Some Insight about the Existence of the Mythical Being Called BigFoot
Bigfoot is an apelike creature that purportedly inhabits forests of the northwest Pacific region of North America. With the resemblance of a human being, Bigfoot is described as large and hairy and two-legged. The creature is also called ‘sasquatch‘ which is an anglicized derivative of a word in the Halkomelem language of the First Nations peoples of the southeastern part of Vancouver Island.
By those who have supposedly sighted the creature, Bigfoot has been described as a reasonably tall (6 to 10 feet) being weighing as much as 250 kg. Covered with dark reddish brown hair, the face resembles that of a gorilla having a low-set forehead and a rounded head. There have been reports of a characteristic unpleasant odor associated with the creature by those who have encountered it. The most prominent have been the sightings of the creature’s footprints (that has given the being its popular name!) which are large as large as 24 inches long and 8 inches wide. Whereas a majority of the casts of the foot imprints have shown the presence of 5 toes, some others have displayed toe numbers ranging from two to six. There have been instances of sighting claws in the footprints much like a bear’s. There have been claims that Bigfootis omnivorous and is nocturnal.
Folklore of the Northwestern Pacific regions has been replete with stories of wild men. Similar stories are also found on every continent of the world barring Antarctica. All cultures have larger-than-men creatures adorning their myths and legends.
The Native American tribe of Lummi Nation has stories surrounding Ts’emekwes, their own wild man. However, different families of the tribe had different versions of the story. Evil creatures called stiyaha or kwi-kwiyai belonged to a nocturnal race carried off people to be killed. Skoocoomstories about the cannibalistic adventures of the so-called supernatural wild men, who lived on the peak of Mount St. Helens volcano near Washington, were heard in the mid 1800s.
The less harmful of them included giant-like men among Native Americans in the Washington area as recorded by a Protestant missionary in 1840. Their most harmful acts were stealing salmons from fishermen’s nets and carrying them off to the mountains where they lived.
Early in 1920, J.W. Burns compiled a series of such stories of wild hairy men in the newspapers of Canada. He is credited of coining the term ‘sasquatch‘ that describes these creatures. In fact, these stories became very popular in Canada before getting to be well known in the United States. Daniel Boone, an American explorer and a folk hero in the United States, is credited with shooting down a 10-foot hairy giant which he calls ‘the Yahoo‘. This reportedly triggered the spate of wildmen stories in the United States.
As late as in 1951, a Himalayan mountaineer called Eric Shipton photographed a Yeti footprint. Yeti was the quintessential apelike abominable snowman who inhabited the Himalayas. Such stories became popular and in 1958, Gerald Crew, a bulldozer operator, photographed giant footprints in California. His friend helped him to form casts of the footprints to make the world believe what they had seen. The name ‘Big foot’ was coined by the locals who were lapping up the story about the huge apelike creature. The story spread internationally and after a while a version came up which said it was all a ‘spun story’ by the editors and some local residents.
During these times organized expeditions were started to discover and sight ‘Bigfoot’. Tom Slick funded searches for Bigfoot in California. Sightings have since been reported in many parts of the United States including southeastern sections of the country and region of the Great Lakes in addition to the Pacific Northwest.
Other prominent sightings included one by Albert Ostman who claimed that he was held captive by sasquatch, an instance when Fred Beck, a miner, said that his camp was attacked with stones being thrown by ape-like men, and in 1941 when Jeannie Chapman claimed her house in British Columbia was attacked by a sasquatch and many more. Even in 2007, a hunter purportedly captured the image of a Sasquatch through an automatic camera.
The existence of Bigfoot has been debated by many over the years. Whereas some consider it to be a case of total misidentification, or even a hoax, there are others, some of them scientists, who have expressed a certain amount of belief in the reports that the creature actually exists.
Explanations for sightings of this unnatural creature range from being hoaxes to misidentification of animals by some to other believers who attribute these beings to UFOs and paranormal associations. Some proponents of Bigfoot believe that the apelike creatures belong to the population of Gigantopithecus, apelike beings that were roaming the earth about nine million years ago. However, some see it as unreasonable as these beings were originally quadruped. Some others have suggested these creatures to be species of another genus called Paranthropus owing to the crested skull and the fact that they were bipedal.
However, most of the scientific community believes that the current evidence is not supportive of the existence of Bigfoot. They attribute sightings to hoaxes and misinterpretation. A zoologist called John Crane, in an article in the mid 90s, claimed that there was no such being as Bigfoot. He supported his claim by saying that conditions in the temperate areas of the northern hemispheres, where the being purportedly lived, were not conducive for survival of a nonhuman primate of such a large size. Most such primates have lived in the tropical areas of the world in the continents of Asia and Africa. The areas where they are currently supposed to live would certainly have created food and climate issues for the creature. Additionally, there have been no fossil records of apes that were found in North America. If such creatures were to exist as claimed by the proponents, the breeding population would be of a size that would give rise to more sightings than currently on record.
There have been a few members of the scientific community who have expressed some belief that the creatures may exist after all. Jeffrey Meldrum, an anthropology professor, lends credence to the claim that Bigfoot could be the descendants of the genus Gigantopithecus. Among the vast majority of scientists who completely dismiss the existence of Bigfoot, Daris Swindler and George Shaller are some who have shown interest in the existence of the creature.