Dr. Jeff Meldrum stands next to the 3D printed bigfoot skeleton that was a side project for the Bigfoot Captured television special. Who knew 3D printing could be applied to even bigfoot? Having a real life visualization like this of what an actual bigfoot skeleton might look like, really puts things into perspective.
As he explains on the website of Idaho State, Meldrum is particularly interested in the Gigantopithecus (a giant ape that lived in Asia until two hundred thousand years ago) or the Australopithecus. Those studies are combined with findings made in North America. ‘In 1996, I found fresh footprints in Walla Walla, Washington with about 45 tracks,’ Meldrum said. ‘20 years later, I have over 250 footprint casts in my lab.’ With tracks about 15 inches in length, they convinced Meldrum that the Sasquatch does actually exist, and he has been collecting data ever since. ‘One important thing to stress is that it’s not just one individual creature, because then you would have a monster if it was a single, lone being. I don’t think it is a hybrid cross between this and that,’ he says.
All that data has since grown to a significant size, though is inconclusive. Nonetheless, Meldrum felt the time was right to build a full-scale model to emphasize how gigantic these creatures actually are. ‘All we’re doing is creating a hypothetical facsimile of what it might look like to convey a notion of the dimensions,’ Meldrum said. ‘First and foremost, it turns out there were other things that we can start to work with on that scale. Instead of starting from scratch we took an existing hominid skeleton, the most complete being a Neanderthal.’
So how do you build a model for a creature that might not even exist? Meldrum and his team took the data and footprints they did have, and combined that with anthropological atrifacts collected by archaeological society Bone Clones – from the Paranthropus boisei, another primate, and even Neanderthals. The 3D scans they took there were subsequently proportioned to match what they believed to be a Sasquatch anatomy. ‘They gave us permission to do a 3-D scan on a Neanderthal skeleton they found,’ Meldrum said. ‘We compared that to the [1960s footage]. We had to widen the shoulders and increase the thickness in the torso. The hips are as wide as the shoulders; the body was built like a tank.’
These scans were made in the The Idaho Virtualization Lab (IVL) located in the Idaho Museum of Natural History, and led to a skeleton model with a particular feature: a lack of almost a complete neck, coming out of the Paranthropus boisei and the video footage. ‘You can show the animation, the variation, the position of the reflection, extension, or split and the traceability of the foot rather than the imprint of the static prosthetic leg or fake foot,’ Meldrum said of the scans. The size of the full scale model was also based the found footprints, and correspond to a huge size at about eight and a half feet (or more than two and a half meters).
3D printing of this remarkable model took place at the Robotics Unit at ISU, and the many parts were completed over a course of three and a half months. While there is obviously no reason to believe that this model is even slightly accurate, it is certainly impressive and realistic looking. It will doubtlessly be fuel on the fire for Bigfoot believers and will look amazing in a Sasquatch documentary on Discovery Channel. Fans are already very optimistic about the model; a writer from the Bigfoot news website bigfootlunchclub was already intrigued by the unusual lack of a neck. ‘Descriptions of Sasquatch without a neck could have been due to Sasquatch hunching forward. Now, with the skeleton we can see that hunching forward is not required to achieve this same look, it could simply be the jawline obscuring the neck,’ he writes. It’s amazing how much impact you can have on the minds of people by simply 3D printing something that doesn’t exist.
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