Thursday, April 1, 2010

Bigfoot, here I come!

My advisor once told me that I should keep my passion for Bigfoot to myself because other primatologists would think I am cuckoo and no one would take my research seriously. However, I'm pretty elated right now and I figured I should share this good news with you, my readers. 

I have been selected to be part of an expedition to collect scientific evidence on the existence of Bigfoot. While some information about this expedition is to be kept hush hush until it concludes, I can tell you that this expedition was proposed after frequent sightings of a bipedal ape-like creature in the woods of this area. I will meet up and start the expedition with a few cryptozoologists sometimes around May. These self-proclaimed cryptozoologists, like me, are primatologists who had kept their passion for Bigfoot in the dark from the academia. 

Sightings of Bigfoot have long existed in the Pacific Northwest, with the now infamous 1967 Bigfoot sighting (and video) of Roger Paterson and Robert Gimlin. However, recent sightings suggests that expanding Bigfoot population is starting to make its way to the Northeast as well. 

A model of Gigantopithecus. Photo from Wikipedia.

The most popular theory explaining the existence of Bigfoot is that it is a relic population of Gigantopithecus that crossed the Bering land bridge or Beringia from Asia to America, much like the saber-toothed cats. Dr. Gustav von Koenigswald was the first to discover the fossil remains of Gigantopithecus in an apothecary shop in China, which he later named Gigantopithecus blacki

Fossil jaw of Gigantopithecus blacki. Photo from Wikipedia.

Others proposed that Bigfoot is a relic population of a species of Paranthropus instead, judging from the similarity of a crested skull and bipedal gait. However, Paranthropus sp. only occurred in Africa. Unless a small population of these hominin made its way to America, it is very unlikely that Bigfoot evolved from the Paranthropus branch. The existence of Bigfoot is undeniable from the plethora of sightings. I am hoping that this trip will possibly once and for all proved that Bigfoot really does exist. While 2009 is the year of the Flores "hobbits", 2010 will hopefully be the year of Bigfoot. 

Imagine what a relieve it would be (especially me) that Bigfoot will no longer be featured in cheesy cryptozoology programming such as MonsterQuest. C'mon, those cheesy graphics doesn't help establish the fact that Bigfoot exists. For shame! Even ABC-TV "Wife Swap" is featuring a family of Bigfoot hunters! Check out Loren Coleman's article on Cryptomundo

This is what Bigfoot is supposed to look like according to MonsterQuest.

I'm currently reading Joshua Blu Buhs's book, Bigfoot: The Life and Times of a Legend. Hopefully I'll finish reading the book before the expedition starts. So, who said a primatologist can't do fieldwork in North America? Hopefully the experience from this expedition will provide me with enough leverage for grad school application next year!

"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence". - Dr. Carl Sagan.


rich lawler said...

very subtle :)

Raymond Vagell said...

Well I can't tell you about the details of the expedition and the paper we're going to publish so I gotta be subtle!

SamMcGee said...

As far as we know, Bigfoot does not utilize fire or tools, but does celebrate April Fools Day.

Raymond Vagell said...

I managed to get a few people to believe me! :)

This is a pretty interesting read though: Predicting the distribution of Sasquatch
in western North America: anything goes
with ecological niche modelling