October 23, 2000
Idaho State University Researcher Coordinates Analysis
of Body Imprint That May Belong to a Sasquatch
- Dr. Jeff Meldrum, associate professor of anatomy and anthropology at
Idaho State University, is a member of the scientific team examining a
plaster cast of what may be the first documented body imprint of a Sasquatch.
The imprint of what appears to be a large animal's left forearm, hip,
thigh, and heel was discovered Sept. 22 in a muddy wallow near Mt. Adams
in southern Washington state by a Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization
(www.BFRO.net) expedition in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.
The investigating team, including Meldrum; Dr. Grover Krantz, retired
physical anthropologist from Washington State University; Dr. John Bindernagel,
Canadian wildlife biologist; John Green, retired Canadian journalist and
author; and Dr. Ron Brown, exotic animal handler and health care administrator,
all examined the cast and agreed that it cannot be attributed to any commonly
known Northwest animal and may represent an unknown primate.
Meldrum, whose research includes comparative primate anatomy and the emergence
of human walking supervised the careful cleaning of the cast, and will
coordinate its analysis by a scientific team. He first became actively
interested in the question of the existence of a North American ape after
examining fresh Sasquatch (popularly called Bigfoot) tracks in 1996.
"While not definitively proving the existence of a species of North
American ape, the cast constitutes significant and compelling new evidence
that will hopefully stimulate further serious research and investigation
into the presence of these primates in the Northwest mountains and elsewhere," Meldrum said.
Dr. LeRoy Fish, a retired wildlife ecologist from Triangles Lake, Ore.,
with a doctorate in zoology from Washington State University; Derek Randles,
a landscape architect from Belfair, Wash.; and Richard Noll, a tooling
metrologist from Edmonds, Wash.; discovered and cast the partial body
imprint during the BFRO expedition.
More than 200 pounds of plaster were needed to produce the 3-1/2 x 5-foot
cast of the entire impression, which was reinforced with researchers'
aluminum tent poles. Other Sasquatch evidence documented by the BFRO expedition
includes voice recordings and indistinct 17-inch footprints.
Trace evidence attributed to Sasquatch is usually footprints, but impressions
of other body parts, including hands, knuckles, and buttocks, have occasionally
been found. This unique instance of a partial body impression provides
further insights about this elusive ape species' anatomy. Preliminary
measurements indicate its body dimensions are 40 to 50 percent greater
than those of a six- foot tall human.
After the cast was cleaned, extensive impressions of hair on the buttock
and thigh surfaces and a fringe of longer hair along the forearm were
evident. Meldrum identified what appear to be skin ridge patterns on the
heel, comparable to fingerprints, that are characteristic of primates.
The ridge characteristics are consistent with other examples from Sasquatch
footprints Meldrum has studied in collaboration with officer Jimmy Chilcutt,
a latent fingerprint examiner with the Conroe, Texas, Police Department.
The anatomy of the heel, ankle, and Achilles tendon are also distinct
and consistent with models of the Sasquatch foot derived by Meldrum after
examining hundreds of alleged Sasquatch footprints.
Hair samples collected at the scene and from the cast itself and examined
by Dr. Henner Fahrenbach, a biomedical research scientist from Beaverton,
Ore., were primarily of deer, elk, coyote, and bear, as was expected since
tracks in the wallow were mostly of those animals. However, based on characteristics
matching those of otherwise indeterminate primate hairs collected in association
with other Sasquatch sightings, he identified a single distinctly primate
hair as "Sasquatch."
Sasquatch is a species of North American ape suspected to inhabit the
mountainous forests of the Northwest. Its existence remains controversial
despite numerous eyewitness sightings and the discovery of enormous footprints.
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