Field and Stream, January 2000
Print Pro Says
Bigfoot May Exist
Police officer and forensic primate print expert Jimmy Chilcutt of Conroe, Texas and Dr. Jeff Meldrum, an anatomy
and anthropology professor at Idaho State University, share a passion. They
examine the prints left by hands and feet to reveal the identity of unseen visitors.
But while the testimony of fingerprint expert Chilcutt can prove a person guilty
in a court of law, Meldrum's assertions that certain footprints constitute evidence
of the legendary Bigfoot's existence raises eyebrows of scientist colleagues.
Meldrum hopes some skeptics will change their minds after hearing what Chilcutt has to say about the footprint castings Meldrum has collected from the Pacific Northwest.
"The ridge detail (finger pattern) on the casts is neither man nor ape," says Chilcutt. "Is it possible to have faked it? Sure. But (the faker) would have had to have an intimate knowledge of primate footprints and that didn't exist at the time the castings were made."
Chilcutt initiated the study of primate fingerprints in the mid 1990's working
on a hunch that the identifying ridge patterns (the articles, loops and whorls
made by folds in the skin) would someday help forensic specialists catch criminals.
He explains that it would be helpful if criminologists could identify the race
of a person by his fingerprints. But research in that direction has been inconclusive,
Chilcutt believes, because the races have interbred so much. Primates, however,
have undiluted gene pools.
But a casting made near Walla Walla, Washington in 1984 piqued his interest. Not only did the ridge pattern run vertically along the edges of the foot, then angle across underneath the toes - a pattern different from humans and apes, which have ridges running horizontally and at an angle across the foot pad, respectively - but the imprints showed splits in the feet where the ridges did not realign perfectly when the skin had healed.
Chilcutt got a second jolt when he found a northern California casting made in 1967. The pattern was similar to that on the Walla Walla casting, although made from a smaller animal. For them to be fake, Chilcutt believes the same person would have had to fabricate both footprints, 17 years and several hundred miles apart. That seemed unlikely to Chilcutt, especially after he tried to duplicate the casting and failed.
The fingerprints expert has become a believer. "I can assure you," he says, "there's an animal up in the Pacific Northwest that we have never seen."
Keith McCafferty © Field and Stream Magazine
Portions of this website are reprinted under the Fair Use Doctrine
of International Copyright Law as educational material without benefit of
financial gain. This proviso is applicable throughout the entire website at www.bigfootencounters.com
Portions of this website are reprinted under the Fair Use Doctrine of International Copyright Law as educational material without benefit of financial gain. This proviso is applicable throughout the entire website at www.bigfootencounters.com