• Steve

Is Bigfoot Real?

Updated: Mar 11


Photo of a man in a Bigfoot costume peaking out from the pine forrest

Depending on who you talk to, Bigfoot is either definitely real or just a hoax. Although I am a skeptic of Bigfoot's existence, I don’t think it’s fair to call Bigfoot a hoax. It’s easy to dismiss sightings and footprints as hoaxes, animal misidentifications, or people just wanting to believe they saw a Sasquatch. While I do believe that the majority of sightings are probably the byproduct of animal misidentification, it’s hard to discredit all of the sightings and 400 years of Native American and the First Nations people’s sightings and tales of wild ape men.


I do have some doubts about the validity of the vast majority of Bigfoot sightings, especially in the very developed American North East, however, I don’t think it’s impossible that a small population of Sasquatch currently exist in the dense Canadian forest. Although I don’t think it's impossible for Sasquatch to exist, I think it's far more likely that It used to exist alongside the first Americans and is now extinct.


I am not a anthropologist, biologist, or paleontologist, so I am by no means an expert in this field, so the conclusions I come to in this blog should be taken with somewhat of a grain of salt. Every conclusion I come to is based on information I learned in school in various subjects, reading things online, documentaries, and my own intuition. I am not trying to discredit anyone or say one theory is more correct than another, this is just my take on Bigfoot.


Sightings



Famous Bigfoot look back photo crossing Bluff Creek in California

Although the name Bigfoot did not come about until the Humboldt Times coined the term in 1958, sightings and tales of giant ape men or “wildmen” have existed in North America for at least the past 400 years. Most people who claim to have seen Bigfoot describe the creature as a ten foot tall man-like creature covered in hair with broad shoulders weighing several hundred pounds. Bigfoot is also described with no obvious ears, a flat face, hands with long fingers, and humanoid feet. This description has been fairly consistent over the past 400 years, which suggests that people are definitely seeing something. Skeptics try to discredit these sightings by claiming people are seeing bears walking around on two legs. They suggest that if you have never seen a bear walking around on two legs before you are more likely to misidentify it.





Photo of a bear standing up on two legs

While I have no doubt that a bunch of Bigfoot sightings were definitely people misidentifying a bear walking around on two legs, I don’t think this adequately explains every sighting. First of all, everyone in this country knows what a bear looks like and can easily identify one. I have never actually seen a bear in my life but I know exactly what they look like. However, I could easily see a situation where if there were trees blocking, I only saw it from the back, or it was dark out where I would not know what I was looking at. The major issue I take with this explanation though is that bears look nothing like Bigfoot. Everyone who claims to have seen Bigfoot claims he was ten feet tall, whereas a black bear tends to be about five to seven feet tall when standing on its back legs and a brown bear tends to be around six to seven feet tall. These bears are around the height of a human when standing, so I find it hard to believe that hundreds of people somehow mistook a six foot tall bear for a ten foot tall ape man. The other problem with this explanation is that bears don’t really share any features with Bigfoot. They have a protruding snout, ears on the top of their head, no clear shoulders, and their arms and legs are not humanoid in shape or proportion.


I also find it hard to believe that the Native Americans and First Nations people mistook bears walking around on two legs for an ape man. These early Americans hunted and were hunted by bears, so they definitely would have been very familiar with a bear. I also find it a little hard to believe that so many people who live in bear country and are aware of them would mistakenly identify them as Sasquatch. I do not necessarily think that everyone who claims to have seen Bigfoot didn’t see a bear, I just have a hard time accepting that a bear explains every single sighting and 400 years of Native American tradition.


Could Sasquatch exist today?

While I do not really buy that Bigfoot is alive today, I am open to the idea that a small population of Sasquatch could live in a pocket in the remote forests of Canada and possibly the American Pacific Northwest.


I think that we should discredit any sightings from the American North East and California because while these areas still have untouched forests, they are super developed and well explored. I won’t throw out Washington and Oregon though because they have so many sightings and border British Columbia. However, Canada is the most likely place in North America for a population of Sasquatch to exist because 80% of the country is uninhabited. While it is unlikely that sasquatches actually exist in Canada, it can not be completely ruled out because people like Forrest Galante are constantly rediscovering creatures thought to be extinct for decades. If Forrest can rediscover various species thought to be extinct in small remote pockets of dense forest and jungle, it’s possible that an undiscovered giant ape species lives in Canada.


I don’t really buy the argument that Bigfoot exists and is living in Canada, but it’s not impossible. I think it is far more likely that Bigfoot existed alongside the first Americans and has since gone extinct.


Did Sasquatch ever exist?

Although there is currently no evidence to support this, I think that the most likely explanation for Bigfoot was an ape or hominin that co-inhabited North America with early humans. According to UC Berkly, only around 10% of all the organisms that have ever lived were fossilized therefore, there is a 90% chance that Sasquatch fossils don’t exist because they never fossilized. Therefore it’s very possible that Sasquatch lived alongside early Americans. This could explain the 400 plus year old oral tradition about ape men that exist across all of the Native American and First Nation tribes. There are a few thoughts on what Bigfoot could have been.


Skull of Homo floresiensis, an extinct hobbit man who existed  50,000 years ago
Skull of Homo floresiensis

The first suggests that Bigfoot was a known or currently undiscovered species of hominin, or homininae who migrated to America around the same time as early humans did. While there is currently no fossil evidence to support this hypothesis, recent discoveries suggest that early humans overlapped and even interacted with other hominini, and even fellow members of the Homo genus. The recent discovery of Homo Floresiensis, the 50,000 year old hobbit man in Indonesia suggests that early humans coexisted in the same environments and definitely interacted. This is further supported by the sequencing of the Neandertal genome and the presence of neanderthal DNA in some modern humans, which suggest they interbred. As more fossils are discovered, it becomes more and more likely that another species of hominin could have existed alongside the first Americans.



Artist rendering of the extinct Gigantopithecus
Artist rendering of Gigantopithecus

The other hypothesis is that Bigfoot is actually a relict population of Gigantopithecus. The theory suggests that along with many other animals, Gigantopithecus migrated across the Bering land bridge and settled in North America around the same time as the first Americans. I think that this hypothesis holds less weight because realistically. However, it’s possible that the first peoples tales of Bigfoot were the result of coexisting with the now extinct Gigantopithecus. Although we have never found fossils of Gigantopithecus, that does not mean that they were not here and it does not mean we won’t find them.


While I don’t think Bigfoot is alive today, I don’t think you can definitively call Bigfoot a hoax. I think that discrediting every sighting as a bear walking on two legs is a lazy explanation because it fails to address 400 years of legends. I think that the truth lies somewhere between a small population of an undiscovered ape hiding out in the Canadian brush, or an extinct creature. Regardless of the truth, it’s more fun to be open minded and at least engage with the idea that Bigfoot exists or could have existed.







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