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Bigfoot/Sasquatch enthusiasts MUST listen to the latest episode of the Tetrapod Zoology (Tet Zoo) podcast. Episode 3 is the Bigfoot special. This podcast is by Dr. Darren Naish, PhD who writes the blog Tetrapod Zoology on the Scientific American network, and science artist John Conway.

Still of "Patty" from the 1967 Patterson-Gimlin film

Still of “Patty” from the 1967 Patterson-Gimlin film

This is a one and a half hour discussion about the best evidence known for the Bigfoot phenomenon. The three “best” pieces prior to this year are the dermal ridges confirmed by print expert Jimmy Chilcutt [Check out this interview on Monster Talk], the Skookum cast from Washington, and the Patterson Gimlin footage. Conway and Naish discuss the pros and cons of each one. The point of the discussion is that these three pieces, compelling when they appeared, have since fallen apart. The Chilcutt dermal ridges can be duplicated unintentionally through artifacts from the plaster casting process. Credit is given to the work of Matt Crowley. The Skookum cast that was interpreted by primate experts to possibly be consistent with a reclining primate, showing body and heel impressions in mud, has a far more mundane explanation as resulting from a native elk (wapiti) wallowing in the mud. Credit is given to the Chris Murphy book Meet the Sasquatch (which I have thanks to the aforementioned Matt Crowley). And finally, the Patterson Gimlin film, while certainly impressive on the surface and has not been completely debunked to my satisfaction, does suffer from some serious problems surroundings it’s documentation and history. Noted contributors for this information are Dan Loxton (of Skeptic magazine) and Dr. Don Prothero, who have a new book on cryptozoology coming out that I CAN NOT WAIT to get. Hope to see it this spring.

All the evidence, if solid, should have held up and led to ADDITIONAL finds to strengthen the case for Sasquatch, but that is not what happened.

Doubt swirls around this evidence which is just not good enough to conclude that a new and unique creature exists in North America. Darren makes some very pithy comments about skeptics and those who particularly will be “rejectionists”. I’ve heard lots of those. I’m not one of them. Neither is Darren. He gives all evidence a fair examination. THIS is what I say is the best method for examining Bigfoot, through skeptical scholarship.

Darren admits that he was reviewer for the Melba Ketchum paper when it was submitted to a scientific journal (a big one but I’m not going to tell you the name because he didn’t name it). So, the claim that Ketchum did shop the paper around to journals IS certainly true. As Darren notes (part begins about 1hr 9 min in),  there was no conspiracy not to publish the paper, it was just bad. He calls it a “peculiar” paper. It did not follow conventional format, was confusing, and adds another layer of mystery with the proposed “mystery” origin creature. The conclusions were untenable. John and Darren conclude that the Ketchum paper did more harm than good. It’s just that poor. Darren, a reader of Doubtful News, cites the spoof papers used as references.

They make a VERY important point about Bigfoot vocalizations (in reference to the Finding Bigfoot show). We don’t know what Bigfoot truly sounds like, if it exists, but we DO know for sure that people are out in the woods (more people all the time), CALLING for Bigfoot. So if you are out in the wilderness, it’s NOT impossible that some strange noise you hear can be another person calling for Bigfoot. Don’t miss Darren imitating the famous Morehead Bigfoot babbling sounds. Love that stuff. Very convincing.

Finally, they touch on the fact, with a tinge of disappointment, I think, that the evidence for Bigfoot that we SHOULD expect at this point – with so many looking for it – has not been forthcoming. All we need is a bone, not more anecdotes, not blurry pictures or films. But it’s not here. Therefore, while the idea of Bigfoot as real is not implausible on the face of it, solid evidence to support such a claim is absent.

Do not miss this episode. Find it on itunes.

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