Where are the Cryptoarcheologists and Cryptopaleontologists?

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on October 18th, 2015

An interesting post from two years ago today here on Cryptomundo:

Interesting topic of discussion from the SkeptiX Files:

Yeah, yeah, yeah…the hot Bigfoot news today is the report that studies of DNA samples taken in the High Himalayas indicate that a previously unknow species of brown bear might be the source of Yeti sightings. Not surprising – Big Foot sightings and bear sightings in North America seem strikingly similar. If you want to read about that, check out the news here.

But as I see more and more episodes of “Finding Bigfoot” and get wind of new “Squatching” clubs cropping up, I have a simple question to ask: where the hell are the cryptoarcheologists and cryptopaleontologists?

In the world of science it works like this: if you want to discover a new species, you have two choices: 1) find it in nature or 2) find its fossil remains. We already have cryptozoology – the search for “living” legendary creatures. So where are the researchers looking for these creatures in the fossil record? It’s pretty clear that Bigfoot is an elusive guy – finding him in the woods is a moving target. That hasn’t worked out so well. But he’s not immortal – he has to die. Even if he scatters the remains of his dead, they’re going to turn up eventually. Cryptozoologists like to famously proclaim that “no one finds bear bones in the woods.” OK. I don’t think that’s true…but even if it is, we sure as hell find bear bones in the fossil record.

And we sure as hell find the remains of gigantic primates in the fossil record, as well. In 1935 Ralph von Koenigswald turned up the first known fossils of the mega-ape Gigantopithecus in an apothecary shop. Where are the researchers scouring the riverbanks of the Pacific Northwest for washed out Bigfoot teeth or combing through museum collections for anomalistic fossils? This is an aspect of Squatchology that has always bothered me, for a rather simple reason: I don’t think Bigfooters, deep down, actually take what they’re doing seriously. This especially includes those who have actual scientific training. Two of the leading lights of cryptozoology over the past century have been men with university training in physical anthropology: Grover Krantz and Jeff Meldrum. Admittedly neither of these scholars are “fieldmen,” but their professions rest on the work of analyzing data extracted from the environment. Without “physical” remains, “physical” anthropology has no work to do. It has always struck me as irresponsible on the part of these researchers to approach the question of Bigfoot without access to the kind of evidence upon which their professional opinion would necessarily be based.

Forget about the dodgy folklore upon which Bigfootery rests and approach this question as a matter of serious scholarship. Like a police investigation, other than establishing a claim, it is a waste of time to rely on witness testimony as a source of objective cryptozoological evidence. Here’s an example of why this fails. If someone comes to the local university’s paleontology department and describes the bones of a new species of dinosaur that they have found on their property the paleontologist is not going publish a paper establishing this new species based on that information alone. The researcher is going to want to go to the site, examine the evidence for themselves, examine the remains, and perform an objective analysis. WITHOUT ACCESS to those remains there’s nothing for the researcher to do but stay in their lab – otherwise they’re merely adding to the extant body of dubious folklore by putting themselves on the record. In other words, it’s the remains that speak – not the expert. All the opinons of all the physical anthropologists in the world matter nothing, if those opinions have no foundation in evidence upon which to rest.

This is why I doubt the sincereity of so-called Bigfoot researchers – even those with professional training. They know better. They know that without physical evidence they have no work to do. Sure, Meldrum’s interest in footprints brings him a bit closer to the realm of seriousness, but without understanding the means by which that print was created, that evidence is little better than worthless.

In fact, a serious Bigfooter – as opposed to someone trying to get on TV, earn publicity for themselves, or simply having fun with their buddies in the woods, would spend their time doing what Raymond Dart, Ralph von Koenigswald, the Leakey family, Donald Johanson, and a whole host of anthropoligsts and archaeologists have done to better understand our human origins: dig for the remains. By digging, I don’t just mean in the ground. Diggers have been pulling fossils out of North America for close to two hundred years by now. A serious Bigfooter would begin their search for evidence in the collections of the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History or the American Museum of Natural History. If Bigfoot were truly real, there’s a very good chance one of his teeth or digits got dug up and tossed into a bag or box at some point during a field expedition. New species are discovered every year by researchers working in old collections. This is a common practice of grad students looking for material with which to break new ground.

So if you’re looking for Bigfoot – or any cryptid, for that matter – put down the infrared camera and pick up a book on anatomy and get busy combing the museums for remains. Read old journals and catalogs of finds. Ask your local fossil club to let you tag along when they go to “Bigfoot country.” In short, if you’re serious, get serious about finding REAL physical evidence. If a great ape ever lived in North America, he had to leave some of himself behind.

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.

6 Responses to “Where are the Cryptoarcheologists and Cryptopaleontologists?”

  1. mandors responds:

    They’re dominated by the Ancient Aliens crowd. So I’m guessing that tends to make mainstreamers shy away even more than Bigfoot and Nessie.

  2. Fhqwhgads responds:

    Here’s an idea: how about instead of doing research in order to prove that Bigfoot, or whatever, is real, just doing research without preconceptions and letting the evidence speak for itself? That’s what real scientists do, regardless of the opinions from the peanut gallery.

  3. Doug responds:

    Considering the article was written by a skeptic, I think he gave some sound advice about combing through archives looking for evidence. I have read Krantz’s book on “Bigfoot/Sasquatch Evidence” and I remember him saying there was possibly an extremely large Native American skull attributed to being Indian brave’s in UCLA’s archives, so it would be worth looking (If true do you think they would cooperate?). I do imagine the question for an archaeologist would be “If one began to dig for the big guy’s remains where on earth would you start?”

  4. mandors responds:

    Putting aside my earlier comments, the reality is that archeologists, paleontologists, anthropologists and the like in the US, for decades, have hidden, lied about, covered up, discarded or otherwise kept evidence that diverged from their “established theories.” This includes the fact that Vikings established colonies in the 11th Century in North America, that the Clovis people likely originated in ancient Europe, that Pueblo peoples practiced cannibalism, and that ancient Polynesians travelled to Southern California.

    Former doctoral students have testified to these activities by their advisors. Nay-saying professors have time and again been proven WRONG, and the iconoclasts have endured derision and ostracism for their theories.

    So there is plenty of evidence out there. There are records of “giant” skeletons having been discovered all over the United States. If true, how far a stretch is it that they could be evidence of Sasquatch. Not very far.

  5. DWA responds:

    Wrong question.

    As scientists have written much – including, you know, *entire books* – on the compelling nature of the evidence: why haven’t lazy people like this doof gotten off their azzes to read up and see that the proponents *are right,* and start badgering the mainstream to get where science clearly demands they be on this?

    *That’s* the question. I have nothing more to say to the info-challenged.

  6. DWA responds:

    Fhqwhgads: that’s happened already. The evidence has spoken. It’s time to confirm the animal that the evidence very clearly says is real.

Sorry. Comments have been closed.

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