Bigfoot in Evolutionary Perspective – Book Review

 Books, Data, Uncategorized  Comments Off on Bigfoot in Evolutionary Perspective – Book Review
Mar 012017
 

Bigfoot in Evolutionary Perspective: The Hidden Life of a North American Hominin 
By T. A. Wilson

 

In a nutshell, Bigfoot in Evolutionary Perspective is a book that looks at data from various sources and uses that data to come to conclusions about bigfoot.  The sources range from John Green’s sightings database, the BFRO database, and various books and publications.  Wilson uses his own field experiences as grounds for his conclusions as well, as any field researcher should do.

The book is definitely a valuable resource for researchers.  Wilson has created numerous charts and graphs in which he shows a breakdown of how many reports from Green’s database show a certain characteristic, such as height, arm length, or even the types of foods sasquatches have been seen eating.  In fact, there is an entire section at the end of the book that only features these graphics, though they are peppered throughout the book in the appropriate chapters where those features are discussed. 

A notable chapter in the book solely deals with the value and reliability of eyewitness testimony.    This is particularly important to bigfooters because of the assumption by skeptics that eyewitness testimony is unreliable.  Using data from psychological field studies, Wilson clearly shows that eyewitnesses are adroit at getting the main details of unusual events correct in retellings. 

Other conclusions Wilson draws from the data are interesting to note, though many have been published elsewhere, such as the running speed of saquatches, how far and high they can jump, and others.  However, even when rehashing these particular abilities, he does an excellent job using sighting reports to support his claims. 

There are several points where my own opinion differs from that of Wilson’s.  These points tend to come from assumptions that Wilson makes.  Fore example, one entire chapter of the book details how sasquatches couldn’t possibly be a relict form of Gigantopithecus.   While I am far from certain that sasquatches are relict Gigantos, I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the idea.  Wilson sites the research done by Cinchon in his book, Other Origins: The Search for the Giant Ape in Human Prehistory, probably the most complete book on the discovery and analysis of the Gigantopithecus fossils.  Many assumptions about Gigantos have been made by both Cinchon and Wilson that would be difficult to know considering how few fossils we have of these creatures.  No post cranial fossils of the species have been recovered, and everything we know about these creatures is derived from a handful of mandibles and a few hundred teeth.  Saying that they were quadrupeds is as speculative as saying they were bipedal.  Saying that Gigantos were almost exclusively herbivorous, had limited endurance, or only ranged locally are other examples of speculations based on incomplete data. 

Another glaring example where my opinion diverges from that of Wilson has to do with the sasquatch hand.  Since Wilson assumes that sasquatches are a hominin, which could very well be true, he also assumes that they would have to have human-like hands for precision grip.  Yet the data suggests otherwise.  Wilson contests the idea that the sasquatch thumb lies parallel to the other fingers.  Such a thumb, if limited to this one position, would indeed lack the ability to pick up, grasp, and hold objects, just as he claims.  Wilson’s mistake is his assumption that the sasquatch thumb can ONLY lie parallel to the other fingers.  Just as your thumb can move inwards in a grasping motion and back and forth on a more horizontal plane, sasquatch thumbs seem to do the same.  In fact, the available sasquatch hand casts show the thumb to be impressed at various angles from the other fingers demonstrating this mobility.  Wilson uses many paragraphs to explain why such an inflexible and strange hand structure could not possibly be used for the variety of applications that sasquatch hands must be used for.  I agree.  The problem here is the inflexible idea that sasquatch hands can only bend a certain direction.  I would argue that assuming a sasquatch thumb can only move in that limited way is a product of rigid expectations. 

This cast was collected by Wes Sumerlin in the Blue Mountains. Note the angle of the thumb compared to the other fingers.

This huge hand was cast by Paul Freeman in the Blue Mountains. Note the thumb position as it bends inwards towards the camera.

The Titmus hand cast from the Bluff Creek area. Note the thumb lying parallel to the other fingers on the left.

Since Wilson disagrees with the hand analysis supported by Krantz and Meldrum based on the Freeman hand casts, he therefore goes on to assume that the Freeman handprint evidence, and indeed other casts not collected by Freeman but are often ascribed to him because they were collected in the Blue Mountains, are all hoaxes.  This assumption then spills over to any evidence thought to have been collected by Freeman in the Blue Mountains.  In my opinion, this is an error.  Not only does most of the Freeman evidence stand up to analysis, but many of the so-called Freeman casts were actually collected by others, including Wes Sumerlin, Dar Addington, John Mionczynski,  Vance Orchard, and others.  Unfortunately due to incomplete and poorly-recorded data, these others’ contributions to the Blue Mountains evidence has been incorrectly ascribed to Paul Freeman.  

Don’t get me wrong.  Just because I disagree with some of Wilson’s conclusions doesn’t make this book any less valuable.  In fact, I agree with most of his conclusions about bigfoots.  I can also happily say that I picked up a couple things from the book that I hadn’t considered before.  Wilson bravely speculates on what he thinks bigfoots are and can do, which makes for a much bolder book than the compendium of sighting reports that most bigfoot books end up being.  Early in the book Wilson states that these are only his conclusions and he can be reasonably disagreed with.  All good researchers should have this opinion.  None of us have all the facts, and Wilson uses statistical analysis well to support many of his conclusions. 

The book can be a little dry at times, as any statistical analysis can be, but the text is information-rich.  I don’t agree with some of Wilson’s assumptions, but I also don’t mind my own assumptions being challenged by others, such as Wilson, when they are well-informed, use data, and have some field experience to back them up.  While peppered with sighting reports, this is not a narrative, and the eyewitness reports are included to support Wilson’s conclusions as examples.  For those scientifically-minded bigfooters that use facts and data to drive their opinions about sasquatches, I strongly recommend reading this book. 

Click the link below to purchase your copy of this excellent bigfoot book. 

Disclaimer: This page was made possible by a partnership from Amazon Associates who grants me a small commission on what you buy through the links. But, all opinions and reviews are my own, and these products wouldn’t be featured if I didn’t think it could help you be a better bigfooter.  

 

Bigfoot in Evolutionary Perspective: The Hidden Life of a North American Hominin

Sasquatch Field Guide Review

 Biology, Data, Education, Meldrum, Researchers  Comments Off on Sasquatch Field Guide Review
Oct 312016
 

 

Below is my reposted review of Dr. Jeff Meldrum’s Sasquatch Field Guide (Folding Pocket Guide):

 “Finally, a concise and well-written field guide has been published to help the bigfoot field investigator document various types of evidence in an appropriate way. Dr. Jeff Meldrum has put together a field guide on heavy-duty, waterproof card stock that literally fits in your back pocket or backpack, adding little weight to those ounce-sensitive backpackers with an interest in collecting data from the backcountry.  Seemingly thinking of everything, Dr. Meldrum has even included a ruler along the top margin of the Guide so the researcher will always have a scale item for any photos taken in the woods.  The Sasquatch Field Guide not only helps researchers with identifying possible spoor left by bigfoots, but it also helps him or her reduce the possibility of misidentifying signs of other animals for those of sasquatches.  Also included in the Field Guide are easy-to-understand directions on how to gather and store data in the field in preparation for future analysis.  The Guide uses colors and diagrams making it easy to read and understand, which could be the difference between successfully gathering data and blowing it when under the pressure of dealing with the real thing out in the field.  Sections in the Sasquatch FieldGuide include information on visual identification, footprint identification, track casting, gathering footprint metrics, hair samples, scat samples, tree breaks, nests, cultural signs, stacked rocks, habitat and distribution, diet, vocalizations, possible origins, and taphonomy.  This hefty brochure-style guide is densely-packed with valuable information that all field researchers should be intimately acquainted with.”

To purchase, click here:  Sasquatch Field Guide (Folding Pocket Guide)

Jun 082013
 

One of my contacts from New England just gave me permission to share a recording he recently obtained.  His research has focused on an area of high activity in a national forest near his home.  By frequenting the area, he has obtained some interesting interactions, including this one below.

I love his reaction to the sounds…  At first he’s excited, but when the sounds get louder he becomes a bit more apprehensive about the situation (the clip was edited to take out an expletive).  Very cool…

May 062013
 

Long-time sasquatch researcher and friend, Chris Murphy has recently built a virtual museum exhibition on the Sasquatch Canada website.  As always, Chris has supplied excellent information and rare photographs and documents for our enjoyment.

Much of the information and archive photographs came directly from the godfather of modern bigfooting himself, John Green.  Of particular interest to many will be John’s photographs from Blue Creek Mountain track event, as well as many significant footprints in the ground before they were cast.  These include the Skeena River prints, Onion Mountain print, Hyampom print, and Cripple Foot prints.

Besides the prints, there are archives on the topic of bigfoot vocalizations, the Skookum Cast, Native tales, hand prints, the Patterson/Gimlin Film, and others.  For any bigfooter, the website is a treasure trove of historical archives.

You can check it out by clicking on this link.  

Jan 152011
 

2005 Mescalero, NM


Year
2005
Month
January
Date
29
State
NM
County
Otero
Location
Mescalero
Found by
Dennis Pfohl
Collected by
Dennis Pfohl
Width (heel of palm)
16 cm
Width (midpoint of fingers)
14 cm
Width (heel of palm)
16 cm
Length
24.6 cm
Thumb width
4.6 cm



The year 2005 was a very bigfooty year in New Mexico. Several expeditions were held at various locations by the BFRO and others, some of which yielded sightings and footprint photographs. 

One of the more interesting pieces of data to come out of New Mexico that year was a handprint left on a mobile home’s weathered screen window on the Mescalero Indian Reservation. It was  found by Dennis Pfohl, a bigfoot investigator (and friend of the ‘squatch) from Colorado, who was on the scene investigating activity from the night before. The handprint’s size, height from the ground, and context all suggest that it is likely from a sasquatch. 

Mescalero, NM

Dennis collected the screen, and it is now in his possession. The handprint is still clearly visible and is housed in a picture frame. I had the opportunity to closely examine the screen in person at the Bellingham Conference of 2005.

The handprint has the appearance that it could have been made by a giant, dark mitten. The only digit that is clearly discernable is the thumb, which juts out of the palm area at a 54 degree angle. There is a muddy smear inside the “mitten” that is thought to have been made by the initial contact of the hand before the screen was distorted (see below).    



Thinking this was an interesting and fairly rare piece of possible data, I approached Dennis to ask him about including the hand print in my ever-growing online cast database.  Dennis not only agreed, he went the extra mile to write up a summary of his investigation to include with the photos.  


Thank you to my good friend, Dennis Pfohl, for helping out and being a model of cooperation for others to emulate!


Here is Dennis’ report:


I had been to Mescalero, NM several times in two months following up on investigations of reported sasquatch sightings in the area. On the morning of January 29, 2005, I got a call from one of the local investigators who lived in Mescalero informing me that a resident on the northwest corner of town had another disturbance early that morning.

We had already met with this young couple before, and they lived in a single-wide mobile home on private property that bordered the scrub oak and pine forest at the base of the mountain. Several times in the previous weeks they had complained about strange noises, rock throwing, and seeing unusual shadows outside after dark. The wife even reported having a quick, fightening glimpse one night of what she thought was a large hair covered head and face looking in through the corner of a bedroom window.  The family was understandably uneasy and upset about this prowler, or “visitor,” and was happy to have people who would take them seriously and investigate.

One evening while on location a neighbor came out to meet us and told us that they had seen a very tall, dark-colored, large man-like creature run between the mobile home and their house. They described its head as reaching the rain gutters of the garage, which was over eight feet from ground level.

On the morning of the window disturbance the husband had informed me that he works an early shift and was usually up by 2 am to get ready for his job. He stated that on that morning while in the bathroom shaving for work, he heard a noise outside the bathroom window. The glass in that window was the typical frosted glass, commonly used as privacy glass, so he was unable to see out easily, but did say he saw movement through it.



When we investigated later that day, I asked the husband to show me the window. The first thing I noted was its height from ground level. Then we found that the screen had been damaged. Upon closer examination, I discovered what looked to be an impression on the material itself. The husband assured us the screen was in good condition and intact before that night.

It measured seven feet to the bottom of the window frame,
and another nearly twelve inches to the bottom of the print on the screen,
placing it around the eight-foot level.



As we did a thorough search around the property, including directly below the window itself for any impressions, we found nothing of obvious interest. Unfortunately the ground was dry, and mostly consisted of crushed granite that made it resistant to footprints.


Further evaluation of the screen material evidence led me to the following summation:

First, to qualify my report I have to let the reader know that I have lot of experience handling screening material as part of my small business which includes building and installing new, as well as re-screening, residential and commercial screens. Often that includes replacing torn, damaged, and weather-checked, brittle screening material with new.



Commonly found in residences are aluminum and fiberglass screening material. At this residence they had fiberglass screening on the windows. Over time, with age, fiberglass material will start to become brittle and weathercheck from exposure to the elements and UV rays. When this type of screening material becomes weathered, it is prone to marking easily.  If the oils in the skin come in contact with the material they will be absorbed into the material leaving the shape of the contact area. I had seen this before from handling old screening material.


My interpretation of the impression on the window screen is that something had pushed forcefully upward on the screen, tearing the sides and bottom of the screen free from the frame with only the top edge left intact.


This is how we found it.

At the upper end of the actual screen mark there is a series of small tears on the screen material. These are in alignment of where one would expect to normally find fingernails on the end of the digits. With permission, I took measurements, documented the find with photographs, and eventually got permission to remove the screen.  I later replaced the screen with a new one for the residents.

Dennis Pfohl 


Dennis measuring the window.
All photos courtesy of Dennis Pfohl.

In regards to the mitten-shape of the print, Dennis had this to add:

The large mitten shape on the screen material is a result of the force used against the screen when it tore. My best evaluation of what occured follows:

As the original unaltered screen is pushed inwards and upwards, the first light colored (tan) markings are left from the abrasion of the skin contacting the material that is still tight on the frame. This is also when the tears occurred at the area where we would assume the digits would be. Those could have been caused by fingernails, the fingertips, or even the tips of the dermal pads if it used enough pushing force.

Additionally the screen is actually stretched a bit.  There are four concave, large, finger-width grooves (approx 30mm) following the length of the imprint and leading to each tear. This is where one would expect to see just this type of damage from pushing on it.



I believe the lighter coloration was the first contact, but the screen didn’t tear completely from the frame. There is typically only around an inch of space between the screen material and the glass of the window. This small gap does not allow enough stretch to occur without breaking the glass itself.

The second attempt, and the larger mitt shape, is what tore the screen from the frame. The impression indicates it lifted its hand slightly before pushing upwards giving a better contact area against the material (this is probably the force that tore the screen from its frame) almost like a double strike. I have seen this in the past when working on similar material, and it is common. That is why I recognized what I was looking at right away.

Dennis
Jan 112011
 



An excellent article recently appeared on the blog, Still on the Track.  The topic of the blog is sasquatches and Bergmann’s Rule.

Basically, Bergmann’s Rule states that animals of a species (or closely related species) tend to be bigger if they live farther away from the equator.  As an example, black bears in Alaska tend to be bigger than those found in Southern California.  

The reason for this correlation has to do with staying warm by retaining heat.  A mammal’s mass constantly generates heat (mammals are “warm-blooded”), and the only way to let that heat escape into the air is through the animal’s skin.  It turns out that mass increases a lot faster than surface area does, so the heat-generating part of the mammal increases faster than the heat-losing part of the mammal.  

To visually represent this idea, let’s look at data from a simple example.  Starting with a cube that is 1 cm long on each side, we see that the volume (which is directly correlated to its mass) is 1 cubic cm, and the surface area is 6 square cm.  If we increase the size of the cube to 2 cm on each side, the volume increases to 4 cubic cm, while the surface area increases to 16 square cm.  As the size of the cube increases, the volume increases at a much faster rate than the surface area, as seen in the chart below.  This means that in mammals, the mass (which generates a mammal’s heat) increases much faster than its surface area (which loses this heat to the environment).  

Data and graph showing the relation between
surface area and volume (mass).



If sasquatches are hypothesized to be real animals, then a possible test would be to see if they conform to the same rules as other mammals do, such as Bergmann’s Rule.  In the article mentioned above, author Dale Drinnon took data supplied by George W. Gill and made graphs showing the size trends of sasquatch height estimates from witnesses, as well as recorded footprint lengths.  The two gentlemen have shown that sasquatches do seem to conform to Bergmann’s Rule, as would be expected for any natural population of mammals.


Kudos to Mr. Drinnon and Mr. Gill for doing some excellent sasquatch science!  

Dec 182010
 

Earlier this year, I wrote a blog post on my attempted investigation of a fresh sasquatch trackway near the Skokomish River. An excellent photograph of one of these footprints has now been added to the ever-growing Cast/Impression Database located on my website, www.NorthAmericanBigfoot.com.

2010 Skokomish River, WA
Year
2010
Month
June
Date
18
State
WA
County
Mason
Location
Skokomish River
Found by
ID Withheld
Cast by
Not cast
Length
13 inches
Width (ball)
5.25 inches
Width (heel)
5 inches
Stride
Unknown
Depth
Unknown


While scouting for elk near the confluence of Church Creek and the Skokomish River in Mason County, WA, a state employee stumbled across an excellent trackway. There were many footprints, but only one was clear enough to photograph. The others were in thick forest duff surrounding a seep from a nearby spring.

Click here to go to the 2010 Skokomish River track page.
Nov 042010
 

Fox News in North Carolina recently paid colleague and friend of the ‘squatch, Mike Greene, a visit.  They were largely interested in the thermal footage that likely shows a sasquatch that Mike obtained in 2009.

 

The full article is reprinted below, or can be accessed by clicking here.

N.C. Man Claims He Has Picture of Bigfoot

ASHEBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — 

A man that once worked as a fraud investigator claims he has captured an image of North American folklore.

Mike Greene, a former chief of fraud investigation in New Jersey, claims he captured video of Bigfoot in the Uwharrie National Forest over a year ago.

“In the middle of the night, I was awakened by what I call, ‘Darth Vader’ breaths,” said Greene. Greene said he was able to capture a thermal image of Sasquatch that night.


“The image is the first comprehensive thermal image of a Sasquatch… even though I admit that it’s blurry,” said Greene.

In the video, Greene claims you can see a big creature come out of the woods and grab a candy bar that was set up to attract the Sasquatch.

“It can’t be anything else, I mean, it literally can’t be anything else,” said Greene.

Greene said many people have said the image is just a guy in a fat suit or gorilla suit, but he claims the thermal image proves it’s something different.

“The heat signature – which is what you’re looking at…the heat signature would be completely different. It would be splotchy,” said Greene. “You could put a guy in a Bigfoot costume and fool night vision, because that’s just like a video camera. But if you put a thermal image on him, that’s going to look completely different.”

After seeing the video, Greene was convinced he had captured video of the much-discussed creature Bigfoot.

“Yeah, there’s no doubt about it,” said Greene.

Greene admits that he, and the rest of the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, are surprised there has not been better proof after several years of searching and many attempts to get a glimpse of the evasive alleged creature.

“We have, in the organization, maybe 200 game cams out looking for Sasquatches. We haven’t got one lousy picture of a Sasquatch, which doesn’t make any sense, unless you think that maybe these things are so smart that they either see the game cam,” said Greene.

Greene said there is no doubt he caught one of the rare images of the increasingly evasive creature.

“Clear as a bell, absolutely unequivocally, no doubt what it was – to me, anyway,” said Greene.

A majority of scientists discount the existence of Bigfoot and consider it to be a combination of folklore, misidentification, and hoax, rather than a legitimate animal, in part because some estimate large numbers necessary to maintain a breeding population.

Greene said fossils of a sasquatch-like creature have been unearthed in China. He claims the creature came over the land bridge that used to exist between Asia and Alaska..  

Nov 022010
 
Dave Ellis is an investigator friend of mine from Washington State.  I have been on several expeditions with him, and we always enjoy talking ‘squatch together.  In particular, I enjoy talking to him about sasquatch footprint casts because, like me, he is a “cast geek.”  Dave is also a very data-driven sort of researcher.  He is a strong believer in not only collecting evidence, but sharing it.

Dave Ellis

Over the years, Dave has had the opportunity to cast a number of footprints from his various research locations.  Many of the casts show clear dermatoglyphics.  Having seen a number of the casts with my own two eyes, I am of the opinion that at least some of the casts are actually human in origin.  Others, I’m not so sure about.  Based on the context of some of the footprint casts (location and time of year), Dave believes that some of his casts might show juvenile sasquatch footprints.

Dave is aware that he has some human footprints in his collection.  He even concedes that, “In the end, I may have a great collection of typical human footprints.  Even if that is true, we all should become familiar with what the human foot will look like in different conditions and circumstances.”  I couldn’t agree more!

The important thing to note about Dave’s approach is that when he has any doubt at all about what left the prints he discovers, he casts them.  One can decide later if the casts are human or sasquatch.  At least the evidence was preserved!  Besides, it’s always good to practice your casting technique.  Depending on the circumstance, casting can be a little trickier than it looks.

Below is a short video presentation Dave put together in an effort to share his casts with the bigfoot community.  Which ones might be from a bigfoot?  You decide.

.
Oct 162010
 

As you probably know, the McKenzie River Footage surfaced this past August.  This footage showed what appeared to be a large, dark, upright figure clearly walking on two legs with swinging arms.  Not knowing what was depicted in the video, a friend of the videographer reported the film to the BFRO.


As luck would have it, when the report came in I happened to be in Pennsylvania on a bigfooting trip with BFRO founder, Matt Moneymaker.  Matt asked if I’d like to look into it for him.  


On September 11, 2010, I went down to the McKenzie River with some friends to do my version of an on-site investigation.  My conclusions have been posted elsewhere on this blog, but I thought you might enjoy watching some video footage from that day.  


Enjoy!