Latest Update: The Foot of Bigfoot?

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on February 18th, 2007

Is this story turning into another Sasquatch Conspiracy? When the foot was initially found, it was thought to be human. Then the sheriff announced that the Virginia state medical examiners’ office had determined that the foot was not human but that it belonged to “an apelike species.”

Then the speculation began that it could be the Foot of Bigfoot.

Now the state medical examiners’ office is stating:

The medical examiner’s office is continuing its investigation, spokesman Arkuie Williams said Friday, adding the office has not determined the foot belongs to an apelike species.

“I don’t know where that came from,” he said, promising the office will make public its final determination. Even so, the sheriff has said he plans to send the foot to another expert to examine.Arkuie Williams

What are we to make of this “official” backtracking?

Bigfoot rumors afoot in Va.
Perhaps it’s just a bear’s foot, but discovery stirs talk of legendary beast

Sunday, February 18, 2007

FREDERICKSBURG — Bigfoot is out there, they are sure.

So when a discarded foot found in a Spotsylvania County landfill turned out to be more apelike than human, some Bigfoot hunters seized on the possibility the appendage belongs to the elusive creature they claim wanders North America’s woods.

Why the leap to what some people are calling the Spotsylvania Sasquatch?

“Legends persist because they fascinate, because they provide a solution in a wondrous world,” said Elissa R. Henken, an English professor at the University of Georgia who specializes in folklore and legend. “We are aware of a world that has much more in it than any one of us experiences.”

Russell Tuttle, a University of Chicago anthropologist who specializes in primate locomotion, thinks the appendage is the skinned hind foot of a bear. He said the quest for Bigfoot is “an escape from the realities of life, like focusing on soap operas and the personal life of often-pathetic celebrities.”

He added: “I pray this does not start an armed search for Bigfoot in the area. One is more likely to shoot a person in disguise, a person hunting, oneself, someone’s farm animal.”

But Bigfoot hunters consider themselves realists. William Dranginis of Manassas, who heads the Virginia Bigfoot Research Organization, admits that his heart fluttered at the possibility the foot belonged to a Bigfoot. But he also thinks it’s a bear’s foot.

Matt Moneymaker, president of the California-based Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, said one of his group’s 200 members is a world-class hunter who has skinned more than 200 black bears.

“That hunter, in British Columbia, is certain that this is the skinned left hind foot of an Ursus americana,” or North American black bear, said Moneymaker, whose quest for Bigfoot has been documented by National Geographic.

Jeffrey Meldrum, an Idaho State University anthropologist who is a proponent of Bigfoot’s existence, said bear remains are commonly mistaken for humans. Like others who have seen photos of the foot, he said it appears the ends of the toes, including the claws, were probably removed and remain with the pelt.

The state medical examiner’s office in Richmond determined that the 8-inch-long foot belonged to an “apelike species” based on X-rays, according to Spotsylvania Sheriff Howard Smith.

Authorities initially thought the foot was human and possibly evidence of a homicide. Sheriff’s deputies and others combed half of a 127-ton load of fresh garbage for other body parts after landfill workers found the foot Feb. 10 in the treaded tracks of a bulldozer.

The medical examiner’s office is continuing its investigation, spokesman Arkuie Williams said Friday, adding the office has not determined the foot belongs to an apelike species.

“I don’t know where that came from,” he said, promising the office will make public its final determination. Even so, the sheriff has said he plans to send the foot to another expert to examine.

Idaho State’s Meldrum said officials should have publicly cleared up the matter by now. “The handling of the situation, as it’s been portrayed in the press, has been extremely clumsy,” he said.

He also said delay in reaching a conclusion only fuels speculation and contributes to people dismissing evidence in other cases, such as footprints or sightings.

“It just adds to the stigma that Bigfoot researchers are grasping at straws,” he said.

Although he now believes the find is a bear’s foot, Dranginis, who claims he spotted a Bigfoot in Culpeper County in 1995, has a ready answer when asked why someone who possessed a prized Bigfoot would discard part of it in a landfill.

“Maybe somebody was scared they shot a human,” he said.

Although doubts have been raised about the famous 1967 Patterson-Gimlin film footage of a purported Bigfoot — relatives of Ray Wallace, who died in 2002, said he created 16-inch footprints and knew who was in the Bigfoot suit — proponents say such debunking is not conclusive.

For all the snickers they may endure, Bigfoot hunters do have a reputable backer: Renowned primatologist Jane Goodall has said she is certain that Bigfoot creatures are real. She praised the scientific approach of Meldrum’s 2006 book “Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science.”

“I’m sure that they exist. . . . I’ve talked to so many Native Americans who’ve all described the same sounds, two who’ve seen them,” Goodall told National Public Radio in 2002. “I’m a romantic, so I always wanted them to exist.”Kiran Krishnamurthy
The Richmond Times-Dispatch

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.

11 Responses to “Latest Update: The Foot of Bigfoot?”

  1. mystery_man responds:

    Well, I’m just going to come out and say it. If this by some chance was an 8 inch long Bigfoot foot, I really don’t see how it would wind up in a landfill. And I find the explanation of “Maybe somebody was scared they shot a human,” to be a tad ridiculous. It doesn’t make any sense. If they intentionally shot what they thought was a human, it would become clear upon seeing the corpse that it wasn’t. And if they shot at what they thought was a Bigfoot, well, then they succeeded. If they shot at it, they obviously thought they were shooting at something and no matter what it was, the body would be that of a Bigfoot. Follow me? Then why would someone mistake a Bigfoot corpse for a human’s? And then why would they saw off the foot and discard only that into the dumpster anyway? Most people would hold onto something this prized.

    I am starting to come around to the idea that this might be a bear’s foot. It seems the most likely candidate in light of all the knowledgeable people saying this. An expert on primate locomotion, several taxidermists, hunters, Jeff Meldrum, etc have all stated their belief that this is a bear foot and that is pretty compelling to me. On top of the is the size of the foot and the location. It is possible, as others on this blog have said, that poachers discarded it. Maybe I’m wrong, but that makes more sense to me than a Bigfoot’s foot winding up in a garbage dump. All of the evidence I see so far points to this being a bear foot.

  2. kittenz responds:

    Maybe the bear was even killed legally, and not poached. I wonder if there is a bear hunting season in that part of Virginia, and if so, when that season occurs. Since no one seems to be sure when the foot was put into the landfill, I think that would be a logical place to start an investigation. If the foot WAS from a legal kill, and if it was not illegal to dispose of it in the trash, maybe the hunter who shot it will come forward and clear up the mystery. After all, any DNA recovered from the foot would match DNA from other parts of the same bear, including its skin.

  3. Cryptonut responds:

    I’m sure that when someone will be able to ID the foot, that the logic that others have used that it is a foot belonging to a known animal will be borne out. The possibility of the foot being that of a bigfoot versus some other known animal foot, and being found in a county dump, although fascinating, is just not logical. Had this been found out in the wilderness somewhere, it may have built up more intrigue for me, but in the current location I think the likelihood of it being a bigfoot foot is about nil.

  4. joppa responds:

    I doubt that the medical examiner who first looked into this has any background in wildlife biology. So, we get a weird “first brush” at identification and we are off to the crypto-races.

    It seems ol’ Slew Foot has ended his days in the dump.

  5. DWA responds:

    Jeff Meldrum “said delay in reaching a conclusion only fuels speculation and contributes to people dismissing evidence in other cases, such as footprints or sightings.

    “It just adds to the stigma that Bigfoot researchers are grasping at straws,” he said.

    I couldn’t agree more. This is my chief problem with stuff like this: it looks like straw-grasping.

    As does speculation about stuff like Bigfoot burying its dead. Not only is that extremely unlikely, but as “open-minded” as it might seem, its effect is to make the subject look more and more taboo for a serious scientist. You can NEVER explain to a serious scientist that something for which there is no evidence explains a lack of evidence! You have to stick to what’s scientifically plausible.

    This foot looks like a classic Biscardi-ism to me. And you see how seriously people take him. He’s a media sideshow; he serves their purposes, which tend toward the poking of fun at this topic.

    I can’t stop it. But I can sure wish it would stop.


  6. Rillo777 responds:

    I hesitate to speculate on something I haven’t seen and probably couldn’t identify if I did 🙂 But my impression is that I’m considerably worried about how far our forensics studies have come if it is impossible to tell a bear foot from a primates. Do bears and primates share such a close DNA that they can’t easily be told apart? Granted we don’t have a Bigfoot sample for comparison but there are plenty of bears. Really, how difficult should it be?

  7. Mike Smith responds:

    If it turns out to be a bears foot and it was placed there as a joke to make everyone think it’s a foot of a bigfoot, I hope they find the person or persons responsible and lock them away for a long time for harming that poor animal.

  8. mystery_man responds:

    Well, Mike Smith, I agree they should be punished but why would someone doing this as a prank stick it in the garbage? Wouldn’t on a Hiking trail be better for that?

  9. fallofrain responds:

    Has anyone thought to just take the foot or photo to a taxidermist with bear mount experience to get an opinion instead of waiting for lab specialists to put a foot in their mouths?

  10. megalodon responds:

    How was the leap made from apelike foot to Bigfoot foot? Perhaps Bigfoot researchers should be a little more careful about letting themselves get drawn into wild speculation regarding objects which should be easily identifiable. I’m afraid that it does make us look kind of silly.

    I can’t believe that it could be so difficult to identify this severed foot as belonging to either a bear or an ape. Couldn’t the Virginia state medical examiners’ office or the sheriffs’ office show the foot or even x-rays of the foot to a zoologist, taxidermist, anthropologist or veterinarian? Seems as though this would be enough to solve the mystery without requiring DNA analysis. Now, if none of these folks are able to identify the object or can’t come to a consensus, then we have a genuine mystery which would require DNA analysis.

  11. chrisandclauida2 responds:

    People need to understand that a bear skeleton, except the head and I think missing collar bones, is remarkable like that of a humans. Most of us who come across remains would not be able to differentiate between the two.

    Another annoying little fact is that bear prints are commonly mistaken for human or bigfoot, especially if the front and back overlap..

    Everyone should be of the position prove to me it isn’t a human or bear part not prove to my why it isn’t bigfoot.

    Animal remains are difficult to find. Except for road kill, in years outdoors I only found remains 2 times. Once was a dog who was shot and the body scattered by coyotes. The second was the hind lower leg of an elk. This was obviously from some hunter’s poor attempt at dressing the animal.

    I have smelled dead animals before but nature is quick in cleaning up after itself. Everything from bacteria, bugs and small omnivores to vultures, large predators, coyotes and large opportunists will have a dead animal gone in short order.

    If it wasn’t so dangerous, I would suggest to take recorded calls hunters use to call in predators out to a local forest or outdoors spot. every predator and opportunist in a mile would hightail it to the sound. you would have coyotes, fox, mountain lion and other hungry varmints looking for an easy meal. Add to that the decomposition smell and anything dead would be gone or scattered in a day or two.

    I don’t ever expect to find remains unless they are from something a hunter or outdoors man shot and then buried and then led someone to the sight. even more difficult is that this would have to be buried deep enough to keep the smell from having it dug up.

    The more likely scenario would be a logging truck or other vehicle hitting one and having it recovered quickly.

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