Sasquatch Coffee

The Survival of Sasquatch

Posted by: Loren Coleman on January 14th, 2010

Two of the nicest guys in Sasquatch research have some things to say:

About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. 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.


17 Responses to “The Survival of Sasquatch”

  1. DWA responds:

    It’s always great when “nicest” and “best” coincide.

    Having read Meldrum’s book and heard him speak, and having conversed with Mionczynski personally (driving him around Tyler Tx with John Bindernagel was almost a graduate course), I don’t know how you could have a sustained sit-down with either one and come away not seeing the existence of the sasquatch as a distinct possibility.

  2. arewethereyeti responds:

    I have always enjoyed Dr. Meldrum’s frank, open-minded, stance on Sasquatch. I wish other scientists would deign to do the same.

    However, after viewing the preceding clip, one nagging question regarding the adequacy of available food vis-a-vis bears remains: while bears generally hibernate to get through the caloric bottleneck imposed by winter, there was no speculation as to how Sasquatch – at least in its northern range – might do the same?

    I realize that deer, elk and moose all manage quite nicely, but they are exclusively herbivores whereas bears and Bigfoot, as Dr. Meldrum states, would seem to have similar caloric/dietary/physiological needs. As far as I know, there is no record supporting hibernation in great apes/hominids…

    Just how does ole Sas’ get by when the snow flies… :-?

  3. DWA responds:

    I will say one thing that bothers me: John’s statement that the population is in the hundreds, when the sustainable-population guess is in the thousands (which if the distribution implied by the evidence is correct is a very bare minimum, I’d think).

    John Green doesn’t think them endangered at all. But Mionczynski’s a biologist. Carrying capacity and inferences from evidence are his meat.

    If the pop is not sustainable that means one thing: human intervention is required to preserve the species. And we’re nowhere close to knowing, in the societal sense without which you can forget it, that there’s a species yet.

  4. cryptidsrus responds:

    DWA:

    Indeed.

    I particularly respect and admire Meldrum. A scientist and a gemntleman. Can’t think of anybody more “worthy” to get the scoop on what’s going on with Ole Hairy.

  5. DWA responds:

    Arewethereyeti: Good question, and one that cuts to the crux of a lot of people’s skepticism.

    We don’t know about hibernation from anything anecdotal, or any direct evidence at all. That some kind of seasonal sleep happens has been inferred from sighting concentrations. Just as the high proportion of sightings at night – when relatively few people are abroad in good places to see a sasquatch – has lent much to the supposition that the animal is at least significantly if not strictly nocturnal, so the relatively small number of sightings in winter seems to infer less activity at that season. But then, the most northernmost encounter I am aware of – see here – occurred in the dead of winter, in a place that, well, you know how cold it gets on the North Slope of Alaska. (And of course, fewer people are out in wild areas in winter.)

    Just because the only apes we know of are tropical doesn’t mean that ther can’t be one that doesn’t conform. (I mean, look at us.) Several species of monkeys brave snow and below-zero cold. An ape could do it too. It has been postulated that in winter the sasquatch moves to the organ meats of big game, particularly the livers of deer, which are a huge score calorically and in variety of nutrients. And the sas appears from evidence much better capable of downing healthy deer than bears are – to say nothing of winter-weakened ones. Bears can’t count on any meat but carcasses; although they will take any they can catch, that doesn’t appear to be a strategy bears can count on in winter. They’re primarily vegetarian (but for the polar bear), and we all know how reliable that is in winter.

    The model for apes is tropical. But models only talk about what’s known. Most kinds of animals have tropical, temperate and polar (or very cold north temperate) versions. Why would apes be the exception?

  6. DWA responds:

    I should note that where I said above that “It has been postulated that in winter the sasquatch moves to the organ meats of big game, particularly the livers of deer,” there is direct evidence that this may be happening. See here.

  7. arewethereyeti responds:

    DWA: I appreciate your reply. Well reasoned and well stated as usual.

    I only object – and good-naturedly at that :) – to your use of “us” as an example of a non-conforming, i.e., cold-tolerant, ape. Humans, as a rule, rely on their technology: warm-season farming, artificial shelters, food stores, fire, etc., to make a go of it, year-round, in northern climes. We are, all of our inventions aside, still a tropical-to-temperate species.

    Obviously, if Sasquatch does exist, it must have some strategy for coping with northern winters and I believe the high-calorie “meat-centric” diet you suggested could do the trick.

    I also think you’re on the right track citing the Japanese snow monkeys (macaques), and their ability to thrive in freezing conditions, as a good example of a cold-tolerant primate.

    Is there anything that would absolutely rule out a large primate over-wintering in the North? Probably not, but I still would’ve liked to hear messrs. Meldrum and Mionczynski’s thoughts on the subject…

    Of course, we may all be wrong and ole Sas’ simply heads South to visit his Skunk-Ape relatives for the winter… :))

  8. DWA responds:

    arewethereyeti: Thanks.

    When I pointed to us as nonconforming, it wasn’t as an example of a cold-tolerant ape, but of one that doesn’t conform to most of the “ape rules,” including the one that apes can’t fly. ;-)

    As I said: models only address what we know about. All that means is that, before you change a model, you need proof that the model needs changing. That we don’t have yet. But we have enough evidence that the model seems at least a bit shaky to those acquainted with the evidence.

    That these guys leave lots of putative tracks in snow indicates that, like bears, they’re not holing up for the entire winter. But if bears can leave tracks of bare feet in snow, why can’t an ape? No reason, particularly. We just have an inherent bias against thinking that way. Just ’cause it strikes us as cold doesn’t mean it has to bother a bigfoot that much.

  9. Steleheart responds:

    Wonderful. Great commentary by great people.

    I know you all know a lot – I am just a janitor but I know what I observe so indulge me briefly? When I had, on my little plot, 1 Coyote (that I know of), I had many cottontail and many many (grr) mice. When the Coyote was ‘removed’ (and I know this from some info I cannot prove but trust) I then gained 2 pair of foxes, a bobcat, and a fisher cat. Other than the foxes I do not know about mating pairs. I can say, however, that before the Coyote was ‘removed’ bunnies were everywhere. it was his (or ‘their) feast. After though, with so much competition, I see very few cottontails, and most of the mice are in my shed or in my garage, haha.

    I am no biologist, but I suppose such knowlegable people base their numbers on quantifiable statistics – sustainable numbers, etc. But regarding Sasquatch, I just wonder if, due to other factors; longevity, genitics, or some unknown or rather unstudied factors, there may be other posibilities for their continued existence?

    If genetics, longevity, instinct and other natural influences sustained them above the capabilities of their competitors like bear, then perhaps “smaller” numbers actually ensure their survival?

    I have seen, watched and wondered about black bear at times in my life and I know how communal they CAN be, depending on their supply vs demand. would so many bear really mind one or 2 pair of Sasquatch?

    I do not know how to exactly say what I mean as I am not an educated man, but perhaps some one can help expand on this cryptic diatribe (haha). Or else put me straight.

    Thanks so much

  10. Steleheart responds:

    Sorry, part of what I was asking was that if, for instance, Squatch does NOT hibernate and Bear does, the possible competition is less and smaller numbers are not seen as competition, whereas larger (sustainable) numbers might be. Not taking into account factors we do not know such as metabolic requirements, etc.

  11. sschaper responds:

    If sasquatch is or was real, it could well have been on the decline like other megafauna, most of which are gone, a few remaining, such as the mountain goat. If they have a large range, and if they also had a place that they mostly wintered, or a lek for mating, and if that was Ape Canyon or other places near Mt. St. Helens, that eruption might have driven the nail into the coffin for the species. Sightings certainly seem to be decreasing over time. Only human intervention would have even a chance of preserving them – just as the other great apes require this for their survival. Orang Pendek is another candidate for a nearly extinct animal that needs finding and protecting ASAP.

  12. DWA responds:

    Steleheart: as to your plot example, removing the coyote had just about the result I’d predict. All the species you mention as increasing (or showing up) suffer in competition with coyote. (And for this reason, wolves are good for all of them, as has been shown in Yellowstone. The gray wolf is the best coyote control known to man – a whole heck of a lot better than we are.)

    As to any speculation about sasquatch numbers, and whether a given level is good or bad, we simply don’t have enough evidence to know. Numbers (at least the “best” estimates) are projected using techniques of wildlife biology …against report data that are, well, at least a weetad suspect. Of course, they are far from conclusive even for species we know exist.

    The only way headway can really be made from here is for a dedicated team to move into an area of a lot (relative term) of recent reported activity, prepared to stay until contact is made and good documentation secured. (Or a team of part-time researchers will need to get really, really lucky.) When science gets interested – and nothing short of proof, it seems, will interest science – now you can move beyond speculation.

  13. cloudyboy87 responds:

    I..I’m not sure I’m a believer in Sasquatch..But..I think I may be starting to believe and it kinda disturbs me because I found out that two sightings have occured right here in my small east Texas community maybe 1 mile from my house..And not only that, my mother and I were conversing in the front yard of few months ago and we heard this very loud and awful DEEP scream from the woods on our property across the road..And we have never heard anything like it before or since..Idk..I just can’t see how every single Sasquatch encounter or piece of evidence is could be fake..i mean..it’s only logical that if it doesn’t work like that for other cryptids that I do firmly believe in or have actually seen..that it would be different for “Bigfoot”..I’m kinda shaken now..Somebody please help me on this..it’s kind of weird lol..Kind of like being asleep for 22 years and waking up one day to the real world and everything’s different from the Matrix type dream world..I know I sound crazy but it’s how I’m feeling about this and I would really like some help and conversation from some pro Sasquatch people or anyone that has had an encounter.

  14. fuzzy responds:

    Aren’t we overlooking something; Intelligence and its attendant Free Will?

    Winter of ’77-78 was rather brutal along parts of the East Coast, with water sources frozen over and everything deeply covered by blizzards, making it difficult for animals to find natural food sources.

    Most hunkered down or hibernated, but Squatches moved down frozen streams to larger tributaries, then down rivers to warmer climes, then back up the feeder streams, showing up at farms and domestic back yards, raiding chicken coops and other pens and leaving large, unexpected footprints in the snow.

    Came Spring and Squatch survival activity decreased, as they presumably abandoned the cultural chaos to return to more peaceful habitats. These creatures are not stupid, and their nomadic and seasonal migratory habits are well known.

    Opposed thumbs. Tools. Structures. Habitat Modification. Language. Communication. Intelligence. Free Will. Etc…

  15. arewethereyeti responds:

    Fuzzy:

    Good point regarding seasonal migration as a way for Sasquatch to cope with winter food shortages. I will also concede that piggy-backing on human technology is another viable strategy – at least in principle. Certainly, raccoons, coyotes and bears – just to name a few – do it all the time; but I would ask you to weigh the feasibility of ongoing urban foraging vs. the inevitability of discovery.

    Even if initially introduced to urban/rural scavenging strictly as a way to get through the winter, it stands to reason that a creature, especially an intelligent one, upon discovering a readily available, high-energy food source would continue to return – even against its better judgment and at considerable personal risk – as long as the supply continued. If you doubt me, consider for a moment the number of human-level intelligences that choose to continue engaging in high-risk/high-reward behaviors as long as the supply beckons: embezzlers, shoplifters, bank robbers, etc., most of whom are invariably caught…

    I’ll wager just about everyone has either witnessed personally, or seen clear pictures/video of, ordinary animals scavenging in close proximity to human dwellings. Alleged hand- and foot-prints attributed to foraging Sasquatch aside, I haven’t yet seen any indisputable video/photographic evidence of Bigfoot caught, red-handed, going through the trash.

    Assuming they exist, I question how Sasquatch, intelligent or not, could spend any substantive amount of time foraging in close human contact without becoming habituated and subsequently ending up:
    A. On camera;
    B. Captured;
    C. Shot.

    (Or, D. Arrested. But, who would you get to stand in the lineup?) :-?

  16. fuzzy responds:

    arewethereyeti – “Raccoons, coyotes and bears, embezzlers, shoplifters and bank robbers” – all examples, in my opinion, of GREED overriding intelligence and better judgement.

    If you weigh 500 pounds and you can’t break thru the ice to get at the fish and plants you hunger for, and several feet of snow covers the berries and other greens that could sustain you, you might head down hill and stream to happier hunting grounds, using whatever stealth capabilities you have to acquire food to fill your stomach.

    But when the weather warms and snow melts, your intelligence, weighing substantial (instinctive? mythical?) risk against the certainty of your normal diet now being available “back home”, might head you back to the plants and ponds at your natural, higher, habitat.

    Survival of the smartest doesn’t mean the greediest, except in most homo saps.

    No mystery here – see my interview with the Blogsquatcher.

  17. arewethereyeti responds:

    Fuzzy:

    I think you come down a little too hard on greed. “Greed,” as Gordon Gekko said, “… is good.” :)

    What you term “greed,” in a human context, is analogous to nature’s hard-wired drive to ensure one receives “my share” of limited resources. As food is generally available in contemporary society, I chose criminal activities to illustrate my point where humans were concerned.

    Human society frowns upon these “me first” impulses and criminalizes the more extreme examples. Obviously, most people are able to override their baser urges. However, “free will” works both ways and the fact that, despite the consequences, some people continue to take more than they are entitled to suggests that what we call “greed” is humanity’s expression of an animal’s innate “me first” drive; opposite sides of the same coin if you will.

    To award the benefits of near-human intelligence while reserving the ability to completely override baser instincts casts Bigfoot in the role of the “noble savage” – a step that I’m not willing to take.

    Either Bigfoot is an animal, hard-wired to procure its “share” of limited resources, regardless of the consequences, like: raccoons, coyotes and bears. Or, they are human-like in their intelligence and subject to the vagaries of free will; knowledgeable of, but not always willing to do, the “right” or “smart” thing, like: embezzlers, shoplifters and bank robbers.

    Either way, they’re eventually gonna get caught.



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