If Bigfoot Eats A Human, Is It A Cannibal?

Posted by: Loren Coleman on June 2nd, 2012

Cannibals are all over the news. Humans are eating humans, and you can’t avoid that it’s all the buzz at the Drudge Report, Huffington Post, Anomalist News, and hundreds of other online sites.  I posted about this yesterday at the Twilight Language blog, in “Sychronmystic Cannibals?“.

So I got to pondering,

Why are Forest Giants and Windigos/Wendigos called “Cannibals” and “Cannibal Giants” when they eat humans? Why do Bigfoot scholars so casually use the word “Cannibals” when talking about Sasquatch eating humans?

The image of a “cannibalistic” Wendigo confronting a human is from the Dark Horse comic series B.P.R.D.

If a Bigfoot eats a human in a forest, is it a cannibal?

Think about it.

What’s the definition of cannibalism and cannibals? The word “cannibalism” originated from caníbales, the Spanish name for the Carib people, a West Indies ethnic social group formerly well known for their practice of eating other humans. Cannibalism, also called anthropophagy, is defined as the act or practice of humans (Homo sapiens) eating the flesh of other human beings, although prehistorically Neandertals eating CroMagnons and CroMagnons eating Neandertals has been called cannibalism. Humans eating Homo floresiensis, the so-called little people, the Hobbits of Flores Island may have taken place, and I’m sure that would be called cannibalism, as well.

But why should Bigfoot who munch on humans be called “cannibals”? They aren’t humans. Or, at least, that hasn’t been proven yet.

What do you think?

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.

11 Responses to “If Bigfoot Eats A Human, Is It A Cannibal?”

  1. springheeledjack responds:

    I guess that depends on just how close to humanity Bigfoot is. Aren’t monkey brains a delicacy? That’s not seen as cannibalism.

    Again, I guess it depends on how far you want to carry the idea. As a human, I can’t imagine looking at Bigfoot as a food source, personally, but then again I don’t think I’d consider monkey or gorilla as one either…not that I personally would consider that cannibalism, but just too bizarre for my tastes–not into the “Endangered Animals” or “Zoo animals” dining club…

  2. DWA responds:


    Cannibalism is in the eye of the beholder; we see other Homo species as close-enough.

    Whatever this is, the consensus of the leading scientific proponents – with which I concur – is: not Homo.

  3. Troodon56 responds:

    In my opinion, no. I don’t think Bigfoot is very closely-related to humans, actually. I think that Sasquatches are probably hominids, or hominoids, but I don’t think that they belong to the genus Homo. That is because Bigfoot appears to be very different from humans, anatomically. For example, in the Patterson-Gimlin film, (which I regard as genuine evidence for Bigfoot), the creature in the video is seen walking very differently, from how an average human walks.

    Also, Grover Krantz once studied Bigfoot footprints and body structure/function, and he came to the conclusion that the feet of Bigfoot are actually very different from those of a human; They were much more flexible, than a human foot, would be. In other words, both the Patterson-Gimlin film, and the study by Grover Krantz, seem to show, to me, that Bigfoot is not really that closely related to humans, at all.

    So, if a Bigfoot eats a human, I really don’t think that it would be considered a cannibal.

  4. AreWeThereYeti responds:

    If a Bigfoot eats a human, is it cannibalism?

    A fine topic to spark discussion but I can’t let it go without first addressing Loren’s parting thought, i.e., “Why should Bigfoot who munch on humans be called “cannibals”? They aren’t humans. Or, at least, that hasn’t been proven yet.”

    Unfortunately, I find it a bit presumptive considering:
    1. The very existence of Bigfoot as a living, breathing, entity has not yet been “proven” in the classical/scientific sense (i.e., no type specimen exists) and the issue remains hotly contested;
    2. No fatal encounters with Sasquatch have ever been proven to have occurred;
    3. Needless to say(?) the same must also apply to instances of Bigfoot munching on humans.

    Now, with that off my chest, in the HYPOTHETICAL instance of a Sasquatch preying upon a human – or vice versa – I would tend to come down on the side of those who do not place Bigfoot in the genus Homo.

    A long way to go to make a short answer, I agree, but that’s just the way I think…

  5. JE_McKellar responds:

    Technically speaking, from the perspective of a cultural anthropologist, cannibalism isn’t so much about eating the body of another human being, but eating the person-the socially recognized and significant self. In many of the ethnographic examples available, the actual flesh consumed might be only of a token amount, or even abstracted away to mere gesture (like communion wafers). Usually there is some sort of ritual involved where the person to be eaten, their soul, in other words, is recognized and given respect (or pointed disrespect, as the case may be).

    If you think about it, people kill and eat chimpanzees as bushmeat, but eating a pet dog would be considered vaguely cannibalistic. It’s not the nature of the meat that matters, but the social significance of the living person. Indeed, there’s also the classic example of the clan totem animal, which can’t normally be eaten, lest the eater be thought a cannibal.

    As for cannibal monsters like the wendigo, I think there must be some feeling that the Wendigo understand that it’s a person that they’re eating, and that they can recognize and acknowledge that person even as they devour them, as opposed to the simple feeding of, say, a grizzly bear. Maybe in more theological terms, the cannibal monster eats your soul, not just your body.

    When it comes to those butchered Neanderthals, I’m certain there must have been some kind of ritual involved, even if that ritual borrowed heavily from whatever ritual that they used to distribute the carcass of a large game animal.

  6. Desertdweller responds:

    No, it would not fit the definition of cannibalism. Both parties would have to belong to the same species to be cannibalism.

    In the same way, killing of a BF by a human (or vice-versa) cannot be murder.

  7. flame821 responds:

    I think the term cannibal and cannibalism have morphed a bit. My son will often ‘cannabalize’ one electronic device to repair a similar device or to create something completely different. I used the term salvage, but language is constantly changing and evolving.

    I think the other issue comes from the journalists who seem to think pretty near anything dining on a human is cannablistic, although I think they use that term (instead of predation) to grab attention and sell more papers/mags/subscriptions etc.

    As for the Bigfoot tie in, count me in with the others. No, I don’t think BF eating a human would be considered cannibalism. In the forest we are basically big dollops of meat who tend to be clumsy and easy to catch, I doubt a BF would consider humans to be any ‘closer’ to them than they would a deer. I’ve often been told the only thing that protects humans in the wild is the fact that we smell so awful.

  8. wolfatrest responds:

    If so, then the people that eats chimpanzees are also cannibals.

  9. Fhqwhgads responds:

    Why not ask the American Indians? If Bigfoot is only a myth, he would largely be an American Indian myth, and if Bigfoot is real, they would appear to have accumulated far more experience with him over the centuries than white men have had over the past century or so. Quite a few of them insist that Sasquatch is some kind of man, and in the absence of any strong evidence to the contrary, I’ll go with that.

  10. red_pill_junkie responds:

    These are really two questions:

    * Do we think Bigfoot is related to us to consider it cannibalism?

    * Do Bigfoots themselves think we are related to them?

    We don’t know the answer to neither.

    I like JE_McKellar’s comment that in ancient (or even modern) cultures cannibalism involves a ritual act of dominance. The Celts are believed by some to have dabbled with cannibalism as a way to infuse themselves with the power of their enemies.

    But in modern Sci-Fi, like the novel/movie The Road cannibalism is portrayed merely as the simplest avenue of survival, by way of prioritizing self-preservation over moral quandaries.

    Those moral quandaries were nevertheless present in the few modern accounts of survivalism that had to rely on the consumption of human flesh. Like the famous tale of the Uruguayan rugby players stranded in the Amazon.

    So I guess where I’m going with this is that cannibalism implies the recognition of kinship between the predator and the prey. Either from the prey or from the predator; and as I stated earlier, we don’t know the answers to these questions yet.

  11. coelacanth1938 responds:

    I’ve thrown around the idea for awhile that Bigfoot are the remnants of the Clovis Point Indians who survived the mass extinction 13,000 years ago and got pushed through a genetic meat grinder of a population bottleneck. They are marginally human by our standards, but still human.

    There are/were giant Native Americans too.

    I can’t remember the name of the place, but right now in England, they’re digging up a graveyard of giant warriors. Apparently there was once a clan of giants, most of whom were over 6’6″. And like most giants, they were renowned for eating the flesh of mundane men.

    I can imagine this happening here in the Americas.

Sorry. Comments have been closed.

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