The legendary creature Bigfoot, known by various names such as Sasquatch and Yeti, is an unknown species caught somewhere between myth and science.
Reportedly a bipedal primate, the animal is suspected to average between 7 and 8 feet tall and weigh hundreds of pounds. Sasquatch researchers describe them as nocturnal, elusive creatures that prefer isolation. They may travel in family groups or alone, and survive as omnivores favoring covered or wooded areas.
Eyewitness accounts span across North America, as well as across the globe. Photographic and video evidence claiming to document Sasquatch sightings is limited and often disputed.
The most acclaimed documentation of a sighting is the Patterson-Gimlin film shot in 1967. The short film shows a two-legged, ape-like creature walking across the frame and briefly glancing back at the camera. The film, although often criticized, has never been debunked.
Source: The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization
It may have been April Fools day but Bigfoot researchers who recently visited Castle Rock to display their evidence supporting the legendary creature’s existence weren’t kidding.
Bigfoot isn’t just real, they said. He’s out there — and in numbers.
About 80 people gathered at the First United Methodist Church in Castle Rock to hear the group’s case on April 1.
At the front of the sanctuary were two tables. One held mostly books about Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Yeti, or however he may be known. The other offered more tangible proof. Castings of purported Sasquatch footprints and knuckle impressions captivated audience members before presentations began.
When researchers took the stage, they walked the crowd through personal experiences and accounts of people they say come to them for help.
For one church member, Jason Frank, also a member of the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, the journey began 10 years ago. Frank discovered a set of large, peculiar footprints while turkey hunting near Cripple Creek.
“I didn’t know what to do with it,” he told the crowd April 1. So he called a man from academia who he’d seen on TV.
Evidence of Sasquatch
Jeff Meldrum, a professor of anatomy and anthropology at Idaho State University, connected Frank with a Colorado researcher. Frank hassince changed from a man hunting turkeys to a man hunting for clues about the elusive Bigfoot.
Frank and his fellow researchers take frequent and extended camping trips searching for Sasquatch, often in the Steamboat Springs area and throughout southern Colorado.
For Mark Taylor, also a Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization member, the work has largely consisted of helping a Pueblo family explain strange behavior in and around their ranch.
The activity has gone on for years, he told audience members. One ranch owner, who grew up on the ranch, told researchers she saw a Sasquatch on their land as a young girl. Today, her grandchildren say they sometimes see a large creature peering through the home’s windows at night.
Among other sightings, the family also finds large footprints along the river near their home.
Footprints are the key for Meldrum, whose research focuses on the evolution of bipedalism in early hominids and humans. More simply put, he studies how people evolved into two-legged walking creatures.
“When it comes to footprints, I’m an anatomist,” he said.
He looks for where toes are jointed and the show of movement throughout a step in footprints. There’s a difference between tracks left by a living foot and a stiff wood foot, he said.
A faculty member at Idaho State since 1993, he fell into Sasquatch hunting in 1996 after discovering footprints in Washington measuring about 15 inches in length. There were skin ridge patterns in the mud. Pressure ridges, tension cracks and dragging were all consistent with live tracks, he said.
“These clearly weren’t made by somebody strapping on a pair of fake feet and stomping through the mud,” he said. “I am convinced —I do think that these creatures exist.”
He estimated the animal may have been 7 feet tall and weighing near 400 pounds.
Today, he’s amassed approximately 300 castings of Sasquatch footprints from across the globe in his lab.
Sasquatch researchers still debate whether Bigfoot is more ape-like or human-like, he said. Their descent is also unknown. Perhaps they are relics of the early hominids, perhaps not.
These are merely some of the answers researchers like Frank and Taylor hope to answer.
Proceeds from the event at First United Methodist Church will benefit a youth mission trip hosted by the church, but the “Squatch Talk” drew more than the philanthropic.
Fellow Bigfoot enthusiasts came in support, as well as those who said they couldn’t contain their curiosity.
Julie Curran said she believes it’s possible the myths are true, and is a fan of the show “Finding Bigfoot” aired on Animal Planet, on which Meldrum has appeared.
“I’m fascinated with the subject,” she said.
Her friend Randy Howell, however, remains a skeptic.
“I’ve not seen or heard anything tonight that would be concrete proof,” he said. “Seems like a lot of speculation and perspective.”
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