AN UNCATALOGUED ANIMAL
WHAT'S A BIGFOOT?
In 1958, big foot was a term used to describe large, human-like, footprints. As in, "Those are some big footprints." Today, "bigfoot" is a name used to describe the things making the footprints.
RIGHT. BUT, WHAT'S A BIGFOOT?
But, it's not just one bigfoot. A living species needs a healthy breeding population. Scientists have suggested 5,000 adults is the minimum number needed for the long term health of any species.
DO WE KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT BIGFOOT?
Yes. We know what a bigfoot looks like. It bears a strong resemblance to the mountain gorilla. Morphological analysis places it between a gorilla and a human.
HOW DO WE KNOW WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE?
In 1967 multiple witnesses encountered a bigfoot. They documented the encounter on film and made casts of its footprints. The bigfoot in the 1967 film is estimated to be 7 feet 3½ inches in height and weighing 700 pounds. It moves bipedally.
THAT'S A LOT TO PUT ON A FILM, HOW DO YOU KNOW IT'S LEGIT?
WHY IS BIGFOOT UNRECOGNIZED AS A SPECIES?
Because there is no type specimen (body, blood, DNA, fossil, etc). A physical type specimen is required for a new species name to be accepted by science.
“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The weight of evidence for an extraordinary claim must be proportioned to its strangeness”
So, what is bigfoot? Bigfoot is an unrecognized species of large hairy hominoids living in America.
WHY DO PEOPLE THINK BIGFOOT IS PARANORMAL, OR SILLY?
The entertainment has out-paced the science.
Before 1967, it was an animal that people had to keep from stealing their cattle. It may have been an unusual animal, but it was not any more paranormal than an owl, bear, or wolf. It certainly wasn't silly.
After 1967, "Bigfoot" became a character. Television associated Bigfoot with the paranormal, UFOs, and the Loch Ness Monster. Hollywood amplified the perception, but also added a level of silliness with "Harry and the Hendersons." Eventually advertisers got involved and gave us "Messin' with Sasquatch."
The result is an entire generation of people who think bigfoot is a singular mythical being who lives in the minds of children or silly people, and not a breed of animal living in the mountains and forests of North America.
The Standard Bigfoot
"Bigfoot" is used in two ways. Broadly, it's applied to all hairy humanoids worldwide, irrespective of their characteristics.
In a more precise context, "Bigfoot" refers to a specific type of hairy humanoid often reported in the Pacific Northwest, northern California, western Canada and comparable habitats across the United States. This type displays consistent characteristics and is widely recognized as the standard Bigfoot. [source: the cryptid zoo]
Hairy humanoids are roughly human in form, but are largely or wholly covered in fur or hair. In other words, most of these creatures could be broadly described as ape-men. The most famous hairy humanoid is the bigfoot, but there are countless other cousins of bigfoot found in legends and sightings from around the world.
For over 400 years, people have reported encountering large, hair-covered, man-like animals in North America's wilderness, but the scientific community generally does not recognize the existence of such creatures as Bigfoot.
Sightings persist today but they are often anecdotal and lack scientific verification. The credibility of individual accounts varies, and skepticism is common within the scientific community.
For over seventy years, people have been finding, photographing, and casting sets of very large human-shaped tracks. Most are discovered by chance in remote areas. These tracks continue to be found to this day. Scientifically rigorous evidence supporting the existence of a large, unidentified primate based on tracks alone is lacking.
Cultural Histories: Many indigenous cultures have folklore and stories about beings that live in the wild. However, interpreting these stories as evidence for the existence of Bigfoot is a matter of cultural and anthropological interpretation, not concrete scientific evidence.
In summary, while there are reports and cultural beliefs surrounding Bigfoot, the scientific community generally considers the evidence inconclusive and subject to various interpretations. It's essential to approach these claims with a critical mindset and an understanding of the current scientific consensus.
The Bigfoot Phenomenon
and more specifically myths of big, hairy monsters, are a world-wide anthropological phenomenon. In North America, one such myth is known as Bigfoot.
Many contemporary stories relate individual and group experiences with the Bigfoot phenomenon. Robert Pyle aptly observed,
“...the phenomenon of Bigfoot exists.”
This single, lucid observation, which differentiates the existence of a Bigfoot from the existence of the phenomenon.
Since we know that the phenomenon exists, what is its source?