Sasquatch CSI

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on May 16th, 2007

This article is the second of a three part series. You can read the first part here on Cryptomundo at Seriously Seeking Sasquatch.

Data on sasquatch piling up

Sightings, tracks, hair consistent over the years

Bigfoot. Sasquatch.

It is understandable that people are skeptical anytime they hear of something associated with those names. It seems incomprehensible that an 8-foot-tall, apelike animal could, in this day and age, remain hidden, even in the wilderness areas of the West.

However, in the past 50 years, an impressive body of evidence has been gathered that purports to demonstrate the existence of a native North American ape. Even lacking an actual body of a sasquatch, a lot of this evidence looks awfully good to a lot of people who are in a position to critically evaluate it.

Last week, I mentioned three Ph.D.-credentialed scientists in the Northwest – a biologist and two physical anthropologists – who have been or are actively collecting and analyzing data.

Foremost among them is Jeffrey Meldrum of Idaho State University, who writes in his 2006 book, “Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science”: “The nature and extent of the evidence fully justifies – in truth, demands – the serious attention of scientists.”

So, what is the “nature and extent” of this evidence that demands scientific scrutiny?

Well, along with highly publicized sightings, movies and videos purporting to show an apelike creature, there is physical evidence of the type you’d expect if one of the “CSI” TV programs were investigating the issue. And there is a startling amount of supporting data.

In discussing sasquatch behavior and ecology based on hundreds of sightings reported by highly credible observers – including wildlife biologists, foresters, field geologists and law enforcement officers – John Bindernagel, in his 1998 book, “North America’s Great Ape: the Sasquatch,” states: “Many people are unaware of just how many reports of sasquatches or sasquatch tracks exist, for how long they have been reported and over how large a geographical area they occur.”

Bindernagel goes on to note “a remarkable consistency in physical features and (apelike) behavior” of the creatures described. In some areas, such as Walla Walla’s Blue Mountains, recognizable individuals, based on sightings and footprints, have been recorded over several decades.

Bindernagel also notes that reports from the early 1900s in Washington and British Columbia are surprisingly similar to recent reports and to the legends going back centuries.

While some sightings and footprints have been demonstrated to have been frauds, most have not.

The famous 1967 Patterson-Gilman (Gimlin) film purporting to show a walking female sasquatch never has been shown to be a fake, even with today’s digital tools. And, believe me, people have dissected it, looking at all the details, expecting to prove a hoax. None has succeeded.

In addition, the film has held up to critical evaluation by experts in the biomechanics of locomotion. So, if not bogus, what do you call the creature in the film – or the creatures in more recent videos?

As for physical evidence, of what is it composed?

Among the least convincing would be nests and dens, oddly twisted-off treetops of a thickness and height difficult for a man to accomplish, and recordings of calls that are uniform, yet from different areas, and were not made by any known animal.

The exciting findings, though, consist of forensics-type data.

Footprints have been found that have fine skin ridges, called dermatoglyphs, which are equivalent to fingerprints. A former FBI fingerprint expert, who also studies skin ridges in zoo apes, has identified dermatoglyphs in plaster casts of purported sasquatch prints that are neither human nor from any known ape but are quite apelike. He even has found scars that show the unique healing pattern of primate skin.

Footprints have been found to be biomechanically accurate for weight and stride of an 800-pound biped – and quite different from those of a human foot. The dynamics of these footprints, based on soil and terrain variations, would be impossible to fake without an extensive knowledge of foot anatomy and function.

Furthermore, these details have been consistent over the years and in far-flung locations.

Probably most astounding of all, however, have been the analyses of hair found in areas associated with sasquatch footprints and sightings all over the West. While these hairs do not match human, ape or any other known hair for morphology, they are amazingly similar among themselves and are more apelike than anything else.

Keep in mind: These disparate forms of evidence have not come from one source, one place or one period of time. These data represent too many uncontrollable variables to all be a part of some larger hoax.

Yet, these data are remarkably constant in pointing to a large apelike animal living in the wilderness areas of California, the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia and down the Rocky Mountains into Colorado.

Meldrum has staked his career on his confidence in this evidence. In an Associated Press article that appeared in The Spokesman-Review last Nov. 6, headlined “Bigfoot research stirs up ISU,” Jesse Harlan Alderman pointed out that Meldrum’s fellow researchers at ISU are “hostile” and call his research “pseudo-academic” and a “joke,” with “some even calling for the school to revoke his tenure.”

Despite the ridicule, Meldrum does have his supporters in the scientific community. His dean at ISU calls him “a bona fide scientist,” and Jane Goodall, the ground-breaking chimpanzee researcher who, according to Alderman, “believes in the legend,” wrote for the jacket of Meldrum’s book that he “brings a much-needed level of scientific analysis to the sasquatch – or Bigfoot – debate.”

As I finished writing this column, I contacted Meldrum to confirm his conclusion as quoted in Alderman’s article that “Bigfoot exists.” He reaffirmed for me his certainty of the data:

The body of evidence includes repeat appearances of identifiable sasquatch individuals over successive years.

Examples of footprints that appear to preserve fine dermatoglyphic details have been regarded very seriously by a number of professional fingerprint examiners.

Hair samples have stood up to scrutiny, indicating a primate of indeterminate identity.

The persistence of this evidence, although remaining contested and controversial, warrants long-overdue consideration by the scientific community.

So what do you think? Could there be an 8-foot-tall, apelike, upright-walking animal in this day and age in the forests of the West? In the forests of North Idaho or Kootenai County?

There have been purported sightings and footprints here. Furthermore, a lot of the evidence that Meldrum and others refer to comes from the Blue Mountains near Walla Walla.

Sasquatch could be just that close.Stephen Lindsay
The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, WA

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.

8 Responses to “Sasquatch CSI”

  1. alanborky responds:

    Craig, articles like this are becoming more and more common in the mainstream.

    To me, what’s most important about them is precisely that they’re NOT bombarding their readers with what their writers consider important evidence for the existence of Bigfoot, UFOs, the paranormal, etc..

    But rather, they exhibit their authors’ sheer curiosity, at the same time seeking to stimulate a similar sheer curiosity in their readership.

    [If this’d been a piece on psi abilities I could’ve said they were psi-curious, punning on the lines of bi-curious, but you just had to make it about flamin’ sasquatches!]

    And I suspect it’s precisely this sort of cool-headed sincere curiosity, in the face of all the overly ardent advocacy, (both for and against this and all the other similarly more outre fields), which’s led to the increasingly hysterical resort to legal manoeuvres on the skeptopaths’ part.

    Stanton Friedman, with some justification, often refers to the antics of the “Noisy Negativists”.

    But the “Noisy Negativists” have equally ferocious counterparts on the other side of the argument who might be styled “Pushy Positivists”, (though I myself tend to refer to them as “all-believers” because they seem to believe EVERYTHING is proof of whatever’s their fave obsession and, like the “Noisy Negativists, seem incapable of accepting the least querying of their position).

    The point being, the skeptopaths/”Noisy Negativists” love the zeal and ferocity of the all-believers/”Pushy Positivists”, because they do as good a job of warding off ‘civilians’ from these fields as do the skeptos themselves.

    Yet items like this piece you’ve posted hint at the possibility things won’t always be this way.

  2. cenoxo responds:

    Only habeas corpus — an intact body, examined dead or alive by a reputable group of qualified scientists— will be enough proof. A more-or-less complete skeleton (in situ, with skull and hair) would be the next best thing.

    A discovery on the scientific level of Ötzi the Iceman is needed.

  3. Excelsior Comics responds:

    I believe that a new generation of scientists are just now begining to emerge. A generation that is more open to the idea of the “unknown” than previous generations have been. Articles, like the one above, show us that there are many who are willing to listen to alternative views. It has taken time to get us this far, but with paitence and perseverance we will see a future where mainstream academia takes these creatures seriously.

  4. Bob K. responds:

    Well written article by Mr. Lindsay. I was pleasantly surprised when I read the following-‘Bindernagel goes on to note “a remarkable consistency in physical features and (apelike) behavior” of the creatures described. In some areas, such as Walla Walla’s Blue Mountains, recognizable individuals, based on sightings and footprints, have been recorded over several decades’. I was unaware that individuals were being tracked. Such ‘tracking’ can yield valuable information concerning this beast, not the least of which is just how long do these animals live?

  5. MattBille responds:

    The article says “In discussing sasquatch behavior and ecology based on hundreds of sightings reported by highly credible observers – including wildlife biologists, foresters, field geologists and law enforcement office…”

    Sightings by wildlife biologists? Anyone know what he’s talking about?

  6. ShefZ28 responds:

    I found the mention that specific creatures have been identified to be very suprising. I’ve never heard of that before. Very nice article.

  7. DWA responds:

    MattBille: I’m pretty sure that what’s being talked about is sightings by people who have decided they want to keep their jobs. So, in terms of what’s being talked about, no, I wouldn’t expect us to have a list of names.

    I keep hearing about how, when a scientist sees one, we’ll know; how the discoverer of the sasquatch (please, he’s BEEN discovered, by tens of thousands of people, just not documented by people who don’t want to be bothered) will be rich rich rich; about how we should have found a carcass, or somebody should have shot one or taken a conclusive photo by now (please, we have a MOVIE), etc.



    1. How do we know no one’s taken a pic that would be compelling if we saw it? Maybe this guy – these people – are convinced it isn’t worth the headache to come forward, and are keeping their evidence to themselves. Maybe all that matters to them is that THEY know. (Of course that happens. To many people. Happened to me. When I saw tracks, I really didn’t give a fig who else knew but me and my girlfriend. That is NORMAL. Doesn’t mean I don’t want science to confirm it. Just means I don’t want to suffer the fools. I’m content to let others be, and suffer, fools. It’s a personal thing.)

    2. Same with hunters. Well, hold it, maybe not. At least one hunter has reported killing one, with one shot. Thinking he was shooting at a wounded moose he’d been tracking, if you think about it a perfectly logical thing to do in the dense brush he was hunting. This was 1941, so he sure wasn’t going to think sasquatch. (People probably aren’t confusing other things for sasquatch; they’re probably seeing sasquatch and thinking other things. Ya think? Yes. That’s what one would expect normal people to do – presume they’re seeing something known when they don’t get a good look.)

    3. Same with corpses. We’ve already talked on other threads about how MANY corpses could have been found by now – by people who decided it would be better not to talk.

    But these are single data points. Any one of them COULD be a lie, a hoax, a misidentification (the latter the least likely). The data points need to be connected.

    And this is a good sign that soon, that might even happen. Now all we need to see is what “soon” means.

  8. Hawk eye responds:

    bah…MANY corpses could have been found by now? How many black bear corpses have been found just laying around in the woods?

    People were just as resistant to the idea of the mountain gorilla. Reports of this animal were circulating from the very beginning of British presence in Africa in the 1700’s, but the animals themselves were not “discovered” until the 1920’s. Now that people know what to look for and where to look, they can be spotted with “relative” ease, although John Q. Public will not stumble across one.

    It has been proposed that there may be as many as 4,000 to 9,000 of these animals in North America, based on estimates of what would be necessary to sustain a viable genetic pool. Now, if by the same token, we can point to the fact that there are somewhere in the neighborhood of 45,000 black bears in the eastern U.S., and relatively few people have actually seen a black bear in the wild, and even a tinier fraction still have stumbled across a corpse in the wild, I would say the odds of finding a Sasquatch corpse are pretty remote.
    Still, wouldnt it be something…

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