There’s no doubt that the big, lovable ape we know as “Bigfoot” is controversial, serving as fodder for both serious study and great hilarity, with people generally divided as to whether it actually exists or not. Mainstream science generally comes down on the side of the skeptics, maintaining that without a body, there is no reason to believe the beast exists, no matter what other evidence one might produce. A few scientists, however, are at least open to the possibility that a large, unidentified primate may indeed be stalking the forests of the Pacific Northwest (as well as dozens of other localities around the world). Certainly, it has acquired more credibility as the years go by, which at least suggests there may be something to the idea. So what sort of “evidence” is there to suggest the big guy is really out there? Here is my top ten reasons why you should–if not believe–at least remain open to the prospect that Bigfoot is more than just a myth or a salesman for beef jerky.
10. Scientific uncertainty
While it often appears that science knows pretty much everything there is to know (or that is worth knowing), the fact is that science is always in a state of flux, as one hypothesis is abandoned in favor of another or new discoveries come to light that rewrites everything scientists thought they knew to be a fact previously. Therefore, it is unwise to maintain with anything approaching certainty what is and is not possible–much less what could still be out there waiting to be discovered. With this in mind, then, it is important that people remain objective to the possibility that Bigfoot could exist, for without that objectivity, it makes getting to the truth of the matter all the more difficult. Why? Because if I “know” there’s no such thing as a Bigfoot, I’m unlikely to look at the evidence that there is, much less look for the creature itself. In essence, my faith in my own knowledge prevents me from acquiring any new knowledge.
9. Historical precedence
I’ve always wondered why science is so quick to reject the notion that there could still be a large and, as yet, undiscovered primate living on this planet–especially when one considers that homo sapiens and large primates have lived side-by-side on this planet for tens of thousands of years. In fact, in the over quarter of a million years that man has been on earth, he has shared this world with numerous now extinct primates–some as big or even bigger than Bigfoot–making it hard to understand why such is impossible today. Were it actually true that there are no large primates around today, it would be the first time in human history that homo sapiens and large primates did not coexist!
Here was an animal that would be a real-life Bigfoot were it alive today. Existing between nine million years ago until as recent as 100,000 years ago, Gigantopithecus was a massive primate that may have stood as much as ten feet tall and weighed over half a ton. So why does it serve as a reason to believe in Bigfoot? Because, once more, there is precedence for large primates existing today; in essence, this beast proves that primates are capable of getting as big (or, actually, even bigger) than modern descriptions of Bigfoot suggest. (In fact, Bigfoot is rarely thought to get taller than eight feet, making it puny compared to Gigantopithecus!) While the fact that there used to be monster primates doesn’t prove that there are today, it does suggest that if there is such a thing as a sasquatch, it would not be inconsistent with what we have seen in the distant past regarding primate physiology and evolution.
7. Discovery of the Modern Gorilla
The gorilla was largely unknown to modern science until the mid-nineteenth century, and the mountain gorilla wasn’t identified until 1902, so it’s not unreasonable to imagine that a similar creature may well be capable of hiding well into the twenty-first century–especially if it’s considerably smarter than a gorilla and nomadic (and largely nocturnal) in nature. Additionally, the discovery of the mountain gorilla begs the question of why, if it’s possible for large primates to exist in Africa today, it’s impossible for large primates to exist elsewhere on the planet? Is there something unique to Africa that makes it special in this regard? Clearly, logic suggests that if large primates are possible anywhere, they should be–at least potentially–possible elsewhere. Additionally, the fossil record shows us that large primates were evident throughout much of Asia as recently as a few tens of thousands of years ago, demonstrating that Africa isn’t the only place they existed.
6. The Bering Land Bridge
We are all familiar with the theory that early man may have migrated from Asia to North America via the Bering land bridge that connected the two continents together about twenty thousand years ago (when, due to glaciation, the ocean levels were hundreds of feet lower than they are today). Not only did humans make the crossing, but so did many other animals, including wooly mammoths, saber-tooth tigers, and a whole host of critters. The question that needs to be asked, then, is if humans and other large animals were able to migrate across this connecting point, why couldn’t other creatures–especially any large primates that may have been around at the time–not have done the same? This would, after all, rather neatly account for how a large primate like Bigfoot could make North America its home and yet leave no trace of itself in the fossil record.
5. Native American Legends
While one is never wise to put too much stock into Native American folklore, one would be equally unwise to casually dismiss all of it as well. The fact that many tribes–especially those from the Pacific Northwest–maintain similar legends of large, hairy men needs to be taken into account, especially since many of these legends appear to have arisen independently among various tribes that had little or no contact with each other, eliminating the possibility that one culture simply copied stories from another culture and made it their own. (Known as cross-cultural contamination.) While each tribe has its own twist on the legend and their own name for the beast, they all appear to be talking about a similar creature that existed long before whites ever arrived. Many tribes, in fact, maintain the truth of these legends to this day, insisting that they are based on a real creature and not mere superstition.
4. Eyewitness evidence
While the term “Bigfoot” wasn’t coined until the 1950′s, reports of the hairy beast go back centuries, challenging the notion that it is purely a modern phenomenon. Additionally, there have been literally thousands of first-hand reports collected by various investigative agencies over the years regarding the animal (and, we can assume, many more thousands that go unreported), often by credible witnesses (most significant among them being professional hunters, who are intimately familiar with a region’s native fauna and so should be difficult to fool) . While undoubtedly there are hoaxers contained within this mix and a number of people who misidentify known animals for unknown ones (bears being the most common) to assume that absolutely every single report is wrong is unreasonable. Clearly, people are seeing something they haven’t seen before, and not every one of them are a bear walking on its hind legs or hunters wearing camouflage suits. To dismiss them all is foolhardy.
3. Hair samples
While rare, a number of hair samples have been acquired over the years portending to be from Bigfoot, and while the majority of these prove to be from known animals, there are a small number of samples that remain unidentified to this day. Often these unidentified follicles prove to be remarkably human-like–though thicker–suggesting that the creature they came from may be is more human than animal. Unfortunately, since there are no known sasquatch samples to compare them to, they can’t be identified as belonging to a sasquatch, which forces them to remain in the category of “origin unknown” which, if you think about it, is pretty interesting in itself.
2. Footprints and other evidences
Bigfoot got his name from the size of the massive tracks he makes, so it’s not remarkable that the best evidence for his existence remains these tracks. While a number of prints have proven to be hoaxes, there are a substantial number of what are considered “authentic” sasquatch prints that need to be taken seriously. Perhaps the most compelling of these are those contained in the collection of Idaho State University primatologist Jeff Meldrum, who has one casting that contains dermal ridges (the foot’s equivalent of fingerprints) that run in a completely different direction than those seen on human feet. Would a hoaxer really be able to both create such ridges and, even if he was, would he think of making them so different from human feet? There are other evidences as well, such as twisted off branches, possible sasquatch “dens” and audio recordings of the creature, but these are less easily subject to analysis (though some of the recordings have proven to be compelling when submitted for audio analysis).
1. The Gimlin/Patterson film
Shot in northern California in October, 1967, the brief film shot by Bigfoot enthusiast Roger Patterson of an alleged female sasquatch walking across a dried river bed remains the high water mark for Bigfoot researchers. Though dismissed by most in the scientific community as some guy in a “monkey suit”–a charge that has never been definitively proven–the footage, if genuine, is the best piece of evidence that Bigfoot exists (or, at least did in 1967). In it, we see what appears to be a creature at least six-and-a-half feet tall and weighing a good 400 pounds moving with a natural, fluid motion difficult to replicate even by modern special effects artists today. (Modern efforts to replicate the creature in the photo, along with its unique gait, using stunt men and the best special effects materials and techniques available today–none of which an amateur like Patterson would have had available to him in 1967–repeatedly fall well short of replicating what’s seen in the original.) Additionally, pain-staking, frame-by-frame analysis of the footage shows musculature movement and other features extremely difficult to replicate, as well as allow for precise measurements of the animal, which consistently show themselves to be inconsistent with those of a human. Even skeptics have to admit that if the Patterson film is a hoax, it’s one of the best fakes in history, and one that has somehow managed to withstand the test of time.
Jeff Danelek is a Denver, Colorado author who writes on many subjects having to do with history, politics, the paranormal, spirituality and religion. To see more of his stuff, visit his website at www.ourcuriousworld.com.