Dr. Jeff Meldrum: In Search of Bigfoot

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on October 7th, 2010

Interesting article from the ISU Bengal, the independent voice of the ISU (Idaho State University) community, about Dr. Jeff Meldrum’s Sasquatch Research.

I was in last weekend in Honobia, OK for the Honobia Bigfoot Conference.

Dr. Jeff Meldrum

Dr. Jeff Meldrum at the Honobia Bigfoot Conference October 2, 2010.

One of many discussions last weekend had to do with the backlash on the ISU campus from Martin Hackworth, a senior lecturer in the physics department, who has opposed Meldrum’s Bigfoot research in the past.

It seems that things have changed on campus due to administration changes and Jeff is no longer facing the opposition that he endured in the past.

By Aaron Dean
Staff Writer – ISU Bengal
In search of Bigfoot

Dr. Jeff Meldrum

Photo: Aaron Dean

Dr. Jeffery Meldrum said he doesn’t take on faith that Sasquatch is real but based on the body of evidence he has examined, he does think the creature exists.

Meldrum is an Associate Professor of Anatomy and Anthropology in the biology department at Idaho State University.

Meldrum said he started researching Sasquatch 14 years ago when he found a fresh footprint in southeastern Washington. “That was what set the hook as far as embarking on a more systematic and focused consideration of the question from a research perspective.”

He has been featured on the History Channel, the SyFy Channel and National Public Radio.

Meldrum also said the case of Sasquatch is particularly interesting to him because his background is in the evolution of human locomotion.

He said, “The proposition of another biped – perhaps an early hominid or an ape – that had evolved the same bipedal adaptation as humans is an intriguing question.

“I was already familiar with footprint evidence for early humans walking, so I recognized

features and possibilities attributed to Sasquatch.

“I thought I could make a significant contribution to the resolution to this issue from the perspective of systematic evaluation of footprint evidence because I’m very familiar with that type of data.

“So I started collecting as many examples of the footprints as I could.”

Meldrum said his collection currently has over 200 footprint casts and they are working with the Idaho Virtualization Laboratory to create 3D models so other researchers will have access to them.

Meldrum also said he’s traveled around the world to study Sasquatch.

He said one of his more interesting travels was for a documentary for the History Channel to the Hubei province in China.

He said China has legends of a creature called the Yerin, which translates into “wild man” and has a similar description to Sasquatch.

He said they met with a park ranger who claimed to have seen a Yerin.

Meldrum said, “The ranger was patrolling the park and spied at several hundred yards, a reddish brown hair covered figure sprawled on a boulder in the sun in the morning hours.

“The ranger called out to it, it sat up, looked at him and instead of it being a long snouted bear it was a flat faced man-like figure that got up and walked into the forest.

“The ranger went after it and tracked it some distance to a stream where it left nice tracks in the mud.

“He went to get the materials and returned to make a cast of the feet.”

Meldrum said, “One of the objectives of the trip was to examine these casts.

He said the ranger opened up a suitcase and unwrapped the casts.

“I was stunned,” Meldrum stated, “because these footprints were virtually identical to the examples I have here in my laboratory.”

Meldrum also said the park ranger had no frame of reference as to what these footprints would look like making a hoax unlikely.

Meldrum said he is submitting an abstract to the American Association of Physical Anthropology meeting in the Spring about the trip.

As far as research here in the U.S., Meldrum said they are working on training search and recovery dogs to track Sasquatch.

He said one of the biggest criticisms of Sasquatch is there is no body, and the only way to get a body would be to track one down and kill it or for someone to stumble upon a body.

“Given their intelligence, this is probably going to be a very unlikely scenario,” Meldrum said.

“The next best thing would be to have a trace of that organism with DNA, and that would come from hair or feces,” he continued.

Meldrum said the dogs are generally used to identify humans and human remains, but can be trained to identify almost anything.

He said they had one of these dogs check what was suspected being Sasquatch feces, based on circumstantial evidence.

Meldrum said, “They get wind of this feces which would either be from bear or Sasquatch, because it was filled with black ants, and the dogs had a fear response to it.

“This is a very unusual response because those same dogs would walk by bear feces with no response.”

“This enthused one of the handlers, and she has agreed to train a dog to great ape hair and tissue with the presumption that Sasquatch falls close to the variation of gorillas, chimps and apes,” Meldrum continued.

“Once we have a dog that is at hand, if fresh footprints are found within about 12 hours, we can take the dogs to the site and imprint them with the scent, presuming the tracks are authentic.”

Meldrum said, “I’m not just about collecting footprints; we’re also approaching this as a question of wildlife biology. What is this creature’s role in the biological community?”

About Craig Woolheater
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad, Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster, Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot: Return to Boggy Creek and Beast of the Bayou.

6 Responses to “Dr. Jeff Meldrum: In Search of Bigfoot”

  1. dogu4 responds:

    Interesting article. Had not heard that he was able to train dogs to track the scent of apes. I wonder if BF are any more closely related to the other great apes than we ourselves are, but I hope he is successful. Maybe the dogs will be equipped with a critter cam. Cheers.

  2. mystery_man responds:

    I really appreciate Meldrum’s perspective on the sasquatch phenomena because as someone in the field of biology myself, I too approach this creature as a question of wildlife biology. Where does it fit in within biology? How did it evolve? What role has it adopted in its environment? Does it indeed have any place within the biomes of North America? To have scientists of Meldrum’s stature and with the time and resources he is able to devote to these questions is a tremendous opportunity to make this a more legitimate avenue of inquiry. I salute him for his effots. Well done, sir.

    As to the dogs, I tend to think that is a very unique and novel approach, however it is well established that if Sasquatch are real, then they are most likely extremely intelligent and furthermore are in possession of heightened senses. This may mean that they are able to easily detect and avoid any dogs that may be on their trail. Just a thought. Still, it’s novel ideas like that that will push forward our efforts to locate more concrete evidence of Sasquatch if it is out there to be found.

  3. joe levit responds:

    Not to mention, many reports have bigfoot hurting and often killing dogs that notice its presence or pursue it. I think in many cases unless you have a pack of bloodhounds you are likely just to end up with a dead dog.

  4. jerrywayne responds:

    To Dr. Meldrum’s credit, he has produced the best scientific/entertainment book on Bigfoot. Dr. Krantz produced scientific books that lacked somewhat the entertainment factor. Dr. Sanderson produced an entertaining book on Abominable Snowmen, but more entertaining than scientific.

    I’m curious about mystery_man’s idea about Bigfoot possessing “heightened senses” that could possibly subvert dog tracking. If we view the Patterson film as a real event, then two fellows on horseback, with packhorse in tow, managed to surprise a Bigfoot in the open. Also, Bigfoot seems to be found out by many eyewitnesses, either as the witnesses are hiking about or driving down the road in cars.

    Also, the “fearful dog” scenario, or phenomena, is curious. Why would tracking dogs, known to take on bear, puma, bobcat, raccoon, wild pig, etc., be frightful when finding Bigfoot scent? What does this imply?

    I suggest that a man tracker might be advantageous. Consistent use of expert trackers should be able to move the debate in one direction or the other.

  5. mystery_man responds:

    jerrywayne- Well, I think it has to made clear that I don’t necessarily view the Patterson scenario as a real event.

    Remember I am also saying that Bigfoot “may” be avoiding tracking dogs. I am just entertaining possibilities and not really making any definitive hypothesis on the matter. It’s obvious that tracking dogs haven’t ever successfully found a Bigfoot, so other than saying flat out that this must mean Bigfoot does not exist, I’m trying to think of reasons that this may be. The general consensus seems to be that Bigfoot have good senses. Maybe this is false, and they have no better senses than us, however maybe they do. I don’t know, so until I do, I like to try and look at this from several angles. Can they perhaps avoid dogs? Are the cases when we sneak up on them instances of catching them sort of with their guards down? This happens sometimes with other known wild animals that should be well aware of our presence, so why not Bigfoot? Is it possible? These are the questions I’m trying to look at.

    If Bigfoot are really out there, then they are doing something to evade these sorts of measures. What is it? I’m just exploring options. Maybe my idea is a dead end, but I at least like to poke at these notions.

    As to the fearful dog scenario, this may be explainable by looking at what the dogs are familiar with. If a dog is trained to track bear, puma, or whatever, then these are scents that they recognize, ones that they have been conditioned and trained to tune into. So when coming across an unfamiliar scent of a large animal such as the scent of Bigfoot, something which by many accounts seems to be rather noxious on top of being perhaps completely new to the dogs, could it not produce a fearful response? I don’t know but to me it seems perhaps in the realm of possibility.

    I wonder if this unfamiliarity might have something to do with it. It might not just be because it’s a Bigfoot. A regular house dog suddenly confronting the scent of a bear for the first time would perhaps show a similar fearful response would it not? If you were to take dogs trained to track bear in North America and then dump them in Africa to track lions or gorillas, would they not perhaps display a similar fearful response at first when confronting these new scents of potentially dangerous animals? I wonder.

    It could perhaps be the effect of a sudden, powerful scent of a large animal the dogs are not familiar with. Perhaps Bigfoot has even evolved this noxious smell as a means of keeping predators away? I don’t know. Maybe if these tracking dogs were acclimated to the scent of Bigfoot, then they would cease to display these fearful responses and track them just as any other animal they have been trained to do.

    It is a valid question which deserves to be discussed, I’d say, and I’m glad you asked it. What does it imply? Good question. It’s interesting to think about.

  6. DWA responds:

    I’m checking in late. But I happened to have this one come up in a search for a more recent thread and I want to talk bigfoot today.

    “I’m curious about mystery_man’s idea about Bigfoot possessing “heightened senses” that could possibly subvert dog tracking. If we view the Patterson film as a real event, then two fellows on horseback, with packhorse in tow, managed to surprise a Bigfoot in the open. Also, Bigfoot seems to be found out by many eyewitnesses, either as the witnesses are hiking about or driving down the road in cars.”

    Too many people, proponent and skeptic alike, start from the presumption that these animals are almost never seen, and then speculate on why. The evidence indicates to me – and jerrywayne too, apparently – that these animals are being seen quite often, maybe more often than species we acknowledge.

    I am flat convinced – and I think logic backs me up on this – that the reported encounters are but a fragment of the actual ones. There are many reasons not to report a sasquatch encounter. The two most prominent – they’ll-think-I’m-crazy and who-do-I-tell – may account for thousands of “misses” right there. (I’ve read dozens of accounts where finding out who-do-I-tell surfaced an encounter decades old.) I also think that people who have had an encounter may go over to the extreme-skeptic-haha tack to avoid *feeling* crazy – as a way to tell themselves they didn’t really see that. That’s a phenomenon that basic human nature predicts, and could account for hundreds more encounters not documented.

    One thing I find striking about the report literature: pretty much the entire spectrum of encounters it is possible to have with a wild animal are in the database. This is precisely what one should expect if the animal is real; and just what one shouldn’t if it is not. I compare with bears and deer, two animals I have encountered a lot. I have had both:

    1. Advance toward me;
    2. Run like blazes the instant they were aware of me;
    3. Leave like Patty did, with all deliberate speed;
    4. Go about their business, completely unaware of my presence;
    5. Examine me, and then decide to hightail it;
    6. Sneak away from me, thinking that I couldn’t see them;

    …you get the idea. On two occasions, once in CA and once in TN, I have had a pair of bears – in each case, bears as big as I have seen – cross the trail, in the open, very scant yards in front of me, single file, neither of the pair showing the slightest indication that they knew I was there. (They HAD to know I was there. For one thing, in both cases, I had company.)

    Bears and deer are both highly elusive animals; there are none better at staying out of sight when they want to. But they’re animals; they’re not spirits and they’re not perfect.

    I’m struck by how sasquatch encounter reports exhibit a full range of encounters of exactly the kinds I would expect if it’s a real animal. As you say, m_m: we frequently catch them with their guard down.

    I think that the sooner we can discard from the conversation the apparently paralyzing idea that these animals are Somehow Different in their ability to avoid us, which doesn’t appear backed up by the evidence, the sooner the search will begin, never mind end.

Sorry. Comments have been closed.

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