Bigfoot / Sasquatch In North America

catseye

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I still want to know what makes the tracks.

If there is tracks...something made them. Fakes are a possibility but I suspect easily detected.
It's Jeff Meldrum's focussed investigation into the tracks that I find most convincing. He's a foot specialist and he's done lots of work on the plausibility of the foot mechanisms that make the faking of them sound practically impossible. Of course, it could all be someone convincing themselves and retconning facts to fit, but biology and physics are fairly set when it comes to bipedalism.
 

catseye

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A friend in America has often raised the issue of Bigfoot's smell - how can a predator catch anything if the prey can smell it from miles away?
Have you ever smelled a fox?
 

catseye

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luckily no, but I do have one that lurks around my house at night
They are quite incredibly whiffy, but it doesn't seem to hurt their ability to hunt and kill. A lot of their prey is invertebrate, but they also take rabbits and birds, probably upwind.
 

dr wu

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A friend in America has often raised the issue of Bigfoot's smell - how can a predator catch anything if the prey can smell it from miles away?
Good question....but then are we to assume that the smell aspect that people often report is also faked and/or everyone is just lying?
 

dr wu

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I'm fairly confident I've examined the primary literature on Bigfoot in the past 30 years and interacted with very knowledgeable people pro and con on the Bigfoot phenomenon. I don't think a singular creature called "Bigfoot" exists that corresponds to a "North American ape". I feel like I've been very fair as well. I can do f--- all with someone's story if there is no follow-up information. The scholarship in the past 20 years has been non-existent. I am NOT a fan of Meldrum's work as he is simply too far invested in his reputation as a Sasquatch expert. He finds it pleasing to be in that role - he's the Grover Kranz of the 21st century; his work is scientifically sloppy.

I liked what the North American Wood Ape Conservancy did in reporting from Area X. That's the way it should be done. But the response to that white paper was generally poor. Similarly, I think it's really interesting what the Olympic Project does. They may find interesting stuff. But I would wager no one will ever find Bigfoot proper because it doesn't exist. The reason why I conclude that is because various lines of evidence do not converge on Bigfoot as an answer, unfortunately. The biology, zoology, ecology, and fossil record don't point that way. And, the lack of evidence is getting worse as the technology gets better. Sure, there is a chance that eDNA will show something interesting but, again, it's almost certainly not going to be a NAPE that is at the end of this line because the sole evidence for this is footprints (which have been misidentified and hoaxed) and stories.

I'm just playing the odds. I know it sounds romantic to "hope" but, effectively, Bigfoot doesn't exist. Every day that goes by, when no one finds it, takes us ever farther from Bigfoot as reality. It's absurd to believe based on the evidence (and everyone really does agree to this or there would be no need to push qualifiers* about Bigfoot sightings), so people believe for other reasons.

To "look into it", it makes no sense to aim to find a Bigfoot. That's actually not the proper framing of the question because it assumes too much. The REAL question is what are people "seeing" when they claim to have a Bigfoot experience. That is a perpetually interesting question and has way more than one answer. Bigfoot is a cultural subject, not a zoological one. As my friend Daniel Loxton once called the current field, this is post-cryptid cryptozoology. There is no zoological thing but the cultural aspects grow ever more powerful and alluring. If it was my choice how to define cryptozoology, including Bigfoot studies, it would be based on folklore and human psychology, with just a bit of wildlife biology in it. I certainly recognize that it will not be like that and that view is unpopular. But, to me, that's the reasonable path that would be the most productive to explain the Bigfoot phenomenon.

*"You may think I'm crazy but...." "I used to be a skeptic until..." "Too many people have claimed to see it..."
Thanks for the well thought out reply and I tend to agree with you that it might be a cultural (folklore) phenomenon, but you didn't really answer my question on what you would do if money was placed at your disposal to lead a legitimate scientific search for such a creature in the American northwest. I asssume then that you would turn down such an offer because you believe it's a waste of time since you do not believe such an animal exists.
 

Souleater

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I still want to know what makes the tracks.

If there is tracks...something made them. Fakes are a possibility but I suspect easily detected.
I saw a 'bigfoot uncovered' type programme whete they did a demonstration with a tame?! grizzly bear, where they walked it over a preprepared soft surface, the bears tend to over tread their front paw track with their rear paws making a print strikingly similar to some of the purported 'bigfoot' prints, im not saying it accounts for all the prints fould but it seems to explain some of them.
This is a brown bear double step print

maleblackbeartrackLH92912.jpg


This is a similar experiment to the one i saw

 

Bigphoot2

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Good question....but then are we to assume that the smell aspect that people often report is also faked and/or everyone is just lying?
It certainly is something that's reported a lot of times.
 

Kondoru

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Im sure the bear prints could account for some tracks but not others.

(and the proportions are all wrong.)

Gorillas pong, dont they?
 

Sharon Hill

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@Sharon Hill I too liked what NAWAC did with their Area X stuff and report. Sadly they have not produced much since. If they are not seeing and experiencing bigfoot activity, then what is your best guess to explain their experiences?
Also, with regard to Prof Meldrum, could you expand on what is scientifically sloppy in his work? As a non-scientist layperson reading his work, it would be good to hear some specifics from another scientist.

Thanks
I don't know what happened at Area X. My closest contact with them was Brian Brown and he left the scene shortly after. It is suspicious that nothing more could be found.

Re: Meldrum. I think he is too in love with his own theories to be objective. Meldrum's idea of a midtarsal break as indicating a footprint wasn't a hoax was shot to pieces. This artifact can appear in hoaxed prints. I think he may even still count on the dermal ridges prints and the Skookum Meadows cast as positive Bigfoot evidence when they also have far more plausible explanations. Yet, he persists. He also publicly rejects valid criticism. I stopped following what he said when he dissed a number of references that I think are some of the best cryptozoology scholarship - Loxton & Prothero, Dagling, and Regal - seemingly out of hand because they are not pro-Bigfoot.

It's really easy for those who have a vested interest in a topic to only tout the positive evidence. I see that happening in his followers, who treat him like a celebrity, who don't always do the extra work to check the alternative views. Cryptozoology is a very closed system where skepticism is rejected; that's a death knell for any scientific field.
 

Sharon Hill

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Thanks for the well thought out reply and I tend to agree with you that it might be a cultural (folklore) phenomenon, but you didn't really answer my question on what you would do if money was placed at your disposal to lead a legitimate scientific search for such a creature in the American northwest. I asssume then that you would turn down such an offer because you believe it's a waste of time since you do not believe such an animal exists.
Yes. My last paragraph is the answer. It doesn't make any sense to have an expedition that looks for Bigfoot because it assumes Bigfoot exists which is not a reasonable assumption. Money can be far better spent elsewhere, like habitat preservation. But, hey, eDNA and good, well-placed trail cams will certainly get you some great data on wildlife populations.
 

stu neville

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Cryptozoology is a very closed system where skepticism is rejected; that's a death knell for any scientific field.
You could say this for all of the Fortean pursuits: ghost-hunting and UFO groups are just as prone to hardcore believership, and to factionalism between groups. Purely for research purposes* I've been following UK Bigfoot groups (on Facebook, primarily) for a while, and any attempt at balance will often as not result in being kicked out of the group or at very least being dive-bombed by people utterly convinced that a branch on the ground is undeniable proof of an eight-foot hominid living in their local municipal park. They're not in it for investigation or discussion, they're in it because individually and collectively they need confirmation. What's interesting is how even when the less fervent acknowledge they saw something indefinable the group will invariably swoop in to tell them it was definitely a Bigfoot, not to listen to the nasty sceptics and MI5 are covering it up (yes, really.)

Even more baffling/amusing is the the tendency to slag off all of the other groups behaving in exactly the same manner. Sociologically it's fascinating, but for the serious, methodical and unhysterical Cryptozoology organisations such as the Olympic Project, or the CFZ over here it means they're instantly tarred with the same brush.

*entertainment might also play into it.
 

Naughty_Felid

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To "look into it", it makes no sense to aim to find a Bigfoot. That's actually not the proper framing of the question because it assumes too much. The REAL question is what are people "seeing" when they claim to have a Bigfoot experience. That is a perpetually interesting question and has way more than one answer.
Some of us have posted this same question on this forum time and time again. This is the first time I've heard you mention it, which is cool as It's not the usual sceptical take on the subject.
 

catseye

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Im sure the bear prints could account for some tracks but not others.

(and the proportions are all wrong.)

Gorillas pong, dont they?
Apparently Great Apes can 'exude' at times; when under stress particularly and males more than females. So it could be that Sasquatch can pong if alarmed or or otherwise stressed, but not as a continual thing.
 

stu neville

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Apparently Great Apes can 'exude' at times; when under stress particularly and males more than females. So it could be that Sasquatch can pong if alarmed or or otherwise stressed, but not as a continual thing.
It's been noted in Almasty and Yowie reports as well, and I think in Yeti ones too. It's certainly a trait not confined to the PNW.
 

monkeyfudger

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Sharon's sentence that Stu quoted above re "a closed system where skepticism is rejected" doesn't just apply to Fortean topics. It applies to the reason behind Brian Brown's blog post above and to much more blind faith besides.
 

Aether Blue

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The descent of genus Homo looks more like a trellis than a family tree. What if Bigfoot is one of our sister species? How well would environmental genetic testing identify something that's less than 1% different from us?

Let us suppose that they are at least as intelligent overall as we are, but with an emphasis on superior bushcraft rather than tool use: 30 words for "trail," 50 words for "intruder," 250 words for weather conditions, a unique name for every animal scat, that sort of culture. To someone that aware of the environment, most trail-cams would be quite obvious.

Let us suppose also that their senses are slightly more acute than ours; and that they ritually cannibalize their dead, and their old. But what about the very young? Does it make sense that these would never cry at an inopportune moment?

Even with all these advantages, how would they avoid falling victim to crazy American drivers, or trigger-happy American hunters? No amount of wilderness skill can completely prevent unwanted encounters...
 

Eponastill

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How well would environmental genetic testing identify something that's less than 1% different from us?
I'm no expert at all but from talking to people who do it for other species, I think you really have to have sections of known DNA to compare your found DNA against? So that's not much use if we don't have confirmed specimens of yeti DNA. I could be wrong.

and that they ritually cannibalize their dead, and their old.
Just a suggestion - If you're going down the Sophisticated and Intelligent Ape path, why not suppose that they bury their dead (rather than eat them) :) That would more comfortably explain why we never seem to find any remains. I don't think apes generally have the stomach for eating big bones and skulls!
 

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Just a suggestion - If you're going down the Sophisticated and Intelligent Ape path, why not suppose that they bury their dead (rather than eat them) :) That would more comfortably explain why we never seem to find any remains. I don't think apes generally have the stomach for eating big bones and skulls!
The cannibalism hypothesis was motivated mainly by the need to minimize the amount of material being buried, since to my knowledge no Bigfoot burials have been found. Since one of my other hypotheses presupposed that they are extremely close relatives of ours, then presumably they also would be omnivorous.
 

lordmongrove

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"Cryptozoology is a very closed system where skepticism is rejected; that's a death knell for any scientific field." Untrue, well for the CFZ at any rate. If i look at a sceptic theory and think it holds water then i'll says so . Case in point, the Daedalus sea serpent case. Gary Galbreath theory of it being a skim feeding sei whale fits the drawings and description remarkably well. Ben Radford's deconstruction of the chupacabras as a creation of the media makes perfect sense. But equally when i think a theory falls short i'll say so. We are not all nuts that think big foot, pterosaurs and plesiosaurs are all lurking in the wilds of the UK.
 

Endlessly Amazed

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A few random thoughts on scarcity of evidence, especially for the bigfoot fans and critics not living in North America. The scale of things are difficult to appreciate if you have not been in NA wilderness. I've thrown in some comparisons to UK for those lucky enough to live there. Sources are government or other public websites.

Forest size considerations in sasquatch hiding effectively
3,800,000 US size square miles
1,300,000 US total forest square miles (36% of US size)
294,000 US National forest square miles
94,000 UK size square miles
156,000 California size square miles
8.3 equivalent in number of Californias (1300K/156K)
13.8 equivalent in number of UKs (1300K/94K)

Human population density: UK vs US:
US pop. density: 36 per sq. kilometer
UK pop. density: 275 per sq. kilometer
US is 13% as dense as the UK; the UK is 750% (7.5 times) as dense as the US

Bones in the wilderness
I have spent over my life as much as 8000 hours in the US wilderness forests, mountains, and deserts. It is my favorite activity in the world. I have been in places with no trails, not even game trails, and have forced myself through dense scrub while tracing over some miles whatever I am interested in. In most of those places, I have not run into other people as they mostly stay on the paths and trails. I stay away during hunting seasons :) as I have been shot at.

Bears and bones in the woods: In all that time, I have seen black bears four times: three in Arizona high country and once in Indiana, where it officially is extirpated and does not exist (maybe this was an escaped pet). I have only rarely run across bones of wild animals. This excludes the caches of poached deer and elk which are usually found within a few hundred feet of a road. The non-poached animal bones are few and far between. I do have a beautiful, five point skull of a coues deer I pulled from a complete skeleton I found under a bush in the Sonoran desert. I have found a few other skulls as well, but rarely. Nature’s clean up crew is effective at getting rid of skeletons quickly.
 

Endlessly Amazed

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But you haven’t seen anything like a Bigfoot?
\
No. Nothing. I have seen truly puzzling, intentional manipulation of the flora in the middle of heavy forest, but no figure. Once (2008?) my husband and I were in the Great Dismal Swamp in Virginia. It is very dismal, remote, isolated, dank, ill-smelling, and with lots of mosquitos. We did not see another person all day.

We were walking along an old canal footpath heading to the center lake, and something or someone on the other side of the canal kept throwing stones at us which landed in the canal water or the path close to us, but never hit us. We could not see anyone in the thick brush who could be doing this, but we could hear something forcing itself through the brush on the other side keeping pace with us. Whenever we stopped, so did the noise on the other side. This continued for about 1/4 mile, until we decided to turn back. Once we turned back, the stone throwing stopped. Even though this was in the middle of the day, it was unnerving. Even if this was only the locals having fun with us, it was unnerving.

Edit: here is a link to the canal and path
Great_Dismal_Swamp_Washington_Ditch_2016.jpg (4608×3456) (wikimedia.org)
The thickness of the swampy underbrush has to be seen to be believed.
 
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dr wu

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No. Nothing. I have seen truly puzzling, intentional manipulation of the flora in the middle of heavy forest, but no figure. Once (2008?) my husband and I were in the Great Dismal Swamp in Virginia. It is very dismal, remote, isolated, dank, ill-smelling, and with lots of mosquitos. We did not see another person all day.

We were walking along an old canal footpath heading to the center lake, and something or someone on the other side of the canal kept throwing stones at us which landed in the canal water or the path close to us, but never hit us. We could not see anyone in the thick brush who could be doing this, but we could hear something forcing itself through the brush on the other side keeping pace with us. Whenever we stopped, so did the noise on the other side. This continued for about 1/4 mile, until we decided to turn back. Once we turned back, the stone throwing stopped. Even though this was in the middle of the day, it was unnerving. Even if this was only the locals having fun with us, it was unnerving.

Edit: here is a link to the canal and path
Great_Dismal_Swamp_Washington_Ditch_2016.jpg (4608×3456) (wikimedia.org)
The thickness of the swampy underbrush has to be seen to be believed.
Hello Endlessly Amazed,
Couple of questions for you......I live in Indiana so I'm just curious what specific area in Indiana you saw the bear, and regarding the "intentional manipulation of the flora in the middle of heavy forest," what are your personal thoughts on who or what might have done it?
 
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