From the Anthropological Armchair: What side of the camp are you on and why?


Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Josh Brown, Anthropology Major (Physical) from Sacramento CA, and CEO of "Skye Highland Outfitters".

Alright you all- I think it is high time we have a reader participation discussion here, inviting all view points concerning the current debate. Is Bigfoot more human, or is it closer to ape? Now we all know that scientific/anthropological nomenclature and current hominid evolutionary paradigms are difficult for a majority of people to understand. If you present a theory as to your opinion on this subject, please keep it as simple as possible so the majority of readers can follow along and participate. There is no reason for anyone to "dumb down" their ideas to get the point across, just take the time to explain any "jargon" that may be confusing.

I'm going to start off this discussion by reaffirming my personal opinion that Bigfoot is a hybrid creature that seems to exhibit traits of both human morphology as well as those of apes (In this instance, we will refer to "Apes" as Gorilla, Chimpanzee, Orangutan and Gibbon). I detailed in a posting back in October 2011 of how I came to this conclusion (Please refer to it for full details of my theory).

Three traits that came to mind from my post were:
A) Sasquatch seems to have "Sclera", or have eye whites that show the same way that humans do. Apes do not have this feature.

B) Footprints that have been gathered have the same design as human, meaning a similar foot bone structure. There is no divergent big toe as observed in Ape and Monkey populations.

C) Ability to communicate via speech and the use of tools for rhythmic signaling.

These are all traits that we also share (making a human connection seem logical), yet there are traits that are apelike as well:
A) Sagital crest (This is a ridged bone that runs along the top of the skull so muscles can attach themselves to power large, strong jaws)

B) Ape-like face and features

C) Big and hairy-just like apes
So you see that the 2 polar opposite sides have very strong evidence for their opinions. What are yours and why?

NOTE: I want to point out that Dr. Meldrum spoke with me via email and made one of the most compelling statements concerning the Bigfoot being a sect of Homo Sapien. He basically said "Where is the stuff?" He is absolutely right in the sense that Modern Human and our direct ancestors have left telling signs and tools proving their existence and ability to grasp the aspects that have propelled us evolutionarily speaking. What has Bigfoot left? Do "nests" count?

He also was quick to point out that "Sclera" and "Divergent Toe" are not what make us human, although I have to think there is something to my opinion since we, as humans, are the only primates to exhibit these traits.

OK- Start weighing in on your opinions and why. If you see a statement that deserves questioning, make it. Be fair and be kind to everyone's ideas. Let's get a consensus as to what people think about this and why. Start now-

Comments

  1. Replies
    1. Agree. They are what they are, and that we are hopefully going to find out soon. Might as well ask whether an okapi is closer to a giraffe or a zebra. Pointless discussion.

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    2. Well researched article and interesting question. There is no legitimate evidence one way or the other. The difference between human and ape is tiny arguing more human or more ape is like splitting hairs. I agree with Dr. Meldrum in that it seems unlikely that they are Homo Sapien.

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  2. They are neither and both at the same time. Why? Because they are their own unique classification. I don't understand the need for a parts list, or the need to try to fit them into our LIMITED pre defined categories. I think the real question should be how long ago did we split from them or the other way around.

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    1. Humans are apes. Any attempt to pretend otherwise destroys your ability to do an analysis, so here we are.

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    2. I am not an ape, never have been nor will be.

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    3. @ blondie, if you're a human, you're most.certainly an ape, like it or not.

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  3. I think most of the BF research community will be unable to think outside of their beliefs for the sake of this discussion. It's been my experience that bias-confirmation runs rampant in this field, which is why many witness accounts are dismissed. It's as if most BF "researchers" don't read their own reports.

    Of course, the forthcoming DNA research promises appropriate classification, but let me point out some things about the "ape" characteristics because they are far from absolute.

    1. Not all BF are reported to have a sagital crest. I am amazed that this is treated as a given trait, despite all of the reports saying the head was round on top. Also, many habituators and long-term witnesses also say that not all BF have this trait, and in some cases, the hair has been secured in way that creates the illusion of one. The same goes for a heavy brow ridge - this is not always observed. In a true anthropological approach, all of these observations would be taken into account.

    2. Not all witnesses report ape-like features. This is one of THE most mysterious aspects of these beings - many are described as hairy men, women, humans and people in appearance, not apes. This would indicate either a tremendous variation of appearance in the species or the existence of different sub-species, or simply regional/local genetic differences. I've seen humans who look Neanderthal - perhaps some BF exhibit a combination of old genes.

    3. Believe it or not, there are a few reports of near-hairless BF and BF groups.

    4. I think we should instead look at the ape-like ability to run on all fours, which has been observed even in the human-appearing BF. This indicates a significant biomechanical difference that goes well beyond the aesthetic.

    All this said, the variation within this species is often discounted as BF "researchers" focus only on traits that support their personal beliefs about what these beings are.

    And because of the prevalence of reports regarding their speech, and the ongoing research confirming that they do indeed talk, I think that perhaps the debate is not so much ape vs. human, but animal vs. people. Reports regarding cultural behaviors and even glyph writing also support this idea of "peoplehood," not to mention the Native American perspective - usually ignored out of what I can only call arrogance - that BF are people and "just another tribe."

    Hopefully, we will see the publication of the DNA research and that will attract anthropologists into the field who can partner with habituators and long-term-witnesses to validate their observations and help us learn more about these fascinating beings. It is my personal hope that proof of existence will also lead to Native Americans sharing more of what they know.

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    1. I concur. I would put forth that their ability to travel on all fours is more a function of their tremendous upper body strength used for a low to the ground stealth mode. Just a thought.

      Chuck

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    2. Thank you. I agree with you and all who concur.

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  4. I support the idea of a hybrid species - it would explain soooooooo much.

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  5. Many witnesses report eyeshine.It's my understanding that no ape OR human eye structure would produce eyeshine.Seems trivial on the surface,I know.But true night vision wouldn't be something that Sasquatch developed over a few thousand years.Assumming that apes,humans and sasquatch all share a common ancestor,the sasquatch "line" must have split from the branch even earlier than the ape/human split.The anatomy of the eye is of monumental importance and tends to be more "hardwired" than other less essential structures.That makes me think we are looking at a third unique line of evolutionary development. Close to human and ape but unique and separate.

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  6. I think maybe the sasquatch and the ape mated , that's why some of the Sasquatches look ape like. You think ?

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  7. The picture looks like a Caesar/Tommy Lee Jones hybrid

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  8. This is absurd!!We dont have anything to examin we dont have a specimin we can only speculate. I am saying its "neither" but it obviously has atributes of both...is "hairy" like an "ape" but walks "bipedaly" like a person...why argue over such triviality?

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    1. YOU don't have a specimen, that doesn't mean that others don't. This is one of the issues in the bigfoot world, people believe that because they don't know of something, it doesn't exist.In the world of scientific papers, privacy issues are huge. Don't expect that everyone in the public is going to know what specimens were submitted as part of Dr. Ketchum's work. No, the biped does not have MANY qualities of an ape, this is a complete fabrication propagated by many of the older researchers to support their hypothesis and books. The bigfoot topic is not part of the cryptozoology world and IS NOT a north american ape....

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    2. Umm, in the scientific world privacy ISN'T HUGE YOU IDIOT!!! the world of science is all about sharing data, expanding horizons. Only in the world of footery are their "secret dna papers"... You are being scammed!

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    3. Scammer Anon,
      Let's assume for a moment that science is a business and that scientists, laboratories and universities get grant money based upon their reputations. Their reputations are based, in part, by their results -ie. published discoveries and theories, right? There are a plethora of discoveries made public every day, it seems. Do you think those discoveries are still in the lab phase when they hit the news paper, or acknowledged and published? How does the media seem to know simultaneously? Was it published at a particular time and place?
      Those science news stories go through a similar process... only, WE were not aware of the time and energy that went into that three-paragraph news article, making it seem as though it was JUST discovered. This study has been followed from its inception and that is driving whatever differences in proceedure that people are speculating about.
      Let me put it this way, if you discovered a new, nearby planet, would you tell everyone about it before you secured the find? No, because that find is crucial for the funding you need to stay employed. And if you were extremely excited to share your new discovery, what better way than through the accepted publishing and media process.
      If that's a scam, we need to rethink the entire business of science. Privacy IS huge and Dr. K has had much trouble keeping US out of her business. She wants to share. It's a good thing too, because we are in no way ENTITLED to her findings!
      David from the PAC/NW

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  9. WELL..you mentioned that saquatches seem to have "Sclera" which I am glad is only your opinion......."SOME" reports say they have "sclera" but there are also quite an extensive number of reports that show this animal to have "dark" eyes with no whites...

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  10. Without considering anyone's evidence but my own, collected over three years from one site I began to refer to "them" as Homo indomitus, or "man beyond the law, or untamable man," because the data indicated to me they share at a minimum our genus Homo. I won't belabor why, I think some of that is in Lindsay's early blogs on the Sierra Kills, or here.
    If the "DNA Study" ever comes out we shall all know more.

    Nice post BTW good to see.

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  11. They are unique of course. Not human as in homo-sapien. Full coat of hair, appearance is more ape-chimp like in features. The primary difference from apes & chimps is bipedal-ism.
    The argument for the use of tools isn't really much of an argument. From the little we know, they use the same tools as extant species of apes use. They build nests, but also possibly build a rudimentary lean too. However when studied the structures are crudely built.
    Going with a sub species of Homininae, which we all fall under.

    1%

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  12. Darn that's my MIL in that picture. Where did you get that from?

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  13. Humans look different from one another. We look different in different parts of the world - and even N. Americans are very different. We come in all shapes and sizes and hair type. Some of us are very hairy, some of us hardly have any hair. Some people are scarey ugly, and others have fine features and are attractive. I too, think BF's are a type of human. And with saying that - why wouldn't they have the variations in looks as we do? FYI - I've seen a few humans with brow ridges...

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  14. The sagital crest is not always noted. It could be that their hair just tends to bunch up in this area giving the appearance of one.

    Their appears to be a much shorter neck than in sapiens thus more ape like

    Most people that have a lengthy enough time to observe the facial features report more human like face than ape.

    Their tremendous athletic ability and speed and use of digits is very human like, only on steroids.


    Their stooped over walk is ?

    Ability to use some type of language is human.

    My guess would be some type of divergent hominid lineage.

    Chuck

    Primary mode of travel is bipedalism as in humans.

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  15. Some most excellent posts above and no infighting or name calling.

    Chuck

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  16. Until someone produces an actual specimen, there will be no way to classify them. They will continue to be anyone's fantasy creature, where some imagine them as some sort of people and some imagine them as some sort of boogy-ape. The painful fact is, we don't even know if they truly exist, as no specimen has ever been found to confirm their existence. Meldrum says where's their stuff, as a way of saying they are apes, but if you consider "stuff" to mean more than simply tools, and expand that to mean bones, skin, hair, anything physically a part of these creatures, then yes, where is their "stuff"? Until "stuff" is found that proves they exist, they will be apes for those romanticizing them as apes, and they will be forest humans for those romanticizing them as people.

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  17. Well, we know that gorillas can walk on 2 feet--popular video on YouTube, but that is the exception and not the rule.

    Walking upright alone should definitely make BF closer to human than ape, but I have always been concerned about the tool issue. Being upright freed hands to use them to create tools. The other option is that, like how he hides himself, he also hides his tools or only needs the crudest of tools.

    It would seem that BF is smart enough to have a social order that makes it possible to hide and protect their area in the woods. He also has body hair all over, which man has too, only his is thicker. He shows intelligence by having self-protective tendencies, walking upright, and using a form of language. I say more he's more man.

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  18. Hey Shaun, I attended the FINDING BIGFOT tapping last knight in shaver lake Ca. If you would like, tell me here, and I will write up a article / review of the experience for you to publish. If so I'll get it written tonight and mail it to your G-MAIL.
    Thanks Shaun, Leon w.

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    1. Leon, that would be awesome! Here's my email: bigfootevidence@gmail.com

      Thanks!

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  19. If you look your hand that is what an apes foot looks like. If you look at your foot, well thats what a humans foot looks like. Why this discussion. Silly.

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  20. well there are also MANY bigfoot reports that say they go down on all fours....thats not a human trait...

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  21. Great comments and article!
    I have been thinking about this a lot lately! If you oversimplify/generalize the sighting record you get enough description to make a 'nearly' complete assessment, but can't quite make a case for a final definition. Sasquatch = "Large, hair-covered biped with hands (not paws) and feet that lack a divergent toe." I would feel safe with:
    Animal > Mammal > Primate > Hominidae (All Great Apes- human/chimps/gorilla/orangutan) > Homininae (includes- human/chimps/gorilla) > Hominini (includes- human/chimps) > Hominina (includes- human progenitors and homo) > ??????
    That's about as far as my rational mind will allow me to go. "Hominina" or "Hominans" are described by their orthograde (upright) bipedalism.
    To finish the classification to "modern human", you would need to go: Hominina > Homo (human!) > Sapien > Sapien. So, even with a hugely basic description of Sasquatch, you get within one definition from human!
    "Homo" or "Human" is basically described by; specific and specialized development of memory/learning/teaching/learning application (learning driven ethology). That is how we differentiate "Homo" from, say "Australopithecus", who made tools and may have had speech... All the above is highly oversimplified, but I think it applies.
    Man, I'm a nerd!
    David from the PAC/NW

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    1. Love your intelligent, open minded and articulate posts, David! Keep 'em coming!

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  22. All ya gotta do is look at my brother-in-law with his shirt off. No brainer. Bigfoot is closer to human.

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  23. Man-There are some really fantastic posts!!! Keep them coming!!!

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  24. And no profanity... Thank you guys. This is a true discussion.

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  25. Homo Paranthropus erectus ... just joking, but kinda irrelevant question considering there is nothing more to go on

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  26. Bigfoot is the clan of Cain from the book of Genesis. After Cain committed the first murder God cursed him by making him a wanderer and vagabond on the earth. God put a mark on him also. The mark could be mutated DNA. In an ancient writing found in the caves of Qumran where the dead sea scrolls were found a scroll from the writing of Adam records the great grandson of Cain ( Lamech) killing cain. Lamech and his son were frightened because Cains appearance was that of an animal. In the Lost book of Enoch, Enoch the grandfather of Noah writes about Giants inhabiting the earth creating mass chaos. Other writings go on to tell of giant humans called the Watchers who created the Nephilim another race of giants and giant animals/creatures we call dinosaurs. These massive beings are a manipulation by Satan in order to destroy God's creation so God brought about the flood. Some did survive as we see in the account of Golliath and his sons. Many giant skeletons have been found and very recently. As soon as they are brought to the attention of the scientific community they dissapear. Satan is going to do whatever he can to keep your eyes of Jesus and what He did for us all.Check it out for yourselves .There is no such thing as a fossil record. Dont be fooled.

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  27. Man vs Ape!!..The debate rages on. Great comments today!!!......Cheers! Ken

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  28. We also need to understand that some descriptions of Bigfoot could be a simple miss-identification of what some have observed. Anything from Feral humans to Bears. Many hunters have not taken a shot because they felt they looked human.

    I believe the reason for so many different descriptions is that we aren't all seeing the same animal and many reports could be complete nonsense, exaggerations or lies . One thing we know pretty much for sure is they are different from us in many ways.

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  29. Amazing that you believe this stuff.

    Bigfoot hoaxes are 45 years old, starting with the Patterson film, this is the next one in the making.

    You should have learned after the GA hoax had you all in a tizzy.

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    1. More amazing then that you bother commenting even.

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  30. For example in Ontario many reports have Bigfoot described as tall and much thinner than Pacific Northwest Squatch's. Same thing goes for your Florida Skunk Ape being shorter and more heavy set. Better food I guess. lol

    We must not forget we have plenty of people that have just gone into the bush never to be seen again. These people may explain a few Bigfoot reports.

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  31. Anon in Texas

    It's truly amazing how GREAT this discussion is... Adults actually debating and supporting opinions.

    GREAT... We all should take note

    Texas Tracker

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  32. Something about Josh's post, he says people notice the ape-like face on Bigfoots, but what most people seem to notice and report surely is the human-like face. Take that and the bipedalism, the feet and possible speech. What's their to argue over really. Apes as in animal chimp/gorilla ape they're not, so what are they. With the aforementioned attributes they'll have to be some kind of homo-something that isn't entirely like us of course, but still human of some sort. Wild apes out there, you really think authorities wouldn't warn you? So apes as we know apes to be they're most certainly not. Plus, other human species before us had oddly shaped heads different from ours today, think of the Neanderthals. Basically, I think there are no giant bipedal apes anywhere in the world. Yowie, Yeti, Yehren, Alamas and so forth they're all a different primitive primate species but human as class.

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  33. If I can comment on Meldrum's question of "where's the stuff" I would say sophisticated tool making, i.e. arrows, stone tools, clothing, etc is just something Sasquatch do not engage in. This is not for lack of smarts, but for lack of fine-motor control necessary to make sophisticated tools. There is always going to be a trade-off between fine-motor skills and extreme strength and robust build. You probably will not find too many linebackers who are also master weavers.

    Humans became tool makers and there was selective pressure in favor of fine motor control and diminishing physical strength. Sasquatch went the path of strength and power over fine motor control.

    Our stone-tool making ancestors had exceptional motor control. If you don't believe me take a lithic technology class or try to make an obsidian hand axe. You probably will come back with bloody/chopped up fingers and a lot more respect for our tool making ancestors.

    BTW IMO Sasquatch is a type of hominid that has evolved in parellel and more or less in hiding from the other more sociable, tool making, warfare loving hominids bouncing around the planet.

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    1. Very interesting! Thanks for your insight, SP!

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  34. My opinion is that they are most likely a surviving type of hominid(relic hominid) or possibly a separate human species that exists along with us. They do show similarities in varying ways to both humans and apes and possibly fall somewhere in between the two(,not a missing link,) but more like a paralleling or alternative human form if you will. Not human but vary near to human in their physiology and mentality yet with different lifestyles and being adapted to that lifestyle. I believe there to be multiple types or sub-types much like separate races in humans adapted to the habitats and ecology where they live, much like different human races are more adapted to certain environments then others are. The same would be true for them as well explaining variations in some of the descriptions reported by witnesses in different localities. The ape-nes of their physiology is most likely an adaptation to their wild, hunter/gather lifestyle. From the many years I have been researching the subject with countless time spent in the field this the opinion I have come to consider most likely.

    Brandon Garrett
    Texas Unified Natural Research

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    1. This is exactly where I am leaning at this point, Brandon. It's interesting to find others with similar conclusions. Though I should note that "conclusion" does not mean "definitive". I am very much open to all of the evidence and will alter my opinion accordingly. :)

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    2. Yea Im with you. This is what seems most likely from the evidence I have collected over the years, yet this does not mean I am 100% positive in my my thoughts on them. I believe this is most likely but then again future findings could always turn the table. We will never know for sure what they truly are until (as much as I hate to say it) they are studied by science as well as us. I believe they are yet we wont know what they know until we prove them to exist and they can not deny theyr existance anymore. It is only a matter of time till that happens, but like I this is where I am at based on logical evouluation of the evidence.

      Brandon Garrett

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    3. I beleive after studying bigfoot for forty years what we are looking at is simpely a left over from an earlyer age of man. What we are looking at here is a being who has not changed. Are to say evouluation has left behind, they walk on the wild side of nature and nothing has changed for them in thousnds of years.

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  35. For me the difference-maker is fire: all humans can create, manipulate, and manage fire. It is a significant leap in tool technology because it directly impacts health, lifespan, security, and enables the creation of other tools. I have never seen a single report where a Sasquatch was seen controlling let alone creating fire. Although they seem fascinated by fire. I'm not saying such observations don't exist - if they do, please someone direct me to them because I would really be interested. Even though the species may largely look human, the reported behaviors and lack of fire skills still says primate to me.

    That differentiation aside, that is not a judgement of superiority. Bar none, humans are the most advanced species with regards to environmental manipulation. But humans are also self-centered, egotistical creatures who invest as much (if not more so) in destruction as construction and that it is FACT that as I'm typing this a fellow human is killing another not for survival, but for pleasure, profit, or ideological motivation.

    I can envision a far worse future for Sasquatch the human than Sasquatch the primate - when was the last time you met a human protected as an endangered species? I'm not sure we should be so quick to bring them down to our level. In fact, we should all say "they don't exist" and leave them the hell alone.

    Dave from WA

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    1. I agree... Best case scenario: The DNA study comes out, is interesting/compelling, but the media influence makes it out to be a big joke. Biologists and anthropologists take note and legislation can be drafted before everybody becomes aware.
      David from the PAC/NW

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  36. Well, tomorrow is Thursday. Reckon we will find the answer to this question? Thursdays, according to Sally Ramey, are the days that press embargoes are lifted. Cross your fingers...

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  37. It really doesn't matter what we do, if the species exists it's there anyway. And it will stay there, meaning eventually we'll see bodies too. We can't just wish a ehole species away and pretend it doesn't exist if it truly does, our own species seem very adapt at that mind game of pretending and daydreaming problems away. But let's not forget, if they have speech as things would indicate we'll just have to accept we have this hairy giant fellow along side us. They're not harming anyone, maybe that's what we're really afraid of that they will teach us something.

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  38. In my opinion the best physical evidence for the existance of Sasquatch is the cast of tracks w/ friction ridges and the presents of a mid tarsal break. I believe it would be extreamly difficult to fake friction ridges and finding them in tracks is very strong evidence. However Any discussion as to how Sasquatch should be classified is premature, much more evidence is required befor making any conclusions or even intelligent conversation on this point. That said, I would comment on a prior statement about foot structure. the great toe being forward is perhaps a clue that they walk more like humans not having the "thumb" like toe of other apes that is useful for gripping limbs of trees and such. On the other hand the presents of a mid tarsal break argues for locomotion less like a human and more like an ape, I am no expert on ape locomotion but I'm thinking that when moving on all four, having flexion in the foot might be an advantage. In the human, this area of the foot locks when we walk. Its called the mid-tarsal locking mechanism and provides greater leverage for the foot during walking to drive the body forward. There is more to it than that but I dont think it necessary to go into here. So in one piece of evidence we see structures of both huuman and ape anatomy ,just what that means I am not sure. I have not seen any of these print casts personally and am not a expert on such things anyhow but if we can count on the reporting of others on this point to the extent of showing such friction ridges and tarsal breaks exists, that should be very strong evidence for the existance of Something living on the fringe. I should point out that, at least for me, print casts generally provide stronger evidence than photos and eyewitness accounts. This most recent photo is the type of junk evidence that helps no one who is trully interested in Sasquatch research and is an example of why photos tend not to be the same quality as well made casts showing friction ridges.

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