Bigfoot Encounters


By the late Arthur "Archie" Buckley
August 15, 1917 - June 18, 2007

© Daniel Perez, Palo Alto, June 2003

<-- Photo left is Archie Buckley in San Leandro, California
in 1980 taken by Rene Dahinden. Buckley was founder
of B.A.R.G. Photo © Rene Dahinden

Here is an analysis of Sasquatch foot anatomy and function that is considerably at variance with the work of various Soviet, English and American scientists. Mr. Buckley is clearly an expert on human foot anatomy and function, and claims considerable direct experience with Sasquatch footprints. He finds these feet to differ little anatomically and structurally from the human design.

In a span of many years of field investigative work, I have examined the imprints and stride characteristics of probably a dozen different Sasquatches in the California Sierra and Trinity Mountains. In studying their foot prints, I find that weight bearing is directly over the astragalus, with initial pressure points on the calcaneus (heel) and the first and fifth metatarsals.

I find no evidence of anatomical deviation from the human foot except in function. In this respect, I find considerably more lateral movement, particularly in the phalanges (toes) and metatarsals, than by civilized man, who has lost similar function due to the restriction of shoes. Such lateral range provides for greater mobility in stalking through the woods and climbing over mountainous rocky terrain.

--> Tracks Cast by Archie Buckley at Basin Gulch, Platina, in Shasta County, California, photo © Rene Dahinden, 1979

Their foot includes 26 bones grouped to form two arches, longitudinal and transverse. I have never examined a series of imprints that I have not found evidence of both--toes pointing straight ahead with little or no outward rotation. This is not to say that they never ambulate with their feet angled outward. On several occasions, I have tracked them up steep alpine mud and snow slopes where they resorted to herringbone patterns for more effective traction.

The presence of arches indicates that he is an excellent upright walker, which can only be achieved because of anatomical similarity to man and in no way that of an anthropoid ape. Apes cannot function in an upright walk because their pelvis is long, their legs are short and the muscles of their back and legs are relatively weak.

On the contrary, Sasquatches are superb, bipedal walkers. They ambulate with a slight hip, knee and ankle flexion that provides the proper body mechanics for mountain movement and concealment. Like man, possessed with powerful extensors of the back, hips and legs (basic for erect posture), they can stalk through the woods while hunting or remain concealed like an Indian leaving little or no trace of their presence.

This flexed position, even in motion, allows for the selective placement of the forward foot before displacing the total weight from the back foot. Result: Concealment. He is a master at it! No matter how he places his foot, ball, heel or the entire foot, it is a controlled gait that leaves few indentations to track. It is this flex gait that gives an honest but erroneous impression that their arms are longer and legs shorter than they really are.

Body hair, and their tremendous gluteal muscles (buttocks), gives an under-slung appearance, particularly, when viewed from an uphill or downhill position. They are blessed with tremendous vital capacities and physical endurance. The climbing ability has endowed them with powerful extensor muscles of the lower extremities.

Their gluteal muscles are extremely large, particularly the gluteus maximus, which is a powerful extensor of the hip and a great climbing muscle. In attempting to track them down through the years, I have always been cognizant of the above.

But it was not until 1969, when Roger Patterson showed me his footage, that my own impressions were confirmed.

A key to the authenticity of his film is solidified in the size of her butt! No hoaxer could have dreamed that one up!

Sasquatches are cognizant that footprints denote their presence; in this respect, I have found they use hard ground, rocks and even streams to camouflage their presence.

William Hampton, a departed Wintu Indian friend, and a former roommate of Jim Thorpe at Carlisle, and I have, on separate occasions, observed heel tracks where a Sasquatch slid down a mountainside to hide his footprints.

On another occasion, he literally backtracked in his trail at night to throw me off his tracks the next day.

Speaking of tracks, several mistaken theories have developed from studying only casts and not the set of imprints that they come from.

One theory is that they are flatfooted and secondly, their weight distribution is more toward the center of the foot.

An opinion, I presume, to justify the flatfoot theory! Such a foot structure would not allow for swift and skillful movement over flat ground, let alone the mountainous and rugged terrain that our Northwestern Bigfoot traverse.

Coupled with ambulation and physical characteristics of the imprint maker's foot, there are four basic factors that determine imprint details: weight, motion (both of the imprint maker), incline of the slope and, the most important, soil resistance!

Because of the variance of soil conditions found in most sets of tracks, it is imperative to examine all imprints in a set to determine physical details.

To illustrate a point: in one set of 27 imprints made by the same individual in the Trinity National Forest in California, footprints ranged from 16' to 24" in length and ¼" to 6" in depth. They were in four different types of soil conditions.

The variance was due to the factors previously mentioned, the most important being the resistance of the soil the imprint maker stepped on.

A foot may slide in soft mulch or pine needles (particularly in motion) thus creating a longer impression than it really is.

Thus, in studying footprints it becomes fundamental to consider the variables caused by different soil conditions.

In wet impact soil found along sandy mountain streams or slightly muddy roads (with a hard surface directly underneath), one can make a cast that gives the impression the imprint maker was flatfooted, because the cast is flat!

This happens because all foot surfaces (sometimes including the arch) that comes in contact with the less resistive outer soil will, in principle, make approximately the same depth indentations until resistive soil prevents any further penetration.

The result is a cast that is a podiatrist's delight! The common error is in interpolation of the cast and not the imprint. Under the above conditions the arch is the last part of the foot to make contact.

Hourglass Imprints
Napier (1972:120-126), in discussing Sasquatch tracks, writes that there seem to be two distinct types of Sasquatch tracks, one hourglass type and the other human type 'Bossburg.' Differences in the fundamental anatomy of the foot occurring within a species are quite unacceptable. The evolutionary distance implied by placing two species of Sasquatch in separate families would be as great as the evolutionary distance between apes and man.

It is unthinkable that the Sasquatch of Northwestern America should consist of such two distinct families or even genera. The only alternative to such a travesty of evolutionary principles is that one of the two Sasquatch types are man-made artifacts.

The truth is that both are legitimate, made by only one species. I find the difference is not one of skeleton anatomy as inferred by Dr. Napier, but of muscular function when coupled with soil variants.

In years of fieldwork I have found on several occasions both the hourglass and human type (including variations) in the same set of tracks--made by the same individual.

Footprints must be studied in the field as a series in order to accurately determine physical details and kinetic movement. Isolated desk studies of a few casts and photographs, without field evaluation of the series, can be very misleading.

It can lead good scientific investigators up "Conjecture River" to the confluence of supposition creek--without a paddle! The literature is loaded with such conclusions that are not so. Hourglass imprints (which are rare) are generally found on wet impact soil along a mountain road, stream, etc. They are the result of a tremendous kinetic force, particularly the flexor action of the big toe, when combined with the tough plantar padding and furrow directly behind the first metatarsal joint. In order to understand why hourglass imprints occur (including two bulges which sometimes appear), it becomes necessary to discuss the muscular action of the peroneus longus and the flexor hallucis longus, both flexors of the big toe and supporters of the longitudinal arch. It is important to note here that the peroneus longus works together with the gastrocnemius and soleus (in particular) in all foot movements in which weight is borne by the feet. In a flex gait, these foot movements become more powerful and provide our Sasquatch friend with great control and mobility over mountain topography where ankle ranges of 75° in dorsal flexion and plantar extension are constantly encountered. The peroneus is remarkable for its power in relation to its size. Its origin is the outer tuberosity of the tibia and the upper two-thirds of the outer surface of the fibula. The tendon of insertion passes down behind the outer malleolus, turns forward at an angle of about 60°, passes forward along the outer side of the foot to the groove in the cuboid bone (most significant), makes another turn of about 100°, then forward diagonally across the sole of the foot to its insertion at the base of the big toe. Now, along with the action of the hallucis longus, when the big toe is flexed during ambulation, this movement not only restricts the metatarsals from spreading but causes an increase in the curvature of the longitudinal arch on the inner side of the foot. In fact, there is a pulling in both on the medial and outer sides of the instep (shank). This key action occurs because the peroneus uses the cuboid bone as a tremendous pulley force when the big toe is flexed during ambulation. This results in a decrease in the width of the instep surfaces (medial and outer) that come in contact with the soil during weight bearing. The result is an hourglass imprint.

The so-called peas in the pod that Napier refers to are caused by the flexion of the toes. This flexion action is fundamental to initiating the muscular skeleton movements that produce such imprints. In no way do I find a skeleton difference with the so-called human type as described by Napier. Napier mentions that hourglass footprints indicate a totally different style of bipedal walking to that used by Homo sapiens, modern man.

He bases this on the fact that man takes off from the inner side of the big toe. Napier (1972:121-122) states:

"…the hourglass footprints indicate that the Sasquatch takes off from the outer side of his foot. The smallness of the big toe impressions of the hourglass tracks if further confirmation that the Sasquatch does not propel himself forward at the end of each step by the powerful leverage of the big toe."

The inferences here are physical differences between the hourglass and human type as in 'Bossburg.' The truth is that there are none. As stated previously, the same Sasquatch foot that makes the rare hourglass also makes the human type. The principal method of propelling himself forward at the end of each step is off the big toe! The fact that most casts in existence show this supports this contention. I find this to be true in every set of tracks I have found and examined. The smallness of the toe impressions in the hourglass tracks is caused by the flexing of all the toes. The major difference I find in his walk from modern man is a flex-knee gait. The biomechanics of this gait are fundamental to effective control and traversing of our rugged mountains along the Pacific Northwest. It is a method of ambulation from which we could all benefit. It is one that good hikers simulate naturally in part or full. Not only does it provide for more effective movement and muscular control, but it is far less shocking. One's liver, kidneys, mandible, etc., will forever be grateful if you master it, particularly if you are loaded down with a rucksack. The kinetics of such a gait recorded in imprints are hardcore evidence of his existence.

Two-Ball Feature
Another erroneous impression is the two-ball theory that is supposed to be characteristic of their feet. I find no field evidence to support this concept as a general physical trait! What I do find occasionally in tracks associated with flexing of the toes (hourglass), are two bulges on the medial side of the foot. The first is normal, the second (posterior) is principally the result of flexor action of the big toe when combined with instep plantar padding and furrow directly behind the first metatarsal during the weight-bearing phase. Bear in mind the same powerful muscular skeleton action is taking place in the foot to form an hourglass imprint with one exception. Soil resistance in this area during weight bearing causes a downward pressure against the contracted flexors of the big toe, located on the medial side of the longitudinal arch, forcing the loose plantar padding behind the furrow to project laterally when it comes in contact with the soil. The result is a second bulge! I would like to point out that, in weight bearing (when the toes are flexed), all of these movements become much more powerful when the ankle is forcibly extended by the tendon of achilles. This is particularly true of the peroneus because of its pulley action with the cuboid bone.

Dr. Grover Krantz gives a different version. He suggests that the two-ball feature is the result of flat feet and changes in the length of the foot's segments. He states: Given a totally flattened foot, all structures that would have constituted the arch will be firmly pressed against the ground. Behind the ball of the foot is the next bone projection, the near or proximal end of the first metatarsal. The metatarsals are the longest bones in the fore foot. If this region is to be relatively shortened, the base of the first metatarsal must be moved forward. Given a sufficient shortening of the bone, its two ends will be in the proper positions to form the double ball as seen in many Sasquatch footprints (Krantz 1972a:96). Krantz also suggests changes in the length of the foot's power and load arm as well as weight bearing being more toward the center of the foot. I find no field evidence to support this.

In the first place, I find the size of their feet to be grossly over-exaggerated. There are giant Homo sapiens walking the streets today, including several seven-footers playing in the National Basketball Association, who would come close to matching foot characteristics I find in the field, had they lived a similar, barefooted existence. Several approximate their length, but none their tremendous kinetic function and range. Because of the restriction of shoes, modern man has lost the fine kinesthetic sense of movement that comes from a life of walking barefooted. Speaking of this sense, and how quickly nature can adapt, during World War II, I was in charge of the Physical Reconditioning Service at our country's largest military amputee center. At our peak we had over 2,700 amputees. I had a number of amputee counselors, but one of the most inspirational was a young female doctor who was born without arms. She developed such dexterity with her lower extremities and feet that she was completely self-caring. She could dress, eat, type, write and even drive an automobile with her feet. I only use this example to personify how nature can adapt and allow us to develop a sense that most of us have lost! In addition, it is of the utmost significance in understanding the great muscular control and lateral range that our big friend has in the toes and balls of the foot.

The Sasquatches can literally cling and feel with their toes as they traverse rocky mountain terrain. They show a tremendous range of abduction and adduction of the phalanges. I have measured and recorded this lateral movement as much as 1.5" or 3.8 cm. This lateral movement I also found in the metatarsals to range up to ½" or 1.25 cm. This movement is not the result of the transverse arch breaking down because of supportive weakness, but of related muscular strength and function. Such flexibility not only provides them with great body balance and control over rough surfaces, but has led to mistaken conclusions that their feet are larger and wider than they really are.

I have found and cast footprints that measured metatarsal width 8.7" or 22.2 cm, which in reality (including foot pad spreading) measured no more than 6.5" or 16.5 cm, and heel width 6.5' or 16.5 cm when they were no more than 4.5' or approximately 11.5 cm. Take the variable of padding away, and the metatarsal width probably would be no more than 6" with heel width approximately 4". It is a factor that must be considered in doing comparative heel-width studies with modern man, in order to estimate their weight with any degree of accuracy. These measurements come from a foot that was 15.7" or 40 cm long, the largest I have ever found. Yet imprints in the series made in a moderate forest with four types of soil conditions, varied from 16" to 24".

Soil resistance, weight and motion were the principal factors that caused such variances. In soft soil the angle of the foot's implantation and push off during weight-bearing phases (motion) add considerably to this latitude.

There is no question that Sasquatches are big, but the sizes of their feet have been grossly exaggerated. The size of an imprint or cast made of that imprint is no indication of the foot dimensions that made it. I have found that wet impact soil generally provides the most accurate measurements.

In fairness to other investigators, one can easily err in estimating weight if one goes by imprint sizes alone without studying all the factors involved. I know because I have made the same error before evaluating the imprints in detail. Taking into consideration the variables previously mentioned, the maker of the largest footprint that I have found and studied would probably weigh no more than 350 pounds.

Dr. Grover S. Krantz suggests changes in the length of the foot's power and load arm, as well as weight bearing more toward the center of the foot. He states: "The center line of the tibia in the human foot is about 25 percent forward from the heel tip to the toe tip, but in the Sasquatch foot it is 31 percent forward" (Krantz 1972b:236-237). I find no field evidence to support this. In every set of tracks that I have studied I find the centerline of the tibia within the latitude of man's.

Casts made of such imprints, demonstrating heel-weight bearing pressures, are the best-recorded evidence to substantiate this. The growth of any appendage is relative to body size and weight. This is a fundamental rule of nature with few exceptions; occasionally we find a six-footer with a size six shoe, etc.

Sasquatch's lower extremities, including ankles and feet, are big because of the heavy weight that must be supported as a bipedal over mountainous terrain. Couple this with hair and a flex-knee gait and one can easily misinterpret when viewing Patterson's film that weight bearing is more toward the center of the foot than in man's. The primary reason for this misleading conclusion is their flex-knee gait. In such a gait the ankle on level ground is in a dorsal-flex position with the tibia and fibula (lower leg) angled forward sometimes as much as 35° and the tendon of Achilles in an extended position during the majority of the weight-bearing phase. This is not to infer that the Achilles tendon is not in action, for in such a barefooted control gait, particularly over rough, irregular surfaces, it is constantly functioning in conjunction with other muscles of the foot and toes.

Considering this forward angle of the tibia with the extension of the Achilles tendon, coupled with ankle girth and hair, impressions have been made when reviewing the Patterson film that weight bearing is more toward the loot's center. In studying imprints in the field, I find no evidence supporting this theory.

As I indicated initially, this gait is the smoothest and most efficient that we humans can use in the mountains. It is, and I repeat, biomechanically sound. In such a gait, both the arm swing and stride are naturally increased for better balance. On horizontal and incline planes, when we flex the knee, the ankle and hip automatically flex. This brings into play an increased range of all the powerful extensors of these joints. It thus allows for greater muscular movement, strength, control and balance than the normal so-called human gait, where in each step we roll over the hip and momentarily decrease control and balance until the opposite foot makes contact. In fact, we are in a sense falling forward until contact is made. In a flex gait not only is the stride length increased, but both feet are generally in contact with the soil; as one foot pushes off, the heel of the opposite foot is already in contact. It results in a smooth fluid method of walking that the ambulator is in control of at all times.

The increased arm swing is fundamental to balance because of the longer stride. In no way is it over-exaggerated and self-conscious movement, as referred to by Napier. In studying imprints in all types of soil conditions and planes (horizontal, uphill, downhill, etc.) I have been able to evaluate all of their foot movements. I find no differences in the range and fundamental movements of their ankle with modern man to include: dorsal flexion, plantar flexion (extension), eversion, inversion and outward and inward rotation.

Summary and Conclusions
In a span of many years of field investigative work I find no evidence of anatomical deviation from the human foot except in kinetic function. I find no field evidence to support the theory that they are flat footed and awkward walkers. On the contrary, the presence of arches (longitudinal and transverse) indicates they are superb bipedal walkers, which can only be achieved because of anatomical similarity to man and in no way that of an anthropoid ape. Imprint studies reveal that, like man, they do push off with the big toe--ambulating with a slight hip, knee and ankle flexion, that provides the proper body mechanics for mountain movement and concealment. It is a gait that we could all benefit from when traversing in the mountains.

Hourglass and human-type imprints are not the result of two distinct families or genera but of muscular function when coupled with soil variants. I have found both in the same set of tracks, made by the same individual. The two-ball feature is not the result of skeleton differences but of kinetic function and soil resistance.

When studied with stride characteristics, Sasquatch tracks, properly cast, are not only recorded evidence of their existence, but provide sufficient physical facts to classify them as human-like primates. It is fundamental that they be studied in the field in order to interpolate accurately all physical and kinetic details. It is the hope of this investigator that the findings herein will be of help in providing a baseline for current and future research.

As part founder and member of the Bay Area Research Group, under the leadership of the late George Haas, we are dedicated to their self-preservation through the continuance of a low-keyed field research program designed to achieve a better understanding of their way of life and habitat.

In 1969, several sets of human-type tracks were reported near Bossburg, in the eastern part of Washington State, just south of the Canadian border. Casts were made of several of the footprints. The left foot appears normal and is similar to a modern human foot, hence the term human type--coined by Dr. John Napier. The right foot reveals evidence that the maker was a cripple, suffering from a clubfoot that probably was due to an injury rather than a congenital deformity.

In evaluating these casts, both Dr. Krantz and Dr. Napier have commented that it is difficult to believe that a hoaxer would be so knowledgeable to deliberately fake such a footprint. Such comments add considerably to the authenticity of these tracks

References Cited:
Grover S. Krantz 1972a. "Anatomy Of The Sasquatch Foot." Northwest Anthropological Research Notes 6(1):91-104. Reprinted In "The Scientist Looks At The Sasquatch" Roderick Sprague and Grover S. Krantz, eds. Moscow, Idaho: University of Idaho Publications, 1977. Second edition 1979. Pp. 77-93.1972b.

Additional Notes On Sasquatch Foot Anatomy. Northwest Anthropological Research Notes 6(2):230-241. Reprinted In "The Scientist Looks At The Sasquatch." Roderick Sprague and Grover S. Krantz eds. Moscow, Idaho: University of Idaho Publications, 1977. Second edition 1979. Pp. 95-111.

John Napier, 1972. "Bigfoot: The Yeti and Sasquatch In Myth and Reality" London: Jonathan Cape.

© Archie Buckley in celebration of his 84th birthday on August 15, 2001 (1917)
This paper is from the files of the late René Dahinden, Richmond British Columbia. It is also published in the late Vladimir Markotic's book "The Sasquatch and other Unknown Hominoids" Western Publishers, Calgary 1984

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