Scientific American to Animal Planet: Learn The Difference Between Real and Fake Monsters

Posted by: Guy Edwards on May 16th, 2013

Bigfoot Lunch Club

Don’t call them River Monsters! They have feelings!

I love good skeptics, I hate lazy ones. When I say this I always cite my favorites. Sharon Hill of Doubtful News and a Huffington Post contributor and Brian Dunning of Skeptoid. Most others reach for the low hanging fruit or are just contrarians. These last two category of skeptics, the fruit-pickers and the contrarians, are unimpressive. Yes, this assumes I am worthy of being impressed, and truth be known, I can’t think of a better person I would like to spend time impressing than myself.

Back to lazy skeptics, more specifically Kyle Hill (pictured left), a science writer who specializes in finding the secret science in your favorite fandom. Hill has also contributed to Wired, Nature Education, Popular Science, and io9. At least that what is says on his bio for Scientific American. Today he wrote an open letter to Animal Planet asking them not to blur the lines between real and fake using shows like River Monsters, Finding Bigfoot, and Mermaids: The New Evidence as an examples that create an uphill battle for serious science educators. Boo hoo. Science is a method, teach the method and let people educate themselves.

The gist of his argument is real fish should not be called “monsters” and mythical creatures should not be considered real. We agree, leprechauns and unicorns should not be considered real–oh wait, he’s putting Bigfoot/Sasquatch into this mythical category.

Go to Bigfoot Lunch Club to read the rest of his argument and what we have to say about it.

Guy Edwards About Guy Edwards
Psychology reduces to biology, all biology to chemistry, chemistry to physics, and finally physics to mathematical logic. Guy Edwards is host of the Portland, OR event

33 Responses to “Scientific American to Animal Planet: Learn The Difference Between Real and Fake Monsters”

  1. DWA responds:

    OK, let’s parse.

    “I don’t want to see a legion of fisherman descend on the Congo or Amazon rivers to wipe out tiger fish, or any other animal, out of misplaced fear. Each time River Monsters decides to characterize a fish as a “flesh ripping chainsaw mauling atomic assassin,” the possibility grows. Don’t turn magnificent creatures into mythological horrors.”

    I can go with this. Homo sapiens is the only real animal that deserves to be cast as a mythological horror. Problem? We aren’t mythological. So OK, the horror part.

    “And don’t turn mythological horrors into real creatures.”

    OK, so far.

    “I’m afraid I can’t speak highly of your track record when it comes to presenting evidence-based programming, considering that Finding Bigfoot never finds, and won’t ever find, Bigfoot. But never has it been worse than with Mermaids: The Body Found and the upcoming Mermaids: The New Evidence.”

    Whatever one says about the topic, “Finding Bigfoot” will require luck no one can foresee to live up to its title, and [coughcoughmermaidscough] where were we? But the problem here is technique, or so at least the evidence makes us think. (No, not for mermaids. Not if you ask me, anyway.)

    “Cryptozoology persists precisely because there is no evidence for these creatures. If we actually found Bigfoot or mermaids, they would be studied, cataloged, and brought into the wide swath of biological knowledge.”

    Logic fail. If we actually found them we would know about them, but we haven’t so they don’t exist…? Oh. OK. So I suppose nothing that science has found existed before, well, science found it..?

    “Precisely no evidence” reveals “precisely no standing when it comes to this topic,” otherwise defined as “somebody I can politely tune out.” The evidence that exists for sasquatch has confirmed every other being science knows about. Only problem here is the a priori “it’s not real” that has scientists seeing them…and reporting anonymously to those bigfoot websites no one takes seriously. Way to shoot Science in the foot, scientists! Zen Conundrum: What is the sound of one hand confirming something when no one believes anyone who says they saw one? Two hands, for that matter?

    “Bigfoot does not exist because there would be evidence left behind—hair, feces, bones, kills, offspring, a carcass—if it did.”

    A scientist should really know better. A scientist should read up. All those things have been found, under compelling circumstances…with the leeeetle problem that, well, this isn’t real, so I’m not going to be called a kook. All the reasons that none of this has come to scientific light make perfect sense. If, that is, one is paying attention.

    “Considering how many expeditions have attempted to find this evidence and have come up short, in spite of the Bigfoot hunters who claim these creatures number in the thousands, we can effectively rule Bigfoot out.”

    That would be three count ’em THREE such expeditions, in planetary history, by the end of the third of which every single member of all three claim a sighting…and one of ’em brought back a movie. Oh, OK. Scientists have written books about the topic, and we see….right, OK, got it. Well-informed there, aren’t we, sir.

    “Admittedly, it’s hard to criticize the search for mermaids in the same way. …”

    It’s not hard to criticize you, though, Charlie.

  2. Fhqwhgads responds:

    A creature can be both mythical and real. Humans appear in every mythology, and humans are widely regarded as being real. Horses, wolves, lions, and snakes also frequently are present in myths, as are any number of animals, plants, and natural features present in the environment of whatever culture produces the myth.

    Is Bigfoot a mythical creature? You’re darn tootin’ he is! Practically every attempt to comprehensively discuss Bigfoot makes mention of American Indian myths and legends; we saw an example of this just a few days ago on Cryptomundo. And with limited and sometimes contradictory evidence as to what Bigfoot *really* is, the opinions people hold are expressions of their own worldviews — their private, idiosyncratic “mythologies”, if you like. So to some people, Bigfoot is a descendant of Gigantopithecus or Paranthropus; to others, a fellow descendant of Homo erectus; to others, an interdimensional being with some sort of connection to UFOs; to others, a kind of animistic nature spirit; and to others, an archetype in the human mind.

    Maybe one of these ideas is right, and maybe none of them are. Without more and better information, it is rash to become too firmly attached to any of these opinions.

    … As for “monster”, though, that is a seriously loaded word. Unless it’s being used as a casual way of meaning “remarkably big” or maybe “unusually dangerous”, it’s probably best to avoid the term altogether.

  3. Fhqwhgads responds:

    “Logic fail. If we actually found them we would know about them, but we haven’t so they don’t exist…? Oh. OK. So I suppose nothing that science has found existed before, well, science found it..?”

    You’re misreading him. At least in the quote above, he is saying that even bizarre animals that are known to science — like the platypus or coelacanth — are no longer cryptids, whether or not the ever were. Cryptozoology is a putative science with the subject of animals for which no conclusive animals exist. The lack of evidence is the only thing that holds cryptozoology together, and it makes for crappy science.

    However, it allows fans of cryptozoology to have the fun feeling of secret knowledge. If Bigfoot were found tomorrow, he would be an overnight sensation, but in less than 5 years many people would be bored and disappointed — something like buyers remorse would set in, or the let-down after opening all your Christmas presents. A real Bigfoot could not fit into all the mythologies people have constructed for him. A mysterious Bigfoot that is tantalizingly close to being proved, on the other hand, leaves ample room for the imagination.

  4. DWA responds:

    Fhqwhgads: no, actually, I’m doing a dead-straight read of what he is saying.

    I think. And if I’m wrong, guess what? His fault.

    Here’s the passage again:

    “Cryptozoology persists precisely because there is no evidence for these creatures. If we actually found Bigfoot or mermaids, they would be studied, cataloged, and brought into the wide swath of biological knowledge.”

    OK, the first sentence is dead wrong. Cryptozoology persists because the mainstream fails to fill a vacuum that, well, something is going to: the vacuum that happens when scientists don’t follow up evidence. Someone is going to do that, it’s human nature; and if one doesn’t, one doesn’t get to criticize, really, those who do. One needs to step in and show how the job is done; and in the case of sasquatch, there is much to work with. So why isn’t the mainstream working with it, instead of simply forfeiting their right to criticize?

    The second sentence is either dead wrong or a non sequitur. It is indieed possible that I am misreading it; and maybe that’s happening because it is a spectacularly odd sentence. If it is just a plain statement of what happens when science finds an animal, well, um, duh. But he jumps from that sentence to

    ““Bigfoot does not exist because there would be evidence left behind—hair, feces, bones, kills, offspring, a carcass—if it did.”

    Um, actually, that is a spectacularly wrong sentence. But not in the strictly factual sense. It’s spectacularly wrongHEADED. An animal can only leave evidence behind if it exists; but the evidence has to be found, and handed up the chain of custody for proper review, for the evidence, and the animal, to be recognized by scientists as real. If this doesn’t happen, does the evidence itself not exist? To think this is to think that, indeed, the proverbial tree falling in the forest makes no sound. To say an animal isn’t real because it would leave evidence if it were is…well, it’s a logical Moebius strip. How to get a handle on that sentence? The closest one can come is to say that our man here has done the impossible! He has proven the nonexistence of something!

    Really? Doesn’t everyone agree that “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence?”

    Yes, everyone does. Because we recognize generally that it can’t be evidence until it is found and recognized. It might exist; but if no one has seen it, and known what one was seeing, it isn’t recognized. Does that mean that the animal doesn’t exist? No; it means we haven’t recognized the evidence it leaves yet. What does bigfoot evidence look like, Mr. Hill? If we don’t find a carcass we toss up our hands? Actually, Mr. Hill, people allege to have found all kinds of evidence; but I found this out for myself, so I wouldn’t go writing silly, easily-refutable stuff.

    I think I’ll just stop here, and leave for other scavengers a logical mess which has no business getting published in a major science rag. But haven’t we seen this before? Scientists seem to stop recognizing how they are supposed to work when this is the topic.

    And that’s not crypto’s fault. Although crypto is mainstream science’s fault.

  5. DWA responds:

    OK, Fhqwhgads. I’ve done with Hill; now let’s talk to you for a minute.

    “Cryptozoology is a putative science with the subject of animals for which no conclusive animals exist. The lack of evidence is the only thing that holds cryptozoology together, and it makes for crappy science.”

    This is nothing but indulgence in the National Sport of Scoffer Nation: Blaming the animal’s nonexistence on the people searching for it.

    What holds cryptozoology together is the mainstream’s tendency to uniformly deny anything it hasn’t proven. This has been a consistent feature of science since its earliest days, and supplied Max Planck with his best (and most satisfyingly misquoted) quote, among other things. What are Mothman, chupacabras, and I won’t waste any more lines on the rest? Got me.

    But that there is something extremely odd going on in Loch Ness no one can deny. And that people sober by any reasonable description of the term continue to report giant apes in North America and the Himalaya certainly seems obvious enough. Even if there is some kind of mass psychosis going on here, the implications for the relevant sciences are huge. So what do the people the society charges with investigating natural phenomena do? Sit on their collective hands, and catcall at amateurs whose very efforts are an indictment of their absence of effort. Sorry, how it is.

    “However, it allows fans of cryptozoology to have the fun feeling of secret knowledge. If Bigfoot were found tomorrow, he would be an overnight sensation, but in less than 5 years many people would be bored and disappointed — something like buyers remorse would set in, or the let-down after opening all your Christmas presents. A real Bigfoot could not fit into all the mythologies people have constructed for him. A mysterious Bigfoot that is tantalizingly close to being proved, on the other hand, leaves ample room for the imagination.”

    The worst part of this is that the knowledge isn’t secret! Find me one person with relevant credentials, and a negative take on sasquatch (you’re on your own with the others), who can show me (1) true familiarity with the evidence, including what proponent scientists with equally impressive credentials have said about it and (2) how he translates that knowledge into a well-thought and reasonable negative conclusion.

    When you do, it will be the first such person I have encountered.

    All it took me to dwarf the knowledge base of anyone who scoffs at this?

    Garden-variety curiosity. And a very-not-unreasonable allocation of time – far less than some folks spend, just on the internet, scoffing. (Trust me. I’m talking to one now, and no it’s not you.)

    For shame.

  6. Fhqwhgads responds:


    I’ll be extremely brief in my response.

    This whole exchange is utterly pointless. You do not respect me, and I sure as hell do not respect you. You claim to know of all kinds of evidence for Bigfoot’s existence, but when asked for specific details or at least citations, you make like the high priest of a mystery religion and do not deign to share your alleged knowledge with the hoi polloi. I believe in your knowledge like I believe in Rick Dyer’s Bigfoot body. You are equals when it comes to providing proof.

    So yes, I scoff at you. I do not exactly scoff at the existence of Bigfoot, I just think it very unlikely, somewhere on par with the possible existence of currently living native microbes on Mars. I go back and forth on which I think is more likely. For the present, though, my attitude is exactly what I wrote above: “Without more and better information, it is rash to become too firmly attached to any of these opinions.” If you can’t stand that kind of skepticism, you must live a very sheltered life indeed.

  7. DWA responds:

    Dude! You’d be fun to talk to if you were fun.

    What brought on that fit? Change your drawers if that’s the problem. Don’t take it out on me.

    I already went over why sharing what you wanted me to share, the way you wanted me to share it, would be pointless to attempt. It wouldn’t change your mind, and I told you precisely why it wouldn’t. This info isn’t secret. Taking the time to read up makes being here something it clearly is for me, and isn’t for you: Fun.

    Thanks for substantively addressing my numerous cogent points. Can you say “you win, I give up” in more words?

    When you learn how to talk about this, come on back. Thanks for keeping it brief. I only like long when it says something useful.

  8. HulkSmashNow responds:

    Jeremy Wade has always shown respect to the animals and the people of every place in the world that he travels to to investigate these reports. The term “River Monsters” is just to put rear ends in the seats to watch the show. I’ve never regarded any of these fish as monsters, just misunderstood creatures that are finally getting some attention by someone who cares enough to research and find them. Sure, it’s a TV show, but it’s a helluva lot better than “Real Housewaves” or “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.”

  9. mandors responds:

    You know, it’s pretty sad that a once heralded science journal is publishing bad online opinion pieces and clothing them within its mantel of officiousness to make them seem like science. Rhetoric is not science, and no one should or does care what this twenty-nothing loser’s opinion on the propriety of the use of terminology is.

  10. DWA responds:


    Not to mention which I am not taking any terminology lectures from anybody who writes anything like “wide swath of biological knowledge.”

  11. DWA responds:

    Hey folks: Teachable Moment! Dr. DWA loves those.

    Just wanted to warn you about a particular kind of bigfoot-skeptic dodge you may be asked to fall for, as hinted at by the following excerpt:

    “You claim to know of all kinds of evidence for Bigfoot’s existence, but when asked for specific details or at least citations, you make like the high priest of a mystery religion and do not deign to share your alleged knowledge with the hoi polloi.”

    OK. Other than my possibly being a high priest, as that is defined on any one of several small South Pacific Islands (I really need to update my shots; Bat Cult is next month!), what is being referred to is Fhqwhgads’s request that I provide him what I considered the five most compelling pieces of sasquatch evidence.

    (I can give you Number One: the Patterson-Gimlin film, which if you don’t think it’s compelling you simply haven’t thought enough. But beyond that, it is frequency and coherence that makes the sasquatch evidence compelling, not “pieces.”)

    Why this won’t work either with him or with our friend Kyle up there (just to keep this on thread) is simple: they are expecting proof, and will simply tell you “that isn’t proof.” Meanwhile, they will do the same thing for you, in an accepted scientific discipline where all the folks that Max Planck said we’re waiting to bury so science can move forward accept what’s being put up there by your bigfoot skeptic. In other words: you are on the frontiers of science where there are no facts yet; they are falling back on hoary old consensus. (And confusing evidence and proof, Original Sin of bigfoot skeptics.) But they’ll say it’s apples and apples.

    Beware. (This Kyle guy would definitely try that on you.)

    (Hint. Tell the lazy bigfoot skeptic to learn it by reading it like you did.)

  12. Alamo responds:

    I’ve always thought that if Jeremy Wade was looking for Bigfoot he’d have a much better chance of finding him than the Finding Bigfoot fools. He does a really good job of “going native” and getting advice and assistance from the locals.

    I concur with DWA, simply listing “best evidence’ does nothing… anybody with internet access can find their own compelling evidence, or not, as it suits them. If you don’t find the existing evidence compelling (PG film, trackways, analysis by those with relevant scientific qualifications such as Meldrum & Krantz, the vast body of geographically separated yet congruent sightings, historical accounts, etc… etc…) then not much can be done to convince you otherwise.

  13. Alamo responds:

    While we’re on the subject of River Monsters. Himantura chaophraya, the giant freshwater stingray, is a perfect example of the fallacy of “if we haven’t seen it, it doesn’t exist”. This 1000+ pound creature lives in some of the most densely populated real estate in the world and somehow escaped being “discovered” by scientists until 1990.

  14. corrick responds:

    Basically, I’m pretty much in agreement with Fhqwhgads on this thread.

    On topic, I would agree with those that Jeremy Wade and the series “River Monsters” is a particularly poor choice for pointing out the junk zoology on TV. Unless you’ve lived in a cave for the past 10 years I think most people understand current TV is not about educating people about zoology, science, politics or anything else. It’s all about ratings and money and nothing more than popcorn entertainment. That said, despite lots of hyperbole and phoney drama, “River Monsters” is essentially about rare or little known existing fish and the mysteries about them. There is much worse, much, much worse on TV.

  15. DWA responds:

    Alamo: right.

    This is alarmingly badly written for something in Scientific American, but it’s par for the course for this topic. And doesn’t make any attempt to show what is evident to anyone who is read up: sasquatch confirmation is proceeding at the pace one would expect. Science generally takes “forever” – one human generation or more – to come up with major changes in how it approaches the world. This one is more or less on schedule.

    So, actually, this august journal does an excellent job – as I suppose any such should – of clearly exposing the mainstream’s soft underbelly on the sasquatch question. They just stop thinking like scientists when this is under discussion.

    And this is why you get – and I seem to get this exclusively from scientists – the “gimme your five best pieces of evidence” dodge. As I seem to remember, when F. did this, the things he put up were things one would basically have to have an advanced physics degree to know much if anything about. So what good are they doing me? How do we know that isn’t just a physics kaffeeklatsch that they’re just putting over on the rest of us to see if they can?

    (Sorry, had to try on the “bigfoot-skeptic” hat for a minute there.)

    Sasquatch proponents are still, sorry to say, at least a quarter-century ahead of the mainstream. So, barring some good luck (go NAWAC!), we may have awhile to wait. Don’t know about the rest of you, but I don’t have a train to catch.

  16. maslo63 responds:

    DWA said: sasquatch confirmation is proceeding at the pace one would expect.

    Really? Because it seems to me if sasquatch is what everyone says it is and lives where everyone has said it lives then it probably should have been described in the 1700-1800’s like most of North America’s large mammals. Actually if it also lives in Asia and Europe it should have been found even sooner still. No, sasquatch confirmation is not preceding much at all as far as I can tell, especially when the best (yet unconfirmed) evidence comes from the 1960’s. You claim that hair, feces, bones, kills, offspring and a carcass have all been found. I don’t believe you. I believe hair, feces, bones, kills, offspring and a carcass have all been found for something you or someone else wishes to be sasquatch but cannot be confirmed or just plain is not. You’re going to tell me I’m wrong and that is fine. You’re also going to tell be how overwhelming the evidence is and how ignorant I am and that is fine too. We’ve done this before.

    Alamo: Wrong. Himantura chaophraya was named in 1990 but was originally described as Himantura polylepis in 1852. It is in no way comparable to an unknown genus of giant ape roaming the entire globe.

    On the subject of “River Monsters”, I really enjoy the show. It is certainly sensational as would be expected but Wade treats the subjects with respect. These are real animals few know about, not make believe ones like mermaids or most probably make believe like sasquatch. These are the creatures Animal Planet should be dealing with. It is kinda funny that Wade typically finds his quarry while shows like “Finding Bigfoot” and “Monster Quest” fail, as do expeditions by the BFRO and similar organizations.

  17. DWA responds:

    maslo63: I’ve said this before.

    Read up and we’ll talk. Come on. That for sure is NOT proceeding at the pace I would expect.

    If you’re not interested why come here? Seems like a disagreeable chore to me.

    Only in crypto is uninformed considered informed. What can one say.

  18. maslo63 responds:

    I have been reading up. I always am. Though I have yet to read his books, I have become more familiar with John Bindernagel’s work and fail to see what new evidence he brings to the debate. I have also been listening a lot too, “Monster Talk” has shed a lot of light on the subject. You should listen to the sasquatch themed episodes in particular. Tetrapod Zoology also had a really good podcast about sasquatch recently. I keep reading and learning but everything just convinces me more why sasquatch is not a real animal. You want me to apologize for not being as convinced as you with the evidence? You see tracks and eyewitness accounts as good evidence? I do not and have a damn good reason for it.

    You ask why I’m here. I think I’ve answered that before. It is not because I’m not interested, quite the opposite. I used to believe in the majority of cryptids and though I am now a skeptic as far as most are concerned I keep an open enough mind to keep tabs on the latest goings on. So sure, I listen to “Monster Talk” which is a skeptical program but I come here for the opposite opinion and then I make up my mind on the matter. Seems like a healthy strategy to me. You say it is a disagreeable chore for me but how often do I really post and disagree with people?

    So I’m skeptical of sasquatch, I have a good reason to be. I come here hoping for my opinion to be swayed but nothing does it. Just more of the same. Blurry videos and photographs and footprint casts. And a lot of BS about sasquatch murders, extraterrestrial bigfoot, supposed bodies and Melba Ketchum’s bogus paper. I want to believe, I would be trilled if sasquatch was discovered…I just don’t think it likely. At the end of the day no one seems able to answer the simple question I pose. If sasquatch is a 7′ tall ape with a worldwide distribution then how has it not been discovered yet? It is a simple question with a simple answer but you don’t like my answer. I already know your answer, it is not an answer at all. It is an excuse and blame game. Things like “you can’t discover something that has not been discovered” or “because science isn’t looking”. Ridiculous.

    Honestly I’m more interested in the psychology on why people continue to believe in phenomena like this. How a simple owl can become a mothman or flatwoods monster. How a mangy coyote can become a chupacabra. That is what interests me more than the cryptids and monsters themselves. People have believed in the unbelievable since time began. The days of dragons and werewolves are gone, now it is the time of ape-men and dinosaurs in the Congo. The monsters are different but the explanation is the same. Keep looking, I hope you find whatever it is you’re looking for but just because a few respectable scientists buy into it does not mean I have to. I’ve seen the evidence; it’s inadequate, easily faked and not good enough to support the claim being made.

  19. Alamo responds:

    Hey maslo,

    If anything, you’ve further made my point for me. You are correct, the creature was first described in 1852, but was not officially recognized by mainstream science until almost 140 years later. I see no factual error in my previous statement… it is exactly the reason I placed “discovered” in quotation marks, meaning it was most certainly known before then… but it’s existence was not yet popularly accepted. This is exactly the thing I’m talking about.

    You said you used to “believe” in various cryptids… perhaps that’s your problem right there. I don’t believe in any cryptids. I only think that the preponderance of the evidence supports the existence of a large, hairy humanoid creature in North America as well as other locations worldwide.

  20. maslo63 responds:

    Where is this information coming from? As far as I can tell Himantura polylepis was described in 1852 and on that we agree. Who is saying it was not accepted by mainstream science until 1990? What it appears happened to me is that is was re-described in 1990 but those involved were simply applying a new name to a known animal. This was a known animal from a genus described in 1837 and the only debate it has created is whether or not it is it’s own species or the previously described H. polylepis. It was fully recognized by science for that 140 years as H. polylepis. No one said “this animal does not exist”, they just questioned it’s taxonomy. Specimens were caught and eaten. Overfishing threatens its very future. We have clear documentation and hard evidence (bodies) of this known animal.

    Preponderance of evidence? Tracks…which can and have been hoaxed before. Blurry footage, the best of which is from the 1960’s. Eyewitness testimony which is notoriously cited as poor evidence even by law enforcement. This is what we have for (and I really stress this) a giant primate that spans the globe! Across the entire North American continent from Alaska to Texas, California to Maine. In states that were nearly completely cleared of their forests and native wildlife in colonial times. And despite no new large mammals having been described in the U.S. within the last how ever many years there is this large ape that lives right outside our cities and towns that has yet to yield a single specimen? Your evidence amounts to near zero in the face of all this.

    I once thought the evidence was good too and it was looking good until fairly recently. But the Skookum cast was made by an elk, dermal ridges are a product of the casting process and the Patty film was filmed by a man of questionable ethics. Patty herself clearly designed after a drawing of a sasquatch made a few years earlier. This is the best evidence for bigfoot. No clear images, no living specimen, no corpse, no conclusive DNA samples, no sound recordings that could not have been made simply enough by a human. A human, the only large primate in North America.

    How can you or anyone else get passed the fact that for sasquatch to exist in all of North America, in some of our most populated states and forests, in Asia and Europe and even Australia and not have gone described would require some level of pure luck that I cannot even fathom? What do you think the scientific probability of that is? Even a single bone would do it. Are you honestly telling me that with all the 7 billion humans on this planet walking in forests, living in forests, making a living off the forest, destroying the forest, none have found a single sasquatch skull and made it public? Hunters, fishermen, photographers, foresters, wildlife biologists, camera trappers and the millions of outdoor enthusiasts in this country are all being eluded by this thing? And now is when you tell me “well those are the people who are seeing it” but that is not good enough. For bigfoot to be real it would leave the evidence behind. Not hoax-able evidence like tracks and blurry pictures but something real and tangible.

    Do I believe all the eyewitness are lairs? Of course not but in a world where people can identify more brand logos than backyard trees and wildlife I’m not surprised by the fact that many of those people just don’t know what they’re seeing. An upright bear, strange tree, another human, the rear end of a moose…all of these things are still far more likely then what the believers are proposing.

    You mention belief. I use that word because for anyone with any real knowledge of the natural world to believe an animal like sasquatch could exist without a formal description it would require faith. Could sasquatch exist? Sure, I cannot prove it does not but I still find it highly unlikely. If you have good evidence to back it up then bring it forward because I’m waiting to be convinced, I want to be convinced.

  21. DWA responds:


    All we deal in here is evidence. When science shows me the evidence has been reviewed and a conclusion reached, I’m good, but not ’til then.

    Fakes? Sure there are fakes. Two kids in a zebra costume are fake. Does one suddenly doubt the zebra? That’s the difference between the “faked” and the “live” evidence for sasquatch.

    Proven? No. Should science take it seriously?

    Yes. Because scientists, clearly using their science in the determination, do.

    Simple as that.

    I’d love to be convinced too. People are working on that, although not enough of them. What I am convinced of? The ones working on it are on a job that needs doing.

    Whatever this phenomenon is, the evidence remains unassessed. Science’s job is to assess it.

    Oh. If one reads the reports, none of the mistaken identities you propose are “more likely.” Really bad drugs, serious mental illness, or really large populations of proficient liars, spanning the sociological spectrum? Yes.

    Mistaking a bear or a moose butt for a bigfoot? Naah.

    (Now, mistaking a bigfoot for a moose butt? Or a bear? THAT has happened.)

  22. maslo63 responds:

    Sure, you deal in evidence. Science can nether prove nor disprove that evidence as genuine. All the evidence that exists for sasquatch is inconclusive. It could have either come from a hoaxer, mistaken identity or a giant bipedal primate with one of the largest distributions of any mammal. Take your pick. Given human nature and the lack of physical evidence I choose the former.

    Given the global cultural phenomena that bigfoot is, it does not surprise me that someone would try to use that to get their fifteen minutes, even if they deny ever wanting it. Why should we suppose a giant ape wanders the globe when real people are known for a FACT to have faked footprints and photographs? If memory serves me correctly the first sasquatch tracks ever documented were faked by Ray Wallace in the late 1950’s, the discovery of his fake prints coined the term “bigfoot”. So we know that people fake these. But no, because some hoaxer got clever and decided to use something other than wooden feet we now have to believe other giant foot prints were made by the real deal? I don’t think so. Was not Roger Patterson well known for craving fame and attention? Was he not a questionable sort to begin with? Is not Patty a dead ringer for the Mica Mountain sasquatch drawn by William Roe’s daughter? Coincidentally the same drawing that set the stage for what sasquatch would look like in future eyewitness accounts and sighted only a couple years before the Patterson film? Given Patterson’s character and that coincidental drawing is it so hard to fathom the creation of a suit to match that description? So why do we need to give his grainy old film anymore attention? We can’t prove it is real one way or another but by knowing the man that filmed it and by deducing the likelihood of there really being a sasquatch I think we can draw a conclusion.

    And that brings up another question. What is sasquatch? I really want to know. How does it fit in with known primates (extinct and extant)? Prior to the 1960’s was not sasquatch considered a “wildman” more akin to native Americans than apes? And if sasquatch is an ape…what is it? If it is Gigantopithicus it would be related to orangutans right? So did it develop foot anatomy and bipedalism nearly identical to that of a human on convergence alone? Can a 1000 lb+, 7’+ ape even be a biped? Or is it more akin to humans? If so, is there any fossil human that closely matches it in size? Are giant human relatives known to science? No, they are not. The pieces don’t fit. Where does this thing fit in with known primate taxonomy? Just the notion that it would have gigantic human feet seems like something from a 50’s B movie, something from the mind of someone like Ray Wallace. At least the first yeti tracks appeared ape-like.

    Your zebra costume analogy is bogus, clearly you understand why. We’re fully aware that zebras exist because like all large mammals they leave behind irrefutable physical evidence of their existence. That is not to say there are no more undiscovered large mammals, I’m sure there are and zebras make themselves quite obvious but with sasquatch we’re not talking about an isolated population in the middle of a vast wilderness (like the mountain Gorilla, a cryptozoology favorite for all the wrong reasons), we’re talking about a global population of these animals that allegedly lives in nearly every conceivable habitat.

    Sorry to say but all my mistaken identity scenarios are still more likely than the mysterious animal being proposed. I hate to sound redundant but yeah…a 7’+ tall ape that spans the globe. I think the chances that your average Joe in the woods is seeing the arse end of a moose is far more likely. Come on, if an owl can become a moth man or alien I’m sure any tall brown object can become a sasquatch for at least some of the eyewitnesses. The reports don’t do it. They are not good evidence. There are plenty of reasons someone might file a sasquatch report aside from seeing an actual sasquatch. My own father faked a UFO photograph as a kid by tossing a hubcap in the air…and got that picture published. I read lots of these reports but I don’t trust humans. They lie, they exaggerate, they make mistakes. We are just animals ourselves after all. Many may be seemly credible but we don’t REALLY know these people. In science you can’t just go on someone’s word otherwise every mythical creature claimed to have been seen would be classified as real animals. Werewolves, alien visitors, ghosts, God, angels and demons would all be accepted without question. I don’t care how credible the eyewitness is, if sasquatch were a real creature it would leave the evidence behind, evidence that would not be questionable, hoax-able or suspect.

    North America is among the most developed continents in the world. You ask any ecologist and they’ll tell you, very little true wilderness exists here. Towns and cities, farms, roads, pipelines, clear cuts, all carpet this country. From space the U.S. looks like a patchwork quilt. There is no room for an undiscovered primate in the bulk of this country. That is the logical conclusion here. People have dedicated their lives and lived and died looking for this thing. Millions take to the forest each year. When was the last large mammal species or genus last described from North America? How long has it been? Needless to say I’m not talking about a sub-species or local variant of a known animal. Something completely new and unknown to science. How many unknown species can this damaged continent still hide? A place that in most places has extirpated nearly all their large mammal species, in many places has cleared nearly all it’s old growth forest. Explain that to me, explain how your flimsy evidence can match these realities? Answer the questions I pose rather then hide behind the cop-out no-answers you provide.

  23. DWA responds:

    No copouts. Just evidence.

    Just because it isn’t happening on one’s timetable doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. And it certainly is a copout not to read up on this and pronounce oneself an expert.

    (Particularly on how much wild terrain exists in NA. In the US alone: more than way plenty to support one or more species of unlisted hominoid. Try spending more time looking about from that car or plane.)

    I have little trust in a demonstrably uninformed scientific ‘consensus.’ But some will just not stop worrying this bone. You are right only until you aren’t.

    Maybe, for purposes of education, I will address the half-baked assumptions and uninformed statements that abound in that last post. (I am talking so many my head is spinning with what target in that target-rich environment to obliterate first.) Let me think about it. I mean, I certainly don’t have to convince anyone. Things are what they are regardless what people think.

    You know you’re sounding more and more like someone who desperately wants to be convinced, right? I have found that desperation is not exactly the key to understanding. Just tossing that out there.

  24. maslo63 responds:

    Yup, more no-answers and talk of evidence you haven’t provided. Also threats that you’ll pull apart my post. Go for it, I want you to. Convince me that your pitiful evidence is good, I’ve already told you I want to believe, do it. You think I wrote a damn book up there so I could read insults instead of your explanations?

    You’re the one who sounds like someone wanting to be convinced and your constant avoidance of questions and inability to provide this “evidence” you think you have proves it. Basically plugging your ears and yelling in a sing-song voice “La, la, la, you don’t know jack and I do, la, la, la”. Did I say I was an expert? No, I didn’t. But I know enough to draw my conclusion. Or at least I think I do, like anyone grounded in science should be, I’m more flexible on this than it may appear.

    I’m afraid I’m not wrong where wilderness is concerned but I wish I was. There really is very little true wilderness left. Virtually none in many states where sasquatch allegedly lives. See, this is where I get to tell you to read up and look at the evidence. Nearly every wild place is managed in some regard. Just because you see a forest from an airplane does not mean it isn’t carpeted with trails, deer stands, cabins, human garbage and human activity in general. If I need to read up on sasquatch you need to read up on basic ecology and wildlife management/biology. But no, you can read up on mythical beasts and I’ll stick to understanding what is really going on in our forests.

  25. DWA responds:

    Whenever you are ready to discuss it, so am I. But, um, you aren’t.

    Come on. There would be more happening up there if you were. You’re getting frustrated, and personal. And putting up fact-free posts.

    If you won’t be bothered, I won’t either. Remember. I don’t think you are a person I need to convince. Matta fack, I don’t need to convince anybody.

    (Hint. Any wildlife biologist/ecologist who tells me the odds are against sasquatch doesn’t know enough about his own field, or this one. Take your pick. I’d bet both.)

  26. maslo63 responds:

    Now THAT was a cop-out. Come on man, there is nothing personal about this. Don’t mistake my passion for frustration, though frustration is setting in. Why? Because of the excuses you keep coming up with to avoid the points I’ve made. If you don’t want to discuss it, fine, I’ll just take that as you have nothing to back yourself up. Whether you do or don’t I frankly don’t care but stop acting like you do if you aren’t willing to actually back yourself up. At least I’m making an argument for my case, even if you think it is a poor one. Don’t talk to me about a fact-free post, you haven’t shared a damn bit of evidence nor answered a single question I’ve posed.

    You know what I think? I think you honestly don’t have a clue about anything related to ecology, natural history, primatology, wildlife biology or any related field. You’re fascinated by monsters and the fantastic, have read the positions of the very few legitimate scientists that support it and now think yourself an expert. You probably could care less in actual zoology because you know…where’s the fun in learning about known animals. You can’t tell me what a sasquatch even is, let alone explain how it has remained hidden in the presence of intense human activity. You wander around this blog spreading your faith in this creature and that is about it. Your expertise stops at reality. You’re not the teacher here and I am not your student so don’t feel obligated to tell me what I already know. I will admit, you talk a good game but in the end it is all smoke and mirrors. I had hoped you could teach me something but it’s clear you cannot. This is not an attack, this is not personal, I’m very level headed as I type this. This is me calling you out like I see you. Since you insist on talking about me and not sasquatch what else can I respond to? I’m sure your next post will be a bit more interesting and I look forward to it. One thing is for certain, I’ll be calling you out more often as the showman you actually are.

  27. DWA responds:

    Um hum. Same post, different words. Sound, fury, signifying nothing (and how) et seq.

    And there we must leave it. Ta-ta.

    (It would be much easier for you to just read up, you know. We could have a discussion then. You are taking this really personal for some reason. Like, maybe you’re wrong…?)

    You are screaming those words as you type them, right? Are you wearing a spiked collar or something too? Wipe the foam off the keyboard, calm down, and get read up so you can discuss this. I mean it.

    P.S. I know more about every topic you cite, as it applies to this, than you do. Demonstrably.

  28. maslo63 responds:

    And more of the same from you, about all I’ve come to expect at this point. Shall we wait another year for the next go around? I’ll continue reading, you can continue diluting yourself. No, I don’t think so. Post carefully because like I said before, I’m going to call you out.

    This quote here, from you, tells me everything I need to know about you.

    “Particularly on how much wild terrain exists in NA. In the US alone: more than way plenty to support one or more species of unlisted hominoid.”

    Yup, you don’t know bunk, not nearly as much as you think you know. So this is what it has come to. I ask simple questions an expert like yourself should be able to answer…”what is sasquatch”, “how has it avoided discovery” and you just assault my character and now that I come back at you and you bow out, like you did in our last go-round. I thought you said you “tear people like me apart” once? You cannot even classify this animal you put so much stock in. Instead you’ll stand on the shoulders of people like Grover Krantz who actually believe the thing comes from a Gigantopithicus and made the claim that people don’t find bear bones. Pseudoscience extraordinaire.

    You don’t have to respond to any of this but I know you’ll read it. You’re tired and I understand, all those sasquatch expeditions you’ve been launching since our last discussion. And now I can tell you’re really angry. So while I adjust my spiked collar (lol) you can sweep the chips off your fat gut and reach for one of your supermarket tabloids to wipe off your junk food stained face because clearly you’ve never set foot in a city park, let alone a true wilderness (you don’t even know what that is).

    For the record I’ve just finished listening to an hour of Bindernagel (one in which he was interviewed by two teenagers, I felt sorry for him there) and what a surprise…he sounds a lot like you. Do you think for yourself or just think what he tells you? Of course, his best evidence are those darn giant human tracks. He even admits that no body or bones have been found. The sad thing here is that if even one bone, even a fossil were found of a North American primate I would be completely willing to acknowledge it and reconsider my opinion. For you, there is no hope.

    P.S. This is a good one…I know more about every topic you cite, as it applies to this, than you do. Demonstrably.

    As it applies to this? You mean non-sense? Congrats on that. I suggest widening your knowledge base.

  29. DWA responds:


    What is it like to be driven by a blazing lack of curiosity? Enlighten us.

    Your responses could not make it clearer that there is no enlightening you.

    No further tearing you apart, promise. I don’t touch carrion.

  30. DWA responds:

    Oh, I just saw this (I read pieces of them when I need entertainment):

    Calling me out? It’s an endorsement. Do keep it up.

  31. maslo63 responds:

    Oh if you only knew DWA, if you only knew. I’m in a constant state of curiosity. That’s why I’m here after all. So I don’t buy into BS as easily as you do, that certainly does not make me dead. And before you tell me I’m only here to start trouble note to yourself that this is probably the second time you’ve seen me post so I’m obviously not here just to stir the pot. I’ve been visiting this place almost daily since…2008? Somewhere around there. I’m watching and waiting.

    But since you’ve decided to come back to this conversation (despite your parting words) maybe you can tell me what it is like to be in a constant state of delusion?

  32. DWA responds:

    Yep. That’s curious all right.

    Real curious, believe you me. Not even curious enough to pick up a book or two and set oneself straight.

    I just check in to do two things:

    1) Note how you pick on meaningless stuff – “I thought you had left. Why aren’t you leaving? WHY AREN’T YOU LEAVING [wipes spittle off keyboard]…”

    2) Call you out. 🙂 😉 ;-D

  33. maslo63 responds:

    I have more then a few bigfoot books on my shelf, and I’ve read them. I have quite a few cryptozoology books in general. At least three by Loren. Reading them is how I got to this conclusion. Why can’t you understand that? You see the evidence and are convinced. I see the evidence and demand more…and better…and am not convinced. I have set myself straight on this, it took over 20 years to come to my conclusion that this creature does not exist.

    I am curious, immensely curious about natural sciences. I research something new everyday. If something grabs my attention for even a moment, I look it up. I find it unfortunate that fewer people are and that few people do this. They’re content not to know, I am not. So I’ve done my research on bigfoot and have moved on. I don’t think the thing exists and it is worth no further investigation by me unless something intriguing turns up. I only have the capacity to read a dozen or so books a year, sometimes less. I still have work, a social life, family and other activities to engage in. Typically I would rather pick up a book on paleontology, natural history, evolution, fish, birds, ecology, geology, history or any other of a handful of topics and learn about those. I’m interested in (curious about) other things pertaining to the world, sasquatch has moved down the priority list over the years. The last sasquatch book I read was Meldrums and while convincing a lot of what was discussed has since been dismissed. And yeah, I find it very strange that this animal has eluded us so well that not even a single bone or body (fossil or otherwise) has been documented. If it was restricted in it’s range and population I could understand but well…it’s not now is it. So when I’m forced to pick up a book on say…gorillas or chimpanzees or on bigfoot or the yeti, I’ll pick up the former titles. I can only read so many books on an undiscovered animal verses one who’s evolutionary history, life cycle and habits and existence are all well documented. Is there something wrong with that? Do you read about the living (or extinct) organisms of this world that are known to science or only the cryptid kinds? Because if not, I would say you lack curiosity.

    Which brings up something else I’m curious about…why that does not strike you as being curious? The lack of hard evidence. I mean if you’re as well read on topics regarding natural history as you say you are you must find that strange right? If not then I’m afraid your curiosity on the matter has transcended into something else. The thing of it is, I’m not interested in disproving bigfoot. I feel like it basically does that by itself once one becomes familiar with the evidence (or lack thereof) and I would rather see people focus their attention on more meaningful subjects in the natural sciences. But I know you cannot prove a negative. I’m more of a bigfoot agnostic with a strong lean towards the skeptical. At any rate, it would be quite easy to convince me that bigfoot is real or at least worth looking into with the right evidence. Would or could anything convince you it is not?

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