefs are becoming replaced by science)
12. Hallucinations (drug-induced or otherwise)
13. Mentally unbalanced people reporting what they believe to be "real"
14. Mass hysteria
15. A myth or fairy tale passed on from colonial times (for some unknown reason)
16. An incomprehensible phenomenon that modern science is not sufficiently evolved enough to discern (comparable to a caveman trying to explain a jet plane)

The film is also evidence that in its case, the bigfoot phenomenon is not due to a catalogued animal that has been misidentified, since we do not recognize exactly what kind of creature is in the film. It looks like a human being in a gorilla suit, so it could still be caused by a hoax. The film could be caused by deliberate human fabrication, but we can tentatively rule out unwitting human fabrication in the form of "mass hallucination" and "a misidentified known animal" as the possible causes behind the Patterson Film.

Whether or not the Patterson film is a "real" film of a "real" creature, the mere existence of the Patterson film suggests that the "bigfoot phenomenon" is most likely to be caused by one of two possible explanations: 1) it's caused by a hoax or hoaxers, or, 2) it's caused by sightings of an animal unknown to science. Different sightings, footprint finds and other evidence may have different causes behind them.

b) Sighting Reports

Stories about sightings of bigfoot-like creatures amongst Native Americans and eurocentric immigrants and their descendants provide evidence that the bigfoot phenomenon is not culture specific, lending even more evidence to the idea that it is not caused by a mass hallucination, since mass hallucinations don't jump cultures very well. The stories also show that the phenomenon is a continuous one which has occurred in the Pacific Northwest for more than 150 years.

Bigfoot sighting stories and footprint stories from eurocentric and indigenous cultures have been written down for the past 150 years; the oral history of bigfoot sightings amongst Native Americans is much older.

J.W. Burns spent many years as a teacher on the Chehalis Indian Reserve beside the Harrison River about 60 miles east of Vancouver, B.C. He wrote numerous newspaper stories about the encounters his Indian friends had with the hairy giants, including an article in a major national magazine in 1927. While those stories certainly did not convince non-Indian society that such creatures actually existed, they did make the name "Sasquatch" a household word in that corner of the world.

The Bigfoot Field Researcher's Organization has an organized national database of recent bigfoot reports, and has become the North American Science Iinstitute's associate and the official NASI web-repository of sighting reports.

A Map of geographic places named for their association with bigfoot-like creatures in the United States is available, as well as a list of 602 geographic place names in AK, WA, OR, ID, and MT.

These place names associated with bigfoot-like creatures may indicate a regional memory of these beings co-existing with Homo sapiens in the Northwestern United States among indigenous people and eurocentric immigrants alike.

If the "bigfoot phenomenon" is mostly caused by deliberate human fabrication, the written stories suggest it's been a long term hoax operating over a 150 year time span, and all across the United States and Canada. It could not be caused by a single hoaxer, since no one individual can live that long, but could be caused by one or more groups of hoaxers.

Sighting report frequencies do not correlate well with human population density. If the sighting reports were generally due to hoaxing, the frequency of the reports would be expected to correlate well with human population density. It's intriguing to note that the data show that this is not the case.

The distribution of the geographic place names associated with bigfoot do not correlate well with human population density either. If one had to pick one pattern to describe in general the location of the greatest frequency of place names, they could be said to correlate with the summit peaks and ridgelines of the mountain ranges of the United States. Since this terrain is considered to be favored by bigfoot, this makes for an interesting deduction from the place name data.

c) Footprints, tracks, track castings

A strong piece of evidence which suggests that the footprints are not due to a hoax or hoaxers is from Dr. W. Henner Farenbach. He has studied a database of 550 track cast length measurements and has made some preliminary observations. To summarize his preliminary observations: The gaussian distribution (i.e. a "bell-like" curve) 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 won't 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 Farenbach's track measurements) could provide such a "life-like" distribution in footprint lengths. Groups of hoaxers who didn't conspire together would almost certainly result in a non-gaussian distribution for the database of footprint lengths.

This low likelihood of footprint hoaxing suggests that the "bigfoot phenomenon" is caused by something other than hoaxers. The evidence suggests that the most likely single cause of the "bigfoot phenomenon" over the last 150 years is human observations of "an animal unknown to science." (i.e. sightings of some kind of "real" flesh and blood creature which has co-existed with Homo sapiens in the North American Pacific Northwest for at least the past 150 years.)

1. The Skookum cast

Another relatively-recent piece of cast evidence is what is known as the "Skookum cast," taken in September 2000 by a team of bigfoot researchers in the Gifford Pinchot National Wilderness near Mount Adams, WA.

The team hung bait consisting of apples and nectarines over a mud wallow, returning later to find several impressions believed to have been made by a sasquatch. A huge cast was made of the area, using a special compound normally used in recording fine details in the tooling industry. The cast captured markings of what many consider to be left of an unknown hominid. One part of the cast displays a clear imprint of what appears to be a huge heel and Achilles tendon, complete with dermal ridges (explained in 2., below). Another part shows a large impression of a presumed hindquarters, complete with hair marks, and what appears to be a massive forearm.

Three noted anthropolgists (Esteban Sarmiento, American Museum of Natural History; David Swindler, professor emeritus from the Univerity of Washington; and Dr. Jeffrey Meldrum, anatomy professor at Idaho State University) examined the cast in June 2002. Each was compelled by the finding. Sarmiento stated, "I think a serious scientific inquiry is definitely warranted." Meldrum and Swindler concur there are only two logical explanations for the impressions: bigfoot or elk. And they have both ruled out elk.

2. Dermal ridges (a.k.a. "fingerprints")

Several noted professionals have done work with what are known as "dermal ridges." These tiny structures create a pattern of ridges on the palms and heels of both humans and non-human primates (great apes, monkeys and lemurs) that is unique to that individual. Dr. Grover Krantz's book, entitled Big Footprints, goes into extreme detail about the nature and focus of his research on this topic. Dr. Jeff Meldrum (at Idaho State University) has also studied this type of evidence as well.

One expert that notes mentioning however, is Jimmy Chilcutt. Chilcutt is a fingerprint technician at the Conroe Police Department, and is highly regarded by the FBI and DEA because of his innovative techniques and expertise on the topic. Officer Chilcutt has worked on over 300 cases for the feds, and is recognized as an expert in this extremely rare field.

Chilcutt's quest to learn more information from human dermal ridges led him to developing a rare expertise in the prints of nonhuman primates. He has personally collected and examined about 1,000 nonhuman primate prints. "That is a fantastic, incredible sample size," says Ken Glander, director of the Duke University Primate Center in Durham, N.C. "I've been working with primates for 30 years. I have about 350 prints."

Chilcutt has discovered characteristics in the ridges that distinguish species, as well as other traits within a species. In 1998, he was offered a unique opportunity to study some bigfoot track castings of Dr. Jeff Meldrum, a professor of anatomy at Idaho State University.

There are currently only about four or five researchers working with nonhuman fingerprints worldwide. "If there is a sasquatch, only a handful of people in the world know the difference between a (sasquatch) print and a human print," Chilcutt said.

Chilcutt has examined Meldrum's collection of approximately 100 castings. He did uncover several fakes, including one that contained actual human dermal ridges, but after analyzing the entire collection revealed something quite interesting. "What I actually found surprised even me, " he stated, as he disclosed his findings. What Chilcutt discovered was that the print ridges on several of the casts flowed lengthwise along the foot, in contrast to human prints, which flow laterally.

"No way do human footprints do that - never, ever. The skeptic in me had to believe that (these prints were from) the same species of animal." This peculiar pattern even transcends the time and locality of the similar track impressions: "We're talking about 18 years and 700 or 800 miles apart."

"Being a crime-scene examiner, I have to be very careful about getting the facts right, " says Chilcutt. "But I knew after examining the prints that there's a real animal out there. The skin pattern is unique and consistent with itself. There's no doubt in my mind." Chilcutt's conclusion: "I believe that this is an animal in the Pacific Northwest that we have never documented."

His advice to Meldrum and other scientists: "I tell Jeff, there's no question this animal is out there, so don't give up. I don't want him to give up on this. He's on to something."

d) Hair Samples

Purported bigfoot hair samples are being studied, but no one wants to talk about it yet. Rumor has it that results will be announced one day, and that there has been some trouble sequencing the DNA. Dr. W. Henner Farenbach is among those scientists actively testing hair samples for identification using genetic material. While many of the hair samples have been determined to be of synthetic origin (e.g. "fur suits") or of known animals (e.g. bear, deer, etc.) a few of the results have been labeled as from a "non-human, but unknown primate" (based on similarities in DNA base sequences) as the source of the hair.

This news is bittersweet, however - since a bigfoot specimen (i.e. "corpse") hasn't been recovered, we have nothing to compare these hair sample data to. Dr. Fennerbach can't tell for sure that it's bigfoot hair without a "real" bigfoot for comparison, but he can determine what it's not - and these hairs didn't come from any animal currently known to science.

e) Audio Recordings

Purported bigfoot audio recordings have been made by more than a few people. To my knowledge, the best and most likely to be the "real thing" are those recorded by Ron Morehead and Al Berry in the Sierra Nevada over a 20 year period. Their web site, Sierra Sounds, has a small sample recording free for downloading, and they have a CD and Cassette for sale with more bigfoot sounds. Professor R. Lynn Kirlin has made an analysis of some of the tapes, excerpts of which are on Sierra Sound's web site. I'm going on memory here, but I seem to recall these (and other) recordings had been analyzed in a sound lab and were determined to be non-metallic (i.e. not made by some type of machine) and contained an octave range inconsistent with any known animal vocalization (including humans).

Why don't many credible scientists get involved in Bigfoot research?

First of all, a few credible academic scientists have spent some time examining the phenomenon, some becoming more convinced of the reality behind the phenomenon, and some becoming more skeptical of the reality behind it as time passed. The growing list of professional scientists that have invested considerable time and resources examining bigfoot data as part of their profession are as follows:

Dr. Bernard Heuvelmans (zoologist, France)
Dr. W. Henner Fahrenbach (research scientist, Oregon Regional Primate Center)
Dr. Grover Krantz (physical anthropologist - retired, Washington State University)
Dr. John Napier (primatologist, University of London)
Dr. Frank E. Poirier (paleoanthropologist/primatologist, Ohio State University)
Dr. Jeff Meldrum (anatomist, Idaho State University)
Dr. John Bindernagel (wildlife biologist, former wildlife advisor for United Nations)
Dr. D. W. Grieve (anatomist, Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine, London)
Dr. John Bodley (anthropologist, Washington State University)
Dr. Dmitri D. Donskoy (biomechanics, Russia)
Dr. Robert Pyle (ecologist,Yale University alumnus)
Dr. J. Richard Greenwell (mammalogist, International Wildlife Museum, Tucson)
Dr. William Montagna (primatologist, Regional Primate Research Center)
Valentin B. Sapunov (biologist, Leningrad State Univeristy, Russia)
Vladimir Markotic (physical anthropologist, University of Calgary)
Jeff Glickman (computer scientist, North American Science Institute)
Dmitri Bayanov (hominologist, Darwin Museum, Russia)
Jim Hewkin (wildlife biologist, formerly with Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife)
Dr. Marie-Jeanne Koffman, aka Dr. Zh. I Kofman (scientist, Russia)
Dr. R. Lynn Kirlin (professor, University of Wyoming)
Dr. William Saxe Wihr (department of anthropology, Portland Community College)
Dr. LeRoy Fish (wildlife ecologist, retired)

It's a pretty courageous thing for any academic scientist who depends on his or her reputation for crediblity, to stick their neck out and suggest that bigfoot is real. No scientist I know is willing to go further than that and risk the loss of credibility by speculating about the possible "sixth sense" that bigfoot possesses. However, the uncanny ability to remain hidden from human observation is a truly puzzling attribute of bigfoot, the nature of which remains an open question.

If Bigfoot is a real animal, then why haven't we found any dead ones?

A few possible explanations from the different schools of thought:

A.} "Once a bone is divested of its covering of soft tissue and is exposed to the elements, water begins to leech out the minerals that gave the bones its rigidity. Once a bone demineralizes it can be destroyed easily, even by the acidity of the soil and water that surrounds it. Remineralization of bone over time resolidifies it and eventually fossilizes it.

Regions like eastern Ohio which have poorly drained soils {clay} produce extremely fragile bones if any. The clay contributes to a low pH {acidic} and prevents water from easily percolating out of the soil and evaporating. The acidic soil/water increases the rate of mineral leaching."

B.} Ray Owen, son of a Dakota spiritual leader from Prairie Island Reservation in Minnesota, told a reporter from {the}Red Wing {Minnesota} Republican Eagle:

"They exist in another dimension from us, but can appear in this dimension whenever they have a reason to. See, it's like there are many levels, many dimensions. When our time in this one is finished, we move on to the next, but the Big Man can go between. The Big Man comes from God. He's our big brother, kind of looks out for us. Two years ago, we were going downhill, really self-destructive. We needed a sign to put us back on track, and that's why the Big Man appeared".

"The Lakota, or western Sioux, call Bigfoot Chiye-tanka {Chiha-tanka in Dakota or eastern Sioux}; "chiye" means "elder brother" and "tanka" means "great" or "big". In English, though, the Sioux usually call him "the big man". In his book The Spirit of Crazy Horse, {Viking, 1980}, a non-fiction account of the events dramatized by the excellent recent movie "Thunderheart", author Peter Mathiessen recorded some comments about Bigfoot made by traditional Sioux people and some members of other Indian nations. Joe Flying By, a Hunkpapa Lakota, told Mathiessen, "I think the Big Man is a kind of husband of Unk-ksa, the earth, who is wise in the way of anything with its own natural wisdom. Sometimes we say that this One is a kind of reptile from the ancient times who can take a big hairy form; I also think he can change into a coyote. Some of the people who saw him did not respect what they were seeing, and they are already gone."

"There is your Big Man standing there, ever waiting, ever present, like the coming of a new day," "He is both spirit and real being, but he can also glide through the forest, like a moose with big antlers, as though the trees weren't there..."

C.} They don't exist.

D.} They bury their dead.

E.} They conceal themselves before death, and the remains are therefore hidden.

F.} Scavengers eat the remains.

G.} If science eventually recognizes that early man represents bigfoot, then bones are plentiful. In North America we haven't found any that are recognized yet. A skull from brazil has heavy brow ridges. As there is no fossil evidence of gorilla or chimpanzee, we should expect they would be said not to exist.

H.} Maybe there's a "paranormal" explanation for it...

During the evening of February 6th, 1974, a lady living near Uniontown Pennsylvania, was sitting at home watching television. she heard a noise on her porch and went to investigate, thinking the dogs were to blame. She took a loaded shotgun with her, to scare the intruders. She turned on the porch light, opened the door and stepped into the doorway and was horrified to see a 7-foot-tall hairy ape-like creature standing only six feet away. Thinking it was about to attack, for it had raised its arms above its head, she fired into its middle. but amazingly, the creature 'just disapeared in a flash of light'. {Stan Gordon, UFO's in Relation to Creature Sightings in Pennsylvania, a paper presented to the MUFON UFO Symposium, 1974, pp. 144-5}

Why hasn't a hunter shot one yet?

Anyone who enjoys discussing the possibility of bigfoot is familiar with a particular anti-bigfoot argument:

"The woods are full of hunters who'll shoot at anything. If something like a bigfoot were really out there, a hunter would have definitely shot one by now."

That line is intended to "sum up" the discussion, and it usually does so in most urban conversations. The argument usually goes unrebutted, because most urban folks aren't very familiar with hunting patterns in North America. If you were to go out and examine: a) how hunters hunt, b) where hunters hunt, c) what laws they have to observe, d) the actual statistics on poaching, and e) all the factors making it unlikely that a hunter will ever see a bigfoot, you'd discover the basic erroneousness of that argument.

Most non-hunters believe that hunters will shoot any animal they come across while hunting. This is one of the more glaring misperceptions about rural behavior. In reality, most hunters focus their efforts and carry the proper equipment for only one type of animal on a given day. A hunter's choice of game animals is always restricted by law to particular animals at particular times of year. Thus the season usually determines the type of animal a hunter can fire upon. Between the equipment limitations and legal restrictions, a hunter is limited to only a handful of choices most of the year, and only a few more at other times of the year.

Most non-hunters also have a very skewed perception regarding the degree of saturation of hunters in rural areas. A majority of Americans who own guns do not hunt at all. Another way to look at that equation is to say only a minority of gun owners ever hunt. Of that minority describing themselves as "hunters", the majority of those people hunt no more than two weekends per year. Hunters who hunt often, and year round, are hard to find these days.

An April 2001 article in Athens Magazine states that most deer hunters, in fact, set up their tree stands within 100 yards of a road, as they don't want to carry their kill a great distance back to their vehicle. Consequently, the amount of hunting activity in an area tends to correlate with the existence and availability of roads.

Unless you head out into public hunting areas in October or November, you'll probably never come across a hunter. If you stay away from maintained trails in national and state parks you probably won't see anybody at all. In almost every state and province from coast to coast there are thousands and thousands of acres of forest, some more remote than others, that never see any human traffic at any time of year. To say "the woods are full of hunters" is to confess one's inexperience with North American forests.

Poaching is hunting in disregard of hunting laws. Poaching is more common in some states than in others, but it's always the exception rather than the rule. Most poaching incidents are roadside occurrences involving opportunistic motorists who'll shoot deer from vehicles at night (referred to as "deer jacking" by wildlife enforcement officers). Even poachers are selective about what they shoot. Arrests of professional poachers tend to make headlines whenever they happen. This has the effect of magnifying its perceived frequency compared to lawful hunting. The vast majority of people who hunt do so for relaxation and recreation. They obey state hunting laws and observe local hunting regulations.

In most states, a hunter can be arrested and prosecuted for poaching merely for being equipped to hunt animals not specifically permitted in that season. They can't always carry the largest caliber rifles with them. A hunter will pass on shooting a large dangerous looking animal if the hunter feels inadequately armed. Those few who hunt bear or mountain lion want to feel safe themselves, and adequately armed when shooting an animal that could turn and attack. In most circumstances the only time a hunter will be carrying a very large caliber rifle will be in deer-gun or elk-gun season. Deer-gun season lasts only a few weeks in fall, and elk-gun season lasts only a few weeks in winter. In most areas high caliber rifles are restricted to shooting ranges at all other times of year. In states like Ohio, hunting with high caliber rifles is completely forbidden. Hunters may only use short range firearms, such as shotguns, to hunt deer.

There are a few factors actually making it less likely for a deer/elk hunter, as opposed to a hiker or a camper, to see or encounter a bigfoot. A sighting or encounter is more likely to happen when the person sees a bigfoot before the bigfoot sees the person. A bigfoot is more likely to see the person first when the person is wearing a bright flourescent orange ("hunter orange") hat and jacket. These extremely conspicuous garments are worn by deer/elk hunters to make them more visible to other hunters. They are invisible to deer because of the eyesight physiology of deer. One could assume that the eyesight physiology of a bigfoot would be closer to primates than deer, so bigfoots would probably see hunter orange as distinctly as humans can.

Also, for safety reasons deer/elk hunters cannot legally hunt deer at night (except by special permission for crop damage control purposes, and then only in open fields). Coon hunters can hunt in forests at night (when bigfoots are believed to be most active) but they are required to carry lit lamps with them, for the same reason deer/elk hunters must wear hunter orange -- to prevent hunting accidents. With or without lit lamps, coon hunters are even more noticeable than deer/elk hunters because of the loud hounds they employ to sniff out coons. Even in the thickest forests coon hunters and their dogs can be heard, literally, a mile away. This gives bigfoots plenty of warning to leave the area before a confrontation can occur.

Another widespread presumption is that coon dogs and bloodhounds can be used to hunt anything and everything. The fact is, hunting dogs have to be rigorously trained to follow a particular scent and ignore all others. The typical training involves exposing them to body parts of the particular game species from the time they're puppies. It would be difficult to train a pack of dogs to all consistently follow the scent of a bigfoot if the dogs have never smelled a bigfoot before.
Bloodhounds can follow the scent of a human that they've never smelled before, but it's always the same species they're after -- humans.

If you were to try to put some faces on the term "bigfoot hunters" you'd steadily discover that there aren't many people who regularly, or even occasionally hunt for bigfoots with the intent to kill one. Matt Moneymaker, an Ohio-based lawyer and bigfoot researcher, has asked around for many years now trying to find people who actually hunt for bigfoot. He's met several people who have large enough rifles to do the job, and who are not philosophically opposed to it, but they meet only the most basic requirements. He has yet to meet anyone who consistently pursues sighting reports in order to hunt and kill a bigfoot.

There were situations in the 70's where carloads of rural hunters would patrol a vicinity following a flap of sightings, but those were always localized situations and they never lasted more than a week or two. The occasional solo commando bigfoot hunter usually doesn't get very far on his own. Those who are lured by the fantasy of slaying the great monster for the sake of science tend to get frustrated after a while and throw in the towel. The few weekend profiteers who stick with it eventually switch from rifles to camcorders. There are a few reasons for this eventual change of equipment and goals.

Anyone who actually carries a high caliber rifle while looking for a bigfoot gradually realizes how unlawful it is to merely carry a rifle in most forests during most seasons of the year. Even patrolling backcountry roads with a rifle in a vehicle can lead to some stiff fines and/or jail time. The fantasies of an aspiring "bigfoot assassin" will eventually mature from visions of scientific glory to visions of big money. Once that transition is made, the fantasizer gradually comes to realize that a quantity of stunning, clear, close-range video footage could be worth as much, if not more, than a carcass. Afterall, unlike video footage, the body of a bigfoot does not have an established market value. It might actually be worth less than nothing if confiscated by the government as part of a criminal investigation

. A body would certainly be much more difficult to transport, store and preserve than a videotape. And no government authority would ever challenge someone's right to sell the footage or collect continuing royalties from it. A videotape would not be worth as much to science, but a body may, in the end, only advance the careers of the scientists who study it, and not bring anything to the hunter other than some dubious notoriety. The hunter's notoriety might only generate a relatively paltry amount of cash from interviews immediately after the incident, but intriguing video footage would bring notoriety as well as commerical licensing fees and royalties for use of the footage. These are the realities that help die-hard bigfoot field researchers to favor cameras over guns.

The die-hards are probably correct in assuming that the hearts and minds of the general public can be won over with compelling video footage. When that happens one can expect that the scientific community will not admit any embarassment, at first, but will probably be more inclined to investigate recent eyewitness reports for themselves. Some will probably obtain the funding and support to conduct systematic searches of remote North American caves to look specifically for bones. Most caves and deep overhangs in Canada and the United States are not marked on any maps. There may be thousands of "undiscovered" caves and deep overhangs in our remote forests and mountain ranges.

These mini-frontiers could be suddenly appreciated as fertile ground for biological and archeological exploration. At the moment, the idea of searching for "bigfoot bones" is still politically risky in academic institutions, but an earthshaking videotape could change that quickly. A clear close range video with good audio would capture the public's imagination in an unprecendented way. Sudden popular interest and political pressure would inevitably "enlighten" institutional attitudes. The media and legal community will begin to ask more pertinent questions and demand better answers from the scientific community and the government. Unlike the U.F.O. phenomenon, the "bigfoot phenomenon" will be seen as something native, and within our reach, and therefore more practical to study.

Some suggest that the credibility of any video footage would be questionable because of the capabilities of high-tech Hollywood special effects. This is a rather naive argument because even the best computerized special effects, when used to create living creatures, can be immediately distinguished from reality by the trained eye (and by the untrained eye in most cases). Real footage of real animals has qualities that still cannot be duplicated by computers. Real footage of a bigfoot up close in daylight would be extraordinarily powerful and captivating to most people, and therein lies its power and commercial value. The owner of the footage does not have to convince every last stubborn skeptic before he can market his tape for public consumption or create media interest. A good tape would create a lot of public interest, even if it did not provide immediate "scientific proof".

Let's examine huntings laws in the United States. Most states have hunting laws beginning with blanket prohibitions against killing any member of a few classes of animals, including any "fur bearing animal". Then the hunting laws go on to spell out the exceptions to the blanket rule. These exceptions form bulk of a state's hunting laws. They specifiy which type of animals can be considered "game" animals at specific times of year (e.g. deer in deer season, squirrels in squirrel season, etc.). It is important to understand that general hunting laws do not specify which animals cannot be hunted. They specify which animals can be hunted.

No state provides an exception for an "undiscovered" fur bearing animal. Therefore a successful bigfoot hunter would be, by definition, a poacher. A bigfoot poacher and his transferees would face several legal and societal risks: confiscation and prosecution by the government, and villanization by the public and the media, regardless of the "discovery" factor.

Among the factors making a discovery by a hunter unlikely, the importance of a more common obstacle shouldn't be underestimated. That obstacle is the average hunter's basic decency and civility toward other humans, and things that might appear to be humans when viewed from a distance. The few casual hunters who've reported random encounters with bigfoots typically claim they didn't know what the things were at first and they didn't want to shoot them because they seemed so humanlike.

A good example is a 1970 incident involving three hunters in Routt County, Colorado. A more recent report from Pike County, Kentucky demonstrates the natural shock and uncertainty following a sighting by a truck load of rural hunters. A third report from Jefferson County, Washington shows a hunter's reaction of surprise and wonder when observing a bigfoot -- a reaction that supplants any thoughts of shooting or pursuing the specimen. You'd have to picture these situations and appreciate that a bigfoot / sasquatch looks a lot like a primitive man. Without even considering the influence of hunter safety courses (which everyone must take before getting a hunting license), it is simply not realistic to expect that a hunter's natural reaction will be to shoot a primitive manlike figure in the back as it runs away.

The understandably 'human' reactions of surprised hunters, and the other above mentioned factors tend to decrease the likelihood that a hunter will kill a bigfoot, yet these factors do not even touch upon the geographic and legal restrictions related to where hunters can go hunting. The geographic restrictions alone reduce the odds substantially.

Other odds-reducing factors are related to bigfoot behavior : nomadism, nocturnal feeding, nocturnal migration, intelligent strategic behavior, dense forest habitats, a tendency to avoid areas where humans are afoot, the absence of predatory behavior toward humans in all cases, the lack of aggressive or territorial behavior toward humans in almost all confrontation cases, and the apparent habit of at least temporarily abandoning a habitation area when there is some degree of human intrusion.

The rarity of these animals combined with their own elusive habits make the odds of a random sighting drastically lower than the odds of sighting any other type of large mammal with a comparable geographic range. On top of the poor odds of a sighting there is a whole series of events that would have to precede a "discovery" by a hunter. Each one of these events has its own debatable odds, which have to be compounded mathematically in a string to evaluate the overall odds of a discovery by a random hunter. The odds are not very good to start with that a hunter will ever see a bigfoot, especially in daylight hours.

If the opportunity arises a surprised hunter must then 1) overcome his immediate shock, fear and awe in order to have the presence of mind to quickly deliberate and assure himself with absolute certainty that this hairy manlike figure is not a man in a costume, 2) be absolutely certain that his unprecedented decision to kill this non-human, seemingly intelligent, powerfully built whatever-it-is will have no negative legal, moral, or supernatural consequences for him and his family either now or in the future, 3) have enough time to get a clear shot before the figure dashes back into the treeline, and 4) hit the figure in a vital organ so it falls down quickly. If these events fall into place then the location of the kill will have to be close enough to a road or vehicle to make retrieval of the body feasible and inconspicuous. The body will then have to remain with, or end up in the hands of, an individual or institution willing to display the body to the public and the media. The individual or institution must then manage to hang on to it so it can be examined and reexamined to the satisfaction of the scientific community.

The bottom line is .. there are plenty of unique and unusual factors to consider when evaluating the likelihood of a bigfoot "discovery" by a hunter.

With many people owning video cameras nowadays, why hasn't someone filmed one?

Other than the famed "Patterson Film", very little good camera footage of bigfoot exists. A few have shown up recently. A brief bit with Anna Marie Goddard on "Hard Copy" from northern California, another anonymously sent clip we call the "Snow Walker" footage, and a few videos from Ohio.

"SnowWalker" update from Dr. Jeff Meldrum on 12/20/96:

'Latest on the "Snowwalker" video: The matter has been taken up by a German TV producer. She has made contact both with First TV and with the former producer of Paranormal Borderline, at least the latter seems cooperative. The video was purchased by First TV for 00. She has shown the episode footage to German specialists in Himalyan region who confirmed that the scenery is consistent with the region, and to a German zoologist who was impressed by the video. I have suggsted that she try checking the tour permits with the appropriate Nepalese government agency for a Belgian or French couple. I am trying to do some checking through my Nepalese wildlife biologist contact.'

Along with the Patterson footage there are a handful of short, blurry film clips that may depict real sasquatches. Neither the Patterson footage, nor any of these other lesser clips, possess the quality that viewers have come to expect from commerical wildlife footage. Skeptics point to the scarcity of the photographic evidence. No skeptic has ever been able to debunk the footage that is available, but it's easy for a sedentary skeptic to sit back and assert that there should be more.

Over the past few decades televised wildlife documentaries have significantly altered popular perceptions about wildlife photography. Many people have come to assume that any terrestrial animal can be located, followed and filmed in the wild by professional cameramen without much difficulty. With that in mind it is hard for the general public to accept that a large animal species in North America could consistently elude wildlife photographers. These perceptions seem logical enough, but most people are simply uninformed about the elements involved.

As with the odds of a random hunter killing a sasquatch, there are many unique and unusual factors to consider when evaluating the odds of a random photographer obtaining photos or films of a sasquatch. We will use the term "random photographer" to describe someone who is not specifically looking for a sasquatch, but who may find himself in a position to photograph or videotape one because he is carrying a camera with him. A random photographer's odds must be analyzed differently than the odds of someone who specifically looking for a sasquatch. We will first discuss the odds of a random photographer, before discussing the odds of a "sasquatch photographer."

The vast majority of people who carry cameras or camcorders with them in forests are tourists and vacationers. They are usually not professional wildlife photographers. Tourists and vacationers are usually found in places where there are lots of other tourists and vacationers around. This class of photographer rarely gets far away from the crowd. They can be found en mass along the maintained trails and roads in places Yosemite, Yellowstone, and the Grand Canyon. The adventurous nature tourist may occassionally throw on a backpack and join a smaller group headed to a less crowded location. These trips still happen along marked trails or down rivers that get relatively consistent human traffic. Safety concerns keep most backpackers close to marked and maintained trails.

Only the more experienced backpackers venture along infrequently used trails, and even the most experienced backpackers stick to some kind of a trail when venturing into a dense forest. Elusive forest animals, on the other hand, do not stick to maintained trails. A large forest animal does not need to be super intelligent to know the routes used by other animals, especially humans. If a bear or mountain lion travels along a trail frequented by humans, it will normally use the trail at night when it is less likely to have a surprise encounter. In those rare instances where a surprise encounter occurs along a trail, the animal will slip back into the woods within a few seconds, usually before a backpacker can get a camera ready to shoot a single frame.

Most nature tourists, even backpackers, carry cameras mainly for the purpose of photographing themselves, their fellow travellers and landscape views. They've brought along their camera to preserve the memory of their vacation, not to photograph a quick moving animal. Thus they usually don't carry their cameras in their hands until they are at a place where they know they are going to take a photograph. Nature tourists and backpackers almost always carry their cameras securely inside their backpacks. It usually takes more than a minute for the average tourist to take off the backpack, fish the camera out of the bag, deal with the lens cap, try to focus the camera, find the subject in the view finder, and take the shot.

The mere desire to photograph a large, dangerous-looking wild animal always depends on the comfort level of the tourist. Photographing a group of large hungry polar bears poses no threat when the tourist is seated safely inside a large heated bus that is designed specifically for the purpose of thwarting large hungry polar bears. Similarly, photographing "park bears" eating from a garbage dump in Yellowstone is not an uncomfortable situation because lots of other people are also standing around taking pictures. The situation is totally different when a backpacker observes a large, dangerous-looking animal while hiking through a forest. A confrontation with a bear or mountain lion in a forest can be a frightenning experience even if the animal turns and runs away. When a confrontation occurs the observer is usually much more concerned about his own safety than whether he should pull out a camera and take photos. A surprise, fleeting confrontation with a sasquatch would trigger the same sort of fears, along with a lot of amazement and bewilderment, and the combined effect of these emotional reactions would push the camera near the bottom of the priority list for the first few minutes.

For a sasquatch to be an easy target for photographers, it would have to be out in the open, in daylight, and in a place where there are humans around. Reports indicate that sasquatches prefer to remain in thick forests, venturing out only after nightfall, and they seem to feel very vulnerable if observed by humans. The odds of a random person photographing a sasquatch are therefore poor, because those opportunities are exceedingly rare, especially in daylight.

The odds of a "sasquatch photographer" have to be analyzed differently. A sasquatch photographer is more prepared to handle the surprise of an encounter because he has likely played out the situation in his mind several times over. He knows the sasquatch may dash off quickly, so the camera is more handy. He may even have a night-vision attachment for his camera. Even with these advantages a sasquatch photographer still faces several daunting hindrances.

Before addressing the major hindrances, it's important to note that there aren't many sasquatch photographers who actually get into the field on a regular basis. The skeptic assumes there must be hundreds, or at least dozens, of people who are consistently in the field trying to photograph sasquatches. In reality, the number of people in North America who are frequently out in the field trying to photograph sasquatches may be less than three (3) at the present time. The number of people in North America who are permanently in the field trying to photograph a sasquatch is zero (0). Only a dozen or so "bigfooters" actually get into the field a few times each year.

Rarely does a sasquatch photographer remain in the field for more than a few days at a time. Everyone on the sasquatch field research scene today has a day job. There are no paid positions in sasquatch field research. As surprising as it may sound, no television wildlife production company or wildlife magazine has ever put a professional wildlife photographer in the field for more than a few days in an attempt to obtain footage. When production companies have produced programs dealing with sasquatches they've always ended up focusing their attention on sasquatch researchers and theorists, rather than trying to get their own footage of sasquatches

Part of the problem is that most production companies don't have the luxury of planning for a long-term projects with uncertain odds of success. It's always easier to spend a few days or weeks tagging along with folks who call themselves sasquatch researchers, interviewing those people, showing the stock footage and asking the cliche' questions. TV producers are not investors. They do not take long-term risks. They have to come up with a practical plan to produce a program by a given deadline. Sasquatches, for better or worse, do not lend themselves to that kind of short-term media planning.

One practical long-term plan for a sasquatch photographer would be to follow up on recent reports, pin-pointing promising areas to patrol on horseback at least a few times a year for several days at a time. Sasquatch photographers almost never have the time or resources to conduct these kinds of repeated, extended horsepacking trips. In fact, the last pair of guys who actually did this over the course of a few years were Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin. They approached the challenge from this angle because their jobs were seasonal, they were experienced backwoods hunters, and they had access to horses. Patterson and Gimlin also had a decent communication network in the Pacific Northwest. The stayed abreast of the most recent sightings and track finds in Northern California, Oregon and Washington. In 1967 lots of tracks started turning up in Northern California's Bluff Creek area as new roads were being bulldozed for logging. Tracks were found along the new roads and then down in the creek bed. Patterson and Gimlin got wind of the track finds and set out on horseback for several days along the creek. On horseback they could travel long distances each day and easily patrol areas rarely seen by humans.

The creek bed was more open in late 1967. Earlier that year a major storm had caused massive flooding in Northern California. As a result, the creek bed of Bluff Creek had little more than sand bars, mud flats, and flood debris in many places. For several months after the floods, animals had to venture out in the open and walk across the mud and sand to get to water. This would have been an important contributing factor for why so many tracks were found that year, and it was obviously an important factor allowing Patterson to film the sasquatch as it retreated from the water's edge back to the treeline. Today the location looks very different from the way it appeared in the 1967. Trees and brush have grown back with a vengence in the creek bottom. If Patterson and Gimlin's ride took place today they wouldn't be able to see the figure from where they first spotted it, nor would they have an unobstructed view of it as it walked back into the tall trees.

The hindrances faced by a sasquatch photographer stem mainly from the elusive habits of saquatches. Almost any other type of terrestrial animal (land animal) is easier to locate and photograph not only because there are more of them, but also because they are in more predictable locations. Sasquatches are nomadic, nocturnal to some degree, and extremely wary of humans. Their food requirements and social structure may force them to migrate from place to place on a frequent basis and in an unpredictable pattern. Other large forest dwelling animals such as wolves, cougars and bears have much more predictable territories. Within those territories they can be baited, darted, carted to a field production area, then photographed continuously within a fenced perimeter which has been constructed in their natural habitat. This technique makes it easier for the cameraman to locate the subject day after day for filming, and it creates the impression that the cameraman has skillfully approached the wild subject and can follow it consistently through unrestricted habitat as it hunts, feeds and reproduces. Much of wildlife videography is "staged" this way.

The nocturnal habits of sasquatches create a substantial hindrance to a photographer. The lighting problem makes the effort much more costly because it requires expensive night-vision equipment and/or infra-red illumination to circumvent. Illuminating a sasquatch with a bright light apparently doesn't have the mesmerizing effect it has with deer. The few sasquatch researchers who claimed to have briefly spotlighted a sasquatch say it only lasted a few seconds, and they weren't given a second opportunity. Sasquatches apparently do not like having lights shined in their eyes. They won't attack people who illuminate them, but they will retreat quickly into the brush and leave the immediate vicinity.

For many years a major hindrance for sasquatch photographers was finding out where sasquatches have been sighted. Sasquatch photographers are still quite dependent on the most recent leads from witnesses because last year's information may not be relevant unless it helps to establish a solid pattern. For the last twenty years the main problem in gathering data from witnesses was that most witnesses were afraid to make reports, or didn't know where to make reports. Outlandish supermarket tabloids with bogus sasquatch tales had a tremendous silencing effect on most witnesses. These tabloids hijacked the term "Bigfoot" and turned it into cartoon monster figure, rather than a common name for a whole group of animals.

These ubiquitous publications made witnesses vulnerable to ridicule and teasing, as their observations were placed on a level with "Elvis sightings". Dispatchers for law enforcement and park rangers typically did not record these kinds of reports and often insulted witnesses who called. Sasquatch researchers wanted these reports but witnesses usually didn't know who they were or how to reach them. Sasquatch researchers had better success locating witnesses in areas like the Pacific Northwest where people speak more openly about their sasquatch sightings. In the northwest in general people are more open to the idea of sasquatches, so in smaller communities most people would hear about sightings or track finds by other local residents. Those reports would eventually get to those who wanted to document them.

In the late 1990's the internet has greatly facilitated communications between witnesses and those who are seriously interested in witness reports. Via the internet witnesses can more easily find and contact sasquatch researchers. More recent reports are making their way to photographers so the locations can be more easily plotted. This new communication channel has surprised many veteran researchers because of the quantity and quality of reports from forested regions that were not formerly thought of as "bigfoot country". Many of the eastern states, the Great Lakes region and the Appalachians apparently have as many credible recent eyewitnesses as the Pacific Northwest.

The internet isn't the only new technology that will facilitate sasquatch research in the future. Various types of compact video systems are becoming more affordable each year. Some of these systems allow for unmanned video surveillance of a target area. Unmanned systems may prove to be key devices for obtaining a good quantity of close-range daylight footage. An approach currently endorsed by the BFRO is to set up an unmanned video surveillance system near a campsite staked out in promising location. Although sasquatches are believed to be nocturnal most of the time, they have also been reported to poke around in campsites in the daytime while the campers are off on day hikes. An unmanned surveillance system monitoring the camp while the hikers are gone may obtain several minutes of astounding close-range footage -- footage that might be next to impossible for a man holding a camera to obtain.

The feasibility of this approach is contingent on the price of the technology. A ready-made, portable, weatherproof, motion-detector triggered video surveillance system can now be purchased for about 00. A similar system can probably be assembled for about 0. The most exciting part about this new approach is that it hasn't been tried yet. It may prove to be the easiest and best way to obtain close-range audio and video.

In summation, there are a few reasons why there is such a small quantity of photographic documentation of sasquatches: a) there aren't many people in the field who are trying to photograph them, b) no professional wildlife production company wants to commit to a systematic, long-term effort the way Patterson and Gimlin did, and c) until very recently some crucial technology has not been affordable or available. With more reports becoming available to the pubic in a timely manner via the internet, and unmanned camera systems becoming more affordable, new people will be attempting new photographic techniques in new areas. This could soon lead to some unprecedented images that may have an enormous impact not only on sasquatch research, but also on natural history and science in general.

Is the 1967 "Patterson Film" shot in Bluff Creek, CA a hoax?

The Patterson film's authenticity is still an open question.

a) Dr. Grover Krantz - {From a Summer 1994 Interview, from the TV show "Encounter's the Hidden Truth"}

"I went through it, frame by frame, measuring everything I could on it... what the body proportions were... and I can state flatly that there is no human being alive who could fit into a costume with the dimensions that are shown there."
"Maybe it's a man whose got his elbows out, and that's the shoulders... But, then any man of that height... the elbows are much to far apart to be the shoulders... there's one way you could do it"...(i.e. fake the movie)..."You get a six and a half foot tall man, go one third out on his upper arm, break it, and introduce a new joint."

b) John Napier

"There is little doubt that the scientific evidence taken collectively points to a hoax of some kind. The creature shown in the film does not stand up well to functional analysis. ...I could not see the zipper; and I still can't. There I think we must leave the matter. Perhaps it was a man dressed up in a monkey-skin, if so it was a brilliantly executed hoax and the unknown perpetrator will take his place with the great hoaxers of the world.
Perhaps it was the first film of a new type of hominid, quite unknown to science, in which case Roger Patterson deserves to rank with Dubois, the discoverer of Pithecanthropus erectus, or Raymond Dart of Johannesburg, the man who introduced the world to its immediate human ancestor, Australopithicus africanus."

c) John Green also filmed a sequence whereby he tried to mimic both the sasquatch and the position of Roger in an attempt to try and estimate the height and thus the weight of the Sasquatch. Although a rather difficult task, it seemed to indicate that the Sasquatch was between 6 feet 5 inches tall and 6 feet 9 inches tall (or thereabouts).

D) Dr. D. W. Grieve, an English anatomist specializing in the human gait, studied both films (the original Patterson Film and the film shot by John Green), he found that the film showed the foot length to be 13.3 inches and that the creature was not over 6 ft 5 inches:

Earlier comments that this specimen was just under 7 ft. in height and extremely heavy seem rather extravagent. The present analysis suggests that Sasquatch was 6 ft. 5 in. in height, its weight about 280 lb. (127 kg.) and a foot length (mean of four observations) of about 13.3 in. (34 cm.).

His analysis only considered the film evidence and not the footprint evidence which indicated that the footprints were actually 14 inches long. Furthermore, he estimated the stride length at 262 centimeters when it was actually 207 centimeters. He subsequently recognizes these points but does not alter his claim that the being in the film is not over 6 feet 5 inches.

In terms of weight estimates, Dr. Grieve's estimates the weight to be 280 pounds, again based on the film evidence and the assumption that the Sasquatch was one quarter larger than the model used in Green's film (a 6' 5" 180 pound man). In another study, Dr. Krantz came up with a weight of 640 pounds by calculating the volume of each part of the body. Footprint evidence suggests a being of immense weight.

Another problem with the Patterson film is that Roger was not sure of the speed at which he took the film. He usually had the camera set at 24 frames per second but after the filming he found that the setting was 18 frames per second and he wasn't altogether sure when it was changed. It seems reasonable to assume that it was changed when his horse fell on its side (but this is hard to prove, of course).

If the film was taken at 24 frames per second, then Dr. Grieve found that the stride was similar to that of a human, although the bending at the knee in one position and the angle of the thigh at another were not similar to a typical stride in humans. At 16 or 18 feet per second, the gait would resemble a humans even less.

Igor Bourtsev, in Moscow, did find an ingenious way of determining the film speed. By analysing the number of strides per second from the jitter in the camera, he ruled out the 24 frames per second film speed since Roger's pace would have been higher than a sprinter. Although that seems like a reasonable approach the matter is by no means closed.

After viewing the Patterson film one is usually left somewhat confused. One would rather not believe in "monsters" or beings from children's fairy tales, but one is presented with a rather large amount of fairly circumstantial evidence. Dr. Grieve makes an interesting observation:

My subjective impressions have oscillated between total acceptance of the Sasquatch on the grounds that the film would be difficult to fake, to one of irrational rejection based on an emotional response to the possibility that the Sasquatch actually exists.

e) Dr. Dmitri D. Donskoy, Chief of the Chair of Biomechanics at the U.S.S.R. A biomechanical study of the film was done by the Central Institute of Physical Culture in Moscow. He examined both the movie and stills taken from it, and concluded that it showed an efficient pattern of locomotion which differed from that used by humans. Dr. Donskoy noted that the arm motion indicated a being with massive arms and the muscles strong. The leg movements he finds to be typical of massive limbs with relaxed muscles, while the amount of knee flexion far exceeds that of a normal human walk. He concludes that this creature walks is absolutely different from any human gait.

The only way to imitate the Patterson creature would be with a man in a suit. The Patterson film was shown to people in the movie business, and the general conclusion was that if it was a fake, it was a better fake than the professionals could do.

Now what of the detractors ?

f) Dr. William Montagna, the director of the federal primate center at Beaverton, Oregon, writing in Primate News, September, 1976 says:

Along with some colleagues, I had the dubious distinction of being among the first to view this few-second-long bit of foolishness. As I sat watching the hazy outlines of a big, black, hairy man-ape taking long, deliberate human strides, I blushed for those scientists who spent unconscionable amounts of time analyzing the dynamics, and angulation of the gait and the shape of the animal, only to conclude (cautiously, mind you) that they could not decide what it was. For real or woe, I am neither modest about my scientific adroitness nor cautious about my convictions.

Stated simply, Patterson and friends perpetrated a hoax. As the gait, erect body, and swing of the arms attest, their Sasquatch was a large man in a poorly made monkey suit. Even a schoolchild would not be taken in. The crowning irony was Patterson's touch of glamor: making his monster into a female with large pendulous breasts. If Patterson had done his homework, he would have known that regardless of how hirsute an animal is, its mammary glands are always covered with such short hairs as to appear naked.

That is quite interesting, but based on that type of reasoning elephants do not have trunks. Hairy breasts are forbidden, until we find an animal with hairy breasts and then it is accepted ??

More from Dr. Montagna:

To believers who complain that we scientists are too opinionated to look at the evidence, I reply: Is a scientist to listen to every zealot who regales him with tales of a putrid stench, who shows him fake footprints, or makes films of a man wearing a badly tailored monkey suit? The scientist who is reviled because he won't listen to fantasy goes securely on his way, knowing that life is so full of real wonderment and mystery that he does not have to fantasize.

But perhaps I ought to add that man's need to fantasize is a vestigial remnant of his past. It created mythological characters, good and evil; visions of miraculous events, heaven, purgatory and hell. It created the oracles, the art of palmistry, phrenology, astrology and all sorts of other occult sciences. And finally, it peopled man's world with monsters.

Aren't those big footprints fake? Wouldn't it be easy to fake them?

A}. A substantive answer to "How big are sasquatch foot prints?" and an implied answer to "Aren't the big footprints fake? Wouldn't it be easy to fake them?" from Dr. W. Henner Fahrenbach:

'Footprints are currently one the "hardest" sasquatch data, since they can be measured in the light of day with a ruler and are not subject to distortion by the emotional state of the observer. The data presented here have been generously provided by John Green from his database with added local records. The data span 38 years and all the Western U.S. plus Western Canada. Many of the footprint records pertain to long tracks that were followed, in some cases, for miles, though still only yielding one data point for foot length. By implication, the records have been collected by many hundreds of people, most unknown to each other, without any knowledge of the "normal" size of a footprint {which isn't known anyway, but see below}. The list consists of raw data and has not been culled according to the "Credibility" of the reporters {a purely subjective value judgement, that would only lead to a graph of the analyst's personal preference}.'

N= 551;
Mean= 15.80"
Median= 16"
Range = 4" to 27"
Standard error= 0.131
Standard deviation= 3.07
Variance= 9.4223
Skewness = -0.1930
Kurtosis= 2.1616

'The footprint data follow a Gaussian distribution curve such as would be expected from a population. The mean size is larger than commonly cited estimates. A collection of reports fabricated over 40 years by hundreds of people independently would have a non-Gaussian distribution {Sapunov, 1988}. The curve is slightly skewed toward the left side of a histogram {negative skewness}, i.e., slightly more small footprints than large ones about the mean by virtue of the contribution of juveniles to the curve, otherwise composed of the two adult sexes. It has a slightly higher peak than expected at the center of the distribution {kurtosis}1}, a result that I attribute to the overlap of a Gaussian bimodal distribution for males and females, which appear to show sexual dimorphism, though not to the degree that a population foot print histogram would show two peaks. The small standard error suggests that further additions to the list would make no noticeable difference. Given these statistics, even a generous handful of contained fake data would not significantly affect the distribution.

Cited: Sapunov, V.B. {1988} A mathematical analysis of "Snowman" {Wildman} eyewitness reports. Cryptozoology. 7: 61-65.

Paul Freeman, a long term investigator of Sasquatch in the Blue Mountains, has claimed repeated track finds that are very controversial, and many think he has hoaxed them. Rene Dahinden is convinced that anything from Paul Freeman is a hoax, and he's not the only one convinced of that. Dr. Henner Fahrenbach thinks that Sasquatch evidence should be evaluated without prejudging it, and that hoaxed data will be revealed through study. Dr. Jeff Meldrum recently bought most of Paul Freeman's cast collection for a purported ,000.

Can't orbiting satellites see Bigfoot?

They could, it's just that {a} the satellite images would need to be enlarged to a suitable size and {b} the images would need to be of an area which happened to have a visible Bigfoot in it. The cost and effort of doing a large enough survey would be enormous.

How many Sasquatch are there? Is the population diminishing?

Very few or a population of at least 2,000 individuals. A population that size would yield a healthy population with enough genetic variation in the gene pool to prevent strange recessive genes from being expressed in the progeny. Rene Dahinden once commented that in the early 1960's around Bluff Creek, California, he found tracks all the time, thousands of tracks. Nowadays, tracks are seldom found. Perhaps the population of bigfeet has been reduced greatly over the last 30 years, or perhaps the bigfeet have learned how to hide their tracks much better.

Perhaps human attention itself pushes these beings further away from places of human habitation.

What is the geographic range of Bigfoot?

Unknown. Reports of bigfoot-like beings come from the world around. Sighting reports and footprint finds have occured in 49 of 50 the United States (not Hawaii), and all ten provinces in Canada. Reports of similar creatures are found in the Himalyas (the Yeti), Australia (the Yowie), The Pamirs, the Caucasus, and the Ural Mountains in Russia, (the Almas and Almasty) the Tien Shan Mountains in China (the Yeren), mountains in Ireland, the island of Sumatra in Indonesia (Orang Pendak), South America (Loys's Ape) and Africa. Anecedotal data suggests the range is at least the North American continent and one can speculate that related species could be distributed world wide.

Do they migrate? What is their activity cycle like?

Most researchers find no evidence for migration. The stories take place in the same general areas consistantly for 150 years. Others have looked for years for migration routes. Coincidently, William Brann (a local bigfoot researcher in Hudson Falls, NY) suggests a possible seasonal migration, but opposite known animals (northern migration in the winter, and vice versa). There are some problems to work out with this theory, one being the availablity of food species (i.e. the other animals). To date, I am unaware of any computer-analyzed data that shows a trend suggesting migration.

The amount of human observers during the day is relatively large, and at night small. There are about the same number of reports from the daytime, as from nighttime, which would indicate that there is more activity at night, since the chance of being seen by a human observer is much smaller at night. There are less humans around at night, and a human can't see as much in the darkness.

What do they eat?

Bigfoots are reported to be omniverous, seen eating most edible plants and sometimes are reported eating deer, small rodents, elk, and fish.

Are there Bigfoot "homes/houses?"

Unknown. Most researchers support the theory that bigfoots are nomadic. If this is the case, they wouldn't have a need for permanent "homes" and may only utilize, at best, a temporary shelter (e.g. a lean-to?) during harsh weather conditions or sleep cycles.


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