Sasquatch Coffee

Update: The Foot of Bigfoot?

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on February 15th, 2007

Cryptomundo readers asked in the post yesterday, The Foot of Bigfoot?, whether DNA testing was going to be conducted on this mysterious foot.

Apparently, Virginia Bigfoot researcher William Dranginis is attempting to do this.

Virginia Mystery Ape Foot

Foot ‘looks like bear’s hind paw’
BY KIRAN KRISHNAMURTHY
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER
Thursday, February 15, 2007

FREDERICKSBURG — The apelike foot found in a Spotsylvania County landfill still has folks scratching their heads.

Spotsylvania Sheriff Howard Smith said yesterday that he plans to send the foot to an as-yet-undetermined expert for further examination. “So we can find out what it is,” he said.

Already, word of the find is making the rounds on Internet sites dedicated to Bigfoot sightings and theories.

William M. Dranginis, who operates the Virginia Bigfoot Research Organization, has offered to have DNA samples, if he can obtain them, tested by experts, including renowned primatologist Jane Goodall. Dranginis said he has already made arrangements with Goodall in case an unidentified creature is ever found.

“You prepare for this,” he said in a phone interview yesterday.

Goodall has said she is certain Bigfoot creatures exist in nature.

“Dr. Goodall is curious and keeps an open mind on the subject,” Nona Gandelman, a spokeswoman for the Jane Goodall Institute in Arlington, said yesterday, adding that Goodall was traveling and not immediately available for comment.

Dranginis, who has viewed photographs of the foot found in Spotsylvania, said it resembles a bear’s skinned hind paw. Authorities say the foot, which appeared sawed off above the ankle, is about 8 inches long.

“That would be relatively small even for an adolescent Bigfoot,” said Dranginis, who has been on a quest since spotting what he described as a Bigfoot creature in Culpeper County in 1995.

“There’s big bucks in bear poaching,” said the 48-year-old Manassas man. In Virginia, bear-hunting season runs for specified periods from mid-October to early January, depending on the locality and the weapon to be used.

Authorities initially thought the foot might belong to a human and that it might be evidence of a homicide. Workers found the appendage Saturday afternoon in the treaded tracks of a bulldozer used to move garbage at one of the county’s landfills.

Three dozen searchers — sheriff’s deputies and volunteers from the fire and rescue departments — sifted through half of a 127-ton load of fresh garbage looking for more body parts.

Authorities halted the search Monday morning after receiving word that the state medical examiner’s office in Richmond determined the foot belonged to an apelike species, based on the bone structure revealed through X-rays. At the time, the sheriff said he considered the case pretty much closed unless someone came forward with information.

Yesterday, Smith said he plans to send the foot for testing after it is returned from the medical examiner’s office. Arkuie Williams, a spokesman for the medical examiner’s office, said officials there are still doing further investigation. He would not say what tests are being performed but reiterated, “It’s not human.”Kiran Krishnamurthy
The Richmond Times-Dispatch

Virginia Mystery Ape Foot

Virginia Mystery Ape Foot

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.


113 Responses to “Update: The Foot of Bigfoot?”

  1. DWA responds:

    Not sure what to say about this, except that I am not at all certain we’re going to get to the bottom of the sasquatch phenomenon by fondling relics.

    Since when did Jane Goodall become a chemist? Not sure she’s the one this guy should be going to – unless she can use her status to buttonhole someone reputable to do it.

    Stuff like this, I think, just gives the denialists ammunition – and they can use that ammo pretty successfully against scientists who value their reputations more than they value personal involvment in this area.

    I won’t ask what a sawed-off juvenile sas foot was doing in a landfill.

    [sigh]

  2. mystery_man responds:

    It seems to me that if this is going to be handed over to more experts, we should wait to see what they find without speculating or drawing conclusions too much. I am not sure who first proclaimed that this was the foot of a bigfoot, but it sounds like some hopeful speculation to me. The experts that have examined it are saying it isn’t human and they want to pass it along to “find out what it is”. How does “we don’t know what it is” and “it’s not human” equate to this being from a mysterious hominid? Because they said it comes from an apelike species? It doesn’t even seem that the possibility of bear foot has been ruled out. How are people making the jump to this being the foot of Bigfoot? In my opinion, there is nothing that the experts who have examined it thusfar have said to lead to that conclusion. I still don’t see how the medical examiner would be able to X-ray and examine the thing, yet miss if it was a bear paw, but I’m happy to see that this will be given more of a chance for a second opinion. I feel that the facts should be looked at in this case and the information that reveals itself should be examined before we start making assertations to what it is.

  3. Sardokar responds:

    And to add to the bear’s paw theory, you can almost see that the claws has been removed. Search for the guy with the beautiful bear claw necklace………

  4. mystery_man responds:

    The denialists or believers or skeptics can say all they want, but the fact of the matter seems to be that this evidence will be examined by more than one expert and that the bottom line is we are going to either have evidence of something at the end of this. Will it be bear? Maybe. Some sort of primate? sure. Bigfoot? maybe, but a very small one. I am going on a medical examiners ability to tell a human foot from a not human foot, so I didn’t add human into those possibilities. Whatever it is, we will know soon, and the less we make bold assertations about this, the less we will have to eat crow when the results are revealed.

  5. silvereagle responds:

    I googled Virginia primate centers and got:

    Labs of Virginia, aka, THE MONKEY FARM

    Monkeys are routinely used across the country in over 200 facilities, for drug testing.

    End of Story

  6. kittenz responds:

    Bears’ feet look surprisingly like human feet in Xrays. So do their hands for that matter – if the claws are cut off.

    What galls me about this is that bear poaching, which has become very widespread due to the demand for bears’ gall bladders in Oriental folk medicine, is shrugged off so lightly.

    No wonder poaching is such a problem, if the authorities take such a cavalier attitude toward it. “It’s not human so the case is closed”. Excuse me?

    I doubt that any further investigation would have been done at all if the question had not been raised about it possibly being a Bigfoot.

  7. joppa responds:

    I still think its a bear.

  8. Benjamin Radford responds:

    Excellent!

    More Bigfoot evidence being subjected to scientific analysis! This is exactly what we need. I wonder if, like all the previous scientific analyses, the answer will be either

    1) No, it’s not a Bigfoot, or

    2) ambiguous.

  9. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    kittenz,

    I think it is a mistake to say that poaching is “shrugged off” so easily. It’s hard to pick up a hunting/sportsman magazine (such as Outdoor Life, etc.) without finding a story about the brave men and women working undercover for the US Fish and Wildlife Department to bust poaching rings, and not just bear poaching, but other legitimate game species being taken outside of approved areas, such as on federal preserves.

    In some cases, it may point to a lack of knowledge on the part of local enforcement officials, or it may be that it’s outside of their jurisdiction, so it gets passed on to the appropriate authorities and then falls off of the mainstream media radar. But, rest assured, while it may not make for thrilling mainstream news stories, the illegal poaching of bears, and other critters, is something the USFWD, and sportsmen, take very seriously.

    (In fact, I remember reading a story in the December/January 2007 issue of “Outdoor Life” about the first female undercover agent to bust a major Alaskan poaching ring… but just like undercover narcotic agents, these folks can’t really advertise their actions until they have retired from field work if they want to keep catching the “bad guys”).

    I bet that, if this is a poached bear, and someone with info steps forward and presents the info to the USFWD, we’ll see an arrest. If the media decides that is as worthwhile a story as a possibly human foot, (or “bad old hunters” wanting to kill “cute baby mountain lions” in California or the abundance of “bambis” in suburban New Jersey) remains to be seen. (I say this as a former member of the “damned liberal media” myself.)

  10. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    Oh Ben, you just can’t WAIT for this turn out to be a bear foot, can you?

  11. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    If this does turn out to be the foot of a juvenile ‘squatch, I’m going to blame Loren for not taking the Yarwen guy more seriously. ;-)

  12. Benjamin Radford responds:

    No, actually I WANT this to be a Bigfoot! I WANT to have evidence, I really do! But it has to be good evidence, real evidence, not more sightings.

    Unlike a lot of people here, I don’t really have a vested interest in proving or disproving Bigfoot. I’m open to either, it doesn’t really matter to me. It’s an issue of objective evidence, not a personal issue.

    That’s one reason I find it very odd when people get so worked up and passionate over it, defending evidence that is clearly faulty. Such emotion comes from faith and belief, not evidence.

  13. Va-Bigfoot responds:

    I feel a need to clarify some things, Jane Goodall stated she would help out in anyway she could if we should obtain possible evidence of a Bigfoot creature. It didn’t mean she would actually conduct the tests herself, but point us to someone who can. We also have other contacts that are fully capable of testing the foot. The reporter deviated only slightly from what we spoke about over the phone concerning Goodall. After speaking with Dr. Meldrum and conducting my own research on bear feet/paws and also consulting a taxidermist, I fully believe the foot is a rear hind foot of a bear. I would not pursue Jane Goodall’s help now with the consensus that the foot belonged to a bear. The Sheriffs department has already stated they will send the foot out for more testing once it is returned to them. It now seems that the Chief Medical Examiners office has decided to continue testing on the foot. It’s my opinion that they will come to a conclusion to save face, they opened the floodgates when they thought the foot belonged to an ape.

  14. Mnynames responds:

    Here’s my take on the whole matter-

    It’s almost certainly a bear. But because the medical examiner labeled it a primate, it’s in everyone’s interest to find out exactly what it is. Even if there is a very slim chance of it being something unknown, tests should be done, especially since it’s such a simple matter to do so. Besides, by saying it’s a bear and dismissing it, how would cryptozoologists be any different than scientists who disregard potential evidence? By saying it’s a bear AND doing the tests to confirm it, BF proponents are showing both common sense in their investigations, retaining an open mind, AND following the scientific method to come to firm conclusions.

    I doubt even Benjamin Radford could find fault with that…

  15. Benjamin Radford responds:

    I fully support any inquiry into Bigfoot evidence… even if it turns out to be a known animal, it is (or should be) instructive to realize that it was at least suspected of having been Bigfoot evidence.

    I always laugh when I hear people say things like, “skeptics say we shouldn’t even look for Bigfoot!” That’s ridiculous. Of course we should look, I have always encouraged anyone and everyone to search. Maybe someone will finally bring back some real evidence.

  16. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    I know Ben, and I agree about the need for REAL evidence over more Blob-squatch garbage. I just had to tweak you a little bit.

  17. DWA responds:

    jeremy_wells: read Ben’s first post.

    He wants it to be a bear, all right. He’s got a vested interest in it being a bear.

    But this is where fondling relics will get you. Either (a) not a Bigfoot or (b) ambiguous.

    (b) means it’s probably a Bigfoot. But without a type specimen, who knows for sure?

    Scientists who know what they’re talking about will tell you how to find this guy. Hint hint: the word SIGHTINGS figures prominently.

  18. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    DWA,

    I’m familiar with Ben’s work (I even bought his book on Lake Monsters) and I’ll concede that he has as much a vested interest in the subject as any other person who makes a little cash selling stories on the subject, either pro or con (I say a little cash because, as a writer myself, I know nobody who writes for a living gets rich doing magazine articles), but the subject of the post we’re replying to isn’t “bash Ben Radford”, it’s a foot of unknown origin.

    I know I brought it up by ribbing him in the first place, but I do have to give him some credit for stepping into the proverbial lion’s den when he posts over here. And I do agree with his assertion that faith has no place in our search for the truth about this creature (that holds equally true though for the skeptics who dogmatically dismiss all evidence out of hand as it does for the “true believer” who believes every scrap of evidence even without any sighting of their own, and in fact, the people I’ve met who HAVE had actual sightings often hold the evidence that is presented up to the most scrutiny).

    That’s a long-winded way of me saying, despite my differences with Ben on the definition of “open-mided skeptic” (which I proclaim to be), I maybe shouldn’t have tweaked him in the first place and instead should have stuck to the topic at hand. While, again, I must concede that, yes, you are correct and Ben does have at least some vested interest in the outcome of this (at least as much as Loren and Craig and the other contributors to Cryptomundo do), I don’t want to be responsible for any “skeptic bullying” that might distract us from the subject at hand.

  19. mystery_man responds:

    I am still not convinced about it being a bear foot and I’ll tell you why. Sure, a bear foot may look like a human foot, but we are talking about the medical examiner. These are people with training and experience looking at human remains and although I am not sure about the complete job description, I would think that they have the know how to take remains and tell if they are a human foot or not, regardless of whether it looks like a human foot. That is what they are trained to do, is it not? Who am I to dispute what a trained professional says by simply looking at the picture? As far as the “missing joint” idea goes, that may be the case, but remember that this is decomposed and those joints may have ended up where the rest of the body did. And again, correct me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t the medical examiner be used to looking at decomposed bodies? I mean, isn’t that why the remains were sent there by the police first? If the medical examiner can’t do enough basic research to even tell human from non human or be able to take missing joints into account, wouldn’t that be incompetence on their part? I just feel that these are professionals whose jobs include looking at human remains, possibly in a decomposed state and possibly found where other wildlife remains would be found, so if they say it is “not human”, that shouldn’t be too readily dismissed no matter what we think we see in the pictures.

  20. mystery_man responds:

    Come to think of it, maybe it’s a good idea to pass it along to an expert on bears as well, just to get to the bottom of the theory once and for all.

  21. kittenz responds:

    Jeremy_Wells,
    I think you may have misunderstood my post. I fully appreciate and understand the efforts and risks made every day by the largely unsung heroes of the US Fish and Wildlife Department and others. They put their lives on the line in many cases, for very little reward. I applaud their dedication and their sacrifices.

    That’s one of the reasons it’s so infuriating that the local authorities were so quick to want to wash their hands of this investigation as soon as they learned that the foot was not human. I really believe that if this thing had not received all the media coverage, it would have been quietly swept under a rug. Now they feel that they have to actually put forth some effort to try to determine the species to which the foot belongs, in order to save face.

    No matter the reason, I am glad that the investigation is going to continue. If this is the foot of a bear that was killed by a poacher, I hope that person is found and punished. If it is from the corpse of a lab monkey (looks too big for that), or a baboon, I wonder if it was legal to dispose of it in a public landfil.

    And hey, if it is an infant Sasquatch, it’s the find of the century.

  22. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    Well, Mystery Man, I don’t see where you are going. The medical examiner DID look at it, and said that although the police mistook it for human, it wasn’t human, and that is what started all the speculation in the first place. To the untrained eye, human; to the trained eye, not at all human.

    There was some speculation as to its possibly being primate, but medical examiners, although trained doctors, specialize in the human species. Now if a veternarian and/or a taxidermists and/or a biologists whose specialty is bears looks at it and says “that isn’t a bear paw,” then I’ll give it a harder look. With the attention it has drawn, I hope that can happen pretty soon. Until then, we’ll just have to wait.

  23. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    kittenz,

    I appreciate your passion. :)

    I understand where you are coming from and hope I didn’t offend with my post. I too wish more can be done and, if this is a bear paw, I hope this can be used to draw more attention to the problems of poaching.

  24. mystery_man responds:

    Well, Jeremy_Wells, you got me there. They would indeed be trained in human remains so I suppose they are not going to be able to come up with what animal it is. Looking back, my posts doesn’t say much sense does it. Don’t I feel a bit foolish. So that settles it, then, this is most definately not a human foot. But like i said in the post before that, I still don’t see any reason to go off calling this a foot of Bigfoot. Very curious to see who they get to look at it and what they come up with on this one. If it is a bear foot or primate foot, I wonder who put it in the landfill and where the rest of the body went.

  25. joppa responds:

    How can you prove it’s a Sasquatch foot, even if it is? It will just be an unknown, there will be nothing to compare it to. Nothing will be “proven” until there is a live capture or a body.

  26. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    “If it is a bear foot or primate foot, I wonder who put it in the landfill and where the rest of the body went.”

    That’s the million dollar question! :)

  27. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    Well joppa, on the off chance that it IS a sasquatch foot, you’re right, it won’t prove a thing as far as “what” it actually came from. The tests will just come back “unknown.” BUT, if they can place it somewhere on a continuum (provided it isn’t too decayed and/or contaminated), i.e. primate, not human, not any discernible known primate, AND THEN analysis of the foot’s bone structure shows it to be different from the bone structure of all known primates, AND THEN further analysis shows it matches expectations for foot structure based on track finds that cannot be easily dismissed as a hoax THEN we have another piece of the puzzle to add to our overall collection of clues and evidence and a bit of real, undeniable, concrete evidence that can be used to solicit the interests of scientific parties capable of funding and mounting the kind of intensive field studies that might prove once and for all the existence of this large creature.

    And, granted, that’s an awful lots of “buts” and “thens”. And if that happens and it fails, it still won’t convince the folks who know what they’ve seen that they didn’t see it and we’ll be right back where we are.

    Either way, it could further scientific knowledge, and it furthers our understanding of how people interact within our societies and socially construct their realities. So worthy of pursuit and interest no matter how you slice it, no?

  28. swnoel responds:

    Mystery-man

    I may not be a bear expert, but I’ve skun out my fair share of Black Bear as a taxidermist.

    If it looks like a duck… quacks like a duck… looks like a duck… and swims like a duck… it’s probably a DUCK

    In this case… a skun out bear foot.

    Maybe someone could answer these for me.

    Why would a skun out BF foot be found in a dump?

    How would it get there?

    Were would the rest of the body be?

    Why would someone skin out a foot of an animal that would be one of the most important discoveries in modern time, and not report the discovery of the animal?

    It’s hard for me to believe any reputable medical examiner would even suggested this foot to be of a primate.

  29. DWA responds:

    jeremy_wells: I just like to make sure that when Ben steps into a lion’s den, he encounters a few lions. ;-)

    But notice that my post doesn’t “bash” him at all. (One mustn’t get reflexive about this.) I do think that for somebody who says he wants to find the animal, and thinks we need to be scientific about it, he has the most peculiar way of looking for it. It’s a way that ties science’s hands behind its back, and keeps it from using the most powerful tools at its disposal. I’d be scratchin’ me head, if I were a scientist.

    Here’s my basic problem with this relic-focused line of inquiry: we can’t get anything better than “inconclusive.” With ANY piece of so-called “hard” evidence that has so far been found. Not the P/G film; not all the trackways, combined; not all the hairs; not the Skookum cast; not all the parts found in dumpsters, huckster shows, etc. Why: well, it’s been said here dozens of times: no body! You can’t compare anything against THE THING THAT MAKES THIS. And we won’t find that (unless nature gives us the dumb-luck reward of one) until we SEARCH.

    And I’m thinking, just a hunch here, that dumpsters and landfills ain’t gonna be it. But I and more than a few like me know that the sightings database on this critter is yielding information that can take us past landfill relics to the good stuff. If we follow up. Which – and maybe I haven’t emphasized this enough – NO ONE OTHER THAN PATTERSON AND GIMLIN HAS DONE. Not for the time required, in a “hot” area, with the tools needed (as simple as a 1967 movie camera!) to bring it back alive. OK, leave it there, and bring back the evidence. (If P/G had been shot by a scientific expedition we’d have the sas in the bag 40 years gone. The source is the only reason anyone doubts it.)

    I’d be getting tired of “inconclusive” by now if I were looking. “Inconclusive” could likely mean “unknown primate.” But until you have a type specimen, you don’t have a species.

    I’m not saying that you couldn’t get a result from an analysis like this that might put people on the scent, finally.

    Wanna bet this ain’t gonna be the one?

    (The only thing I’d bash about Ben, other than his conception of science, is a rather not-too-careful reading of our posts. But I’ll keep trying.)

  30. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    DWA,

    You won’t get too much argument from me, but I hope you can appreciate my desire to remain at least somewhat diplomatic.

    I will argue with you about people not getting out “in the field” though, as I know the TBRC is doing the best they can, with their limited resources, to get out where the sightings are taking place to do field research. But until more “real” scientists (like Jane Goodall) become interested and researchers can get the funds they need to finance the extended field studies we are going to need, we’ll continue arguing with folks about the myth versus the reality of these critters on message boards.

  31. mystery_man responds:

    Well, interesting swnoel. That’s what a lot of apparently knowledgable people are saying, that it is a bear foot. You being a taxidermist, are in a position to make that call better than I. So I too am a little curious as to how a medical examiner could not see that to some extent. That’s kind of what I was trying to say before in my misguided post. And don’t think that I think this is the foot of Bigfoot! I have said from the beginning that people are jumping to conclusions on this.

  32. DWA responds:

    Jeremy_wells: Well, three reasons I’m diplomatic with practically everyone on this board:

    1. They read posts thoroughly, and comment on the whole post. They don’t cherrypick what suits them.

    2. When they missed something important, they go back and admit it.

    3. They don’t come in, stir stuff up, then run when their arguments get challenged head on.

    OK, ’nuff sed.

    My point about P/G wasn’t intended to slight anybody – the TBRC in particular. I’m as avid a reader of their expedition reports as anybody. If somebody well funded by a big donor to look into this had been on any of the trips they’ve put up on their site, we’d be getting the time and money we need for sas confirmation. We’d very possibly know by now. One hopes. But based on the evidence I think it’s more than a slim chance.

    But just when the TBRC has something really compelling happen – frequently the latest in a series of really compelling somethings – everybody’s got to go back to work. It’s got to be pretty frustrating (although having those experiences must count for some compensation). Patterson was equipped to stay out and resupply if he needed to for as long as it took. And it took longer than any amateur organization, doing it for the love not the money, has to spend in the field. TBRC seems to have LOTS of good stuff, and the savvy to use it right. There’s a lot happening on those trips that there’s just no easy explanation for, and the hoax one looks most unlikely.

    But there’s just not the time. The time seems the biggest issue.

    I’ve seen the Relic Follies go on for half a century without results. The problem is what people AREN’T looking for. Other than a few folks with the gear, the know-how…and a job to return to Monday. (And three of the people on the TBRC’s latest posted expedition were biologists.)

    i know you and most others on this board may not need to hear this again, because you know. But for those who don’t, here’s why I think sightings provide the critical information.

    THEY HAPPEN WHERE PEOPLE AREN’T, AND WHERE THE SAS SHOULD BE.

    Paranormal phenomena happen where people are. Their concentration is higher where human population is. They don’t have a habitat, except in the mind of the observer. They’ve been seen all over. Sas sightings happen almost exclusively:

    1) On, or on the edge of, large remote areas with lots of water and potential food;

    2) In places with, generally, very few people.

    It defies logic that an illusion should happen in places where almost no one is there to see one. That would require assuming that there are Sasquatch Bermuda Triangles, where, when you go there, you see one….hold it, wait a minute, that’s what’s happening. But, with almost no exceptions, in places matching the description of 1) and 2) above. In other words, it doesn’t make sense, given the pattern, to assume you’re seeing it because YOU are there. You are seeing it because THEY are.

    As John Green once said: isn’t it interesting how people’s imagination dries up in places with little rainfall?

    What could possibly be more scientific than looking at sighting patterns; noting in what kind of places the sightings happen; seeing that those places correspond to excellent habitat; then going there prepared to document?

    The TBRC knows. That’s the essence of science.

    Sifting through dumpsters: not so much.

    Those tracks could be an animal. Jeff Meldrum says so. Good. Let’s find IT. We’ve GOT its foot.

    I’m only a skeptic on the existence of this animal for one reason: I have no firsthand way of knowing that the things I’ve read and seen weren’t faked or the result of honest mistakes or sensory impairment.

    But I gotta say that sure looks like a long shot to me.

  33. mystery_man responds:

    DWA, I agree that it must be very frustrating for anyone out there struggling to get funding for this research and not having enough time to spend in the field. With such an apparently rare, shy, and elusive creature as Bigfoot is said to be, enough time in the field to properly follow up is essential. A mainstream zoologist would have a lot more funding and more time to devote to his research than most Bigfoot investigators get. Most of them pay out of pocket and have regular jobs. It is frustrating that we have seen no fruits to their labors, but I always think that it could just be the time, money, and luck factors. I have gone out and studied tanuki (these are Japanese racoon dogs, a known species) and been skunked even though they are not even incredibly rare. Of course I also have all the stealth of an ox, but my point is that even real researchers can go out and not get results all the time. Yes, you can say there is no evidence that Bigfoot exists or some such, but the sightings are compelling and could possibly lead to that evidence with the right dedication and rescources. And luck (and yes, I beleive luck is a big factor! So much for scientific thinking!). This foot, I have a bad feeling, is not that evidence we are waiting for. Too many factors that just don’t make sense to me.

  34. Benjamin Radford responds:

    Sometimes you read something so strange and illogical, you have to wonder if people think before they write.

    DWA, for example, states that I have a vested interest in this foot being a bear. What exactly this vested interest is, he doesn’t say, but as Jeremy Wells noted:

    I must concede that, yes, you are correct and Ben does have at least some vested interest in the outcome of this (at least as much as Loren and Craig and the other contributors to Cryptomundo do)

    I make very little money writing about cryptozoology. I was not paid a dime for my article Bigfoot at 50, or any other article in Skeptical Inquirer (the magazine does not pay for articles). And (this is an obvious point that DWA doesn’t seem to be able to grasp): I don’t get paid any more or less if this or any other Bigfoot evidence turns out to be valid.

    I get paid exactly the same amount (which is often nothing) for writing about good research and bad, good Bigfoot evidence and the lack of Bigfoot evidence. In fact, the irony is that Bigfoot “believer” books sell much better than skeptical Bigfoot books (the same is true for most “unexplained phenomena” book topics). If I wanted to make money from cryptozoology, I’m on the wrong side of the fence.

    DWA has it exactly wrong (once again).

    Where exactly is this vested interest? In DWA’s head, I guess.

  35. mystery_man responds:

    Another thing one could argue, and it is a good point, is that at any given moment there are quite a few people out looking for Bigfoot and yet no indisputable evidence has been turned up. This is hard to ignore in my opinion. It is one thing that awakens the more skeptical side of me, yet I still don’t beleive it means there is no Bigfoot. But it is odd. One thing that I think may perhaps help the search is if these different research groups coordinated with each other more to make the most of their funds and research. Would it not better help the ultimate cause if information, leads, and research was shared more across the board? Perhaps when those guys had to go to work on Monday morning, another group could take over, and so on. Maybe this is happening now, but probably not to the extent that will really make it work from what I’ve read.

  36. Huntress responds:

    “If it is a bear foot or primate foot, I wonder who put it in the landfill and where the rest of the body went.”

    I am a professional taxidermist and have skinned out hundreds of bear paws over the years. It is MHO that what was found in the dump is the right, rear foot of a bear. If this turns out to be the case, then I have an explanation as to why only the foot was found.

    (This is a copy/paste of my explanation to this question on another site.)
    After a hunter shoots and field dresses a (black) bear, it typically goes to a butcher shop for processing. The butcher skins the bear, leaving the paws (cut off at the ankle joint) and the skull, attached to the skin. The meat goes to the hunter…the skin to the taxidermist who removes the skull and foot bones.

    Some states require disposal of taxidermy waste to be in regulated landfills. The skulls are usually kept by the hunter as the measurements from the skull are what is used to determine the size of the bear. The only waste parts are the foot bones.

    If I am wrong and this turns out to be a primate foot or BF foot then I’ll be as interested as anyone else as to ‘where the rest of the body went’.

  37. Benjamin Radford responds:

    Mystery Man sez: “Another thing one could argue, and it is a good point, is that at any given moment there are quite a few people out looking for Bigfoot and yet no indisputable evidence has been turned up. This is hard to ignore in my opinion. It is one thing that awakens the more skeptical side of me, yet I still don’t beleive it means there is no Bigfoot.”

    True enough! But since you set up the question, what is the answer? If BF are out there, why is there no indisputable evidence despite people looking? You can say that the reason is that we need more searchers, but in some ways that’s a cop-out, because that’s always an excuse, you can always say that more and more searchers are needed. But look at the history of Loch Ness searches for an example of how more and more sophisticated searches turned up nothing.

  38. mystery_man responds:

    It is curious, Ben and Loch Ness is actually a good example, but it was a much smaller area than Bigfoot’s supposed range. There has been a very concerted effort to find it, yet the searches seem for the most part to be underfunded and haphazard compared to most mainstream field expeditions. I think, like I said, more coordination between the different groups might produce more results. Maybe if more was actually known about where to find it, at what times of the year, and what its behavior is, that could help too. This would be important information regarding any attempt to go out and study a known species. You can’t just pack up your equiptment and go camping if you want to find, say gorillas, or a Siberian Tiger, etc. Some amount of research has to be done on the animal beforehand and this kind of information is lacking with the Bigfoot so a suitable expedition cannot be efficiently mounted. And I know you will say “but why is there the lack of information in the first place?” and you would be right to ask that, and around and around we go. It is kind of a viscious cycle in my opinion. This is one of the things that really grips me, and I really enjoy these debates because it is interesting for me to see the different opposing views on it.

  39. mystery_man responds:

    By “it” I mean Bigfoot of course, not The Loch Ness monster.

  40. Benjamin Radford responds:

    MM: you’re right about a lot of this… it gets to be a catch-22, you need evidence to fuel investigation and to examine scientifically, but then (some say) you need investigation and science to find the evidence. But I suggest this is wrong, because all other things that are real have at least SOME hard evidence for their existence. It beggars logic and explanation to say that so many creatures so widely seen haven’t left any hard evidence at all.

  41. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    Mystery Man sez:

    Another thing one could argue, and it is a good point, is that at any given moment there are quite a few people out looking for Bigfoot and yet no indisputable evidence has been turned up. This is hard to ignore in my opinion. It is one thing that awakens the more skeptical side of me, yet I still don’t beleive it means there is no Bigfoot.

    BUT in another posts he also notes:

    I have gone out and studied tanuki (these are Japanese racoon dogs, a known species) and been skunked even though they are not even incredibly rare.

    I’ll even do you one better Mystery_man.

    I grew up in eastern Kentucky, on the West Virginia border, in country that is THICK with deer. I took my first deer when I was 18 years old, after about four years of being allowed to carry a slug gun in the woods (and a lifetime of squirrel and small game hunting). My father, the man who taught me to hunt, to be quiet in the woods, to sit still and let the animals come to you, didn’t take his first deer until last year at the age of 53. It isn’t because the deer aren’t out there. It isn’t because my dad is a bad shot. It’s just one of those things.

    I’ve been very lucky and killed my fair share of deer (granted, I’m not as picky as some because I’m a meat hunter, not a trophy hunter), but even so, 9 times out of 10, you consider yourself lucky to see a “white flag” bouncing off through the woods. And this is with a critter that has thrived and reproduced dramatically over the last century.

    I’ll give you an even better example. In all my time in those Appalachian foothills, I’ve only seen ONE red fox, and that was one that a couple of hounds chased, literally, right between my legs during deer season. Now, I don’t doubt there are plenty of fox out there. I’ve seen their scat. I’ve seen pug marks. But I’ve only been privileged to see the one red fox in the wild, and he was running full out,so fast I almost mistook him for a large house cat at first.

    Maybe still yet a better example, we also occasionally had black bear wander over from WVa. Again, I know they are supposed to be there, that our woods are within their wandering territory. We even had a young male show up in downtown Greenup several years back that a wildlife biologists assumed was recently “run off” by his momma and looking to establish his own territory. But nary a sign have I even seen that I would say was definitely bear related in all my time in those woods. Same for bobcat, although, again, I know they are there.

    But although I’ve never seen one, I don’t doubt the many people who saw that young bear wander onto US Hwy 23 in Greenup. It was a young bear, on the periphery of their currently recognized territory, well within their historical territory.

    I feel the same way about Bigfoot sightings, especially when they come from hunters, outdoorspersons, foresters, firefighters, law enforcement officials, doctors… people with nothing to gain except ridicule and derision, and with the experience to tell the difference between a black bear, a guy in a pair of black overalls, or some unknown critter.

    I must admit, I’ll remain an open-minded skeptic until I see one for myself, but the more sincere eyewitnesses I spend time talking with, the harder it is for me to be dismissive.

    You tell me you see little grey men visiting you at night, with all the psycho-sexual experiences they conjure, and I have to say it’s probably a way of interpreting some unknown phenomenon that helps you understand it.

    You tell me you saw a flesh and blood creature walk across your path (without all the weird psychic stuff) and all you can think to yourself is “I know wildlife and that isn’t supposed to be here,” I have to give things a harder look.

  42. DWA responds:

    I definitely don’t think there’s anything unusual in Loch Ness.

    Why? The same reason denialists have for there being no Bigfoot. I just don’t think so.

    But unlike denialists on Bigfoot, I’m backed by some pretty intensive searches and an extreme paucity of sightings for an animal that should be more visible than Nessie is. I’m open to the possibility, because I may not have read everything (in part because of what I admit to being a bias against the animal’s existence). But what I’ve seen doesn’t add up. (For one thing, anything that’s been seen out of water as much as Nessie allegedly has should be seen on the surface much more frequently. Loch Ness isn’t exactly remote.)

    Bigfoot is – if you believe what you read – seen often, by lots of people. I’d consider it a conservative estimate, if the sightings are genuine, to take the total number of sightings in online databases and multiply by at least ten. Remember, you’re crazy if you see one. How many want to admit that? (And given that many sightings reported have multiple witnesses, ten may be a VERY conservative number.) Many don’t even know you can report sightings online, and find that out only by chance. I have the same reservations mystery_man does, of course, plus the additional reservation that I don’t have firsthand evidence of the validity of all I’ve seen in books and online.

    But you need to offer a plausible scenario for fakery (if you think it’s all faked), or for how anyone could mistake anything else in North America for an eight-foot bipedal ape. Bears? The only other possibility, and out of the question, out of hand. No sighting report I’ve ever read could possibly have been a bear. When you’ve seen as many bears as I have you know when someone has seen a bear.

    The need for more searchers isn’t a copout, it’s a fact. I’ve never heard of a field search that lasted a week, other than P/G. Not enough, period, unless you’re hoping to get REAL lucky.

    Now, saying that the animal isn’t likely to exist, and not proposing a scenario as to how all these people could be seeing hearing smelling and experiencing the same thing, despite no contact with one another, and that thing not being a real animal? Well, that’s a real cop-out.

    And I don’t think denialists should get away with it. We skeptics know that in science, you always have to defend your position. Whatever that position is.

    If this foot is shown to be a whatever – wish I cared – I don’t see a sasquatch disappearing on that account. Chuckling? Maybe. Stick with that foot fetish, I can hear him thinking. I have a sense of humor too.

  43. DWA responds:

    Here’s all you have to remember about “hard” evidence for something:

    “Hard” evidence is what you have AFTER you know something exists.

    Logic dictates this. In fact, there may be no more common sense a proposition than this one. It can’t be “hard” unless there is a standard against which to verify. (Really? OK. Hard evidence of, precisely, what? Exactly.) There’s tons of evidence for the sas that would be considered “hard” – if there were a standard against which to compare it. The footprints, hair, shelters and vocal recordings would all be considered “hard” if science had identified an animal against which to compare. But science hasn’t. When I see a beaver-chewed tree I know it’s a beaver, wherever the tree is. Because I know what beavers do; their mark is distinctive. Once we know what the sas is, lots of stuff that doesn’t seem to add up to anything now will be seen as hard evidence.

    Until you have scientific confirmation, there is no such thing as hard evidence.

    But there is evidence that looks enough like it could be hard evidence – because you have seen it or heard of it lots of places, always in concert with other consistent types of evidence – that you follow it until you find what left it. And from there, logic and common sense apply.

  44. Benjamin Radford responds:

    DWA sez: “The footprints, hair, shelters and vocal recordings would all be considered “hard” if science had identified an animal against which to compare.”

    Once again DWA shows his deep lack of understanding about science. If DWA really thinks that footprints, shelters, and vocal recordings of anything (Bigfoot or otherwise) is “hard evidence,” he needs to take an intro course in science.

    Hard evidence would be something forensically testable: blood, hair, teeth, bones, etc. If he doesn’t get something this basic, you have to wonder….

  45. DWA responds:

    Jeremy_wells: excellent post.

    I was on Kent Island on Maryland’s Eastern Shore last weekend. Driving around, seeing what I could see, near sunset. Open field, right by the road. A skull, with vertebrae and ribs, and patches of hair, still attached. Omigod, I thought. I slowed. Stopped. Backed up. And gazed in amazement, transfixed. There was no question what this was.

    A WHITE-TAILED DEER! I put on my flashers and sat there, continuing to stare, incredulous. (And yeah, it was near sunset, and the light was kind of cool.)

    It wasn’t obvious from just looking that this deer had been killed by a vehicle (although I reflected later that it probably was). It was far enough from the road to make me wonder. Other than road kill – fish seem smarter about cars than deer are – you simply don’t find the remains of this animal lying around. And there are healthy populations practically everywhere they can live.

    Contrast this with an animal with a North American population much smaller than the deer population of many counties; an animal that generally seems to prefer to travel alone; an animal that natural selection has imbued both with a strong aversion to human company and with a strong curiosity about people. (Bighorn sheep are known to be the same way. And primates are curious, period.) I could see this animal being just scarce enough, on the ground as well as in view, not to arouse the curiosity of science to pursue the very little evidence that a population that small would leave within reasonable human access. While still being seen by a LOT of people.

    That seems to be what we have here.

    Science may do what it wishes. That doesn’t change this: There’s lots of evidence for this animal; and virtually none challenging the validity of that evidence.

    If I were a scientist I’d be interested. The money and time, of course, would be another matter.

  46. DWA responds:

    Let’s examine this:

    “Once again DWA shows his deep lack of understanding about science. If DWA really thinks that footprints, shelters, and vocal recordings of anything (Bigfoot or otherwise) is “hard evidence,” he needs to take an intro course in science.”

    I think I said, pretty precisely, that this CAN’T be hard evidence, because there’s no type species against which to compare it. But it recurs, along with many similar signs, in enough places that if one has an ounce of curiosity, one might wonder what it is, and follow it where it led.

    And this: “Hard evidence would be something forensically testable: blood, hair, teeth, bones, etc. If he doesn’t get something this basic, you have to wonder….”

    I would agree that if one thinks that any of the above were hard evidence, with no species against which to make a comparison, one might need to take an introductory science course. They don’t cost that much.

    Or one could just get outside more. That costs very little. ;-)

  47. DWA responds:

    And let’s further parse this:

    “Hard evidence would be something forensically testable: blood, hair, teeth, bones, etc.”

    Um, no. Listen up, class. Hard evidence is evidence that shows the unmistakable characteristics of having been produced by an identified source.

    A beaver-chewed tree is hard evidence of the presence of beavers. As is a lodge, or a dam, showing the unmistakable earmarks of beaver construction.

    ANY characteristic uniquely identified as indicative of a particular species is hard evidence of presence when it is found.

    Class dismissed.

  48. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    Oh Ben… I really hate to do this, but DWA says this isn’t hard evidence because there is no archetype to compare them to, but if there were, then it WOULD be… plus c’mon man, don’t be so lazy… you quote him as saying “hair” would be, given the archetype is found, then you go on to say we need “Hard evidence would be something forensically testable: blood, hair, teeth, bones, etc.”

    So when he says hair, it isn’t hard evidence, but when you ask for hard evidence, you want hair?

    I’m plum corn-fused!

    I mean, if we are going to be so semantic, I guess, yes, deer tracks aren’t “hard” evidence of deer. They are circumstantial evidence. But since we know what deer are, we infer from that evidence that deer are present in an environment.

    Fingerprints aren’t “hard” evidence by your definition, but they are evidence enough to send a man to jail. Isn’t the circumstantial evidence regarding footprints, as presented by people like Jeff Meldrum, then enough to at least merit a little less derision and a little more interest from the scientific community at large?

  49. DWA responds:

    Jeremy_wells:

    Life is ROUGH in the lions’ den.

    Where the pride feasts on those who ignore science and common sense.

    RRRRRRRRRROOOOOOOOOOOAR! :-D

    In answer to the question ending your post:

    Um, yes.

    IF you want to find the animal.

    If not: there’s the nearest dumpster.

    I’m sorry. I try to be nice. But with such a big barrel, and so many fish…. It’s just too tempting!

  50. Benjamin Radford responds:

    I”ll point out the part that everyone is missing:

    “footprints, shelters, and vocal recordings of ANYTHING (Bigfoot OR OTHERWISE) is “hard evidence,” ”

    A footprint of an elephant is not hard evidence. A fox shelter is not hard evidence. A vocal recording of a wolf is not hard evidence.

    JWells is 100% correct that “I guess, yes, deer tracks aren’t “hard” evidence of deer.”

    He makes a good point that “Fingerprints aren’t “hard” evidence by your definition, but they are evidence enough to send a man to jail.” That’s mostly true, but the criteria is wrong. The criteria for putting a person in jail is vastly different than the criteria for establishing that something exists. The REASON fingerprint evidence is powerful is that we know 100% for certain that the creatures who made it exist.

  51. Benjamin Radford responds:

    And yes, hair would be good evidence for Bigfoot if it contained some DNA. If the hair is “inconclusive,” all that means is that it hasn’t been identified yet. Look at the work done on Freeman’s Bigfoot hair that wasn “inconclusive” and “unknown” until it was finally indentified years later as Dynel fiber!

  52. DWA responds:

    “And yes, hair would be good evidence for Bigfoot if it contained some DNA. If the hair is “inconclusive,” all that means is that it hasn’t been identified yet.”

    Now. Class. How do we identify Bigfoot DNA?

    We can’t.

    Why not?

    No body.

    How do we get a body?

    I’ve proposed how. (Well, actually, how science gets the body is up to science. But if they pursue the evidence, the way I and others on this board have proposed…well, shoot, they might find themselves with more than all the bodies they’d ever want or need.

    Or they can keep scouring landfills. :-p )

    So let’s do THAT, and cut out all the “inconclusives” and Dynel. (shoot. I can identify Dynel by sight. Who the heck was doing this analysis?) :-D

  53. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    The REASON fingerprint evidence is powerful is that we know 100% for certain that the creatures who made it exist.

    We also know that SOMETHING made those tracks that do not match anything else that is known to science, unless you can honestly argue that every single footprint, spread out across the US and Canada, were all hoaxed by Ray Wallace, even after his passing, and that he continued to “refine” his fake feet to fool locomotion experts like Jeff Meldrum.

    I ask, which requires that “leap of faith”?

    I agree that footprints are only circumstantial evidence. But, by-gum, that’s some compelling circumstantial evidence.

    And, if you’ll forgive my apples and oranges comparison, I would also ask, based on the same hypothetical fingerprint found at multiple hypothetical murder sites, but matching no fingerprint found in any data-base, would we quit searching for the individual who possesed that fingerprint?

    I sure hope not.

  54. Benjamin Radford responds:

    J Wells says, We also know that SOMETHING made those tracks that do not match anything else that is known to science, unless you can honestly argue that every single footprint, spread out across the US and Canada, were all hoaxed by Ray Wallace, even after his passing, and that he continued to “refine” his fake feet to fool locomotion experts like Jeff Meldrum..

    This is simply not true. This is the “either/or” fallacy, and it is a faulty premise. There are several sources of alleged BF tracks, among them

    1) hoaxers (proven to exist);

    2) misidentifications (proven to have happened); and

    3) Bigfoot (never proven to exist).

  55. DWA responds:

    Jeremy_wells: exactly.

    What I like to do here is carefully expose who’s acting on faith, and who’s looking to the science.

    Skeptics go: the pat answer that this animal probably doesn’t exist is based on faith. We want to see the analysis of the evidence that convinces us that an unknown animal didn’t make it.

    Denialists go: it doesn’t exist. Why not? Um…it, um, er, ah, COULD have been faked. So it WAS. Um, defense, sort of, rests.

    Well, um, no. It all HAS to have BEEN faked. If not…then something unknown to science made it, and it might behoove science to find out what that unknown something is.

    Scientists just found a group of 25 – twenty-five! in a GROUP! – of a species of Madagascar diving duck that had been presumed extinct for over 15 years. (right here on Cryptomundo. have a gander.)

    Not very many places for a diving duck to go on an island in the ocean.

    LOTS of places for a fast, agile, bipedal ape to go on a huge continent that remains, to this day, largely unpeopled. Despite what many have been raised to think.

  56. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    Ben Radford writes: This is simply not true. This is the “either/or” fallacy, and it is a faulty premise. There are several sources of alleged BF tracks, among them

    1) hoaxers (proven to exist);

    2) misidentifications (proven to have happened); and

    3) Bigfoot (never proven to exist).

    Ben,

    The problem here is, you ignore those very clear prints, some with dermal ridges not matching human dermal ridge patterns (at least if you trust the experience of Jimmy Chilcutt), that exhibit a range of motion that is decidely not human (if you trust the experience of an expert like Jeff Meldrum), and that do not match any known creatures. I’m not talking partial prints. I’m talking clear prints. Or a series of prints. And prints found in remote enough locations to make hoaxes unlikely. I’m also talking about prints that, like the beaver chews DWA mentions, exhibit certain defining characteristics ad nauseum.

    THIS is compelling circumstantial evidence.

  57. DWA responds:

    “This is simply not true. This is the “either/or” fallacy, and it is a faulty premise.”

    No, it is not the either/or fallacy, making the above a faulty premise.

    (Science is a tool. It must be used carefully, by those who understand how.)

    What jeremy_wells said is perfectly true: SOMETHING made those tracks that do not match anything else that is known to science.

    That is, there is no animal, known to science, that makes tracks like that.

    At least so far as I know, one hasn’t been confirmed.

    Yet. ;-)

    (BTW: The symposium “Sasquatch and Related Phenomena,” at the University of British Columbia in May 1978, brought together twenty professors in various fields along with serious laymen to consider the subject. The joint conclusion of the participants, in about as mainstream a gathering as you can get on a topic like this: There “are not reasonable grounds to dismiss all the evidence as misperception or hoax.” Sound scientific enough to you? Caveat: NOTHING sounds scientific enough to a denialist, if it disagrees with his carefully guarded beliefs. ;-))

    jeremy_wells: I’m trying to be nice…I really am… :-D

  58. Benjamin Radford responds:

    The problem here is, you ignore those very clear prints, some with dermal ridges not matching human dermal ridge patterns (at least if you trust the experience of Jimmy Chilcut), that exhibit a range of motion that is decidely not human (if you trust the experience of an expert like Jeff Meldrum), and that do not match any known creatures.

    Jeremy, the problem is that Chilcutt’s work has been shown to be badly flawed; see work done by Matt Crowley and Mike Dennett. Meldrum’s work is also flawed; see Dave Daegling’s book for a good explanation.

    Please, I beg you to actually read for yourself the critiques of Chilcutt and Meldrum. Don’t take others’ words for it, get both sides of the story before you take Chilcutt or Meldrum as gospel.

  59. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    DWA wrote: jeremy_wells: I’m trying to be nice…I really am…

    Ben, DWA, et al.,

    Healthy debate can still be “nice”. I think we’re all playing well here. (No one has taken their ball and went home yet.

    Ben does keep raising some compelling points, but there seems to be a preconceived notion of non-existence whereas, in my opinion, as an open-minded skeptic, I must concede that SOMETHING made those footprints and that the likelihood that they are all faked and/or misidentified is as big a leap of faith as saying “a giant monkey made them.”

    I’ve no idea what made them. That is why I’m compelled to look closer at the evidence.

    Also, and this is the real thing that bugs me, it’s more than a little arrogant to tell people who have spent their lives in the outdoors that they are misidentifying a double-imposed deer print as a ‘squatch track (although, to the untrained and even the trained eye, they can sometimes look like the tips of human toe impressions).

    And the focus on the footprint evidence alone ignores all the compelling visual sightings of the creature by, as I’ve stated before, people who know the difference between a man in coveralls, a bear, and something that their gut tells them “isn’t supposed to be there.”

    If it were the odd ‘city-slicker’ seeing something, that is one thing. But these are also spotted by folks who spend their lives in the field. It’s presumptious and insulting to tell them they saw a moose and a trick of the light.

  60. Benjamin Radford responds:

    Jeremy: “That is why I’m compelled to look closer at the evidence.” Please do take a closer look at ALL the evidence and arguments, not just the ones that fit what you already think. I’ve read most of the Bigfoot proponent’s research and arguments, but it seems few bother to read any skeptical or critical analysis with an open mind.

  61. DWA responds:

    Crowley, Dennett and Daegling have shown that SOME of the evidence COULD, conceivably, have been faked.

    What no one has even attempted to show is that a significant proportion of it WAS faked. A tiny fragment of it has been shown to be fake, all of that debunked by proponents of the animal’s existence.

    Fakes don’t account for 1%, by volume, of the evidence.

    That leaves a lot unexplained, don’t it?

    Crowley, among others, would be the first to write a post like this one. He certainly would agree with it.

  62. Benjamin Radford responds:

    “That leaves a lot unexplained, don’t it?”

    Then go explain it, DWA. Go ahead, get off the computer and go out in the woods and bring back the conclusive evidence. Either that, or quit complaining that no one is out there looking.

    The burden of proof is on you; I’ll be waiting.

  63. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    Don’t take others’ words for it, get both sides of the story before you take Chilcutt or Meldrum as gospel.

    Ben,

    While I must concede that I haven’t read the criticism of Meldrum you are talking about, I’ll admit that I have had some of my own reservations about some of Chilcutt’s work (particularly the racial aspect of his early studies) and am familiar with some of the criticism. But I’ve also seen both these individual’s speak (at the same TBRC sponsored series in San Antonio at which I saw you speak), and Meldrum’s explanation of foot rigidity and flexion was some of the most compelling evidence I’ve ever heard (even if it left most of the audience there for tales of “Bigfoot ate my dog” yawning.)

    But those two individuals, and their work, aside, we still have a compelling body of circumatantial evidence that deserves scrutiny, close scrutiny, and I, in return, would ask you not to throw out the proverbial baby with the bathwater based on criticism of these two researchers alone. The simple fact of the matter is, it isn’t Meldrum who made me feel this was deserving of real attention in the first place. (I hadn’t even heard of Jeff Meldrum prior to the “Bigfoot in Texas?” series.) It was the heartfelt stories of regular men and women who were confused by what they saw, something that didn’t fit their paradigm, that got me interested in the first place. I think the same can probably be said for most of us.

  64. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    Ben wrote: “Please do take a closer look at ALL the evidence and arguments, not just the ones that fit what you already think. I’ve read most of the Bigfoot proponent’s research and arguments, but it seems few bother to read any skeptical or critical analysis with an open mind.”

    With all due respect sir, you are a bit presumptious in assuming you know what I already think. I don’t “think” or “believe” there is such a thing as Bigfoot. It would be presumptious of me to say so, having never seen one with my own two eyes. What I do believe, and have stated repeatedly, is that I feel the evidence presented deserves the unbiased eye of science and points toward some unknown phenomenon that deserves serious study, not derision and dismissal.

  65. DWA responds:

    Ben, Ben, Ben.Ben, Ben, Ben.Ben, Ben, Ben.Ben, Ben, Ben.

    BEN!

    Responding to my arguments will do. No tossing toys.

    While you’re at the computer, DO draft that it’s-all-a-fake scenario for me.

    [drumming fingers on desk]

    I want SCIENTISTS to be looking for this animal, silly. I’m comfortable RIGHT here. As I suspect you are, too.

    BIG smile.

    There. Isn’t that better?

    Burden of proof? What burden? My yoke is heavy and my burden light.

  66. Benjamin Radford responds:

    Jeremy: would ask you not to throw out the proverbial baby with the bathwater based on criticism of these two researchers alone.

    Good point, and I do not dismiss Bigfoot at all, and certainly not because of Meldrum et al. It’s not that I want them to stop doing Bigfoot research, I want them to start doing GOOD SCIENCE in Bigfoot research.

    The problem in discussions like this is that proponents like you (not you personally, but those in your position) keep changing the subject. They say that eyewitness testimony is good evidence, and after they finally admit it isn’t, say, “Well, okay, but there’s dermal ridges.” And so a skeptic will go over the flaws in dermal ridge research, and then the change the subject again with, “Well, okay, maybe that’s not great, but what about Meldrum’s work?” Then a skeptic will show serious errors and faulty logic in that, and it’s back to, “Well, okay, but what about the eyewitnesses?”

    And around we go again…

  67. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    And, BTW, I’m as likely to pick up a copy of Skeptical Inquirer from the news stand as I am to pick up Fortean Times (especially with that FT cover price… DANG but that’s a pricey read for stuff I’ve already seen on the internet!)

  68. Benjamin Radford responds:

    Jeremy: I apologize if you took offense. I never claimed to know what you think, and it doesn’t matter. WHATEVER your position is on the topic, you and I and everyone else should read the other side’s arguments. I was not presuming to know your mind.

    With all due respect sir, you are a bit presumptious in assuming you know what I already think.

  69. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    Then go explain it, DWA. Go ahead, get off the computer and go out in the woods and bring back the conclusive evidence. Either that, or quit complaining that no one is out there looking.

    The burden of proof is on you; I’ll be waiting.

    Well Ben, I know this is meant for DWA, but seeing as how I recently got back from a 5 day camping excursion (Wednesday through Sunday and three of my hard earned vacation days) with the TBRC, I’ll say there ARE folks out there doing what they can to go look more closely.

    You want to help me get a grant, I’ll gladly go live in the woods for a month. Consider this my volunteer pledge. Help me get the funds to do so, and I’ll do my best to bring back “hard evidence.”

    Until then, well… I think you summed it up nicely.

  70. DWA responds:

    See, the problem in discussions like this is that denialists keep changing the subject. They say that eyewitness testimony is bad evidence, and they never admit it isn’t, and then they say, “Well, okay, we need to do GOOD SCIENCE.” But they don’t understand what that is, with regard to an unconfirmed species. And so a denialist will go over the possible flaws in dermal ridge research, and then they change the subject again with, “Well, see, that could have been faked.” Without having to get off dey lazy butts and explain how even a significant minority of it actually was. Then a denialist will make serious errors and use lots of faulty logic, and gets nailed on that, and then it’s back to, “Well, okay, but where’s the good science?”

    Regular whirling dervishes, they are!

    He just keeps making me take off the gloves, j_w… :-D

  71. Benjamin Radford responds:

    I’ll say there ARE folks out there doing what they can to go look more closely.

    Excellent! More power to them, I think it’s great. Hopefully I’ll stop hearing the tired old argument that no one’s out there looking!

  72. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    Ben writes: The problem in discussions like this is that proponents like you (not you personally, but those in your position) keep changing the subject. They say that eyewitness testimony is good evidence, and after they finally admit it isn’t, say, “Well, okay, but there’s dermal ridges.” And so a skeptic will go over the flaws in dermal ridge research, and then the change the subject again with, “Well, okay, maybe that’s not great, but what about Meldrum’s work?” Then a skeptic will show serious errors and faulty logic in that, and it’s back to, “Well, okay, but what about the eyewitnesses?”

    And to that I say, any particular piece can be nitpicked apart. You bring me the stuffed head of a gorilla 200 years ago, and I could argue it’s a gaff.
    The very reason we go “round and round” as you say is that the PREPONDERANCE of the evidence if compelling, not any one single bit of evidence.

  73. DWA responds:

    And hopefully WE’LL stop hearing the tired old argument about how no one’s doing good science on the sasquatch!

    Excellent! All friends! No more tired old arguments! On with the search!

    YEEEEE-HAAAAAH! :-D

  74. Benjamin Radford responds:

    The very reason we go “round and round” as you say is that the PREPONDERANCE of the evidence if compelling, not any one single bit of evidence.

    Interesting. I find it fascinating how you and I can agree on a lot of things, and come to opposite conclusions. To me, it is exactly the opposite: it is the preponderance of evidence that is compelling to me that a Bigfoot is unlikely. We should have a few beers together some time, we’d have a fascinating chat!

  75. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    Interesting. I find it fascinating how you and I can agree on a lot of things, and come to opposite conclusions. To me, it is exactly the opposite: it is the preponderance of evidence that is compelling to me that a Bigfoot is unlikely. We should have a few beers together some time, we’d have a fascinating chat!

    Next time you’re in Texas, I’ll take you up on that!

    After all, I don’t think we’re too far apart on the social construction of the mythology surrounding these creatures (I found your talk in San Antonio on the subject quite intriguing, and it paralleled many of my personal conclusions about other phenomenon such as UFOnauts and El Chupacabras and left me wanting to hear more) but I’m just not ready to say I’m positive about the existence or non-existence of Bigfoot just yet.

    Let’s just say my faith (ewww, there is that word!) in the “common man” who reports these events is still stronger than my jaded inner-voice. At least strong enough for me to not dismiss these out of hand.

    If I could attach to all of them those same historical psycho-sexual anxieties that I see exhibited in abduction scenarios across cultures and time periods, if I could trace the evolution of the phenomenon, and the change in the reports, the same way I can trace the change from the Venusians of George Adamski to the Greys of Whitley Strieber, or if I could see the very beginnings of the phenomenon and trace its spread across related cultures the way I can with El Chupacabras, then yes, I’d lean way more heavily toward your conclusions. But there is a grain of consistency stretching back for hundreds of years, if you count the historical reports, that is just too compelling for me to dismiss all reports out of hand. Granted, some of the Albert Otsman-esque reports and Tennessee Bigfoot stories are likely little more than fun campfire stories. But the traveler’s tales about gorillas didn’t make the reality of that animal any less absolute.

  76. DWA responds:

    The burden of proof is on you; I’ll be waiting.

    Not so fast. That is intellectual laziness.

    Proponents are making their case. Unless you have a compelling countercase – and I’ve never heard one – YOU HAVE NO CASE.

    You just firmly believe, based on, um, something, that something thousands of clear-minded clear-eyed observers are seeing doesn’t exist.

    That’s not skepticism. That’s simple denial. But then, that’s what I’m calling it now, isn’t it?

  77. Benjamin Radford responds:

    DWA writes: The burden of proof is on you; I’ll be waiting.

    Not so fast. That is intellectual laziness.

    Nope, that’s how science works. Look into it.

  78. DWA responds:

    Nope, that’s how science works. Look into it.
    Oh, I agree. Science ISN’T intellectually lazy. The people who practice it frequently ARE.

    With Bigfoot, scientists are engaged in a combination of:

    1. Intellectual laziness.

    2. Lack of time/funding.

    3. Preoccupation with the other scientific work they’re doing.

    4. Actual search for the animal (Meldrum; Krantz; Bindernagel; those I have no intention to impugn by omitting; the three biologists who were on the latest TBRC expedition; people like Goodall and Schaller, who have expressed their belief that there’s something worth pursuing here).

    That is, indeed, how science works. But they can’t say there’s nothing here worth pursuing. Just that for them, personally, it will have to wait, for whatever reason.

  79. DWA responds:

    And one more time, slightly rephrased:

    When you don’t have scientific evidence, i.e., evidence leading directly to identification of the new species, you do what you can with the evidence you have.

    Which is: evaluate, and pursue, it the way a scientist would.

    If one is not conversant with sighting reports, one is uninformed about potentially the most significant information leading to the possible discovery of this animal.

    Lots of scientists know that. This is for the ones – and the laymen for that matter – who don’t.

    The sasquatch stands alone among unsolved phenomena for the sheer volume of usable information that has been compiled through sightings. We have an excellent start on a complete biology of the species; and all of it conforms with what we’d expect from what we know about existing animals.

    Anything else is just watching the back of a hillbilly’s truck to see what jumps in. Dismissing sightings is dismissing knowledge.

    Scientists pursuing science don’t do that. Not when they’re doing it right, they don’t.

  80. Mnynames responds:

    My word, DWA and Ben, but you do both enjoy stirring up beehives, don’t you? And poor Jeremy stuck in the middle of it all, trying to coax some of those bees back inside so they can get back to work making honey…This morning I almost posted a message telling you 2 to play nice, but didn’t have the time. I come home to 40 posts of parries and thrusts! I must commend you on your good sportsmanship, however. One reason I enjoy Cryptomundo so much, even when things do get heated.

    Seriously, you both make good points, but, at the risk of becoming involved in a discussion I’m afraid I don’t have time to become fully involved in (Not for lack of interest, mind you), Ben does seem to come up a bit shorter, in the end. He never seems to talk about the good evidence, only the bad, and does come close to saying that it all must be a hoax or misidentified, even when I do believe him when he says he doesn’t really think that way. He also effectively states that we can’t be 100% sure that deer and elephants exist, but I’m prepared to chalk that up to a flaw in his wording, not his reasoning…

    Both of you, keep up the good work, seriously, and Jeremy and Mystery Man too, for that matter.

    BTW- Since it was sort of mentioned here earlier, I’ve tramped through my share of woods here in South Jersey, but probably far less than your average hardcore hiker or outdoorsman my age, and have come upon 2 rather articulated deer skeletons in my time, and neither could have been roadkill, so it is possible, although rare, to find wild corpses of big animals. Mind you, deer are so abundant here you can’t shake a stick without flushing a few out into the open…

  81. DWA responds:

    Thanks, mnynames. Of course you’re right. :-D

    I tend to Boldly Go. I read every word of every post, and address every single objection to every single one of my points, head on. If I make a mistake I’ll admit it. And I’ve seen the same from mystery_man, Jeremy_wells, things-in-the-woods, kittenz, you, and others on this site.

    All in all I think we’re giving Ben an excellent lesson in applying science to unknown phenomena. I hope he’s taking notes! :-D

  82. DWA responds:

    Oh, and I did mean to address your comment about finding corpses of big wild animals.

    If there’s one thing – and there’s more than one – that open-minded people have a hard time with on the sas, it’s the total (apparent) lack of carcasses and bones. Of course, I’ve postulated elsewhere that such things could easily have been found on land where resource exploitation (specifically logging) was taking place, and could have just been disposed of to avoid derailing the gravy train. Quite plausible, I think. And even if not, with an animal this rare (and yes the pop estimates are tough to take 100% for salt with an unknown animal, but even for known animals, they’re just estimates), we see it as plausible that nobody’s found anything – yet. (And no, I don’t think they bury their dead or any of that stuff. They just die in remote places and get returned to biomass in short order.)

    Yep, you found deer. And that’s it, for an animal that’s coming out of the woodwork! Nice illustration of the plausibility of the animal, despite that nagging lack.

  83. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    *sigh* to bad I got all busy and wrapped up in my paying work, otherwise we might have been able to keep this up for a while, but thanks for all the kind words.
    Now back to those honey combs… buzza buzza buzz

  84. mystery_man responds:

    I was the same, Mnynames! I got offline, went out to work, and now when I get back, there are a deluge of posts! I missed out on most of this whole debate! Oh well, I try to give my own input when I can. Reading through this discussion, I feel it got a bit heated but mostly everybody played ball and the discussion was better for it. It is hard to keep calm heads sometimes in these things. Lots of good points and opinions here and as always I am pleased to see the ideas of the two different opposing sides.

    I feel everything has pretty much been said, just a couple thoughts to reiterate my basic stand on this issue. Like I said before, studying animals in the wild can be a time consuming and laborious process. I gave my example of the tanuki, and Jeremy Wells gave some other excellent examples of this. As someone who has been involved in a bit of field research, I can attest to the fact that it is quite possible to spend a lot of time on the track of a known species before even getting a chance to observe them. The signs can be there, the footprints, the spoor, yet no sign of your quarry. And to make it more frustrating, you will get a survey team accidentally come across a new species without even looking. As I said before, this aspect of field research keeps the possibility of Bigfoot being out there open to me.

    But on the other hand, we have a low amount of high quality evidence and very little knowledge on the ecology and behavior of this possible creature. I feel it is frustrating because with signs of deer or foxes because these are a recognized species. Their species is documented and there is a precedent for tracks and other evidence that can be compared to what we already know. With Bigfoot, we are working with a creature that is not officially known to science, that is a totally unknown type of animal for North America, whose known behavior is based largely on speculation and for which we have no actual specimen with which to compare. There are also people who would fake evidence, so when we get signs of Bigfoot in an area, not only do we have to sift through unreliable tracks, sightings,etc, but also we are forced to investigate without any concrete known example to go by.

    In the end, I feel there is compelling enough stuff to warrant scientific attention. Enough reliable people have come forth at risk of ridicule to make me think there could be something to it. We have all heard of these “lost worlds” where all of these new discoveries are made, and the total amount of Bigfoot habitat is remote wilderness covering as much area as whole countries. The lack of evidence after all the searching is very frustrating, but I think it is possible that Bigfoot has managed to elude investigators as is the case with known animals,and that it may very well be leaving solid, verifiable evidence. However, we simply don’t have the tangible, documented knowledge of its habits, whereabouts, physiology and so on that we need to effectively search and examine the evidence we do find. As I have tried to explain before, even with this knowledge it can be hard to effectively study even animals that are known. For all we know, we are going about it all wrong with this particular creature. I feel that if this creature is out there, there is every possibility that its discovery (and by discovery I mean an actual specimen.) may be quite by accident! I don’t personally think it is time to call off the search and say “there’s no evidence, this is a waste of time”. I am also, however, an open minded skeptic and am aware that there is a chance that it indeed may not be out there. I can see both points in this debate. If that is the case, then so be it, but I do not feel it is time to give up just yet. Fantastic discoveries are being made all around us, there is good circumnstantial evidence, maybe Bigfoot will be the next big one.

  85. mystery_man responds:

    DWA, Jeremy Wells, Ben, I have enjoyed reading all of your posts and I think both sides are making some interesting points. I think no matter how heated things may get, we are all out for answers of some kind.

  86. joppa responds:

    I think we have the makings of SAW IV, captured Bigfoots who saw off their feet to escape.

  87. DWA responds:

    More on hard evidence, from right here on Crytomundo, June 9, 2006.

    To counter the proposition that only forenscally testable stuff is hard evidence. Read on.

    ——————————-

    Now, on Friday, June 9, 2006, an announcement has been made that conclusive proof of the existence of okapis in the Congo’s Virunga National Park has been confirmed. This re-discovery of these animals is a remarkable story of survival, as they have not been found there since 1959. A recent survey of the area by conservation group World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN) found 17 okapi tracks and other evidence of its presence. No sightings of the elusive animal were documented but its tracks were taken as “absolute proof of the creature’s recent activity in the park,” reported Reuters.

    “The rediscovery of okapis in Virunga National Park is a positive sign,” said Marc Languy, of WWF’s Eastern Africa Regional Programme.

    ——————————

    Tracks. As “absolute proof,” tantamount to “rediscovery.”

    I didn’t say it. A scientist did.

    But oh. I said it too. Let’s peruse, from back up there in this thread: “ANY characteristic uniquely identified as indicative of a particular species is hard evidence of presence when it is found.

    Class dismissed.”

    Now class really is.

    Watch what you think you know about folks, Ben.

    AND DO YOUR HOMEWORK! There might be a quiz. ;-)

    P.S. 20 whacks with the ruler for anyone who calls sas tracks hard evidence. Read this again. Perfesser DWA says: wait ’til we follow sighting reports to the species ID. THEN they’ll be hard evidence.

  88. mystery_man responds:

    DWA, that is a good excerpt, but taking the Devil’s advocate approach here, one could still say that the Okapi is a known animal that is proven to exist and therefore it is more likely for the signs to be taken more seriously. There is a body for the Okapi, they live in zoos, Bigfoot does not. No one is likely out faking Okapi tracks either. I think a hard core skeptic might be inclined to say that Okapi is documented, Bigfoot is not. And that is the crux of the problem isn’t it? Bigfoot is such a complete unknown, there is going to have to be more of a benchmark by which to guage evidence and there is going to have to be at least proof that it is 100% real before it gets the Okapi treatment. If Bigfoot is verified by science, tracks will become more of an accepted sign of activity in the area, I feel.

  89. DWA responds:

    mystery_man: devil’s advocates are always appreciated.

    But you missed my P.S.

    Everything you said is precisely right. Tracks are hard evidence for the okapi. They are NOT for the sas. It’s simple: Sas tracks are considered suspicious. They are not automatically associated with an unknown animal.

    There may be a problem here. Science being the New Religion, everyone thinks hard evidence is immutable, set against an absolute standard. It’s not. Hard evidence is what will convince the scientific mainstream. It gets “new species” trumpeted in the mainstream news and published in recognized journals. That standard changes with time. Ten years ago: a photo is not a holotype. Today: it is. Six months ago: a photo is clear evidence of an unknown parrot. Today: Photoshop!

    Hard evidence is hard. (Those are white-tailed deer tracks.) But it is not immutable.

    Sas tracks aren’t hard evidence, not because they are tracks or because they come from an unknown species, but because there is no consensus that something other than a Homo sapiens hoaxer made them.

    Staying with me here: any evidence that convinces the scientific mainstream that it is looking at an unknown species is HARD EVIDENCE. Remember that “unknown carnivore” from Borneo, caught on the trap cam? Well, that was hard evidence, for something like a year or so …until the reconsideration that, hmmmm, it might be a known species of flying squirrel.

    If those “okapi” tracks were soon followed up by game camera shots of what was seen to be a different and hitherto unknown species, and it turned out that the tracks were incredibly similar, suddenly the hard evidence of the okapi is hard evidence of something else. Science tries, and rightly, to eliminate ambiguity. But it can’t, because the universe, heck, the planet, is too big.

    “Hard” changes. We’re human. It has to.

  90. DWA responds:

    I should add: if you want to read what can happen to hard evidence, the Bornean “carnivore” is a good example. It was on this blog Jan. 3 this year (although I found it immediately by searching “flying squirrel”.)

  91. mystery_man responds:

    DWA, interesting thought on the supposed Okapi tracks leading to the discovery of another species. And I agree that the evidence needed to for any given creature is dependent on how feasible said creature is. The “Bornea carnivore” is a good example of a creature needing very little evidence for its existence to be proclaimed and this is precisely because it is keeping with one would expect from an animal living there and there are similar types of creatures there. If the camera showed a pic of comparable quality of some sort of hominid, I am sure it would have been picked apart and debated fiercely.

    I really think you hit the nail on the head with how the standards of evidence have changed with time, and your examples of photos are excellent. But playing devil’s advocate again, even with those photos, nothing was accepted on photos alone. Not unless there was a benchmark specimen documented by science. But it is interesting how mainstream science kind of decides what is considered plausible or not. Show some unknown cat prints and you might get a team out there, Bigfoot tracks, no way.

    Sorry to play the devil’s advocate card there! I’m always doing that to keep me sharp and to make me see the other points of view. For every post I write that I really believe, I could probably write another completely tearing my own post apart from an opposite viewpoint.

    Oh yeah, and I think my former post was just enough to avoid the twenty whacks from the ruler! :) I didn’t say tracks were evidence, just that they would be if sasquatch was verified by science via a specimen.

  92. kittenz responds:

    Jeremy_Wells,

    You did not offend me in the least. It’s important that people know about the efforts to which people of the US Fish and Wildlife Department go to try to prevent poaching and punish offenders. I’m really glad that you pointed that out.

  93. DWA responds:

    Don’t worry, mystery_man. Nothing in your posts made me go for the ruler. :-D

    And you never go with just a photo, of course; the Bornean carnivore shot had people thinking, what is that? for a long time before a “decision” on what it was. (Followed pretty quickly by a “decision” on what it might alternatively be.) But as that blog shows, there are a number of possible alternatives from animals known to be – or to have been – there. Nobody’s going to squawk about a “man in a civet suit.”

    The sas has a huge crater to jump because the humanlike tracks, the lack of anything remotely like them in the scientific inventory, and the animal’s alleged size made fakery by a guy in a suit an obvious alternative explanation for a lot of people. That soiled the waters from the get-go. And the absence of a scientist with unquestioned stature in the mainstream community on such things as the P/G expedition and the TBRC’s trips leaves us with no authoritative voice saying: OK, I saw this, and it’s real. Let’s document.

    Note that “authoritative” does NOT mean “reliable.” The three biologists on the latest TBRC expedition didn’t become biologists by being unreliable. Nor did most of the “lay” members get those jobs they had to leave the hunt for by being unreliable. “Authoritative” in this case means, “the kind of guy that can almost singlehandedly, either himself or via his connections, change the paradigms of mainstream science.”

    Until somebody like that comes back saying, this is real, we’re going to keep seeing feet and hands pulled out of landfills and debated.

    It’s not hard evidence until it says:

    1) Known species, or

    2) DEFINITELY a species not in the inventory yet, that needs to be put there.

  94. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    mystery_man wrote:

    But playing devil’s advocate again, even with those photos, nothing was accepted on photos alone. Not unless there was a benchmark specimen documented by science. But it is interesting how mainstream science kind of decides what is considered plausible or not.

    Hmmm, on this needing a physical “benchmark specimen” to establish a holotype, wasn’t there something here on Cryptomundo a while back about some new species of monkey where the holotype was accepted based on photographic and videographic evidence alone?

  95. Craig Woolheater responds:

    Jeremy_Wells,

    Correctomundo. This was the gist of my post here on Cryptomundo from last May entitled More on the New Primate Species.

  96. Mnynames responds:

    Nice to see everyone making nice-nice, although it looks like Ben’s taken a breather much like Mystery Man had to (Those pesky job thingys!).

    With regards to the deer carcass finds, I don’t think it really refutes the main theory behind lack of BF remains either, just dampens the fervour with which it is usually stated. One CAN find wild carcasses, but even in the case of a very abundant animal such as the White-Tailed Deer, the likelihood is remote. As someone else noted on another posting, Squirrels and Chipmunks have been found to rapidly break down bone remains, both for the calcium and to keep their teeth sharp. I believe I’ve read that Muskrats and Beaver do much the same. I’ve found turtle shells with clear markings of squirrel teeth on more than one occasion to prove it to my satisfaction.

    Also, I’m not so sure we can say whether or not BF bury their dead. They might. We do, and we’re bipedal primates. They may eat them too, for all we know. That would also make sense for a large animal with the need for a high-caloric intake. Waste not, want not, and all that. If there’s 90 pounds of usable meat on your average human, think how much there’d be on an 800-pound ape! Then again, they might gather their bones up like Elephants tend to do, and we just haven’t stumbled upon their secret graveyards yet.

    The default position would seem to be to assume that they leave ‘em where they drop, like most animals, which seems to be DWA’s view, but my point here is that it’s simply pure conjecture right now as to how they might regard their dead, or not.

  97. Mnynames responds:

    The possibility of BF burying their dead bespeaks the possibility of culture, something that can only be answered through observation, much like Jane Goodall and her chimps. We have had a few tantalyzing reports, and over time these may present trends indicating possible cultural attributes, but so far they have been far too few to draw even tentative conclusions, IMO.

    BTW, since we’re on the subject, I’m curious to know if there are any cultural reports regarding chimpanzees and their dead. I know Goodall and others have reported them howling at the moon and almost chanting during rainstorms, but I haven’t heard much else on the matter.

  98. mystery_man responds:

    Jeremy_Wells, yes. But this is kind of the exception to the rule and if you read the beginning of that post I state that I find it odd how some species are accepted on very little hard evidence. Even with the money, it is not a totally new type of animal and there are other monkeys in the area, so finding a new monkey is more plausible to a lot of people. You will also see that I wrote that the reaction to a similar photo of a homonid would cause more skepticism. Then I say because it is because they are more plausible animals to scientists. That some species are accepted based on very little is a bit frustrating and if you think Bigfoot is, like that monkey, likely to be documented on photographic evidence alone, I’d say don’t hold your breath. Also, if you read the whole article on that monkey, you will see that although it took a photo to be accepted, it took a body to be classified correctly. So really, like I said, it wasn’t fully classified and documented by photos alone, merely given serious consideration based on them, which is what I have been saying needs to be done with the evidence on sasquatch all along. So I’m not sure what part of my devil’s advocate idea is so strange to you.

  99. mystery_man responds:

    Another thing I could add to the photo as a holotype thing is that this was a species of monkey that was found. I might add that no suitable, undisputed photographic of Bigfoot exists. We know monkeys exist, there are many similar types to the one that was photographed, there are lots of things that can be inferred from actual living specimens of similar species and these other species are in and of themselves something the existence of a new one can be based upon. Then you get signs and some clear photos and there can be some correlation made between species already known to exist and the new one. I don’t think that a photo alone should be enough, but zoologists will at least say there is a living precedent for this type of animal and the habitat is known and documented to support these creatures. Is it such a big jump for them to see a clear photo and think there is a new subspecies or whatnot? And remember, for it to be properly classified, it still needed a body.
    With Bigfoot, we are dealing with a totally unknown species with no real living comparisons. It is wholly different from anything known to exist in North America, there is no fossil record for it, and there is not even a good photographic holotype for it unless you count the P/G footage and that seems to be in dispute. So you have the evidence we have for Bigfoot held up to a completely new type of animal with no living precedent and with no holotype physical or otherwise. When you mention the monkey, you are really suggesting quite a different case in my opinion.
    I really do believe there is enough to warrant further investigation of Bigfoot, and I always say that the evidence we do have could follow through to evidence. But the fact is we do not have much for comparison when it comes to Bigfoot and the things I have gone over here show you why I can also see the skeptic side of the argument.

  100. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    Mystery_man,
    None of your comment was strange to me. It just reminded me of that past post is all. If anything, it was confirmation of your point that for a variety of a known animal (a monkey) a photo is enough to garner interest from the scientific community, but for a variety of unknown animal (a North American ape) it might not be.
    That said, I’ve always been a “no body, no proof” kind of guy, but the more time I spend talking with people (especially those associated with the TBRC), and the more I consider just how rare these creatures are likely to be, the more I lean toward the “no kill” camp.

  101. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    Mystery-Man writes: “there is no fossil record for it,”

    I would say between gigantopithecus, Lucy, homo floriensis, and all the other various fossil hominid and ape species, there is some fossil precedence for other bipedal primates and/or large apes.

    No direct fossil record, no, but then again, we infer amazing things about these fossilized critters often based on little more than a jaw tooth and a couple of fragments of bone.

    Not to argue, but just, you know, to stimulate thought.

  102. mystery_man responds:

    Jeremy_Wells- I thought someone might bring up those fossils and it is right for you to do so. I should have made that clearer. What I mean is recent fossil evidence that would coincide with Bigfoot being one of these past creatures or even just fossils that show something even similar to bigfoot existing at any time into the modern age. If the fossil record of these types of creatures abruptly ends at a certain point, then it is difficult to say that these might have continued to exist into modern days. A lot of hardline skeptics will point at this lack of fossils, so it is something to keep in mind.

    That being said, I do not personally think that the lack of fossils is proof that there is no Bigfoot. This is simply because fossils are very rare and it takes a surprising amount of factors to come together to make the process happen. Add to that the very thing that you mentioned that sometimes there are only fragments. Sometimes only years later do scientists figure out what these fragments are. Some fossils get boxed away somewhere and are not seen for what they are until further down the line. it is amazing to me how much this happens with trained archeologists. DWA has on occasion mentioned, and I tend to agree, that there is a possibility that fossil remains of Bigfoot HAVE been found, but they have not been recognized as that.

    I do find it amazing how much can be inferred from very little evidence when it comes to fossils. But since there are no known direct fossils of Bigfoot, it would be hard to infer too much about them anyway. Let us also remember how much theories on behavior and physiology of past lifeforms can change based on new evidence coming up. With only remains to look at and no live specimens to study, sometimes assumptions get overturned. A lot of debate goes on with long extinct creatures, just look at the fierce debates that Homo florensiensis triggered in the scientific community. The same goes when new, groundbreaking fossils turned up that challenge preconceived beliefs. Nothing is necessarily certain and textbooks can be rewritten. That is the tricky thing with studying long extinct creatures.

  103. mystery_man responds:

    You are also quite right that the fact that these types of creatures existed in the past shows that there is a precedent and that it is possible. I am in full agreement with that. Just whether there are anything like that alive today is a tough one.

  104. kittenz responds:

    People bury their dead too in many cultures, but sometimes we find the cemeteries. And not every person who dies, dies in such a way as to be immediately retrieved and buried. So Bigfoot burying their dead would not necessarily explain why no bodies have been found and studied.

    I find it odd that no bodies or other sub-fossil remains of Bigfoot are known to exist. But I don’t think that has to mean that they don’t exist. Their remains may be extremely rare, and who knows, someone may stumble across a Bigfoot burial ground tomorrow.

  105. mystery_man responds:

    Well, it’s hard to say whether they bury their dead or not, there is no evidence at all for that and it is pure speculation. However, it is an interesting concept and it could very well explain a lot about why bodies are hard to find. I feel that if Bigfoot does bury its dead then I don’t believe they can really be compared to human cemeteries in that they are most probably in remote areas where people are not out digging. I mean, fossils can go undiscovered for awhile even where people ARE digging. I also sometimes hear people say that one would have been hit by a car or died of natural causes and I have my own ideas to explain this.

    First of all, a creature of the size we are talking about is not necessarily going to be killed outright by a car. It could limp off and survive or die in a remote area. It is not necessarily going to die right there by the side of the road and it would probably be a remote road. They may even issue a distress call to bring other that might carry the body away, who nows? Without any real insights into their behavior, it is plausible to think that this could be the case. It might mess up the car and leave some tissue samples behind, so I wonder if this has ever happened.

    Second, if they die of natural causes, they might go off to die somewhere that is remote and with this, plus being buried, they are unlikely to be found. Even if they are not buried, you have the fact that it is a rare creature and there is all kind of scavenger action going on. Even with known animals, how often is the carcass of a bear or wolf, or gorilla that died of natural causes found? I know, they are documented, but Bigfoot is likely very rare. If they bury their dead, then I feel it is doubly unlikely anyone would stumble across it. If it is an unmarked burial, people may stumble over it and not even realize how close they were to a fantastic find.

    I think there is the possibility of someday finding remains and this possibility is going to become more real as humans further encroach into this creature’s habitat.

  106. Craig Woolheater responds:

    OK folks,

    This one has gotten pretty far off-topic. This post was about the mysterious foot found in the Virginia landfill.

    If you want to continue the discussion regarding evidence, do so at the post Evaluating Bigfoot Evidence.

    I have posted the latest information regarding the mysterious foot here at Cryptomundo at Latest Update: The Foot of Bigfoot?

    If you want to discuss the foot, do so either here or at the post linked above.

  107. IBRO responds:

    Well if the decision is that it’s officially not human then it could be a number of different animals. At first glance it looked to me like a human foot with half of the toes missing.

    The hardest part about this argument is that no one finds a dead bear out in the woods but we’re also not saying that there aren’t any either.

    In the case of the elusive Bigfoot, scientists have found Gicantopithecus teeth (in Vietnam) maybe they would be able to come to some conclusion if they were able to compare DNA from this foot and that of the teeth. That’s if the scientists decide that this foot is officially an unknown primate. If this is from a Bigfoot how in h#$% did someone get a hold of a foot? Did they capture it or did they find it somewhere?

    We may never know.

    I guess its up to the experts to find out. All we can hope for is that we get the truth and not some trumped up story.

  108. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    The thing we have to remember when we talk about the “elephant graveyard” analogy is that, according to the notion, these elderly elephants go to these places to die, they aren’t carried there by their brethren. What we do see, and infer from the extremely social creatures they are, is that elephants who visit these places and pick up these bones are “visiting”.

    But with sasquatch it seems that this is a more solitary animal (we might hear tales of a couple seen together, or small family units, but they aren’t herding creatures). This solitary nature would make it more likely, in my opinion, that they die alone. But we are also talking about a wild creature that, like most wild creatures, when dying of natural causes would choose someplace remote to curl up and die, someplace they aren’t likely to be found or disturbed while they wait for nature to pass. I can’t say whether or not we are talking about a creature at the very top of the food chain. But if, like human beings, sasquatch could be vulnerable to predatory attacks from cougar, grizzly or wolves, well, there go your remains again.

    I think it is most likely that (if these creatures do exist) no remains have been found for these two reasons, coupled with the relative rarity of the animal. That leaves us waiting for some semi-truck driver to smack one on a lonely mountain road somewhere, sometime before we get our “hard evidence”.

  109. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    Craig,
    Is keeping it on a physical specimen in general (i.e. a body) on topic enough, or do we need to move on to another forum? ;)

  110. kittenz responds:

    Jeremy_Wells

    I don’t really believe that they bury their dead either (Sasquatch that is, not bears :) ). No other animals are known to do that (except us), and you are dead on (no pun intended) about the “elephant graveyards”. Of course we won’t really know for sure what their habits are, unless and until they are actually found and studied.

  111. Craig Woolheater responds:

    Jeremy,

    As this topic is specifically about the foot found in the landfill, it would be more appropriate to continue the discussion regarding evidence at the post Evaluating Bigfoot Evidence.

  112. Sergio responds:

    Benjamin Radford said (to DWA):

    Once again DWA shows his deep lack of understanding about science. If DWA really thinks that footprints, shelters, and vocal recordings of anything (Bigfoot or otherwise) is ‘hard evidence,’ he needs to take an intro course in science.

    Dude, you are in serious need of an attitude adjustment. Why all the freaking condescending remarks all the time?

    Why do you feel the need to consistently belittle and try to make others seem not as knowledgeable or intelligent as you? You don’t know anything beyond what is posted on this website about these readers. You don’t know anything about this guy DWA. He could be a freaking rocket scientist with an IQ of 200.

    I submit that you, Benjamin Radford, need to an intro course in playing well with others. If you’re smarting because people here don’t take too kindly to your smarmy little jabs all the time, well, that’s kind of what happens when a person makes smarmy little verbal jabs all the time.

    You remind me of the kid who runs out on the playground and begins to look for a group of kids to play with. Every group you go to kicks your butt out because all you do is trash talk and tell them how sorry they are at kickball and how you are like the most awesome kickballer in the state. (Yet they can all see that you can’t play for crap).

    You know, there’s a way to debate, and then there’s a way not to debate. The right way, the best way, the most productive way, is not go into the debate thinking your opponent is just flat out dumber than you. Odds are, he’s not. And then don’t go talking about how dumb your opponent is. I mean, is that really getting anywhere?

    I wonder if you frequent the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website and send smarmy little condescending remarks to them all the time. After all, they have some fuzzy black and white footage of a pileated woodpecker, and they’re calling it an ivory-billed woodpecker. That’s ALL they have! At least in the case of bigfoot, there’s no mistaking that thing in the P-G film as anything else. Now, does that mean that the ivory-billed woodpecker Cornell and Auburn guys need to take an intro level science course?

    Go. Just go play kickball with those guys a while. You don’t stir up good honest intellectual debate here. Rather, you incite people because of your stupid condescension that is constantly on display.

    Look, you don’t have to PROVE anything to anyone. Just discuss the issues with people without calling them stupid.

  113. Wayfarer4000 responds:

    There is one certain way to settle the issue. Subject the specimen to DNA testing. If it turns out be another, “unknown primate,” it may also be a type specimen. However, I strongly suspect that it is a bear’s left, hind paw or a left foot from a well-known primate.



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