Zorro Captured On Trailcam

Posted by: Loren Coleman on February 2nd, 2009

A rare short-eared dog (Atelocynus microtis), also known as the short-eared fox or the short-eared zorro, is captured on an Ecuadorian Amazon rain forest camera trap intended for jaguars in a picture released January 27, 2009. Little is known about these wild fox cousins, which until 1990 hadn’t been seen in their natural habitats for two decades.

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.

31 Responses to “Zorro Captured On Trailcam”

  1. MattBille responds:

    Wow, that’s a clear shot. It shows us what’s possible with this technology.

  2. mystery_man responds:

    Wow, what an incredible image. That is one strikingly beautiful canid.

  3. berno6 responds:

    I’m from Ecuador, its great to see stuff like this, thanks Loren!.

  4. Richard888 responds:

    There looks to be a trail camera on the tree post behind the zorro so I can see why they call it a camera trap. Maybe the other side of the zorro was captured also.

  5. raisinsofwrath responds:

    Hadn’t been seen in their natural habitat for two decades? You mean to tell me that an animal can live undetected in the wild for 20 years? Huh, I wonder what say, a more intelligent animal is capable of?

  6. Dib responds:

    Dang! I thought it was going to be some guy in a black cape with a rapier zipping about the rain forest. Shows what I know.

    P.S. – Makes you wonder why we can’t get good squatch pictures with trail cams.

  7. Ranatemporaria responds:

    A truly wonderful image, its almost perfectly posed for the camera like a show dog!.
    I guess the irritating irony being that if this picture showed BF or somthing similarly controversial to mainstream media, mid frame, pefectly posed the immediate shouts would be of ‘Hoax’ and ‘too good to be true.’

  8. vawarner2000 responds:

    Obviously, the fine animal does not have the clocking device that Bigfoot has.

  9. DWA responds:

    Ranatemporaria: Actually, I think that’s a stuffed one. That pose isn’t real. Wild animals don’t look or move like that. The eye looks faked, too. And you will never see a centered trailcam shot; it just doesn’t happen. Animals move too fast and unpredictably. Fake.

    Actually I’m just seconding your point. No questions arise when the animal is one known to exist (or of a type of animal of which we recognize similar species). When it’s something that’s not cut and dried, though, the photoshop experts come out.

    And the argument that, well, we know these to exist isn’t really a logical argument, as anyone can see upon a moment’s reflection. Providing one can set aside one’s preconception that cryptids just CAN’T exist, they just CAN’T. Which is an unconsicous bias coloring the statements of skeptics and, believe it or not, proponents alike.

    Whether we know something to exist or not has no bearing on whether it does. And when one accepts this, one would have to accept, say, a yeti shot as being fully equal to this one.

    (Are people in zebra suits an argument against zebras? Doesn’t work that way with hairy hominoids neither.)

  10. mystery_man responds:

    I have to disagree a little with some of the comments here. Why is it odd to accept a photo of a known animal yet doubt ones of creatures not proven to exist yet? Why is a critical eye a bad thing? I can’t think of any reason why anyone would want to go through all of the effort to hoax a realistic looking zebra, or a zorro fox, two animals well documented to exist and with plenty of clear photographic evidence to represent them. Has it occurred to the truly open minded that perhaps the reason they are photographed so clearly is because they are in fact real? I don’t think I’m the only one that thinks it makes good scientific sense to treat photos of unknowns with a careful and critical eye.

    Doubting photos of unknown creatures and phenomena while accepting photos like this of known ones is not bias. Bigfoot has had known hoaxes. It has not been conclusively proven to be a real creature, and until it is we can only say we don’t know. That does not mean that all photos should be treated like the one here. It seems pretty natural that anyone wanting to get at the real truth is going to be critical of Bigfoot photos to be sure that what is seen in any given such photo is in fact an actual animal and not a hoax. What zebra suits? Has such a thing ever happened before? Bigfoot has been hoaxed, it is not comparable to me.

    By the rationale being put forward here, we should give weight to all photos of all manner of unexplained phenomena simply because, hey, it could be the real deal. That is unacceptable to me, and should be to anyone who wants to really know what is going on.

    Bigfoot may be real of course, but the assumption that because it MIGHT exist is in no way evidence that it DOES, nor does it mean we should give special weight to photos of them simply because it MAY be real. We don’t know. And until we do, I know that I at least am going to approach the evidence in a fair, critical manner, with as little bias as possible. I want to be sure, and I want to approach things in a scientific manner. It is the only way to present photographic evidence of cryptids in a credible light.

    To accept Bigfoot photos at face value based on the argument that it COULD exist is I think a mistake, and I think it really is a straw man argument and unfair to compare them with photos of animals that are well documented such as zebras.

  11. mystery_man responds:

    Also, by the rationale here, any brown blur in a photo should immediately include an unknown, sasquatch, as a primary candidate without the need to rule out known animals first.

    After all, if photos of sasquatch are to be given the same weight as those of known animals, even if they are an unknown, then that means that they exist and that we should consider it sight unseen. So by saying that we should not question sasquatch photos (saying yeah that’s a sasquatch rather than, oh say, a bonobo), a brown blur in a photo is just as easily a sasquatch as it is any other animal and ruling out a bear or deer first, before moving on to unknowns is silly because hey, sasquatch COULD exist. This is woefully unscientific. Is that really what you want to do?

    If sasquatch are documented, hoaxes stop, and we get actual clear photos that are conclusively the real thing with which to compare, THEN we can start treating sasquatch photos in a similar manner to those of documented animals such as zebras and these foxes. I think at that time, you’ll find that the photographic evidence will become more accepted as real. Until then, I think it is a good idea to tread carefully with such photos.

  12. norman-uk responds:

    Does look a bit of a plant doesnt it. I hope not, its a beautiful thing and new to me, which though not an infrequent experience is still a pleasure! I see there are others in the same group.
    Doesnt it also remind one of the Beast of Elmdorf featured on this site-but now with a full covering of hair.Grey with canines sticking out etc.
    Makes me wonder if there has been some migration from S to N America or accidental introduction of this zorro or maybe one of the other zorros or gray fox and I dont know what else.
    Bit sad the subsistence hunter found nothing for 4 days, but not on his behalf. Has EVERYTHING been shot or trapped

  13. norman-uk responds:

    beg your pardon-Should be BEAST of ELMENDORF

  14. youcantryreachingme responds:

    The timing of this news is fantastic. (Several weeks ago I deployed a number of trail cameras in Tasmania in search of the thylacine.) I found this short-eared dog article very encouraging – especially as this animal survived for 20 years without any sightings.

    The fact-sheet for the short-eared dog also says there are no known road kill specimens, specifically because it avoids humans.

    The short-eared dog was actually photographed during a project to survey for jaguars. Each jaguar has a unique coat pattern and the researchers hope to build up a picture of how many jaguars live in the target area, and where they move, etc. Over 50 trail cameras have been deployed. Capturing the short-eared dog was a bonus.

  15. DWA responds:

    mystery_man: Hold on here!

    (Hey, we disagree on something! But not as much as you may think.)

    What we’re pointing out is the illogic in the way photographic evidence of cryptids is dealt with. Patterson-Gimlin is a good example.

    It’s considered fuzzy. The animal might be; but the film isn’t. It’s considered dismissable as a human in a suit; yet no analysis has come down in any convincing way on any conclusion other than that it’s not; and if it isn’t, there’s only one other likely alternative.

    And it’s the “likely” part I want to talk about.

    If something exists, it does, regardless of what we think. Our ‘decision’ is irrelevant; if it’s real, it is. Why couldn’t Patterson-Gimlin have been seen as just maybe possibly being worth a look as what it could, possibly, be? What Ranatemporaria is saying is that there is no way ANYONE will EVER consider a cryptid photo worth ANYTHING. It’s too fuzzy, unless it’s clear, then it’s too clear. If it isn’t posed (or right in between clear and fuzzy), it’s just what a hoaxer (the Omnipotent Hoaxer! HIM again!) would think of doing, of course!, NOT posing it.

    Evidence and proof are two different things. If we consider photographic evidence of a cryptid not worth doing anything, well, when do we do something? Personally, I’d rather not wait until the last one dies. But our presumptive incredulity at cryptids – if we don’t think it can exist, well, how CAN it? – leaves us stuck, and we can’t even use a good film (which P/G is) as evidence.

    Of course I’m not going to see a zebra and go, that’s two people in a suit!

    But why take something that looks not at all like a person in a suit, and say, with no further investigation into the matter, that it IS one?

    It’s the presumptive incredulity we don’t get. We do get not saying it’s conclusive (no photographic holotypes).

    We don’t get: if this isn’t proof, it isn’t anything.

    Evidence counts. If it didn’t, science would be dead in the water. It would never, in fact, have happened in the first place.

  16. alcalde responds:

    Mystery_Man, you said what I was thinking, and more, better than I ever could and before my fingers could hit the keyboard. You definitely need your own blog. Or at least a collectable t-shirt fans can buy.

    An important lesson here, I think, is that this photo shows how belief in cryptids can begin. If I’d seen one of these critters for a brief period in the woods, in the color and angle shown here, as soon as I got back to civilization I’d tell all who’d listen that I’d just seen some type of giant grey squirrel! I’d insist it was the size of a fox, or larger, but not a fox. It definitely had a rodent’s face and mouse-like ears! If shown the pick of the short-eared dog on Wikipedia, I’d insist that wasn’t what I saw. Wrong color! Different face! (In fact if I saw that, I’d probably insist it was a bear or melanistic hyaena). I saw a huge rodent with a bushy tail – a giant squirrel! I know what I saw!

    Some crypto-fans would say that I seem sincere (and I would be), they’d be willing to uncritically accept the idea that giant squirrels could exist without ever being seen or leaving any trace of their existence, my tale would be considered enough evidence to believe in it, and BOOM! Karlshukeris Megasquirrelodon would be born. Someone somewhere would find *something* in the fossil record resembling my mistaken glimpse and a faction would form denying my giant squirrel belief and endorsing a “living fossil” school of thought. Another faction would form claiming I’d failed to notice certain anatomical details that would prove that my mystery beast was a giant FLYING squirrel, and hence evaded notice all this time by gliding from tree to tree high above people’s heads. Some would run with this and plot graphs of Megasquirrelodon sightings (and after my report, people would come forth saying they’d seen it too) against UFO sightings and by employing a fuzzy definition of the word “near” and arbitrary sliding windows for timeframe, declare a correlation. Yet another faction would form claiming that my creature was in fact paranormal with the ability to turn invisible. A sub-faction would embrace and extend this, linking the now paranormal squirrel to Native American culture, being some sort of avatar of the Great Spirit here to warn man to change his destructive ways. A faction in between the two would come forth claiming to have had psychic communication with it. Various blurry pics and tail tips in photos would be put forth as proof of Karlshukeris Megasquirrelodon’s existence, although some people would refer to pictures like that as “squishrels”. The first self-published books would appear claiming communication with the giant squirrel by arranging patterns of acorns in their backyard, which would be rearranged the next morning… perhaps into morse code. Some obscure rodentologist (is there any other kind?) from the world of academia would come forth and attempt to lend “scientific credence” to the study of Megasquirrelodon and publish articles about it in journals no one’s ever heard of. Flocks of believers would spend their days combing the woods picking up hair and feces. Periodically, tales would surface of Megasquirrelodon being shot on an Indian reservation or captured by unknown government operatives. MonsterQuest would do a show on it, sending people out to… well, pick up hair and feces, and also set up trail cams and make track casts. All the evidence would come back as known creatures, including the short-eared dog, yet in my last interview segment at the end of the program, absolutely none of that would have deterred me in the slightest from belief that a giant squirrel was running around the woods. Loren Coleman would run an article about Megasquirrelodon and add an exhibit in his museum. Joe Nickell would claim that it was nothing more than a pack of otters being carried aloft by a great horned owl. Sarah Palin would attempt to hunt it via helicopter. And all that would be before the hoaxsters started in or people began to set out pancakes.

    And all that is probably why I don’t spend a lot of time in the woods. Even then, I once identified a flock of birds at sunset as swarming bats….

  17. mystery_man responds:

    DWA- See the key word here is IF it exists.

    This is something not conclusively resolved. We have a phenomena that is subject to hoaxes, versus photos of normal known animals that frankly are not a target of hoaxes and actually exist for sure. There is no reason to doubt them. Belief has nothing to do with this at all. Known animals DO EXIST, simple as that. That has nothing to do with belief, that is scientific fact. One animal is known and documented, the other isn’t. It does not matter how much the sasquatch matches patterns for a living creature, or how much we think it is biologically possible, the feasibility of it does not make it any more real until we know for sure. A realistic falsehood can still be a falsehood. Don’t you want to be sure? Am I really being a die hard scoftic to say such things? We have to take a stance of I DON’T KNOW.

    The issue I had with your comment was the way you seem to want to give equal weight to sasquatch photos and photos of known animals. The two are not the same until the sasquatch is documented, until then they are open to questioning. Photos of known animals are not proof of anything, they are images of already proven animals and not dogged by hoaxes. A zebra photo and one of a sasquatch are not comparable at all. Belief that the sasquatch is out there makes no difference at all to the fact that we DO NOT KNOW and so must keep open the possibility of hoaxes or more mundane explanations when looking at these sorts of photos. Cryptozoology HAS to do this if it wants to remain scientific and taken seriously.

    I’m not really sure what you want to say here.

    Are you saying that clear photos of an unknown should be treated with the same weight as photos of known animals? If that is the case, then by default you are saying that sasquatch in fact exists without a doubt, and you have already made up your mind. Unfortunately, biology as we know it does not agree with that currently. I don’t think we are at that point yet. If you say that these photos are the same as photos of documented animals, you are essentially saying that they are proof, have thrown scientific skepticism out the window, and are contradicting what you said about photos not being proof of anything.

    Or are you saying that we should also doubt photos of known animals because they may be hoaxes too? That is a little silly, don’t you think? If that is the case, we are back to where we were, still doubting cryptid photos since if we can’t even trust photos of known animals, we certainly cannot trust ones of unknown creatures with documented hoaxes.

    I respect your opinion on a lot of things, but if either of the previous things are what you are getting at, then I must respectfully say that you may be a little off the mark here.

    What I think (hope) you might be getting at is that we should not necessarily dismiss photos of cryptids out of hand based on personal incredulity. I wholeheartedly agree with that. But that is in no way the same as treating them the same as photos of known animals or saying that it is strange that we should accept those and yet doubt cryptid photos, as you seem to have been getting at in your post. We should not dismiss photos of cryptids but neither should they be given the same level of acceptance as, say, photos of this fox.

    Anyway, we may be getting ahead of ourselves on this one anyway. So far there is no sasquatch photos really even close to the clarity of this zorro fox photo, or the countless other similarly clear photos taken of wild known animals in their natural habitat. PG is about the best we got in that regard. Maybe when more clear images are presented, we’ll have more to work with and this discussion will be really interesting.

  18. mystery_man responds:

    Alcade- Thanks for the kudos! It is very much appreciated.

  19. DWA responds:


    “The issue I had with your comment was the way you seem to want to give equal
    weight to sasquatch photos and photos of known animals. …”

    No, not at all. What I am saying is: photos are evidence. THEY’RE NOT PROOF. But if you just toss them, where do you go from there? I think that the overwhelming weight of evidence comes down on this: the Patterson-Gimlin film – virtually alone among all cryptid records I am aware of – merited followup, from serious scientists, and got none. That’s not what scientists do. They pursue evidence; or, if they don’t, they don’t blithely dismiss it when there are no grounds for so doing. I’ve read many “scientific” dismissals of P/G. They read like people who have forgotten they are scientists. Their dismissals make no more sense than mine would make if I tossed back a coelacanth on the grounds it couldn’t exist. (Of course a real coelacanth ranks better than a photo or a film. I’m referring to the sense of the comment, not the strength of evidence presented.) Given all the other evidence – sightings and tracks too many, even by 1968, to dismiss without examination – P/G was a legitimate piece of evidence, and did not deserve what scientists did to it.

    To say “I don’t know” is not to say “I can’t look, and I will derail with derision anyone who says a look is warranted.” Whether scientists want to follow up the evidence is a matter for each scientist. But a good piece of evidence, while it can be doubted and followup insisted upon for more evidence leading to proof, should not be derided by someone who doesn’t know. Honesty (“I don’t know, so I can’t conclude”) is the best policy, and the only one for a scientist practicing his science.

    And I still think that zorro looks stuffed. 😉

  20. DWA responds:


    “And all that is probably why I don’t spend a lot of time in the woods.”

    That might be a disqualifying comment when it comes to analysis of cryptid evidence. Too many people passing judgment on this stuff lack the chops and skills to recognize legitimate things when they see them.

    I frequently (OK, enough) cite the example here of photos taken by a Finnish photographer, of a red fox losing a fight with a carcass to a golden eagle. I knew the photos to be legitimate when I read a “Photoshop debunker” pointing out all kinds of “fake” things in the real photos. Her problem? She didn’t know enough about nature (particularly about the documented fact that golden eagles are used in Mongolia to hunt wolves, and no, the hunters don’t generally shoot the wolves). That lady doesn’t get out enough to know that a red fox is pretty small beer for a golden eagle, because her obvious premise was: dog vs. bird. How’s that gonna come out?

    Just like a qualified biologist could tell me – should I have a question, and knowing about this species before I saw this blog I really didn’t – that the zorro is real, I know that the evidence for the yeti and the sasquatch, while it may fall short of proof, is eminently qualified for scientific review.


    I’m a bit of a naturalist, and I get outside.
    And I read the evidence. And that’s more than enough to pass the above judgment.

    Ask George Schaller if you disagree with me. 😉

  21. DWA responds:


    To make sure I get the gist of my longer posts across, here’s what I (and Ranatemporaria, for whom I think I can presume to speak given his post although we will likely hear otherwise if not 😀 ) think is the point.

    You have a photo. You present it as evidence. There are only three things a scientist can do with it:

    1. Consider it proof positive;
    2. Laugh at it.
    3. Say “that critter is stuffed.” 😀

    As a scientist, I know you see the error there. THAT’S our point. A known species: accepted. What appears to be one that isn’t yet: laughed at because, no matter what aspect of it is being discussed, it’s either too much of that or too little of it to be real. (Or just the right amount, which means it’s REALLY fake.)

    THAT’S our problem. There is a fourth (at least) option: another piece of evidence to keep your mind open a crack on the topic. Unless you can conclusively pronounce it not real and provide evidence for that assertion. (And you better have evidence for #3.)

    I can accept – based on that pic AND OTHER THINGS I KNOW – that the zorro, at least one stuffed one, exists. 🙂

    Based on the evidence for at least two cryptids, I can’t say it does. But I MUST keep my mind open to the possibility, because there is nothing that allows a negative pronouncement.

    (Another long post. Crypto is a hard science.)

  22. alcalde responds:

    You’re welcome, Mystery_Man. I don’t get to this site very often, but when I do, your comments are looked forward to.

    If I may intrude into your discussion with DWA for a moment, let me try to make the same point. Think of evidence as having weight, and of being put on a laboratory scale. If there’s 99 ounces on one pan, putting one ounce on the other won’t change very much. I’ve been doing some work recently with machine learning algorithms. Let’s say you have one algorithm that has generated the rule If A=1 and B=2 and C=3 then Class=X. It is able to cite as the confidence for this rule that there are 99 training cases it has seen with this pattern. Let’s also assume this is an algorithm that can modify its rules when it is shown more test cases. If an example comes along with the same conditions as above but the Class equals Y instead, there is no learning algorithm in use that I know of that will throw out the existing rule and change it to If A=1 and B=2 and C=3 then Class=Y. What the ones I know of will do next is keep the existing rule but change its confidence to 99% and continue to predict Class=X for the next example to come along. One piece of evidence that in this case Class=Y doesn’t throw out or outweigh all the evidence that Class=X. Similarly, if there’s only one case where A=8 and B=9 and C=10 few algorithms will even attempt to make a rule for it as there is too little evidence to support it. Most would predict “unknown” until more evidence came along. Some algorithms would flag the Class=Y instance as a possible outlier but none would do the same with the hundredth Class=X instance. A Bigfoot pic is far more likely to be spurious than a zebra pic. Admitting a phony zebra pic or Class=X instance into the model will have far less harm to the accuracy of the model than admitting a spurious Bigfoot pic or Class=Y example.

    We don’t scrutinize pictures of zebras as we have ample evidence of zebras. We scrutinize pictures or Bigfoot because we don’t have ample evidence of bigfoot.

    I recently re-read a paper by the just-deceased Dr. Tom Van Flandern, himself a scientist who drifted into holding several “alternative” and controversial views in the fields of physics and cosmology after a successful “mainstream” career. If I may quote him, the paper is “Evidence of Planetary Artifacts” by T. Van Flandern, M. Carlotto, H. Crater, J. Erjavec, I. Fleming and J.P. Levasseur, published in Infinite Energy magazine, Volume 7, Issue 40, 2001.

    “In science, it is axiomatic that ‘extraordinary hypotheses require extraordinary evidence’. This is not a precept, but an observation about the progress of scientific knowledge. Evidence that refines or extends knowledge in a way that is consistent with accepted beliefs is rarely scrutinized to dispel skepticism about its validity, since there is ordinarily no cause for such skepticism. In contrast, evidence that suggests contradiction to existing beliefs will be viewed with a degree of skepticism proportional to the cost of accepting such evidence. That cost, both psychological and economic, of changing direction, i.e., of discarding widely held beliefs, is too great to be accepted without the overwhelming pressure of evidence that cannot be credibly disputed. Thus, evidence that would necessitate such a change of beliefs is, and must be, subjected to a level of scrutiny that would be inappropriate (cost-ineffective; unjustifiably tedious) if applied to evidence consistent with accepted theory. Evidence that survives this extraordinary scrutiny is extraordinary evidence.”

    Maybe he said it best of all.

  23. alcalde responds:


    the majority of my original post, especially that last line, was intended as a very tongue-in-cheek piece after I took a look at the photo and realized that if I’d seen it I’d have been convinced I’d just seen an unknown animal with a fox body and rodent snout.

    Fortunately, I do not find myself in the position of passing judgement on cryptid evidence. Far from it. I might not survive such a job. Upon meeting my brother’s long-term girlfriend, I learned that one of the few things my brother had told her about me was the long list of unusual animals that have chosen to bite me :-). Said list includes both a yak and a skunk (yes, bit, not sprayed, don’t ask). If you came to check up on me during my first day on the job, you’d undoubtedly find Bigfoot sitting on me and a Mongolian Death Worm wrapped around my neck!

    I’m curious what evidence you feel exists regarding the existence of sasquatch that has not received scientific review. Also, do you feel the accumulated weight of such evidence merits the review?

  24. alcalde responds:

    You have a photo. You present it as evidence. There are only three things a scientist can do with it:

    1. Consider it proof positive;
    2. Laugh at it.
    3. Say “that critter is stuffed.”

    As a scientist, I know you see the error there. THAT’S our point. A known species: accepted. What appears to be one that isn’t yet: laughed at because, no matter what aspect of it is being discussed, it’s either too much of that or too little of it to be real. (Or just the right amount, which means it’s REALLY fake.)

    I’m not Mystery_Man, but I see a different error than the error that you see, per my previous post. Adopting position #1 is the wrong position if said animal is unlikely to exist based on all the other data we have. #3 would actually be the most likely thing.

    Think of it this way: say I dug up an anatomically modern human bone that dated to a million years before modern humans are known to have existed. You’re suggesting we should declare it proof positive… in SPITE of all the other bones that don’t date back anywhere near as far and the fact that no other such bones have ever been found among any other million-year-old bones and such a finding is completely at odds with the evolutionary family tree? That violates the laboratory scale example and machine learning example I used. What science would and *should* do is suggest that there is something wrong with the dating method for that bone. Given the weight of evidence, that’s far more likely. Now, if I dug up the same type of bone twenty more times in the same area, the more likely explanation woud be something that’s screwing up the dating method for bones in that area – some type of radiocarbon exposure or such. If I found such bones in twenty different spots, science would and should suggest a world-wide event that messes up the dating period from a certain era. If only these bones are affected, and it’s the same type of bone I keep finding, science should suggest that the bones belong to an ancient creature that has one bone that resembles a modern human. That requires a much smaller shift in the body of established knowledge. If I finally find 50 complete skeletons all over the world that date to the same era and no other finds in the same areas and strata date out-of-place, then and only then would science be facing “the overwhelming pressure of evidence that cannot be credibly disputed” and begin to examine the idea that modern humans existed far earlier than first thought.

    The fallacy you’re entering into is that in complaining that your evidence isn’t receiving the same weight, you inadvertently change the weight of the evidence *against* your hypothesis, which is far more numerous, and give that even less weight than you claim your evidence is getting. To change all of the established evidence regarding the hominid family tree and other aspects of biology will require more evidence than one fakeable photograph or black and white film.

  25. norman-uk responds:

    I dont know whose theory I am agreeing with or not. But do agree with DWA that any photo on its own has equal validity if its of Sasquatch or not. However provenance is very important. Sasquatch now has a hugh amount of evidence, not conclusive, but enough for me personally. If I see a good photo of Sasquatch I wont normally need a scientist to tell me what I am seeing.
    An interesting case where context and picture appear to conflict are the BFRO pics of a supposed young Sasquatch eating at a baited site. Good pics, on there own would make a good case but the additional pics of young black bears tend to undermine it. Without the bear pics I think we would be whooping! But BFRO do still make a good case out
    Nowadays any photo may be faked, less likely with the mundane which this particular Zorro isnt. There are several research teams in the UK and US making breakthroughs in picture enhancement, possibly they can be offered the PG film as a test subject?

  26. mystery_man responds:

    Alcalde- Your posts illustrate pretty much exactly what I’m getting at. Well said.

    DWA- Ok, I have a little better picture of what you’re getting at.

    You are absolutely right. There is another option for anyone looking at these kinds of photos other than those you mentioned. I agree. Indeed a photo need not be proclaimed as fake or proof positive right off the bat. Another option could be to look at the photo and deduce what it could possibly be by comparing it to known phenomena and analyzing it for signs of a hoax, rather than immediately giving it weight as a photo of an honest to goodness living creature. But considering that sasquatch is an unknown, science has no choice but to ere on the side of caution. We do not have the luxury of accepting these photos at face value or giving them any special weight as evidence.

    The issue I had with your earlier post was this-

    “No questions arise when the animal is one known to exist (or of a type of animal of which we recognize similar species). When it’s something that’s not cut and dried, though, the photoshop experts come out.

    And the argument that, well, we know these to exist isn’t really a logical argument, as anyone can see upon a moment’s reflection.”

    Of course no questions arise. It is not illogical at all to look at photos of known animals and say, yes that is a zebra, or a zorro fox. These animals do exist, it is not disputed. Even a picture of a stuffed zorro fox would still be a picture of a stuffed known animal rather than, say, a sasquatch suit stuffed with possum organs. Even a fake zorro fox could be seen and we could say, oh look, a zorro fox. We do not have that luxury with sasquatch, an animal that is an unknown, is unrepresented by any similar North American animals currently, and so is subject to scientific scrutiny. Notice I don’t say dismissal, but certainly scrutiny.

    So you might point out that a new type of fox would be considered proof even if there is no other evidence for its existence. But there IS evidence for its existence in a sense. We have other foxes, other animals that provide a precedent for presently existing in the wild. For example, a good photo of, say, a new type of wild dog, besides its clarity over most sasquatch photos, is not as extraordinary as one of a claimed existing bipedal hominid, and therefore can be given more weight based on other animals we know of for which there is plenty of documented proof. There is less background evidence needed to build on in order for us to be able to entertain the idea of a new wild dog, and less chance of a hoax as well. If the new species of wild dog was claimed to be found in downtown Detroit, THEN you’d need to provide more to back your claim up.

    And that’s one of the things science does, it builds on what came before. There is a foundation upon which we compare new findings, and if what came before is wrong, you’d better come with some solid evidence of why it is wrong. Science is a self correcting process based on evidence, and I’m not sure that all sasquatch photos are able to be considered as good evidence.

    A main thing here is these photos actually do not exist in a vacuum. If scientists had to immediately give credence to every anamolous photo passed their way, it would take a long time indeed to follow up on all of them. Likewise if they had to question everything that is known now and doubt every single photo of a new type of known animal, or start every single experiment from scratch. The thing is a lot of the evidence for sasquatch is circumstantial, and its credibility debatable, so therefore the photos of such creatures have to be approached critically if we are to move its credibility forward. It is not necessary to prove that sasquatch IS a man in a suit, but rather to show that a given photo could not possibly be a man in a suit, nor any other animal known to exist.

    It does not work the other way around. We cannot accept things until they are proven NOT to exist, such as the common fallacy of saying “Show me it IS a suit.” That is totally the opposite of what science does. No, we have to show that it ISN’T a suit and that these photos should be given credence, and that requires a critical eye. We can only analyze the evidence, see where it may lead us, and build upon our case. That is the key, strong evidence to support ones claims, NOT evidence that ones claims are wrong. Photos of known animals or similar animals do not face this challenge, but sasquatch photos do.

    A cryptid photo, essentially an unknown, might be evidence, but it can in no way be given the same weight as evidence compared to photos of known animals. These photos should certainly not be summarily dismissed, but they DO have to be scrutinized carefully. The scientifically responsible thing to do is to compare them to things we already know before jumping to unknowns.

    Anyway, how did this get onto sasquatch again? 🙂

  27. DWA responds:


    (How did this become a sasquatch thread? I can do that. I mean, this thing in this blog ain’t a cryptid and it’s called Cryptomundo. 😀 )

    I’ve actually spent copious time (1) reviewing the evidence about the sasquatch and (2) talking about it here. So excuse me if I’m a bit brief here. I plead exhaustion. 😀

    “Think of evidence as having weight, and of being put on a laboratory scale. If there’s 99 ounces on one pan, putting one ounce on the other won’t change very much.”

    Actually, there’s about 99 ounces in the sasquatch pan. It’s just that science isn’t interested.

    “We scrutinize pictures or Bigfoot because we don’t have ample evidence of bigfoot.”

    Actually, we do. At least ample evidence to interest any scientist. It’s just that science isn’t interested.

    “evidence that suggests contradiction to existing beliefs will be viewed with a degree of skepticism proportional to the cost of accepting such evidence. That cost, both psychological and economic, of changing direction, i.e., of discarding widely held beliefs, is too great to be accepted without the overwhelming pressure of evidence that cannot be credibly disputed.”

    The sasquatch doesn’t contradict any beliefs except the one that it doesn’t exist. It would fit very neatly on the primate family tree (if it is one, which the copious evidence seems to all but confirm, confirmation of course being tough when you don’t have proof it exists yet). Many observed sasquatch traits and behaviors are right in line with known characters of the known great apes.

    “I’m curious what evidence you feel exists regarding the existence of sasquatch that has not received scientific review. Also, do you feel the accumulated weight of such evidence merits the review?”

    Well, I have worn my fingers out reiterating it. But I think that directing you to the Cryptomundo archives wouldn’t be the way to go here. Good search facility here, but it ain’t Yahoo.

    Summing up as best I can:

    (1) copious anecdotal evidence, much (probably the vast majority) of which I’ve read, dating back as long as Europeans have been on this continent, that conforms to biogeographical rules, supports statistical analyses, and whose guidebook consistency has given us an excellent start on the natural history of the animal;

    (2) hundreds of trackways, giving a picture of the animal consistent with other evidence, and most left where a hoaxer wanting attention simply wouldn’t leave them;

    (3) Other evidence (crude shelters, feces, kills, hairs, etc.) found in conjunction with either encounters or other evidence similar to that associated with encounters;

    (4) The Patterson-Gimlin subject, which left evidence, including tracks, correlating strongly with much other evidence found both before and since the film was made. Many people have said that’s the animal that they saw. Even those who say nope, that’s not it, when they described the animal they saw, left little doubt in the mind of any objective person that they saw an individual either of the same or of a very closely related species. There are – for understandable reasons not public – other photo and film records (OK, allegedly, but given P/G’s reception I know why they aren’t public) available that corroborates what’s on P/G. No analysis of that film has come down with a single piece of evidence that could point to its not being genuine. Several analyses, by qualified workers in relevant fields, point to an unknown animal. (One analyst said: it’s a real animal. But I’m just unable to believe it exists.)

    BTW, I’ve never seen a film other than P/G that isn’t a laughable fake. OK, two. But I grant that ain’t much. And again…with the reception Patterson got why is anyone surprised?

    All of the evidence correlates with all of the other evidence to draw a clear picture of an animal we haven’t documented. I have said it many times here: anyone I have read who knows anything near what I know of the evidence – and all of these are well qualified in fields relevant to the search – pronounces one of two things: (1) that’s real, and it’s undocumented by science or (2) the evidence is so compelling that scientific research into the possibility of this animal is the clear next step. I’ve read scientists who pronounced negatively on this topic, and – absolutely without exception – they’ve offered up disclaimers I’ve shot to pieces in seconds. Why? They pronounce when they haven’t done their homework. The evidence seems like little because – outside of Bigfooters – it is utterly ignored. No one knows how much there is, except scientists like Meldrum, Krantz and Bindernagel, and pretty well read up laymen like me who just know how scientists should think when it comes to the unknown. (In short: they shoudn’t go off half-cocked.)

    Don’t know how much clearer it could be.

    We’d have proof now, I suspect, if it weren’t for a peculiar-bordering-on-pathological problem humans seem to have with believing that there could be anything else on the planet this close to us. No other species discovered in the entire time science has been discovering species has had anywhere near this much evidence prior to discovery.

    Oh. Same for the yeti.

    [WHEW] It’s not you, it’s just the number of times I’ve gone through this. (So many Cryptomundo readers, so little time.) But I’m getting better at it.

    How do you get where I am? The only suggestion I can make is the one that got me here:

    READ UP. Really. The evidence, in my opinion and that of people more learned than me, is very worthy of review. It will require one or a few people willing to spend long amounts of time in the field. But once science evinced interest, folks willing to do that would start dropping in science’s lap like apples off trees. Put another way: pursuing the evidence is so worthwhile because it’s not likely to cost too much.

    I mean: how much did Jane Goodall and Diane Fossey cost? The sas and the yeti could use one.

    Would I bet on their existence? If I had to, up or down, right now: you bet I would.

    The evidence is that strong. I got it under my belt myself, is how I know. And I don’t even think I’m a Bigfooter. They’ve got lots more to add, I’m sure.

    [WHEW] And yes. That’s BRIEF.

    Another thing I say here: P/G is a grain of sand, on a beach of evidence. If that’s fake I just pull the references; everything else here stands.

  28. mystery_man responds:

    DWA- Another thing I should say is that with an unknown like the sasquatch, a photo of it is not necessarily evidence that what we are seeing is a new type of animal. It could also be evidence that we are seeing a hoax or some other mundane occurrence. Since both of these things have happened before, it is a possibility.

    A major problem with photographic evidence of sasquatch is that there just isn’t enough of it that could qualify as solid. If there were more clear photos and films presented, then there would be something to compare with and the collective body of these would carry a bit more weight as evidence. Since PG is really the only clear photographic evidence we have so far, it is sort of a conundrum. There’s not much left we can do with it but say “Hmmm. I don’t know.”

    We need more clear photos that are not easily dismissed in order to establish credibility. I know that there are all sorts of reasons put forward as to why sasquatch isn’t photographed more often, but none of these reasons equate to evidence it is really there. It reminds me of the case of the fire breathing dragon problem that Carl Sagan once mentioned in one of his books.

    I say that there is a fire breathing dragon in my closet. So you ask why it hasn’t been photographed. I say “It’s an invisible dragon.”

    Ok then, where are its tracks in the dust? “Oh, the dragon floats.”

    Ok then, you figure you will use infrared to detect its fire, but I tell you “It’s a special heatless fire.”

    You decide to pour paint on it to make it visible. No dice. My dragon is incorpreal and so the paint won’t stick.

    I could go on like this, countering every proposed physical method of testing you put forward with some reason why it won’t work. But the thing is, your inability to invalidate my claim of a fire breathing dragon in my closet is in no means the same as saying it is true. Only solid evidence will do that.

    PG is good. We need more of that. No excuses, just going out and getting the clear photographic evidence that the sasquatch desperately needs.

  29. mystery_man responds:

    DWA- oh and all of that anecdotal evidence is exactly why I am here arguing for critical, acceptable scientific scrutiny of sasquatch rather than arguing that it does not exist. It is worthy of review, but a lot of it is still circumstantial and not always strong in some cases. Some of the evidence has very compelling arguments against it as well. Yes, I look at both sides, that is what a scientist has to do.

    But anyway, yeah, if it weren’t for some of the things that you mentioned, I wouldn’t be having this discussion in the first place. Obviously I am open minded, but I am also very careful, and that is the way science is in any field. Scoffing bad, careful critical review of evidence good.

    By the way, the reception that PG got has in no way stopped people from trying to hoax Bigfoot videos. The fact that they haven’t succeeded is telling, but the reaction seems to have had little to do with the lack of videos, I feel. You are right, only one video, as I explained in my post above, ain’t much. We need more.

  30. DWA responds:


    Cryptomundo’s Flagship Critter ain’t the short-eared dog. THAT’s how we keep getting here. 🙂

    It’s funny how many people (particularly after posts like that last one of mine) think I’m a proponent of the sasquatch. I’m actually not; I want it proven. it’s just that I think the evidence seems to point to something real. One thing that I think a scientist would grasp is that it’s very unlikely that a vast bin of lies and hoaxes, done by liars and hoaxers of all stripes, would behave like biodata. When one tosses in hallucinations and honest misidentifications, one has actually DECREASED the odds of all the datapoints behaving like something real.

    Yet they do. That keeps me interested; and I would want people who should intuitively grasp that that shouldn’t “just happen” with false positives to get interested too.

    But the more you talk to me the more I think that dog might not be stuffed. 🙂

  31. mystery_man responds:

    DWA- Really? After all of my own talk, I’m actually now fairly convinced that what we are seeing is a new mutated otter that merely looks like a zorro fox. 🙂

    Anyway, I’m glad that you an alcalde have taken the time to engage in this discussion. I think photographic evidence is a sore point with sasquatch, and it is good to get these thoughts out there for others to consider.

    If sasquatch is indeed out there, I think trail cams like the one that took the photo here of the, let’s see, oh yeah, the zorro fox, stand good chance of providing some of the first good images.

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