|Snowflake the Gorilla in September, 2003|
If you are a fan of apes, then you probably have heard about the famous albino gorilla, Snowflake. He was euthanized in 2003 to alleviate his suffering from skin cancer, but recently some genetic tests were done on his remains that found the most likely cause of his rare albinism was inbreeding.
|“Pinkie” and a friend at the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sancuary|
To explore the possibility of albinism being an indicator or possible inbreeding by bigfoots, I undertook a thought experiment. I plotted Green’s white bigfoot reports on a Google Maps layer, and then tried to attribute the sightings to individual bigfoots. I took into consideration the sighting locations, their proximity and connectivity via mountain ranges and river systems, the years the bigfoots were spotted combined with the life expectancy of apes, and some size estimates as well (bigfoots would obviously not get smaller as time passed, so strongly differing size estimates where the creature got smaller over time were attributed to multiple individuals). I color coded the sightings in a way to show what I think might be reasonable to show the same individuals showing up in various locations.
|A map showing sighting reports for white bigfoots|
I admit that the above process is pretty speculative, but it gave some interesting results. I have plotted encounters with over thirty white bigfoots since 1955 (there was one outlier from 1938). It is very possible that some of the sightings I attributed to more than one individual are actually the same bigfoot with either a longer lifespan than I used as a base, or with a stronger wanderlust than I expected. So, to be more conservative in my estimates, I will cut this estimated number by more than half to just fifteen.
Albanism is pretty rare in any species, but in great apes it is extremely rare. In humans, about 0.0059% (1 in 17,000) of the population has albinism. However in the other great apes, the only known examples are Snowflake the gorilla and Pinkie the chimpanzee, both of whom are now dead. (Certainly there either are other albino individuals in the wild, or have been in the past, but I”ll ignore this for our purposes.)
|Snowflake casting the camera a sidelong glance.|
Looking at the population estimates of the the three great ape species with documented albinism might give us some vague insight into whether or not this could be an indicator of inbreeding in bigfoots. Using the numbers for humans (1 in 17,000), the 15 individual bigfoots hypothesized above would give a population of bigfoots as around 255,000. This is clearly way off the chart as far as a reasonable population estimate for bigfoots.
I see no way around the idea that inbreeding could possibly be affecting the bigfoot population. Inbreeding seemed reasonable even before this thought experiment due to the species’ rarity, as well as the possibility of human development cutting off breeding populations. If my assumption that bigfoot genetics generally should follow the same pattern as the other apes (including humans) is correct, even one albino bigfoot report should be extremely rare, and there are dozens of sightings describing white bigfoots.