large hairy and somewhat malodorous bipedal creature purportedly roams
the wilderness areas of
western North America. In the United States
it’s called Bigfoot.
In Canada it’s called Sasquatch.
who have allegedly seen Bigfoot usually describe it as walking on two
feet in a somewhat lumbering manner, stocky (approximately 500 pounds),
with brown hair and a height that’s about three or four feet (.91 to
1.22 meters) taller than a man.
Scientists and others have given their views on
Bourne, Emory University, Atlanta, after viewing a film of the creature
shot by Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin noted many inconsistencies and
stated “I have grave doubts about the authenticity of this film.”
Grieve, Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine, London, taking into
consideration the speed at which the movie was taken, stated that if
the film was shot at 24 frames per second the creature could be a man
walking very quickly but if shot at 16 or 18 fps it's probably
Dmitri Donskoy, Central
Institute of Physical
Culture, Moscow, stated that even taking into consideration the variety
of human gaits “such a walk as demonstrated by the creature in the film
is absolutely non-typical of man.”
A fourth perspective on the
controversial movie was provided by Grover Krantz a professor of
physical anthropology, Washington State University, who compared the
Patterson/Gimlin film with a second film of a man walking in the
purported footprints of a Bigfoot/Sasquatch and concluded the
observed by the film makers was legitimate, the images consistent with
other eyewitness accounts.
A popular theory is that the cryptid
is actually Gigantopithecus
an ape now extinct that probably
co-existed alongside early hominids such as Homo erectus (also
suggested as a possible candidate). Unfortunately Bigfoot/Sasquatch is
always presented as a biped, while Gigantopithecus is generally thought
to have been a quadruped too massive to walk on two legs. (The huge
ape’s closest living relative is the orangutan which walks on all fours
in a sort of side-to-side, foot-dragging shamble.)
aboriginal peoples of North America’s Pacific Northwest have legends of
a large creature roaming the forest that extend back generations.
reports date back to the mid-nineteenth century. The 1924 reports in
a Pulitzer Prize winning paper of a confrontation between
mineworkers and a group of Sasquatch are amongst the most famous.
According to the miners they were attacked by giant apes, killing one,
before being driven back into their cabin by the ferocity of the
the event, reporters from
inspected both the damaged cabin and allegedly a number of nearby giant
footprints. There was no mention of a dead creature.
less dramatic version of events can
be found in
the folklore of a YMCA camp on nearby Spirit Lake, tradition has it
that the incident was nothing more than a group of energetic young
campers hurling stones into nearby Ape Canyon unaware of the miners at
the bottom. The miners looking up late at night would have been
understandably frightened by the shadowy figures gesturing wildly on
the canyons rim, the sounds they made amplified and distorted beyond
recognition by the canyon’s walls. With rocks crashing around them the
miners must have thought they were under attack by demons from hell
Bigfoot became synonymous with the creature in 1958 when workers
building a road near Bluff Creek, Humboldt County, California, reported
finding enormous footprints in the bush near where they were working.
Plaster was pored in the depressions and casts were produced. Photos of
the tracks were made available to the public through the mainstream
media and inspired the name “Bigfoot”.
A great many scientists
dismiss sightings of the mysterious creature as nonsense, mythology or
outright hoax and indeed there have been many of the latter. Ray
Wallace called by his family the “father of Bigfoot” apparently left
wooden track makers to his children as part of their inheritance. The
family openly stated they were used to create the Bluff Creek imprints.
Sightings by Native Americans, hunters, traders, surveyors and
even missionaries are commonplace, but solid evidence, a live specimen,
dead body or even bones has yet to be presented to the scientific
community for examination.
Along with the detractors are believers, many famous:
Goodall respected anthropologist stunned many of her peers when in a
2002 radio interview she remarked “Well now, you’ll be amazed when I
tell you that I’m sure that they exist . . . I’ve talked to many
Americans who all describe the same sounds, two who have seen them.”
Wilson Green is a graduate of both the University of British Columbia
and Columbia University, a retired journalist and Bigfoot researcher.
is the only surviving investigator of the Bluff Creek Sasquatch
incident and still believes that the tracks found there are authentic.
Green has written several books, including "Sasquatch: The Apes among
regarded by many as the definitive work on the subject.
Stevens Coon now deceased, graduated from Harvard in 1925, earned his
Doctorate in 1928 and then embarked on a multifaceted career as an
anthropologist, archaeologist, teacher and writer, a career somewhat
tainted with the publication of his book "The Origin of Races" and his
controversial, if not downright raciest ideas concerning human
(He postulated that the reason certain races had developed highly
civilized societies while others had not, was because different races
had evolved into Homo Sapiens at different times.) This former Harvard
professor continued to raise mainstream eyebrows even after death with
the posthumous publication of a paper entitled "Why the Sasquatch Must
in which he states “Even before I read John Green’s book 'Sasquatch:
The Apes Among Us, I accepted the Sasquatches’ existence.”
He further stated that the only group he would definitely rule out as a
possible candidate for Bigfoot would be some remnant Neanderthal
British paleontologist, biologist,
author and editor of the scientific journal Nature, while not
declaring that Bigfoot exists, has argued that the elusive creature and
others like it warrant further study, stating “The discovery that Homo
floresiensis  survived until so very recently in
makes it more likely that stories of other mythical human-like
creatures, such as Yetis, are founded on grains of truth . . . Now,
cryptozoology, the study of such fabulous creatures can come in from
Peter Byrne is arguably the name most often
associated with Bigfoot. In 1960 he was brought to America’s Pacific
Northwest from Nepal (he was involved in several Slick expeditions in
search of the Yeti and also allegedly in
stealing several bones from a
purported Yeti hand) by millionaire adventurer Tom Slick, to lead an
expedition in search of the large and elusive North American cryptid.
expedition was unfortunately cut short by Slick’s untimely death in an
airplane crash leaving Byrne effectively unemployed. Never one to take
adversity lying down, Peter faced the challenge head on and was soon
sitting atop of the mountain, literally.
Byrne one time big
game hunter, became Byrne the conservationist, published a newsletter
the Bigfoot News,
wrote books and appeared on radio and television. A
fortuitous grant from Boston’s Academy of Applied Science allowed him
to establish a base on Mount Hood, Oregon. Tips flowed in via a toll
free number and armed with the latest in high tech gear he scoured the
country for evidence of Sasquatch.
Was he successful, well, success is relative? He has certainly led an
exciting life, but he never did find Bigfoot.
Byrne is presently retired, spends his time traveling and writing and
has a great collection of plaster casts. The toll free number has been
 The jury is still out on
whether Homo floresiensis, nicknamed Hobbits, are a separate species
which lived contemporaneous with Homo sapiens 18,000 years ago on the
Indonesian island of Flores or simply deformed modern humans that
suffered from a neurological disease known as microcephaly.
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