What is the nature of bigfoot, human or ape?
While the true nature of bigfoot remains a mystery, there are some pretty safe assumptions we can make about them. These assumptions are based on eyewitness accounts, as well as photographic and footprint evidence.
First of all, bigfoots are clearly primates since they pass all the visible tests for membership in this biological order. They have arms and shoulders designed for brachiation, though they are likely too large to spend much time in trees (much in the same way that mountain gorillas and even humans have this anatomy, but don’t swing from branches much). They have stereoscopic vision, five digits on their hands and feet, and the rest of the visible signs of being a primate. It would be hard to argue against their membership in the order.
Bigfoots are also clearly apes. In the simplest of terms, apes are large primates that lack a tail. It would also be hard to argue against this classification.
The rest of the question, “What is the nature of bigfoot?” is open for debate. I can only give you my interpretation of the data based on what make sense to me from my studies and first hand encounters.
One of the biggest debates among bigfooters is whether bigfoots are human or ape? The answer to this, in my opinion, doesn’t matter because of the flaw inherent in the question itself. Humans are apes. Look at the above definition and this will be clear. They definitely are not human beings, or Homo sapiens sapiens (yes that word has to be there twice, or it doesn’t mean modern man). Everyone knows that human beings do not grow to be eight or nine feet tall and covered with hair. I will say that I believe sasquatches are very human-like. There is a gradient of apeness, and humans are at some point on that gradient, just like orangutans, bonobos, gorillas, and sasquatches.
The question for me is, “How human-like are they?” It is my opinion that they are very human-like. So much so that it would make many people very uncomfortable. In fact, they might belong to the same family as modern humans, Hominidae, or hominid.
To belong to the family of hominids, an organism has to satisfy certain conditions. These are as follows:
• A bipedal posture, including a restructuring of the foot for weight bearing, including the loss of toe opposability.
• Increased manual dexterity involving a lengthening of the thumb.
• A flattening of the face in the muzzle area due to a reduction of bone mass and muscles.
• Flattened front teeth and large molars. The teeth also have a thicker enamel of the molars.
• An enlarged brain.
For sasquatches, the first of the above characteristics, bipedalism, is obvious. Sure, sasquatches are sometimes seen on all fours for short periods of time, but their habitual adult posture is on two legs. As a side note, it is interesting that one bigfoot observer in Mt. Hood National Forest reported that the sasquatch he saw go down on all fours ran on its knuckles, not its open hand.
The use of their hands is up for debate based on the sampling of hand casts that are available, as well as eyewitness accounts. The casts seem to indicate a thumb that is not opposed at the same angle as our own, thus limiting its use and dexterity. Eyewitness reports also note that sasquatches have wrapped all five digits around objects held in their hands. However, other observers (mostly long-term witnesses) have reported that sasquatches perform amazing feats of manual dexterity, including braiding horse manes, building stick structures, or weaving cedar shavings into intricate shapes. While I have not observed these in the field, I remain open to the possibility that this might be happening.
The next characteristic of the flattening of the face is also plainly visible in the several good photographs of sasquatches available today, as well as the thousands of eyewitness reports. They seem to lack the protrusion of the muzzle exhibited by the other apes called prognathism. On this flattened face, bigfoot incisors are always described as flat, though sometimes canines are noted. The thickness of the enamel obviously remains unknown.
Being such a large animal, a bigfoot’s brain must be large as well. I believe that an enlarged brain, and thus a high level of intelligence, has been repeatedly observed by their ability to remain “undiscovered” for so long. The evidence that points to sasquatches using language also is indicative of a high level of intelligence so far unobserved in any other animal other than humans.
Even though it is not clear whether or not sasquatches are indeed hominids, it seems to be at least possible, and even a little likely based on the description above. Perhaps after sasquatches are a recognized species, a little tweaking may need to be done on the definition of hominid? Perhaps sasquatches are something else entirely. That remains to be seen.