Look Out Meldrum, There’s Another Bigfoot Anthropologist in Town

Posted by: Guy Edwards on September 7th, 2012

Bigfoot Lunch Club

Zachary Throckmorton is Serious about Sasquatch

Okay, there is nothing Meldrum needs to “look out” for, as a scientist I’m sure he welcomes other serious academics looking into Bigfoot, and this new guy isn’t anywhere near Meldrum’s town. The problem is we needed to get your attention and the alternative title for this post is, “There’s another serious anthropologist similar to Dr. Jeff Meldrum that specializes in primate locomotion and he thinks we should keep an open mind as to the possibility of Bigfoot and he’s working on a book on the cultural and biological anthropology of Bigfoot .” It is just too long.

Today we stumbled upon an interview with Zach Throckmorton, an anthropologist at UW-Madison, at the website dane101.com. It seems Zach is very serious about his interest in Bigfoot and when he says he uses Bigfoot to teach about pseudoscience, he acknowledges there is pseudoscience regarding Bigfoot, but that does exclude science being applied to Bigfoot.

Here is the part of the interview where he talks about Bigfoot reprinted below.

D101: What’s the most interesting/exciting part of this for you? Why is it your favorite project?

Zach: As I said I like to people watch. I think the ways in which we differ from each other are fascinating, and I like to understand and think about why we’re all different.  I’m glad that my abstract search for evolutionary understanding also has real-world applications, like how to find shoes that fit best and avoiding unnecessary surgery. It’s also a treat to be able to use my expertise in foot evolution to talk about Bigfoot, because Bigfoot is such an amazing topic to illustrate what anthropologists do.  (Seriously.)

D101: Hold on a second. Bigfoot?

Zach: I use Bigfoot as a context for discussing the nature of science, and the line between science and pseudoscience. If Bigfoot is real, it’s a great ape like chimps, gorillas, and orangutans, it came to the New World over Beringia like Native Americans, and it’s bipedal like humans. Most of the evidence for Bigfoot’s existence is of course footprints, so that’s an opportunity for me to talk about my expertise in human and ape feet. I’m also working with a friend who is a PhD candidate in cultural anthropology here at UW-Madison on a book on the cultural and biological anthropology of Bigfoot, though it’s not the highest priority for either of us.

There other parts to the interview that are not about Bigfoot, you can read it here. But why? You probably want to hear more about Zach take on Bigfoot, right?

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 HopsSquatch.com.

6 Responses to “Look Out Meldrum, There’s Another Bigfoot Anthropologist in Town”

  1. graybear responds:

    It’s always nice to make a new friend. Welcome aboard Dr. Throckmorton.

  2. DWA responds:

    There is – unfortunately – room for way more than one more in this field.

    And of course we’d – OK, I’d – like to know more about Throckmorton’s take on this. But usually, when someone enters with a zinger like that, he’s probably serious.

    I can go with “most of the evidence” being footprints. It’s a quibble, really, whether there are more track fiinds or eyewitness reports. Actually, there are probably far more of the latter. But Krantz said we would be “forced to conclude” the existence of this animal based on the tracks alone. One could make the case that this is not so easy to say about eyewitness reports, although taken as a whole they are far more powerful than most folks understand.

    So, um, yeah. Let’s hear some more.

  3. mystery_man responds:

    I wouldn’t necessarily treat this as a mainstream anthropologist going Meldrum’s route of doing serious study in this field and publishing actual peer reviewed papers and such.

    So far I’m getting the impression that Throckmorton is perhaps treating Bigfoot evolution and bipedalism as more of a thought experiment or some sort of exercise in speculative biology rather than a serious scientific undertaking to get to the bottom of what Bigfoot is. The fact that it is not a particular high priority for him also kind of reinforces this feeling, although he is a scientist and studies where the grants take him. Not all scientists can afford to take on this field when we have other things to do to put food on the table.

    Even a speculative work from such an experienced anthropologist could of course offer some good insights, but I wonder if he is really treating Bigfoot as seriously as a lot of us would hope.

    Anyway, it’ll be fun to see where this all leads. Consider my interest piqued. As DWA said, yeah let’s hear some more.

  4. Loren Coleman responds:

    Some obvious questions come to mind:

    Does he have tenure?

    What are his list of publications dealing with hominology and cryptozoology?

    Why would anyone who is not a scoftic or debunker, even if they are excluding Sasquatch studies from the labeled area, use the term “pseudoscience,” unless they accept the political-emotional parameters that are part of using that word?

  5. Loren Coleman responds:

    Okay, I wanted to ask those questions cold and then try to look for the answers on his published vita.

    Answers to my own questions:

    1. Not even sure if he is beyond ABD. Just entered his Ph.D program in 2010.

    2. Two significant published works are listed, one is on Lucy’s feet and the other is on anthropology jokes. The third and final paper is not on Bigfoot either.

    3. He probably uses “pseudoscience” and the conceptual emotional barrage of that word because his advisor is John Hawks who *seems* to have a harsh pseudoscientific view of Bigfoot.

  6. DWA responds:


    1. As to credentials: I’m just glad somebody going for an advanced degree seems to be interested in this from a scientific standpoint. There aren’t near enough of them.

    2. I think his view is: the pseudoscience being applied to the sasquatch (of which we all know there is much) doesn’t exclude the proper application of science to the topic (which of course it doesn’t).

    3. As to Hawks: there may be hope for that old codger yet.

Sorry. Comments have been closed.

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