Bigfoot Encounters

Scientists convinced that Yeti does exist
By Nanette van der Laan in Moscow

Lumbering through an open clearing in a forest, an enormous, ape-like creature looks straight into the camera. It is hairy, has no neck and its long arms nearly reach the ground. After only a few seconds, the creature moves on and is lost. But for an audience of international scientists, that brief shot was enough to support their theory: the Abominable Snowman exists.

Several dozen scientists gathered in Moscow yesterday for a two-day conference to discuss the Yeti, or Abominable Snowman, and its North American counterpart, the brown-haired Big Foot. Dismissed by some as crazy, the scientists are convinced that the Yeti is alive and provides the missing link in the chain of human evolution. "Big Foot is real and it concerns every human being on Earth for it pertains to the origin of man," said Dr Grover Krantz, professor of anthropology at Washington State University, one of the conference speakers.

"If you asked me if UFOs exist, I'd say 'no way'. But I've studied this creature and I'm 100 percent sure it is real." Besides claiming to have found Big Foot tracks all across North America, Dr Krantz, like his colleagues, says the grainy film shot in 1967 as ultimate proof. "When I saw the film I was sure it was just a man in a suit," he said. "But we've studied that film in every possible way and there is just no way that it's a hoax." The footage, shot in California by a rancher, is so revered that the conference was organized to coincide with its 30th anniversary.

In the former Soviet Union, where sightings of the "Snow Man" or "Humanoid" are reported on a regular basis, the conference attracted dozens of anthropologists, zoologists and even mathematicians. One by one, professors hailing from the Arctic North, the Caucasus and the mountains of Tajikistan climbed on to the rostrum to announce their findings. The participants, displaying different alabaster casts of tracks found around the world, believe the Yeti may be a living Gigantopithecus, an anthropoid ape, the so-called link in the chain of human evolution. But John Green, a Canadian, acknowledges that until a Bigfoot is found and properly analyzed, he will never be taken seriously.

Dmitri Bayanov, the author of Bigfoot: Fact not Fiction, is convinced that it is just a matter of time until he and his assembled Bigfoot experts will be respected for their work. "Just remember this: when scientists found fossil remains and said they belonged to dinosaurs and Neanderthals, they were also dismissed as crazy," he said.

© London Daily Telegraph October 23, 1997

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