Bigfoot Statue
Credit: Patterson Gimlin Film Frame 352

For thousands of years the indigenous people of America have claimed of the existence of wildmen who lived in the mountains. In more recent times these wildmen came to be known as sasquatch, yeti, or most most notably, bigfoot. These creatures are said to be hairy, ape-like, 6 to 10 feet tall, and weighing up to 500 pounds. Numerous sightings of bigfoot have occurred in the United States, especially the Pacific North West. Yet despite all of this, scientists claim to never have found a bigfoot skeleton proving their existence. So are bigfoot real, or just the product of over active imaginations. Lets examine this question.

Of the facts supporting the existence of bigfoot, there are eyewitness accounts, video and sound recordings, footprint castings, hair, skin, blood and stool samples, tree damage, and nests. There are also historical records of "giant skeletons" that some claim are those of bigfoot.

According to the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, or BFRO, there have been thousands of eyewitness sightings since the seventies. Since eyewitness testimony is used in a court of law to convict someone of a crime this is powerful evidence. Not only that, the credibility of many of the witnesses has been very strong, for instance, Gerald Russell, who witnessed a "yeti", was a naturalist (see The Field Guide of Bigfoot and Other Mystery Primates pages 126-127), furthermore, Gary Samuels, a mycologist witnessed a "Mono Grande", a Spanish version of bigfoot (pp. 72-73), and the physicians George Moore and George Brooks both encountered the yeti (pp. 136-137).  However, skeptics claim that eyewitness testimony cannot be trusted because it is inherently flawed and based upon individual perceptions and subjective conclusions. They say that most bigfoot sightings are hoaxs or simple misidentifications of other things like bears, stumps, or snow covered trees. Many bigfoot researchers admit that a large portion of sightings are indeed hoaxs, but due to the vast amount of sightings, they insist that at least some of the reports must have some factual basis.

There have been numerous video and audio recordings of bigfoot. The most famous video is known as the Patterson/Gimlin film, a 53 second film depicting what is thought to be a bigfoot in 1967. The film shows the creature walking quickly through a clearing into the woods at Bluff Creek California. Although this film has been accused of being a hoax several times, there are many reasons why people believe the contrary. Most notably is the arm length of the creature depicted in the film, it has an arm length much longer than any human. Second, is the creature's neck anatomy; careful inspection of the video shows that when the creature turns its head, its entire torso moves with it, a non-human trait commonly seen in most primates. Lastly, there is the gait, or pattern of movement of the creature. According to many analysts the creature shown in the Patterson Gimlin film walks far too quickly to be a man, and appears too heavy and muscular to be human as well. Lastly, many believe that the creature in the film is not a man in an ape suit because the hair and other features simply look too realistic. Of course skeptics believe that the Patterson Gimlin film is a hoax. They point out that since 1967 there have been numerous advances in technology that would make it easier for people to capture photos and video of bigfoot, like cell phone video for instance, and so, there should be a plethora of new bigfoot videos. But the truth is new bigfoot videos are surfacing everyday on Youtube and other video sites. It’s up to the watcher to decide if what they see is real or not. Nonbelievers also point out inconsistencies in the stories of the two men that shot the Patterson Gimlin film as reason to believe it was a hoax, and they say the film was simply a money making scam.

Throughout the years, thousands of purported bigfoot tracks have been casted. Studies have shown that many of the castings are not from any known animal and that they display remarkable characteristics about walking patterns and foot anatomy. Most notably, supposed bigfoot castings indicate that bigfoot have a flexible joint in the center of their feet, the transverse tarsal joint. This supports a greater weight more easily and provides more efficiency in negotiating uneven terrain. Because of this, bigfoot heels often miss the ground and tend to leave a half imprint of their feet in their tracks. In contrast, the center of a human’s foot is not flexible, and so a human’s foot prints would leave a complete imprint in the ground. Bigfoot skeptics claim that almost all bigfoot tracks are hoaxed. If this is true, then hoaxers all around America would have had to simultaneously contrive the idea of a flexible transverse tarsal joint when laying down their fake tracks, and this is highly unlikely.

Many samples of bigfoot hair and scat have been collected as well as blood and skin scrapings. All of these share one common trait, DNA. Researchers have long been trying to prove the existence of bigfoot with this evidence only to find that the hair belongs to another animal like a deer or bear, or that bigfoot blood is infact transmission fluid. However, there have been a few instances where the findings have been inconclusive, and one recent study even claims that bigfoot is a hybrid cross between homo sapiens and an unknown primate that occurred 15,000 years ago.  Veterinarian Melba S. Ketchum PHD conducted a 5 year study of over 100 bigfoot DNA samples to arrive at this conclusion. Her professional work includes nearly 30 years in forensics and genetic research. Doctor Ketchum's findings are scheduled to be peer reviewed pending the release of her study manuscript.

Tree Damage and nests. Bigfoot believers point to tree damage and possible nests as evidence of the creature's existence. Throughout the years, many trees with broken and twisted limbs have been found. While many of these occurred due to natural means such as high winds, storms etc, Many believe that the complex and unusual formations of some damaged trees could only have been created with a pair of hands. In addition, dome like structures have been found, where branches appear to have been weaved around a bent tree, the bent tree being secured to the ground by a large rock in some cases.

Lastly, there are historical records of giant skeletons having been found all across America. The Washington Post and New York Times published dozens upon dozens of articles pertaining to unusual and giant skeletons having been found during the 19th and 20th centuries. Believers contend that some of these giant bones are those of bigfoot. Of course, skeptics state that there are no actual giant skeleton remains to be found in museums, so therefore, they don't exist. So where are the bones that all these articles refer to? Bigfoot believers claim there is a conspiracy to cover up evidence of giant skeletons because they don't fit into the official evolutionary explanation of how life evolved on earth, and as a result, the remains of giant skeletons are confiscated and destroyed, or hidden away forever.

Final Conclusion: 

There is no doubt that anything can be hoaxed, but I personally believe that there is too much circumstantial evidence to dismiss the possibility that bigfoot exists.


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