January 27, 2016

Do You Believe in Bigfoot?

Dr. Meldrum got started on Bigfoot research after discovering Sasquatch footprints.

If you grew up, traveled to or spent any time in the Northwest, chances are you have heard stories of a giant bipedal ape roaming the mountains, clandestinely living in the shadows off of whatever shrubs and plants it can find.

When it comes to Sasquatch, there are three types of people: those who believe in Sasquatch or Bigfoot without a doubt, those who do not believe due to insufficient evidence and those who are open minded to the idea but don’t have a preference one way or another.

Jeffrey Meldrum, a professor of anatomy and physical anthropology in the Department of Biological Sciences at ISU, has a slightly different way of admitting belief.

“I don’t like to use the word believe,” Meldrum said, “The ideological skeptics out there use ‘true believer’ as a derogatory label on people who are open-minded to this subject. For many people, in common usage, belief has a connotation of faith that is more or less the acceptance of something in the absence of evidence. I’m convinced that Sasquatch exists on the basis of the evidence.”

Meldrum’s studies didn’t begin with chasing evidence for this possible phenomenon and they don’t end there. His research focuses on locomotor adaptations, things that have shaped the primate body to get around through the environment and particularly human adaptations to walking on two legs.

Although growing up in the Northwest and being aware of the first Sasquatch sightings, it wasn’t until Meldrum was in the midst of his research that his own studies of Sasquatch began. His research first focused on human bipedalism, especially the shape of the foot due to natural selection for bipedal locomotion.

This interest led him to discover his first Sasquatch footprints in the foothills of the Blue Mountains in Washington. He looked at them and saw skin ridge patterns and pressure ridges, like that of a living organism.

“I kind of pinched myself thinking, my gosh Sasquatch walked by here last night,” Meldrum said.

Although Meldrum is convinced this creature is not mythical, there are still skeptics in the world of science that believe the evidence is not adequate.

“Everyone has their own opinion of his work. It’s controversial,” said Mark Austin, chair and professor of the Department of Biological Sciences. “He seems to be successful in getting extra funding to do the work so it doesn’t really impact the department in terms of utilization of resources.”
3D printer skeleton_2

Meldrum was asked to participate in a History Channel documentary called “Bigfoot Captured.” Although the show didn’t turn out quite as he expected, it involved others at ISU than just him.

A production company asked Geran Call, an instructor in the College of Technology specializing in robotics and communication systems and engineering technology, to create a life-size Sasquatch skeleton by 3D print.

“They wanted to use it in the video to show what would Bigfoot look like if he was real, so it’s kind of a mock-up since nobody has found a skeleton,” Call said.

There have not been any discoveries of Sasquatch skeletons as of yet, so a mock skeleton had to be sketched. With help from Meldrum and the Idaho Museum of Natural History, a prototype to aid Call was made up with what evidence has been provided of the creature and previous bipedal hominoids.

Printing of the skeleton took 1,600 hours with the utilization of printers in northwest collegiate settings outside of ISU.

“[If] it’s safe and not going to harm anyone we’ll print what needs to be printed as long as it’s paid for,” Call said.

Stratasys, who makes the 3D printing machine, donated the material for the project. Call wasn’t paid for his time, but rather donated his time as a community service project.

ISU was not out any money from the project. Call estimates, to have something like this done, it would be around $12,000 including materials and printing time, but excluding hourly pay for those conducting the project.

Call is an open-minded scholar in regards to Sasquatch: if Sasquatch exists he does and if not, he doesn’t.

“There’s so many different things out there that people measure in science, can you really justify one thing or another?” Call said. “If you look at science in history, there are things people have found that never existed because they looked for it.”

In consideration to humanity, it is up to each person to decide on their own if they do or don’t think Sasquatch is real but perhaps a little research on the subject is worth looking into before making the ultimate decision.

“Clearly it’s controversial in the scientific community. There’s no question about that, but you know, freedom of speech and freedom to do one’s research has to be honored,” Austin said.


Watch the video of the Sasquatch skeleton printing here: Bigfoot Captured: 3D-Printing a Bigfoot Skeleton

See also:

Bigfoot Captured: Meldrum’s Thoughts
Bigfoot Captured: Something Eerie in the Woods
Bigfoot Captured: Abominable?
Printing Bigfoot
Bigfoot Captured: Full Episode
Bigfoot Captured

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.

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Filed under Bigfoot, Bigfoot Report, Cryptozoologists, Cryptozoology, Evidence, Forensic Science, Pop Culture, Sasquatch, Television