Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch, is purportedly an ape-like creature that inhabits forests, mainly in the Pacific Northwest region of North America. Bigfoot is usually described as a large, hairy, bipedal humanoid.

Most scientists discount the existence of Bigfoot and consider it to be a combination of folklore, misidentification, and hoax, rather than a legitimate megafaunal animal, in part because of the improbably large numbers necessary to maintain a breeding population, and because climate and food supply issues would make such purported creatures' survival in reported habitats unlikely. Nevertheless, Bigfoot is one of the more famous examples of a cryptid within cryptozoology and an enduring legend. A small minority of accredited scientists profess the view that evidence collected of alleged Bigfoot encounters warrants further evaluation and testing

Bigfoot is described in reports as a large hairy ape-like creature, ranging between 6–10 feet (2–3 m) tall, weighing in excess of 500 pounds (230 kg), and covered in dark brown or dark reddish hair. Alleged witnesses have described large eyes, a pronounced brow ridge, and a large, low-set forehead; the top of the head has been described as rounded and crested, similar to the sagittal crest of the male gorilla. Bigfoot is commonly reported to have a strong, unpleasant smell by those who claim to have encountered it. The enormous footprints for which it is named have been as large as 24 inches (60 cm) long and 8 inches (20 cm) wide. While most casts have five toes—like all known apes—some casts of alleged Bigfoot tracks have had numbers ranging from two to six. Some have also contained claw marks, making it likely that a portion came from known animals such as bears, which have five toes and claws. Proponents have also claimed that Bigfoot is omnivorous and mainly nocturnal.


Wildmen stories are found among the indigenous population of the Pacific Northwest. The legends existed prior to a single name for the creature.They differed in their details both regionally and between families in the same community. Similar stories of wildmen are found on every continent except Antarctica. Ecologist Robert Michael Pyle argues that most cultures have human-like giants in their folk history: "We have this need for some larger-than-life creature."

Members of the Lummi tell tales about Ts'emekwes, the local version of Bigfoot. The stories are similar to each other in terms of the general descriptions of Ts'emekwes, but details about the creature's diet and activities differed between the stories of different families.

Some regional versions contained more nefarious creatures. The stiyaha or kwi-kwiyai were a nocturnal race that children were told not to say the names of lest the monsters hear and come to carry off a person—sometimes to be killed. In 1847, Paul Kane reported stories by the native people about skoocooms: a race of cannibalistic wild men living on the peak of Mount St. Helens. The skoocooms appear to have been regarded as supernatural, rather than natural.

Less menacing versions such as the one recorded by Reverend Elkanah Walker exist. In 1840, Walker, a Protestant missionary, recorded stories of giants among the Native Americans living in Spokane, Washington. The Indians claimed that these giants lived on and around the peaks of nearby mountains and stole salmon from the fishermen's nets.

The local legends were combined together by J. W. Burns in a series of Canadian newspaper articles in the 1920s. Each language had its own name for the local version. Many names meant something along the lines of "wild man" or "hairy man" although other names described common actions it was said to perform (e.g. eating clams). Burns coined the term Sasquatch, which is from the Halkomelem sásq’ets (IPA: [ˈsæsqʼəts]), and used it in his articles to describe a hypothetical single type of creature reflected in these various stories. Burns's articles popularized both the legend and its new name, making it well known in western Canada before it gained popularity in the United States.

In 1951, Eric Shipton had photographed what he described as a Yeti footprint. This photograph generated considerable attention and the story of the Yeti entered into popular consciousness. The notoriety of ape-men grew over the decade, culminating in 1958 when large footprints were found in Del Norte County, California, by bulldozer operator Gerald Crew. Sets of large tracks appeared multiple times around a road-construction site in Bluff Creek. After not being taken seriously about what he was seeing, Crew brought in his friend, Bob Titmus, to cast the prints in plaster. The story was published in the Humboldt Times along with a photo of Crew holding one of the casts. Locals had been calling the unseen track-maker "Big Foot" since the late summer, which Genzoli shortened to "Bigfoot" in his article. Bigfoot gained international attention when the story was picked up by the Associated Press. Following the death of Ray Wallace – a local logger – his family attributed the creation of the footprints to him. The wife of Scoop Beal, the editor of the Humboldt Standard, which later combined with the Humboldt Times, in which Genzoli's story had appeared, has stated that her husband was in on the hoax with Wallace.

The year 1958 was a watershed for not just the Bigfoot story itself but also the culture that surrounds it. The first Bigfoot hunters began following the discovery of footprints at Bluff Creek. Within a year, Tom Slick, who had funded searches for Yeti in the Himalayas earlier in the decade, organized searches for Bigfoot in the area around Bluff Creek.

As Bigfoot has become better known and a phenomenon in popular culture, sightings have spread throughout North America. In addition to the Pacific Northwest, the Great Lakes region and the Southeastern United States have had many reports of Bigfoot sightings.


About a third of all Bigfoot sightings are concentrated in the Pacific Northwest, with most of the remaining sightings spread throughout the rest of North America. Some Bigfoot advocates, such as cryptozoologist John Willison Green, have postulated that Bigfoot is a worldwide phenomenon. The most notable sightings include:


Various types of creatures have been suggested to explain both the sightings and what type of creature Bigfoot would be if it existed. The scientific community typically attributes sightings to either hoaxes or misidentification of known animals and their tracks. While cryptozoologists generally explain Bigfoot as an unknown ape, some believers in Bigfoot attribute the phenomenon to UFOs or other paranormal causes. A minority of proponents of a natural explanation have attributed Bigfoot to animals that are not apes such as the giant ground sloth.


The reported size of Bigfoot approximates that of a bear standing on its hind legs, and bears have a high prevalence in regions said to be inhabited by Bigfoot; as such, they are likely candidates to explain some sightings. A recent example comes from a series of pictures taken in 2007, claimed by The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization to show a juvenile Bigfoot, which the Pennsylvania Game Commission has said show a bear with mange.[40][45] Conversely, some question if the Pennsylvania Game Commission have misidentified the image. Jeffrey Meldrum said the limb proportions of the suspected juvenile in question were not bear-like, stating he felt they were "more like a human." Furthermore the broadcast organization MSNBC reported that the hunter’s photo has revived the lively Bigfoot debate.

Bauman's "goblin-story", retold in Theodore Roosevelt's 1892 book The Wilderness Hunter (reprinted in his 1900 book Hunting the Grisly and Other Sketches), describing an encounter between two hunters and a violent "goblin-beast" is sometimes presented by Bigfoot proponents as historical evidence of the creature's existence; although Roosevelt suggested that Bauman may have been elaborating on a horrific encounter with a more mundane wild beast.


Both bigfoot researchers and critics agree that many of the sightings are hoaxes or misidentified animals. Cryptozoologists Loren Coleman and Diane Stocking have estimated that as many as 70 to 80 percent of sightings are not real.

Bigfoot sightings or footprints are often demonstrably hoaxes. Author Jerome Clark argues that the "Jacko affair", involving an 1884 newspaper report of an apelike creature captured in British Columbia, was a hoax. Citing research by John Green, who found that several contemporary British Columbia newspapers regarded the alleged capture as very dubious, Clark notes that the Mainland Guardian of New Westminster, British Columbia, wrote, "Absurdity is written on the face of it."

On July 14, 2005, Tom Biscardi, a long-time Bigfoot enthusiast and CEO of Searching for Bigfoot Inc., appeared on the Coast to Coast AM paranormal radio show and announced that he was "98% sure that his group will be able to capture a Bigfoot which they have been tracking in the Happy Camp, California area." A month later, Biscardi announced on the same radio show that he had access to a captured Bigfoot and was arranging a pay-per-view event for people to see it. Biscardi appeared on Coast to Coast AM again a few days later to announce that there was no captive Bigfoot. Biscardi blamed an unnamed woman for misleading him, and the show's audience for being gullible.

On July 9, 2008, Rick Dyer and Matthew Whitton posted a video to YouTube claiming that they had discovered the body of a deceased Sasquatch in a forest in northern Georgia. Tom Biscardi was contacted to investigate. Dyer and Whitton received $50,000 from Searching for Bigfoot, Inc., as a good faith gesture. The story of the men's claims was covered by many major news networks, including BBC, CNN, ABC News, and Fox News. Soon after a press conference, the alleged Bigfoot body arrived in a block of ice in a freezer with the Searching for Bigfoot team. When the contents were thawed, it was discovered that the hair was not real, the head was hollow, and the feet were rubber. Dyer and Whitton subsequently admitted it was a hoax after being confronted by Steve Kulls, executive director of


Bigfoot proponents Grover Krantz and Geoffrey Bourne believe that Bigfoot could be a relict population of Gigantopithecus. Bourne contends that as most Gigantopithecus fossils are found in China, and as many species of animals migrated across the Bering land bridge, it is not unreasonable to assume that Gigantopithecus might have as well.

The Gigantopithecus hypothesis is generally considered entirely speculative. Gigantopithecus fossils are not found in the Americas. As the only recovered fossils are of mandibles and teeth, there is some uncertainty about Gigantopithecus's locomotion. Krantz has argued, based on his extrapolation of the shape of its mandible, that Gigantopithecus blacki could have been bipedal. However, the relevant part of mandible is not present in any fossils. The mainstream view is that Gigantopithecus was quadrupedal, and it has been argued that Gigantopithecus's enormous mass would have made it difficult for it to adopt a bipedal gait.

Matt Cartmill presents another problem with the Gigantopithecus hypothesis: "The trouble with this account is that Gigantopithecus was not a hominin and maybe not even a crown-group hominoid; yet the physical evidence implies that Bigfoot is an upright biped with buttocks and a long, stout, permanently adducted hallux. These are hominin autapomorphies, not found in other mammals or other bipeds. It seems unlikely that Gigantopithecus would have evolved these uniquely hominin traits in parallel."

Bernard G. Campbellin wrote: "That Gigantopithecus is in fact extinct has been questioned by those who believe it survives as the Yeti of the Himalayas and the Sasquatch of the north-west American coast. But the evidence for these creatures is not convincing."

Extinct hominidae

A species of Paranthropus, such as Paranthropus robustus, with its crested skull and bipedal gait, was suggested by primatologist John Napier and anthropologist Gordon Strasenburg as a possible candidate for Bigfoot's identity, despite the fact that fossils of Paranthropus are found only in Africa.

Michael Rugg, of the Bigfoot Discovery Museum, presented a comparison between human, Gigantopithecus and Meganthropus skulls (reconstructions made by Grover Krantz) in episodes 131 and 132 of the Bigfoot Discovery Museum Show. He favorably compares a modern tooth suspected of coming from a bigfoot to the Meganthropus fossil teeth, noting the worn enamel on the occlusal surface. The Meganthropus fossils originated from Asia, the tooth was found in the Pacific Northwest.

Some Bigfoot proponents suggest Neanderthal or Homo erectus to be the creature, but no remains of either species are found in the New World




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