Where We Should Look For Bigfoot Bones

Posted by: Loren Coleman on December 9th, 2009

“Why haven’t we found a Bigfoot body?” is one of the most frequently asked questions I get in the museum and at the end of my lectures on the road. I answered it partially, in the last chapter of Bigfoot! The True Story of Apes in America. Let me share part of what I discuss with those interested in the longer answer.

If animal remains were so easy to find, the forests of Maine would be so filled with moose and deer antlers each year from those dropped by the thousands of animals shedding their pairs, hunters and hikers would not be able to move around without tripping over mountains of discarded antlers. But every year, we are greeted by mostly fresh ground upon which to stroll.

Other than road kill, would not bear carcasses litter the woods of any country where they are found, and won’t dead mountain lions occasionally be found within some forest of the North American West? But despite numbers that must surely outnumber the Bigfoot population, decaying bears and pumas do not dot the landscape. Instead, nature finds a way to keep the forest floor clear of rotting remains with everything from flies to ravens/crows, coyotes to turkey/black vultures, bacteria to other microbes, all doing their work.

As to the example of those antlers and any remaining bones, well, besides mice, voles, and rats, I have one significant candidate for everyone to consider when dealing in the speculation about finding those extremely rare Bigfoot bones: porcupines. Porcupines will eat away whole racks of antlers and most of the bones of any animal.

The 27 species of porcupine worldwide like to gnaw on antlers and bones for the calcium and other minerals, appear to also eat bones to sharpen their teeth and seem initially attracted to bones and antlers by the odor of urine and their salt content.

But could these animals which may be the often overlooked reason for why so few bones are found in the woods also be the source of an eventual find of the century?

Porcupines, both Old and New World species, and other animals (hedgehogs and echidnas) that all look and behavior similarly due to convergent evolution, have interesting habits that should be studied by Sasquatch researchers.

One important behavior of some species of porcupines is that they hoard bones of other animals in or around their dens. Porcupines sometimes are found with bones in their living spaces. For example, the North African crested porcupine (Hystrix cristata) and the Cape porcupine (Hystrix africaeaustralis) of sub-Saharan Africa, especially in areas deficient in phosphorous, will practice osteophagia, or gnawing on bones. These porcupines will often accumulate large piles of bones in their dens.

In Africa, researchers have found that porcupines are opportunists, and use both brown and spotted hyena dens that have naturally leftover bones in them. Also gathering bones themselves, certain African porcupines have been found to typically collect only degreased and defatted bones.

In North America, studies of situations in which bones accumulate today and in the past often include porcupine caves. For an intriguing article on what Pleistocene mammal remains were found in one such gathering of bones, see “Bears and Man at Porcupine Cave, Western Uinta Mountains, Utah” by Timothy H. Heaton, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University, in Current Research in the Pleistocene, vol. 5, pp. 71-73 (1988).

The odds are more highly in favor of Bigfoot bones and bodies never being found than being found. But if they are ever found, might Bigfoot teeth or old bones possibly will be discovered near or in porcupine habitation sites.

We won’t know unless we look, and reexamine past and future “unidentified” finds from porcupine caves, digs, and dens.

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Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.


82 Responses to “Where We Should Look For Bigfoot Bones”

  1. DWA responds:

    Matt Bille: agreements aside, two things you say do deserve additional comment.

    “As to people losing their careers to the flak over a claimed discovery, this can happen if they make the claim without enough evidence. But if, as in my example, my paleontologist has an unfossilized plesiosaur skull on her desk that anyone can come and verify, the flak will dissipate, and she will indeed go down in scientific history.”

    Again, total agreement. Which leaves us with what a scientist should do with a sighting of which he/she is absolutely, personally certain. There’s the gray area; and I’m convinced (because instances are out there and I am sure they are tip-of-iceberg) that few if any scientists, regardless of credentials, would go on the record publicly reporting an encounter, because, regardless of who makes the observation, observations aren’t proof. If I have a skull, I’m putting it out there. If I’m a scientist. (Me, personally? Let me think about it…after I’ve assessed its usefulness as a doorstop. 😉 )

    But you know, maybe scientists coming out of the woodwork to report their observations might be the break in the logjam that we need. Scientists who have seen a sasquatch take note. There’s more than one of you, if the sasquatch is real; but somebody has to take the first step.

    “Video made by scientists who have a wild population definitely located and under observation would also probably also do it. It may be unfair, but a population monitored by amateurs would probably not cross the threshold set by zoology in general unless they invited at least a couple of people with scientific backgrounds who were not part of the original group to come see for themselves.’

    I don’t think that’s unfair at all; it is what I would expect science to do. Again: science has the burden of proving phenomena in our society, not laymen. Followup is what I would want to see, and what has been lacking on science’s part in spite of much to go on. The failure to confirm the sasquatch is the failure of science, not of the proponents, as skeptics so often and erroneously allege.

    norman-uk: excellent post. I particularly liked this:

    “Good evidence is there but science refuses to deal with it until it is proven to them.”

    The skeptical stumbling block, in a nutshell. Science doesn’t want to do the heavy lifting that is its responsibility. I think a major reason for this is that most scientists tend to work with knowns, not unknowns; so they require a foundation of proof to work from. Most scientific research is finding out new things about the known; virtually none is in proving unknowns. Sorry, gang, with the sas that is what you have to do; and as scientists, yes, you need to deal with that. By working with good evidence, which, no, we know this, ok? does not amount to proof.

    Deal. Napier said that the discovery of the sasquatch would be an enormous blow to scientific credibility. Napier was right. Science can’t afford to sit on this kind of stuff, regardless its conservatism.

    And if you don’t have the time or money to prove it yourself right now? Then at least you have the responsibility to act like a scientist, for Pete’s sake. Stop the idiotic I-am-an-EXPERT!!! scoffing. It’s crap; and it casts doubt on everything you’ve done as a scientist. Here, rehearse this:

    “I don’t know the answer to that. I wish the searchers luck, and am rooting for them.”

    You’re welcome.

  2. CBFResearcher responds:

    TO: norman-uk, DWA, and Fhqwhgads.

    All of you have insightful comments and all should be respected. Have you ever seen evidence yourself? I have… I was sceptical, until 1991, when I was confronted with the scariest situation of my life, and nothing has matched since… While fishing in the East kootenay region of BC on a beautiful fall morning, I encountered a situation that I could not wrap my head around. A boulder the size of my head flew over me and landed in the pool in front of me… out of nowhere. I was frozen in complete fear, not knowing what had happened or how it could happen. 40 feet behind me was a creature that could only be described as an ape, on 2 feet, and huge. That was the day I thought I was going to die. It simply looked at me and walk away. Not a BEAR, or anything I ever saw before. I have guided in the rockies and foothills of Alberta and BC for around 20 years and have never witnessed anything like it before or since.

    I could care less if scientists look into the existance of this magnificant creature or mammal. First of all, they get their money to research things that are known… not unknown! If that makes any sense… But that’s the way it works. Here in Canada, a researcher was given $50,000.00 to study cow farts and the effects of the methane gas they produced to predict future effects in the environment! Why would a scientist get off their ass when easy money is availble?

    The only people that will ever solve the Sasquatch issue are the people who either are amature hunters of the mammal or someone who gets very lucky and produces a specimen. Of course, scientists will quickly jump on board to make their specific claims, probably stating, and I predict! “I knew it all along, but I didn’t want to jeopardize my tenure!” and will then fight amonst themselves to get control of the data. This has happened in the past and will happen again, in any field of science and new discoveries.

    At the end of the day, most witnesses are not nuts, they know what they saw, there is physical evidence, so whats the problem… It’s an ape, a North American Great Ape… Walks on two feet, eats leaves, berries, and meat, and fish, lives in solitude, and will likely become exstinct because us humans are too damn stupid to protect it and its’ environment until it’s much too late.

    Great forum, will be here again to looking forward to more of all your views.

    Thanks

  3. CBFResearcher responds:

    Fhqwhgads:

    The info I have about the size of the jaw bone at the BC Museum is that a normal sized adult fitted the jaw over his face and it easily covered it, as if it were a substanstial giant specimen. At the time, easrly 70’s, there were no physical anthropologists there, so it was apparently incorrectly catigorised as a large indan… It almost seems comical by todays’ standard of research, but if it wasn’t for the fact that a I just happened to be reading a book that is over 30 years old, I likely would have never ran into it. It seems intriguing enough, but I just have to find out. As it is, and with many other artifacts stored away in some basement in some undefined building in the world, a discovery can be uncovered by just reading between the lines and investigated… Surprises do happen!!!! And as we all know, it can happen in the most unlikely place or time, by the most unlikely person…

    If it does not turn out to be of any signifgance, then, oh well… at least it was checked out!

    Food for thought… Hear about the pigmy rhino in Indonesia? The funny thing is, is that science now accepts it is real, yet there is only about 10 seconds of video to prove it. Patterson/Gimlin has more video, a lot clearer, and way more convincing that the little piece of night vision video that some researcher shot, and he/she wasn’t even there to actually witness the shot happening! Once again, science has failed to live up to what scientists are paid to do… And that’s research of the new, not the research of something known…

    :)

  4. mystery_man responds:

    DWA- Oh, come on now that was just a wild bit of speculation. Of course I didn’t mean to imply that this is what is really going on, and I completely appreciate the fact that there is absolutely nothing to lead us to think that my idea has any merit. I was just throwing it out there, a mental burp so to speak. I wouldn’t use any of the limited recources in this field on it either.

    That was just a bit of fun I was having and nothing to take seriously. To be honest, I’m surprised anyone was even paying attention enough to read it.

    I’d like to respond to this too-

    “Most scientific research is finding out new things about the known; virtually none is in proving unknowns.”

    Well, that’s not really strictly true. Scientists study a lot of unknowns, but the thing is that they are working within a known paradigm. They are basing their research on certain parameters that have been established though countless experiments, copious evidence, and have withstood the scrutiny of peers and attempts of falsification from a wide range of scientific disciplines.

    Even in fields where radical or sparsely supported new hypotheses are being formed, such as physics, there is still more or less observance of the paradigm. So we know how some particles behave but we may not know why they do so or what causes a certain unexplained observation. In this case there may be some new process proposed for which there is no real evidence, but the existence of such a phenomenon would explain why everything else does what it does or how it is connected, according to established paradigm.

    I’m no physicist so maybe fhqwhgads can help illustrate this more clearly than I have here. The point is that the hypothesis can be new and even radical, but it still typically fits into the universe as we know and perceive it up to this point.

    Does this make sense?

    So scientists will study unkowns, but most of this research is still based within the paradigm as we know it. The paradigm is not something to take lightly, as it is usually something that has withstood falsification and is supported by a growing foundation of data that has been built up and peer reviewed.

    Now the paradigm can be changed, but THAT is where you are going to need a pretty solid case for why you think it should be. You not only have to show why you are right , but also why everyone who came before you is wrong .

    Scientists stay within the framework of the paradigm for a good reason, but it doesn’t mean they are unwilling to study unknowns. It actually happens all of the time.

    Where Bigfoot comes in here is that it falls outside of the established natural history of wildlife in North America. There is nothing remotely like it in this habitat(except us), and no similar creatures to be found. This doesn’t mean sasquatch are not there, but this is obviously something that falls out of the paradigm and so it is going to take a pretty good substantiating evidence for something like sasquatch to get much mainstream attention.

    I don’t think scientists want the sasquatch not to exist or even want to necessarily toss it. They just tend to not see much justification for pursuing it because it has not been demonstrated to their satisfaction that what we know about North American wildlife is wrong or has a place for a radical animal like the sasquatch.

    Maybe proof isn’t even what is needed to get this scientific attention, but just something more for them to suspect that an 8 foot tall temperate dwelling bipedal primate is a reasonable notion. Scientists don’t just going off to study willy nilly whatever they feel like. They have to have reason to suspect that what they want to study is a viable avenue of research (the very reason why my river burial idea is a dead end at this point). Even if the scientist himself feels it is, he still has to get funding for it, and that means he has to show others that it is a viable option as well.

    Unfortunately for those of us who want serious inquiry into the existence of sasquatch, this just hasn’t been demonstrated to the broader scientific community at this point.

    Now, don’t start jumping on me, you know I am open to the evidence. I’m one of those scientists that sees the possibilities here and think investigation is warranted. I’m just trying to illustrate why perhaps some scientists can be seen as “ignoring” this field. I personally don’t see a lot of scoffing per se, just disinterest.

    I for one would like that to change. I like this line that you wrote, and it sums up the way I look at it-

    “I don’t know the answer to that. I wish the searchers luck, and am rooting for them.”

    That’s the way it should be for all involved. If someone has the resources and time to do this, then more power to them. I think that every one here, even the ones you don’t agree with, have held to this more or less. Most here have been at least entertaining to some degree the idea that sasquatch might be out there.

  5. DWA responds:

    M_m: I’ll agree (w/regard to your speculation about river burial); it was wild. 😀

    I just thought it was a good place to make a point: research in this field should follow the evidence, and there is a lot of that to follow.

    With regard to your statement about paradigms, I think you could easily make the case for rethinking the paradigm with regard to the sasquatch. There may be nothing like it confirmed in North America. But there is much suggestive of it in the fossil record (they’ve even found a midtarsal break in a hominid). And look at all of the animals who have representatives in the tropics, the polar regions, and the temperate zone: canids; felids; cervids; mustelids; bears; rodents; birds; …I could keep going but you get the point. There are several species of nonhuman primate that spend the winter in places where it regularly gets below zero and snows. Bats don’t go Arctic but get close.

    Is it really a tenable paradigm, again given the evidence, which is substantial, that apes are the exception to what seems to be a rule? That question doesn’t make it a slam dunk; but that question alone should get the mainstream thinking about this more than they have. And maybe taking a look at the evidence, about which a number of scientists who have done so could tell them much.

  6. DWA responds:

    CBFResearcher: “All of you have insightful comments and all should be respected. Have you ever seen evidence yourself?”

    Tracks, in Northern California in 1986, in an old road bed which was miles from a trail, let alone a road. At least I’ve never seen anything in my life that looked so much like tracks that wasn’t tracks: and if they were tracks, a bipedal animal, with feet like ours but substantially bigger and heavier than us, made them. (We weren’t making a dent in the substrate, with lug sole boots and heavy packs.)

    And I’ve read many reports of experiences just like yours.

    Welcome, and stick around. It gets interesting around here.

  7. MattBille responds:

    The Sumatran rhino has been a known species for a long time, so I’m not sure what that reference is. John MacKinnon, IIRC, when speaking of the mystery ape tracks he found, used it as an example of how elusive an animal could be: “The Sumatran rhino is big, slow, and stupid, but I’ve never seen one.” What was more startling a few years ago was the discovery of a Vietnamese population of the Javan rhino, again a known species, but a thousand-kg animal found in a region where it was thought to have been extinct since the 1960s.
    I don’t doubt a wary population totaling maybe a few hundred sasquatches could hide for a long time, but how long? (I can’t accept the estimates there are thousands of them – the odds against their avoiding definitive discovery seem far too high.) Sooner or later, an elk hunter or a logging truck has to off one. If we don’t get a body in another 50 years, will that be proof all witnesses were mistaken? What about a hundred years, or two hundred? No easy answer there.

  8. jerrywayne responds:

    Interesting comments, all around.

    I think we should dispense with the let’s blame scientists for not taking the bigfoot phenomena seriously complaints. If we are dealing with a large animal native to our continent, then conclusive evidence should be available to the professional hunter and tracker, as well as the dogged amateur. I agree with CBFResearcher on this issue.

    CBFResearcher gives us his own bigfoot sighting. Before I weigh in as a skeptic, I am wondering if any advocates here can come up with explanations or scenarios that would impeach CBFResearcher’s sighting as evidence for bigfoot?

    Nothing personal, CBF. I’m just curious about how others would perceive and handle a skeptical approach to your claim, even advocates who would otherwise be predisposed to accept it at face value.

  9. DWA responds:

    Jerrywayne: two things you say deserve comment.

    “I think we should dispense with the let’s blame scientists for not taking the bigfoot phenomena seriously complaints.”

    I’d disagree, for two very simple reasons. (1) the evidence is enough to convince any scientist that the matter at least needs further review, and (2) I know of no scientist who is as well acquainted with it as I am who is *not* convinced, at least, of that.

    Once again, skeptics can’t ignore (2); yet they seem to consistently ignore it. Just like most scientists simply ignore the evidence.

    Several scientists, with utterly unimpeachable chops, have been *convinced* by the evidence that the animal is real. That would be unreasonable, and from a scientific standpoint irresponsible, to “dispense” with.

    In fact, if you dispense with that, we should just stop the discussion now, and stop bringing this up on Cryptomundo. If there is no evidence, the sasquatch isn’t real. Done. Yet the discussion goes on, doesn’t it. That’s because it’s running on a very big supply of fuel.

    “CBFResearcher gives us his own bigfoot sighting. Before I weigh in as a skeptic, I am wondering if any advocates here can come up with explanations or scenarios that would impeach CBFResearcher’s sighting as evidence for bigfoot?”

    That is an irrelevant discussion, and I would never participate in it, for to do so would indict CBFResearcher as either seriously deranged, or quite the mendacious fellow, or a fool.

    There is no scenario that can “impeach” his observation. Why? Simple answer, which is, of course, a question: Were you there? I (and so Daniel Loxton, a prominent sasquatch skeptic) will take any observation over any “impeachment” of it by someone who was not present. It’s simply not scientific, or rational, to attempt this barring substantial evidence that he was either lying, or extremely seriously impaired. Loxton explains why, succinctly: we weren’t there, and lack what Daniel calls the “privileged viewpoint” of the one who was. What kind of evidence could we POSSIBLY be going on? The only answer is: none. Scientific discussions require evidence to support any position.

    CBFResearcher’s observation is ONE OBSERVATION. One can do absolutely zero with a single data point. Where it gains strength is that it reads true to many other observations that have been reported; that this, and many other, observations have been made by people generally known for skepticism, and knowledgeable about what they’re looking at; and that it takes place in a region that has a history, a long one, of reports. In other words: there is much more evidence that it is legitimate than there is that it’s not. The only question is, how good that evidence is; which turns totally on the question whether the sasquatch is real. Which is something we don’t know yet.

  10. DWA responds:

    Matt Bille:

    “I don’t doubt a wary population totaling maybe a few hundred sasquatches could hide for a long time, but how long? (I can’t accept the estimates there are thousands of them – the odds against their avoiding definitive discovery seem far too high.) ”

    That’s not a good reason for not accepting the estimates. I’d say that the volume of reports and track finds alone argues for a population in thousands or higher; and that an animal for which reporting same brands you a nut could have a population of hundreds of thousands and go unconfirmed by science. I know of at least four wildlife biologists who have seen one; two of them I know personally and the other two reported anonymously. You know there have to be more, saying nothing for a number of very good reasons, if the animal is real. (I know another wildlife biologist personally who is convinced by the evidence even though he hasn’t seen one; he’s drafting management plans.) That the “odds against their avoiding definitive discovery seem far too high” is a totally subjective evaluation that isn’t backed by evidence. “Definitive discovery” means scientific review and confirmation. Science isn’t even looking at the evidence.

    “Sooner or later, an elk hunter or a logging truck has to off one. If we don’t get a body in another 50 years, will that be proof all witnesses were mistaken? What about a hundred years, or two hundred? No easy answer there.”

    Well, no. Two hunters (at least) have killed one. At least two other people have severely wounded one, i.e., badly enough to knock it down; and at least a couple others have hit one with a bullet. All we have is their say-so. And we’ve discussed here that there are a number of reasons to accept the possibility that someone could kill one of these and, confronted with what he’s done close up, suddenly think better of chopping off a humanlike hand to show his buddies. One described to Grover Krantz a foot that confirmed Krantz’s suspicion of what it would have to look like to support a biped that big. Odds on that being made up…? Evidence that it was….? (Hint. The latter: none.)

    Again, evidence and proof are two different things. We have much of the former. We won’t have the latter unless scientists say we do. I am very comfortable dismissing evidence without review or followup, for which clear scientific protocols exist.

  11. DWA responds:

    VERY BIG TYPO in my last post, of which part read:

    “I am very comfortable dismissing evidence without review or followup, for which clear scientific protocols exist.”

    That is (I’m sure you know, but I make sure) not comfortable I wanted to say, but UNcomfortable.

    Thank you.

  12. mystery_man responds:

    DWA- Well, you’re not going to get much argument from me there. But then again, I’m not the one that needs convincing.

    However, the records of wildlife in North America don’t point to anything sort of primate like the sasquatch. Other primates in the world also do not fit the sasquatch mold. All of the great apes that are comparable to sasquatch (as far as we know) are not temperate animals. In addition, they do not match the size or the bipedalism of sasquatch. If we had more evidence of this happening, more precedents in nature and specifically in North America, that would build the case for sasquatch.

    With sasquatch we are dealing with something that, while I don’t think is completely implausible, would be very unique indeed. It may not violate the paradigm, but it certainly challenges it.

  13. mystery_man responds:

    DWA- I should also add that just because we find bears and primates in vastly disparate places, this does not necessarily follow that every habitat must have something like this. There are many habitats without indigenous non-human primates, bears, and so on. In many instances, there is merely something else that fills the same niche, and there are also geographic limitations that can effect the biodiversity of an area.

    It is not a given that an indigenous large primate must live in North America. There are other animals that can fulfill the roles that these animals have in places where they are present. So the challenge is in convincing the scientific community that this is not an accurate model of wildlife in this region.

    The main problem the paradigm poses here is that right now, there is nothing that solidly shows that North America has its own large primate or that it even should have one. If we could find more examples of animals like this, or even related ones, occurring in this region either alive or through remains, then the case for sasquatch would be bolstered. All we would need is something even remotely like the sasquatch.

    We can follow the evidence, and I think we should. I am just illustrating that just because other habitats may have their own representative primates that doesn’t mean that North America must have them too. As a matter of fact, that hasn’t been demonstrated conclusively at this point at all.

    Like I said, it is the established paradigm in this case that needs to be shifted and that is going to need some serious evidence before this happens.

  14. jerrywayne responds:

    DWA,

    I don’t wish to say that science has no place in bigfoot research. Instead, I’m thinking the constant harping on the reluctance of the scientific establishment to accept the soft evidence of the bigfoot phenomena, a harping that seems to be standard procedure in some quarters, is unnecessary. Proponents do not need the scientific establishment to be companion advocates as a necessary prerequisite in solving the bigfoot mystery.

    As to CBFResearcher’s sighting, I am not suggesting we “impeach” CBF personally. I’m asking for a fuller discussion as to whether or not we can accept CBF’s post as “evidence” for the existence of bigfoot. To take a second look at CBF’s post does not imply he (or she) is either “seriously deranged”, “mendacious”, or a “fool”. Mi amigo, it seems to me you have stacked the deck in favor of the legitimacy of any and all sighting statements if you precondition the discussion in that fashion.

    Of course you are right to argue that nothing can be definitive proven against his sighting (unless there is a countering eyewitness). To argue otherwise is fruitless. Yet, given the prominent place eyewitness testimony plays in the study of cryptids, I simply think more discussion should be afforded to the nature of sightings, their sometimes uncritical acceptence, and the method of cataloging such sightings.

  15. MattBille responds:

    As DWA notes at the end of his comment on the likelihood of kills, we do not know that there have been two kills. We know only that there are two claims or reports of kills. That’s no different, qualitatively, than two more reports of sasquatches that were not killed.
    DWA’s note about the wildlife biologists is very interesting. If they are certain of what they saw, they have a duty to science to discuss it. Getting together and making a joint statement, it seems to me, would be more powerful and harder to ridicule than one or even three individual statements. It still would not get us to the gold standard – hard evidence that would lead to publication of a species description in a referreed journal – but it would certainly boost “maintream” interest in the value of the search.

  16. MattBille responds:

    One more followup to a good point DWA made.
    I’m the first to agree my comments on the likelihood of discovery v. species numbers are a judgment call on my part, although I stand by them.
    It might be useful to use an example from a known species. For simplicity’s sake, let’s talk only about the Lower 48 U.S. states.

    The Brown (Grizzly) bear in the Lower 48 numbers about 1,100, confirmed to live in only three states (WA, MT, WY). If we speculate there are a few hundred more bears, with populations in ID and OR and maybe CO, is that too much of a stretch? Bear biologists, without any accidental kills or what I will call surefire video (clear, close-range video from an official source like a USFWS trailcam or aerial bear survey) from the additional states, would probably call it unlikely (and have, when sightings were reported), although not impossible. If we speculate there are thousands of additional bears, with outlying populations (however thinly spread and perhaps isolated) from Texas to Florida to North Carolina, the bear biologists would laugh in our faces. No surefire video? No kills? No way, even though we know the animal exists and lives on this continent.
    If I report a grizz in CO, there may be some official interest because we do know that species used to live here, plus it’s not beyond possible migration range from known habitat. (In practice, official reaction has been wildly inconsistent: some good reports have been thrown out, while other have sparked major search efforts.) If I report a grizz from Tennessee, officials might check for reports of lost or escaped captive bears, but they won’t give any credit to the idea I’ve found a population, largely because that species has never been proven to live in the area or anywhere within a reasonable migration range.

    The same logic would apply if we hypothesized a large species with a known, recent fossil record like the giant short-faced bear. Given no modern hard evidence, finding a single population would be considered amazing: the very idea of a population with a multi-state range would be considered absurd.

    Now our sasquatch appears to have a roughly similar body mass and diet to a grizz, although it’s logical to presume higher intelligence and thus better ability to hide when it wants to. Presuming a species wary of man, with at least chimp-level intellect, then a few hundred in the PNW wilderness areas seems possible. A nationwide population of thousands seems so unlikely to have not yielded an accidental kill or other undeniable evidence that, to me, I have to presume people are mistaken until the body comes in. The quality of reports and sincerity of witnesses may be every bit as good from all these areas as from the PNW, but the odds to the animal existing undiscovered do shrink, even if there’s no sure way to put numbers on those odds.
    It gets harder to clear the bar for recognition of such a population because we have no validated fossil or other evidence (that is, validated enough to get a species description published in a referreed journal, which remains the standard for “discovery” even if one thinks it unfair) that the animal lived anywhere, much less the specific areas it’s being reported from. That does not make it impossible, but it helps make anything but the most undeniable evidence insufficient.
    (I am leaving aside tracks for the moment because, given the inconsistency of track appearances from all over, I would argue no one, not even guys like Medrum or Bindernagel, knows a genuine squatch track for certain without a foot to compare it to.)
    That’s just one guy’s judgment call. I’d be interested to know what any working biologists/zoologists on the list think of my logic.

  17. DWA responds:

    jerrywayne: keep in mind that I’m referring to questioning one person, on his personal experience.

    To do that with one means you need to do it with all – or at least with enough of them (and that would be a lot) that you would have a high likelihood of the rest being similar.

    Not only would no skeptic attempt that (I don’t think); proponents contend that the sheer volume and consistency of them argues that you would need to have a lot of sane sighters; or at least a lot more than anyone supposes of nutty people with sane exteriors. In other words: there’s so much of this stuff that it’s probably easier to follow it up than debunk it.

    CBFResearcher’s goes in a very big pile. And I’ve read way too many of these that are either (1) authentic or (2) deliberate lies or big-time hallucinations. In other words, the description absolutely rules out an innocent mistake.

    My question: why would so many people not only lie about this, but postulate an animal way smaller, way faster and more athletic, and way more carnivorous than the naive public image of the sasquatch as an enormous, lumbering vegetarian? And if they’re all either lying or on drugs or whatever, why are their accounts so consistent? I wish I could buy that they’re copying from each other; but my read makes that way unlikely.

  18. DWA responds:

    m_m: Can’t argue with anything you said.

    Scientific paradigms are useless unless they are only moved by new knowledge. The scientific paradigm regarding the sasquatch pretty much follows your reasoning.

    My argument would be that paradigms get called up for review when they become shaky; and the volume and consistency of the evidence make the current scientific paradigm way shaky to a number of scientists.

  19. DWA responds:

    Matt Bille: wouldn’t argue with a thing you said.

    I too think that scientists who have seen one of these things would have, with their colleagues, a credibility that, say, I wouldn’t. As one who has said here more than once that if you are a scientist, you have to be one all the time, not just when it suits you, I would have to agree with you that the individual scientist has a duty to expand human knowledge. Bet that made our scientist sighters REALLY comfortable. 😀

    As to the grizzly, that’s sound reasoning, and I’d probably react similarly to reports of a population in Florida. Well, OK, you’d have to show me the evidence before I bought it, and I wouldn’t be holding my breath. (And I might wonder who did the releases.)

    But the sasquatch is something that is utterly denied, out of hand, in the face of the kind of evidence that would get people serious about a new bird…say, the ivorybill, for which there is far less evidence than for the sasquatch that it’s still alive, and a very similar species making misidentification a real possibility. As we both seem to agree, it’s such a third rail to report a sighting that there may be individuals who should be doing it, and aren’t. Yes, the woodpecker did exist once. But the paucity of remaining habitat and the paucity of undisputed sightings of a once-known bird with a three-foot wingspan make it very unlikely, to me, that it’s still around.

    And you bet I would like scientists to chime in here.

  20. mystery_man responds:

    Matt Bille- Well for what it’s worth, in my opinion as someone in the field, I’d say what you mention is about right. It sort of fits in to what I was saying about the model of wildlife in North America.

    In the example of grizzly bears, having someone see them out of their known range may raise eyebrows, but it would probably be investigated because they are a well established animal in North America. Nobody disputes that they are there, and so a sighting might warrant inquiry.

    With a fossilized bear, even in its historic range, you have more problems because now you have to demonstrate somehow that this bear has defied the records and has established breeding populations all this time without any documentation. But at least they are consistent with the known natural history of the area.

    With sasquatch we have something completely new, an 8 foot tall, bipedal primate of some sort. Even in the tropics, where similar creatures exist in great apes, it needs to be shown pretty conclusively that we have a population of something like this. In North America we have these things in temperate climates in a landscape where no large primates are known to be. I don’t really see any reason why we could not have a temperate large primate, but nothing in the records of North America really suggests that this is happening in this habitat.

    It has been said here that lack of fossils does not necessarily negate the existence of sasquatch, and I think this is true. However in the case of North America, there is no physical evidence in the fossil record at all, and nothing even really like a sasquatch. There aren’t even related fossils that tie in with what we see with the sasquatch upon which to build a case.

    And that is the problem I see here with fossils. We have a lack of any transitional fossils or anything related to such a creature in North America with which to work with, so sasquatch is sort of in a void in that regard. It is going to take a lot more to overcome this than if we were dealing with bears. If this was an animal that was extremely elusive and confined to remote habitats, that might not be too bad, but here we have an animal that seems to have a range encompassing the entire United States in all sorts of habitats.

    To have such a large animal with a huge range like the sasquatch seems to have, and seen as often as it is, yet leaving no remains that are even related to anything like it in the geological record , strikes me as a little odd although not a complete condemnation of sasquatch.

    So in a continent with no known record of large primates, and no relatives of such an animal, the bar is high for evidence that the model we have for wildlife in North America is off, and that it harbors multiple wide ranging populations of bipedal apes.

  21. DWA responds:

    Something else I might want to comment about from Matt Bille’s:

    “I would argue no one, not even guys like Medrum or Bindernagel, knows a genuine squatch track for certain without a foot to compare it to.”

    No question. This is why the evidence doesn’t amount to proof: no type specimen.

    But Meldrum, Krantz, and other qualified individuals have found numerous markers on alleged saquatch tracks that are consistent across the samples they have reviewed (and consistent with each other’s analysis), and which seem to indicate an animated source, or if not such an incredible fake that a scientific expert with genius mechanical capacity would have to be responsible if the putative maker wasn’t. They could be fakes; and without the type specimen we can’t be sure; but it sure seems a stretch to assume it.

  22. norman-uk responds:

    I think there is limited benefit in comparing Sasquatch to a grizzly bear and concluding that what would not work for a bear would not work for Sasquatch, ditto the short faced bear. Sasquatch is clearly a different and special case. What is needed is a scenario that is tailored to fit what is known about Sasquatch. This must neccessarily be different to that of known bears.

    That scenario could include migration from Asia or Europe, intelligence about equal to humans, a wandering mixed with static lifestyle, tolerance to large temperature ranges, avoidance of man but not completely, wide range etc etc………

    There IS of course another primate in N.America which also has migrated from Asia or Europe and now is settled in hugh numbers! It is not established that Sasquatch is an ape though and there are indications that it is humanlike.

    No body has surfaced though it is probable we have DNA and its validity will grow in response to scientific progress. So we will be able to describe the animal accurately from its DNA. Just a matter of time! When this happens it should be possible to for Sasquatch to be validated for science

  23. jerrywayne responds:

    MattBille,

    I’m intrigued by your comment that a “nationwide population of thousands” of bigfoot “seems so unlikely” that you “have to presume people are mistaken” when they report continent wide sightings. I agree with you here, and then you say such reports “may be every bit as good from all these areas as from the PNW.” If that is the case, what basis do you have to presume PNW sightings are not “mistaken?” Is you view based solely on innate plausibility, or on other evidence you find more valid relating to a PNW population of bigfoot?

    DWA,

    CBFResearcher’s sighting may be “authentic.” Also true, it may be based on “deliberate lies” or even “big-time hallucinations.” Personally, I would not rule out “an innocent mistake” as an explanation. However, we really know nothing more than what we find here: words on a computer screen. My question is: can we presume CBF’s sighting statement is evidential? Or would it be irrelevant, as it stands, to a case based on real evidence?

    Is it truly amiss to entertain various possible explanations for CBF’s sighting (and by extention, other sightings) and not simply settle (almost as dogma) on a “Bigfoot Is Real” interpretation?

  24. DWA responds:

    jerrywayne,

    “CBFResearcher’s sighting may be “authentic.” Also true, it may be based on “deliberate lies” or even “big-time hallucinations.” Personally, I would not rule out “an innocent mistake” as an explanation. However, we really know nothing more than what we find here: words on a computer screen. My question is: can we presume CBF’s sighting statement is evidential? Or would it be irrelevant, as it stands, to a case based on real evidence?”

    ————————————————–

    Everything in the statement portion of that passage I’d agree with. (It’s hard for me to imagine what CBF saw that you could make an innocent mistake on, given what’s being described. But I suppose it’s conceivable. Give me time.)

    As to the questions: I presume, as I said, that this encounter goes in a very big pile. We can’t disprove it (or them); we have no reason off the top of our heads, absent evidence, to presume it’s a lie, a hallucination or a mistake; and we can’t make similar judgments about most all of the many other such reports out there. They are what they are. What we can look at is the number of them, and their sheer consistency. How could that consistency be happening, with how many there are? Why would so many people be picking this to bother with? Are they all consistently crazy, and so consistently crazy about the exact same thing? Are they all mistaking known animals of various sorts for the exact same kind of consistently described animal, which is also leaving tracks that are consistent with one another, and displaying behaviors that are so consistently reported that the biology of a species is emerging from the reports? (THIS is why I say immersion in the reports is utterly essential to the most basic understanding of the evidence.)

    The easiest thing to do that doesn’t involve dismissing the entire pile, entirely, out of hand, which no scientist being true to science could do in good conscience, is to simply say: there’s the evidence, and boy it sure looks, acts and graphs like a natural source, external to the observers, is producing it.

    So, science, what does information like that say to you?

    —————————————————–

    “Is it truly amiss to entertain various possible explanations for CBF’s sighting (and by extention, other sightings) and not simply settle (almost as dogma) on a “Bigfoot Is Real” interpretation?”

    —————————————————–

    Entertaining various possible explanations is one thing. But when no evidence can be shown that any of those possibilities is indeed correct, or even likely, why not entertain the possibility that the individual might have seen just what they say they did, and then note how many people are saying they are seeing the same thing? Nothing even remotely dogmatic about that. It seems more like common sense to me.

    It does not seem to be common sense, at all, to presume that we “would know by now” ANYTHING about an animal that can’t even be reported without the observer being presumed incorrect. I think a million of them could be roaming my home state of Maryland, and science wouldn’t know. Not until someone seeing one got taken seriously (and scientists seeing one could report it without fearing for their careers).

  25. CBFResearcher responds:

    Hi all,

    There seems to be a lot of dialog since I last signed on. Some good points as well. Let me assure you, I saw what I saw. Not a hallucination, not a BEAR, and not a man in a suit. I am a very experienced outdoorsman and have routinely ran into almost every species of wildlife in NW Canada, except a badger, and I would love to see one in the wild one day.

    I agree that my sighting goes into yet the big pile of sightings, that being said, it’s still evidence. This was the first time I have ever printed it anywhere. Maybe I now wish I didn’t as the usual ridicule by non-outdoors people rears up.

    I have to also let you know that my brother, a very avid hunter calls my sighting BS. He says they don’t exist cause he has not seen one. The best part is, he has recently moved to a location in British Columbia on Vancouver Island where he is now, as we speak, hunting in a location that is very well known for sightings and contact with the animal. I suspect in the next few years he will eventually get lucky, and scared to death like I was, when he sees the animal for himself. He will call me and with his tail between his legs, will admit I was right all along.

    As for the doubters that Bigfoot exists, I suggest you spend a little time (or lots of it as I do) in the forest, hiking, hunting, fishing, or guiding. You may have that surprise sighting. These sightings are rarely planned and come as a complete shock to the system when they happen. This is attested by virtually all people who report the sightings.

    Saying all that, I guess the courts should now let all those people out of prison who were incarcerated based on eye witness reports of a crime committed. As someone said in an earlier comment above, “a lie or hallucination” or a case of “mistaken identity”.

    That about sums it up. I guess I’ll just keep the track photos I took at a place where 9 loggers watched one for 20 minutes near Whiteswan Lake BC a few years ago. It would be pretty pointless at this time to bring them out. The whole story of their sighting can be read at the bfro under the type A sightings in BC.

    By the way, I am enjoying the many comments by all, very insightful by both sides of the skeptics and believers.

    Cheers

  26. norman-uk responds:

    I do not think wide spread sightings of Saquatch equates to numbers in the thousands even if they were all good. Another explanation may be that Sasquatch is a wanderer or migratory. Or that if someone sees a sasquatch they take notice. A large percentage only tell a circle of aquaintences as they realise they will otherwise find themselves in a hot seat. But still enough reports get out to give the picture. In total are not the numbers relatively small?

    Some people do think there are thousands of Sasquatch and others think not and the ubiquity of the reports a reason for scepticism about the existence of Sasquatch altogether. I think there may be local concentrations related to food resources or freedom from interference and increasingly important being isolated thus avoiding human diseases. Otherwise I think Sasquatch are widespread if thin on the ground and we had better take advantage of eyewitness accounts (such a CBF’s), as a valuable resource while we can before and thank those who share their experience with us.

    Through most of mans history the moon was just an eyewitness report, then a piece of cheese, then much more based on a matrix of evidence and finally total proof when science got its body part! With Sasquatch we are at the matrix of evidence stage and unless only one side of a case can be appreciated, its a good stage to be at.

  27. DWA responds:

    CBFResearcher: I know it probably gets frustrating.

    I’ve talked about that here before, that difference between scientific proof and personal proof. If I saw a sasquatch tomorrow, I would not care a fig who else ever knew; I’d know now. And then you have the John Greens and Grover Krantzes who have been on this case like bulldogs despite never seeing one themselves.

    I don’t have my proof yet. But your experience is part of the “big pile” that, far from being a pejorative, tells me we should be looking for it.

  28. DWA responds:

    I was walking past the Smithsonian’s National History Museum yesterday afternoon when my companion talked about the collection rooms in there, all that stuff that never sees the light of day. She said heck, there could even be bigfoot bones in there.

    Don’t know whether that was a crack or not (or whether she’s a closet crypto; if she is, she’s way closet). But I wonder how many museums have taken a serious look at all that stuff they have that the public never sees?

  29. DWA responds:

    I mentioned the Smithsonian’s National History Museum in my last post up there.

    Lifelong Washingtonian. Sheesh. It’s the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of NATURAL History (NMNH).

    I feel better already. In my defense, we do use “national” around here a lot, particularly for museums.

  30. CBFResearcher responds:

    DWA: Thanks for the comment. It’s the 3rd week of January and I thought I would look this post up to see when the last update was. Looks like a month ago.

    So, if anyone is reading this, The BC Provicil Museum apparently has a jaw bone of a “Big Indian” in storage somewhere just waiting to be seen. I plan going there next summer and convince the curator to bring it out, if it can be found, and have scientists, anthropolgists, and the like study it. Will keep all posted…

  31. CBFResearcher responds:

    Further to my last post, it is interesting to note that the forests in the upper NW parts of U.S. and Canada have very acidic soil with high PH levels. This combination mixed with lots of moisture and generally warm year round temperatures litterally melts the bones of animals very quickly. I once found bones from some animal that was obviousley there for quite some time and the bones were basically moist white mush when touched. You could see the layout of the skeleton, but all of the bones were just wet chalk. This could easily account for the lack of almost any animal bones in forested areas.

  32. DWA responds:

    CBFResearcher: hey, no problem. I like late check-ins. As we can see I’m one myself. 😉

    Apropos other threads I’ve gone through with scoffers lately, I should note something really interesting that happened with Fhqwgds up there.

    He tells me not to point him to the literature (the depth and breadth of which is the primary evidence for the reality of sasquatch). Then, when he’s asked to prove relativity, he points us to the literature.

    Interesting? Oh I’d think so.

    Evidence is evidence. That for the sasquatch is more compelling than that for relativity. And if you don’t understand why….you are a physicist. 😉




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