Better that Bigfoot doesn't exist
By Matthew Claxton, Langley Advance (and response letter to the editor)
January 02, 2009 -- I wish sasquatches were real. Imagine the tourism potential of a bunch of eight- to nine-foot-tall hairy hominids wandering around the province.
Hordes of tourists would pile off planes and cruise ships every summer, determined to snap a picture of the beasts nibbling on cedar bark. Rest stops would sell little plush sasquatches, footprint casts, and clumps of hair. A CD of sasquatch mating cries would be the perfect stocking stuffer for the relative who's grown tired of whale songs.
Sadly, the sasquatch is not real. It does not exist. There never was, and never will be, a non-human hairy ape that roams the wilds of British Columbia. Except for the last time Robin Williams was filming a movie up here.
The main reason I know that sasquatch, aka Bigfoot, does not exist?
No one has ever found one. Not a live one, not a dead one. No smelly pelts, no missing teeth, not even a scrap of fur. The suspected sasquatch hair found a few years back turned out to be bison hair, when tested.
We're not talking about a new species of burrowing rodent, here. These are supposed to be one of the largest animals in the province, about the size of a bear, if not bigger. You'd think they'd stand out.
There are several million people in B.C. And a lot of them spend a lot of time hunting, fishing, hiking, and bird-watching in wilderness areas.
Despite the large number of people out in the wilderness, despite the long history of settlement and exploration, and despite the total lack of a bigfoot corpse, some people still believe.
Check out the Internet, and there are dozens of web pages devoted to either proving that bigfoot exists, or to gathering evidence. So you can spend hours reading account after account of some guy driving along a logging road, who saw something big and hairy sprint out in front of his car and back into the bush. This type of encounter, with or without photos or film, can best be described as furry and blurry.
Then there are tracks galore, found in mud, sand, and gravel. You can read about people who heard haunting "vocalizations." A significant number of these seem to take place near Agassiz and Chilliwack, which suggests that there are some rogue yodelers up there.
I have no idea why people believe in the bigfoot well into adulthood. If I personally saw a big, hair-covered animal darting around in the woods... well, the first thing I'd do is run the other way. But after that, I'd assume it was a bear and I was a little confused about what I saw. Failing that, I'd assume it was a guy in a gorilla suit having some fun with me. Both are well-known phenomena, and a lot more likely than an undiscovered humanoid.
The sad truth is, we're encroaching ever further into wilderness areas every year.
If sasquatches really existed, they'd probably fill an ecological niche similar to that held by bears. Which means we'd probably see a lot more of them.
They'd be down in the rural garbage dumps, and picking through the trash outside Whistler Village. They would be regularly trapped by Conservation Service officers and relocated after wandering into downtown Maple Ridge. There'd be a few cute baby ones in wild animal shelters, after their mothers had been run over by 18-wheelers. Some idiots would raise them as pets, or shoot them to make into aphrodisiacs.
Frankly, it's just too sad and sorry a lot for a noble, imaginary animal. It's far better that the poor things remain fictional. They'd be in trouble in reality.
In response, this letter to the Editor of the Langley Advance:
Bigfoot: Nothing like a bear
Published: Thursday, January 15, 2009
Matthew Claxton's January 2 column [Better that Bigfoot doesn't exist, Jan. 2 Opinon, Langley Advance] stimulated a response from me.
Edward O. Wilson, a Harvard fellow and considered one of the great bioscientists in the world, publicly advocates that only 10 per cent of the animal species on planet earth have been discovered. His estimates are widely accepted as reasonable in the academic community.
If true, it leaves open the possibility for future discoveries of new primates, including large hominid creatures. Jane Goodall is considered one of the preeminent primatologists in the world, and she believes that a large, unknown primate lives many parts of the world and one day will be discovered.
There are many other highly recognized experts who also agree on the possible existence of a large, nocturnal hominid creature existing today on the fringes of the so-called real world. Few academics will openly discuss the subject or support the premise, not because of the evidence, which is substantial, but because of fear of ridicule by those ignorant of the weight and substance of the facts.
There are dozens of large dinosaurs species (Eubiantes; Anchisauripus; Grallator) known only by their trace fossil tracks. No body or bones exist for these creatures, yet the scientific and academic community accept their existence.
Tracks and footprints are very important trace evidence. Ask a local police officer in your community.
There are a considerable number of Bigfoot casts which show dermal ridges - extremely difficult and expensive to fabricate.
There also exists a large body of published information on unknown hair primate-like samples. The chemical and DNA analyses of these specimens comes back "unknown," because there is no type specimen to match the material with.
DNA from the hair specimens does not prove the existence of a Bigfoot creature; it is merely evidence that hair specimens have been collected that cannot be matched with any known animal or primate species.
A significant number of very large, albeit rare animals have been discovered over the past 100 years, some recently. The giant squid, never seen alive before 2007, was first filmed by the Japanese. The Borneo Clouded Leopard, the largest predator of that island, was discovered by an Oxford research team in 2008.
The Saola, a large forest ox, was discovered in Viet Nam in 1992, and the Muntjax, a large forest deer, was discovered in Laos in 1991. The Megamouth shark was discovered in 1976, the Komodo Dragon in 1926, and the Mountain Gorilla in 1902 - just to name a few.
There are some amazing articles written by once well-respected scientists arguing at the London Academy of Sciences in the early 20th century which openly mocked the existence of a large primate or lizard.
I have been fortunate to meet some wonderful friends at the academy who have permitted me to read some of these speeches and articles published in the late 19th century. Naturally, the words of these men - and their professional reputations - have faded into the background of history with time.
The mere existence of the creatures that they mocked as being impossible at one time are now accepted as mundanely common knowledge even to children. This has always been the case with the world of science. Five hundred years ago the greatest minds in the world "knew" that the earth was flat and that the sun revolved around the earth.
Today we can look back at those feeble-minded fellows and chuckle at their incompetence and lack of imagination. They seem like comical buffoons now.
I have earned three university degrees, two in the geosciences, but I am humbled by how much I do not fully know and understand about this world and universe that we live in.
I worked as a petroleum exploration geologist with British Petroleum early in my career. I led more than a dozen field expeditions in the remote Alaska Peninsula and know something about bears. I estimate that I have seen more than a thousand bears in my life. I had a bear walk on top of me while I slept in my sleeping bag. I've had them running right next to me.
I've been chased by them and fired on them in self-defense. I've seen them at night and during the day; sleeping and swimming; walking on all fours and standing on their hind legs smelling the air for scent.
Yet, amazingly perhaps, I have never once thought that a bear was a Bigfoot. In fact I'm not sure that I even knew of such a thing as a Bigfoot back when I was a geologist.
I have also read about 400 accounts from eyewitnesses who have had very interesting Bigfoot encounters - professional hunters, military officers, even a psychologist. I was blessed with a curious mind and a high IQ, and I find many subjects very interesting. It is possible that I am wrong, but I feel - not believe - that the evidence is so overwhelming that an unknown hominid indeed exists that I long ago moved on to more interesting topics to explore and grow emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually in this life. I understand how we all evaluate "evidence" so very differently.
I reflect that Albert Einstein said it best when he was asked once at a lecture at Princeton for an equation for success in life. Mr. Einstein paused for a moment and then said, "success, or S would be equal to X + Y + Z, where X = natural talent and ability; Y = hard work and application to your endeavors; and Z = the ability to keep your mouth shut.
I leave you with this thought: how will the world regard Mr. Claxton and his article in 100 years?
Eric Zalas, Milwaukee, WI
© Langley Advance 2009
I am trailriderresearch on Youtube. I wanted to respond to the Langley Advance Letter regarding his mention of Whistler trash sightings.
I was a resident of Whistler for 17 years, up until 2008. In the winter of 2006/2007 there was a sighting near the Whistler garbage dump. It was daylight and a Sasquatch was spotted walking down the side of the road towards the dump, just off of highway 99. Apparently multiple cars were pulled over to the side of the road observing this creature walk. It was an extremely cold day, and a rather harsh winter all around.
In behind the the garbage dump is a old forest service road which leads to the BC Telephone microwave tower near Black tusk. This was a common snowmobiler destination. A story I heard of that winter was by a friend of mine who rode his snowmobile up that road. The road passes thru a swampy area, which of course was frozen over. On his return a large dead log had been pulled over his tracks. Large enough that he was forced to get out his shovel and build a snow ramp over the log to enable his return home.
The opening chapter in Rene Dahinden's book starts with a sighting in the Cheakamus Canyon, 20 minutes south of the dump.
My most recent encounter was in December 2008 about 15 kms from the original whistler dump and can be read in detail on my blog. www.canadiansasquatchtracker.blogspot.com
In 2006, after I had attended the BFRO 2006 trip to Sechelt, I had a bigfoot whistle to me from outside my bedroom window in whistler.
If someone wanted to dig around Whistler I am sure they would unearth numerous unreported stories of Sasquatch encounters.
I think there are few places in South western British Columbia that would NOT yield evidence of bigfoot. The Whistler area I know well and has plenty of bigfoot activity. I shot pieces of my Forest anomalies video on utube down at Rubble Creek, Which is 15 minutes south of Whistler.
I could go on, but just could not resist making a rebuttal based on my knowledge of the Whistler area.
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