Thursday, July 12, 2012
An Explanation Of Bigfoot Eye Shine
Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Bigfoot Evidence contributor, Jamie AKA Snowhorse, a geology student at Humboldt State University. He believes the best way to find a Bigfoot is to use proven wildlife biology field methods. You can visit his blog, Bad Bigfoot.
After reading a few accounts and reports I think that people are getting confused in regards to eyeshine. A lot of reports are accompanied by accounts of eyeshine. The eyeshine effect is sometimes perceived as validation that there was actually something there in the woods. It does take an animal to have eyeshine and when viewed in the wild it can give some insight into the animal in question. But it is not definitive. There are no absolutes when dealing with reflective color. The many defects, variations, and abnormalities within the eye itself can produce a variable number of colors.
What is eyeshine? It's a reflection off of something called the Tapetum Lucidum. I would suggest that everyone read the Wikipedia article on it.
The important part to note is that eyeshine is multidirectional. It shines the whole eye and is viewed from many angles.
The Bigfoot in the room concerning these reports is that primates in general don't have a tapetum lucidum. Only lemurs do and they diverged from the order around 50 million years ago. This is both a problem and a solution. If the principle uniformitarianism is to be applied to the argument then any report of a Bigfoot accompanied with a report of eyeshine is indicative of misidentification of another species.
The refutation of this argument is that hominids are often photographed with "red eye". This is often used as evidence that the subject of these reports is actually a hominid. Seems logical right? Humans have red eyeshine? Nope....
The "red eye" effect is not the same as eyeshine.
A simple reading of the Wikipedia page on the subject should bring everyone up to speed.
An abstract of the journal article that the Wikipedia article cites is available here:
In short, the red eye effect is only visible when the observer angle is dead on with the light source. What does this mean? Unless your light source is within a few inches from your eye you will not see red eye. This is why nice cameras and pro photographers often have light source away from the lens. If the flash is too close to the lens then there will be some red eye. It is often noted that theater spotlight operators sometimes see the red eye effect from actors on stage.
So okay maybe the "red eyes of bigfoot" is really just a glimpse of the red eye effect when the proper angles align? Nope... the iris of the eye compensates for the increased amount of focused light. This means that the effect is only visible for a short amount of time and only when the angles are perfect. So any red eye would only be visible for a fraction of a second. Some cheaper cameras have a red eye neutralizing flash that strobes for a few seconds to contract the pupil to neutralize the red eye effect.
So in closing, accounts of eyeshine in bigfoot are largely indicative of a misidentification with another species, like owls. I think that a comprehensive mythbusters type of experiment is needed to settle it. Next time I'm in the field at night I'll try and get some footage to demonstrate the effects.
Jamie AKA Snowhorse
Posted by Shawn at 7/12/2012 11:00:00 AM