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Why We Can't Find Bigfoot PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

horizontalThe big question for skeptics concerning anthropoid cryptids is "If they exist, why can't we find them?" Doug Waller of the Southeastern Ohio Society for Bigfoot Investigation (Or the Southeast Sasquatch Association, depending on source) has a theory. As reported by WHIZ in Zanesville, Ohio, Waller hosted a conference at a local library and explained his theory. 

These things have a vertical spine like men, and when you go out in the woods and you have trees everywhere and you see a deer, it has a horizontal spine. It sticks out. Well, if a Bigfoot is in the woods, and he hears you coming and doesn't want to be found, all he needs to do is stand in the shadows next to a trees. Chances are, you'll just go right on by, and you won't ever know it's there.

So it's that simple. They hear you coming, and hide.
And I guess they never die, or get hit by cars, and for some reason, hunters who sit camouflaged in tree stands for hours don't see them (or shoot them). There is a reason that most skeptics doubt the existence of these creatures, and that is the simple lack of evidence. Theories and explanations about why there's no evidence are no substitute. 

We discover creatures all the time. Recently, the Javan Rhino was rediscovered, having been thought extinct. This discovery proves two things: 1) Large mammals can "hide" from us, and 2) We can find them. Why did we find this species and not Bigfoot? I doubt the horizontal spine had much to do with it. I suspect it had more to do with a team of scientists using proper methodology to document the creature. Had they used the same methodology to search for Bigfoot, and I'm sure someone has, their results would be negative.

I'm aware of no organization dedicated to finding Java Rhino around the world, but there are hundreds of such organizations allegedly trying to find Bigfoot using much of the same equipment ghost hunters use. And yet... none of them have produced as convincing an image as the one that leads this article. Add to that the fake Bigfoot evidence that pops up from time time and the case gets even thinner.

Does Bigfoot exist? I doubt it. I admit that's it's possible, but I find that possibility to be extremely remote. I find it much more likely that a group of people want to believe, and do everything they can to reinforce that belief.

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Because...
written by SlamSam, January 04, 2009
...Harry S. Sasquatch had to get his rubber suit back to the costume shop.

The notion of the existence of "bigfoot" ranks way up on my list of OBS (Obvious Bull ****). "Hear you coming and hide" sounds too similar to "they vanish when you attempt to take their photograph." Lame.
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written by JeffWagg, January 05, 2009
@gsdguy:

Anther name for Bigfoot is "Skunk Ape," and as I was reading the article, I wondered how hiding next to a tree would mask that.
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He's right....
written by Dooyoowoowoo, January 05, 2009
....I know I have dragons in my garden. As we know, dragons are green and I've got grass......
Ain't found the crafty little beggars yet.
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written by TDjazz, January 05, 2009
I once spotted a Bigfoot on the subway in Brooklyn, but I lost it in the crowd. Darn.... smilies/wink.gif
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written by Mr. Science, January 05, 2009
You know, as an amateur birder... if I can locate a frickin Ovenbird, something the size of a human or bigger ought to be locatable, too.
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written by Alan3354, January 05, 2009
The girl next door has big feet, size 10. Well, sorta big. She's a great swimmer.
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BIGFOOT FACTS!
written by Willy K, January 05, 2009
1 - Second gunman on the Grassy Knoll
2 - Shot missile at TWA 800
3 - Set charges to bring down WTC 7
4 - Ate Jimmy Hoffa
5 - Have a time share in Hanger 18
6 - Have a religious compound at Area 51 where they practice polygamy and backgammon
7 - They are all Freemasons
8 - Were the actual astronauts that landed on the Moon
9 - Shelter visiting extraterrestrials
10 - Smoke tobacco without harm
11 - Drive cars that get 100 miles per gallon
12 - All the Abrahamic religious icons were Bigfoots (Bigfeet?)

My Unimpeachable Sources: The History Channel and the three legged albino child who lives under my porch.
smilies/tongue.gif
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Coelacanth as evidence of Bigfoot?
written by Trish, January 05, 2009
Proponents of various cryptids always like to point to the discovery of the coelacanth to support their belief that bigfoot, Nessie, Champ, Ogopogo, etc., could be out there.

But the big difference is that the decades prior to the discovery of the coelacanth there weren't coelacanth sitings, coelacanth hunting expeditions & faked coelacanth photos published in tabloids.
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written by Willy K, January 05, 2009
Speaking of coelacanths... do you know WHY it took so long for humans to discover them?

You guessed it.. coelacanth is the favorite seafood of BigFoot! smilies/grin.gif
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written by hopfen, January 05, 2009
there are probably quite a few anthropoda to discover (insects and arthropods)) but not primates (ever).


Not true. Maybe no big ones, but there are still some out there we don't know about.

http://www.physorg.com/news146231522.html
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written by Kuroyume, January 05, 2009
Of course, I meant 'big' primates (chimp or gorilla or, perhaps, bigfoot sized) not itsy-bitsy teeny nocturnal ones. smilies/smiley.gif
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written by nelson650, January 05, 2009
I went a'huntin Squish-squish onest, thar he was, I went fer mah polariod but the durn thang grabbed it an flew off in his UFO. I wuz so rattled I had to finish off the rest of the Jack Daniels back at camp!
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The Big Question
written by MadScientist, January 05, 2009
"If they exist, why can't we find them?"

That's hardly a big question or even a relevant one. Some people have spent decades searching for something which they knew (from previous records) must have existed but had no luck finding it. Now and then someone stumbles upon some animal or plant which had been thought to be extinct for a long time. Near the Burrup Peninsula of Western Australia you can see dinosaur footprints in the rocks - good luck finding the beast that made the prints.

Not finding 'bigfoot' is no proof there is no bigfoot. My personal opinion is that there was a bigfoot - he was some guy with a great sense of humor who, unfortunately, also spawned this bigfoot mania (http://home.clara.net/rfthomas/news/bfisdead.html). The reason we can't find bigfoot (and will never find any evidence at all of him) is that bigfoot was a hoax. Turning things around and saying that not finding a bigfoot is evidence that there is no bigfoot is being as ignorant (if not more so) as claiming there is a genuine 'bigfoot' out there (well, aside from the original hoaxster and copycats of course). In addition to the evidence for a hoax (such as the admission of the hoaxster's family) there is no evidence for bigfoot except hearsay. No dried piles of BigPoo, for example. Until someone finds a bigfoot skeleton or some such evidence, the testimonial evidence for a hoax is really the most compelling.

In principle it is possible to deduce that some unknown creature exists based on acquired evidence, even if that creature is never seen. Fossilized remains is an extreme example since this often gives a pretty good impression of what the beast's skeleton (and sometimes the beast itself) looks like. But let's say you only found footprints - and associated peculiar piles of dung like none you've seen before - stuff like that. There may be enough evidence in that to indicate a creature which has not yet been described in books, even if you never find the creature itself and have no idea what it might look like (even though you might have some idea what the foot was like). Going back to dinosaurs - what color were they? Who the hell knows - we may never know - but we know they existed even though we have never seen one.

I agree with what stomsic has posted about being in a forest. I've tracked animals to get photos of them (hoping they don't get spooked and go for me when the flash goes off). If you're bowhunting you've got to be a good enough stalker to literally be a stone's throw away from the animal. I've also scared myself rigid going through forests in the evening and hearing the crashing sound of branches falling off trees or some fairly small animal minding its own business and ambling about (and making an awful racket) - when there is no wind a forest is so quiet that any little sound seems to be pretty loud. In the dim light, if you hear a crashing branch you can imagine any shade you see to be something else. It's not difficult to believe that people con themselves into imagining they've seen a lot more than was actually there.
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written by BillyJoe, January 06, 2009
The girl next door has big feet, size 10.

Funny...I've never noticed how big the girl next door's feet are. smilies/cool.gif
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written by Kuroyume, January 06, 2009
Not finding 'bigfoot' is no proof there is no bigfoot. My personal opinion is that there was a bigfoot - he was some guy with a great sense of humor


No, I don't agree unless we are expanding the criteria parameters beyond an actual existent species. This is tantamount to me saying that in my personal opinion there is a Santa Claus - he was just some guy dressed in a costume - therefore, in that sense, Santa Claus is real. Well, yeah. Evidence for the 'existence' of Santa Claus abounds everywhere - his existence as a fictional character, that is. When I say, "There is no Santa Claus", I mean a real person who has reindeer, lives at the North Pole, and delivers gifts on Christmas Eve in improbable timespans. There is no Santa Claus (sorry, kids). And there in no Bigfoot (in the same exact sense).

The problem here is in evidence in general. One reason for many people to go searching for an undiscovered animal or plant is that someone else claims to have seen it or there is residue evidence (dung, skeletal remains, seeds, etc.). All of the evidence presented for a so-called Bigfoot has been shown to be hoaxed as well. Again, it would be hard for a large mammalian species to remain hidden indefinitely with so many people seeking it - and we're not talking the depths of the Amazon or Congo rainforests here; we're talking in the very well trodden North American forests. At some point, one must reconcile the expectation with reality and admit that the thing doesn't exist. Nessy does not exist (either). This has been pretty much thoroughly shown beyond sanity.
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written by Arts Myth, January 06, 2009
And there in no Bigfoot (in the same exact sense).


I certainly agree that there is no Bigfoot that has reindeer, lives at the North Pole, and delivers gifts on Christmas Eve in improbable timespans.
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written by Kuroyume, January 06, 2009
Smarta$$ smilies/wink.gif
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written by frikkenkids, January 06, 2009
Doug Waller doesn't have a theory, he just watched Harry and the Hendersons the night before his conference.
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written by Stanfr, January 06, 2009
There's plenty of evidence for Bigfoot. there's loads and loads of prints, some of which would be very challenging (though not impossible) to fake, there's scat and hair (without an existing speciman to compare to, the best that can be said is "undetermined source"), theres questionable video and photos, and most importantly there are direct eye-witness accounts from extremely credible people. Now, personally, I believe these people are mistaken about what they have witnessed, but there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that these individuals have seen something, they are not all liars and hoaxers. If you doubt this, you should spend some time actually talking to people who claim to have seen BF, and actually spend some time in BF country (I did, I wrote a book on the experience). The real problem with BF is that no body has been produced. The peripheral issues, like no remains found etc, are all insignificant, since the BF community has plausible (if not wholly convincing) responses to all those objections--spend some time in the BF forums and you'll see what i mean!
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written by BillyJoe, January 06, 2009
Stanfr,

There's plenty of evidence for Bigfoot.

Yes but, as you go on to say, there's no evidence that cannot be faked.

there's loads and loads of prints, some of which would be very challenging (though not impossible) to fake,

Yes, as you say, there are no photos that cannot be faked and therefore no reliable photographic evidence.

there's scat and hair (without an existing speciman to compare to, the best that can be said is "undetermined source")

To my recollection, these specimens have all been identified and, hence, are not from an "undetermined" source. What is needed is a single specimen that can be subjected to DNA analysis. There are none.

theres questionable video and photos

Yes, as you say, questionable photos and videos

and most importantly there are direct eye-witness accounts from extremely credible people.

How have you determined that they are credible?

Now, personally, I believe these people are mistaken about what they have witnessed, but there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that these individuals have seen something, they are not all liars and hoaxers.

I agree they are not all liars and hoaxers.
And, as you say, the rest have seen something and the evidence suggest that they were, as you say, mistaken about exactly what they saw.

If you doubt this, you should spend some time actually talking to people who claim to have seen BF.

What would that prove.
Eyewitness accounts are notoriously unreliable - ask any lawyer.

The real problem with BF is that no body has been produced.

Not only no body. Also no hair, stool, or bones. No shelters or any evidence of BF interacting with its environment. And no reliable photographs or videos

The peripheral issues, like no remains found etc, are all insignificant, since the BF community has plausible (if not wholly convincing) responses to all those objections--spend some time in the BF forums and you'll see what i mean!

I think this is called "cognitive dissonance".
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written by Son of Rea, January 07, 2009
There was only one bigfoot. He was born of a virgin (from Kentucky) and became man-like. He was crucified, died and was buried. On the third day he rose again, and ascended into heaven.

That's why we can't find him.

Though it can't be proven scientifically, those who are foolish enough to believe this story based on complete hearsay, shall have everlasting life.

Bigfoot will be back. And when he returns, all you non-believers will be sorry. It may not be today or next year, but very soon! Maybe only 5 to 10 thousand years from now!
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written by latsot, January 07, 2009
MadScientist: "Not finding 'bigfoot' is no proof there is no bigfoot."

Entirely correct, but you are missing the point. So many people claim to have seen bigfoot that we should expect one behind every tree, and yet... Not a single piece of evidence after all these years.

I doubt Jeff is claiming that lack of evidence is evidence of non-existence. He's just challenging the True Believers (TM) to convince us that there's a reason to take any notice of them at all.
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written by Kuroyume, January 07, 2009
Again, search spaces are key to getting truth tables for these logical statements like "there is no bigfoot". Okay, if we assume the search space to be the entire universe (in both space and time), then the statement cannot be shown to be true. If we restrict the search space in both time and space - say, North America and a time between some first sighting and into some relevant future as we continue to search, then the statement can be either true or false. The problem with absolute logical statements is that they, like Zeno's horrid paradoxes, fail to include some reality (since they are based on wholly idealistic formal systems). In reality, as the search space is checked against the statement, probability comes into play.

For instance, let's say that we start with a 100% probability that "there is a bigfoot" and start searching using the given criteria - big, hairy, bipedal, primate-like animal which isn't a known species variant. As we spend time and cover space seeking something that fills this criteria without success, the probability of that statement's truthfulness decreases. It is analogous to a situation where you are searching in one room for a specific item. The longer and more thoroughly you search, the lower the chances (the lower the probability) that the item is indeed in that room. And the bigger it is with respect to the search space, the more likely it is that failure equals 'there is no specific item in this room'. It may not be 0% if the item is small enough - unless you find the specific item in another room, then it surely is.

So far, bigfoot's probability of existence ranks somewhere around about (guesstimating) 1% or 2% (that might be optimistic). Size has a lot to do with this. Something that big could not remain hidden (and not just the living individuals) for so long under continual incursion into their so-called environment. To the people with the 'how hard it is to track animals in the wild' - hello! We're in the 21st friggin' century! We have satellites that take pictures where I can see my dogs in my backyard ... from space! And that's only what is publicly available (see Google Maps). The search space is shrinking so fast that bigfoot had better get out from under the trees soon or 0% probability will be 100%.
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written by Stanfr, January 07, 2009
I'd put the probability at closer to .01% (not zero though)
Billy Joe; i agree with most of your statements, the point of my initial comment was to stop the belly-laughs from people who have no respect for the many normal people who claim to have seen Bigfoot. Since the comments that followed (like yours) were more respectful, hopefully my goal was realized.
I will respond to a couple problems with your response, however:

How have you determined that they are credible?

The same way any juror member does, with common sense, a personal jugemant based on all the evidence.

Eyewitness accounts are notoriously unreliable - ask any lawyer.


I dont have to--i am a lawyer! The problem with that facile statement is that the kind of reliability you are thinking of deals with getting details or sequences wrong. When a person sees a huge (much bigger than human) hairy biped at close distance in broad daylight (not very common, but there most certainly are reports like this), it is not a question of "mistaken identity". From some of the first hand accounts i have heard, i seriously doubt it has a simple explanation like "a bear". It's that puzzle that has kept me remotely interested in the Bigfoot phenomena. Personally, my most likely explanation is it is some sort of psychologic response, not necessarily a hallucination but involving the psyche in a strong way. On the other hand, i think there is a small possibility that a real Bigfoot exists in very remote areas like the Canadian wilderness or possibly Pacnw. The problem is, many accounts also take place in suburban areas, which is why i prefer the first explanation.
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written by BillyJoe, January 07, 2009
Kuroyume,

I enjoyed your search spaces and probability argument. smilies/smiley.gif
But one percent? Do you think?

BJ
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written by BillyJoe, January 07, 2009
stanfr,

Yes, 0.01 percent! smilies/smiley.gif


[I have determined that they are credible] the same way any juror member does, with common sense, a personal jugemant based on all the evidence.

Okay, my confusion was with the word "credible".
I think now that you simply meant that they sincerely believe that what they saw was a strange large furry bipedal creature, which we call BF? Not that you believe that they did in fact see a strange large furry bipedal creature, which we call BF?
So I retract my suggestio0n that you may be suffering from "cognitive dissonance: smilies/smiley.gif

I dont have to--i am a lawyer!

Oops! smilies/cheesy.gif

The problem with that facile statement is that the kind of reliability you are thinking of deals with getting details or sequences wrong.

No. The wrong people have been identified by eye witnesses as the perpretrator of a crime.
There is a short video somewhere on the internet: You are shown a scene at a party where an object is stolen in clear view by a person whose face and body are clearly visible. When various suspects are lined up afterwards, most people choose the wrong person as the thief!

When a person sees a huge (much bigger than human) hairy biped at close distance in broad daylight (not very common, but there most certainly are reports like this), it is not a question of "mistaken identity".

You are discounting "mistaken identity"?
Surely not.
Couldn't the witness have been exaggerating the "broad daylight" aspect? Isn't it possible that "It was a sunny day, but there were clouds in the sky and, just at that moment, the sun passed behind a cloud". In other words, the "broad daylight" aspect may have been generally true but not specifically true at the time of the sighting.
Couldn't the witness have misjudged the distance to the creature when he said it was "at close distance" (and whatever that might mean) under these or other circumstances and therefore misjudged the size of the creature when he described it as "huge (much bigger than human)". Couldn't it in fact have been exactly human sized? smilies/wink.gif

From some of the first hand accounts i have heard, i seriously doubt it has a simple explanation like "a bear"

You might seriously doubt it from the basis of first hand accounts but, against the shear lack of any physical evidence for the existence of BF, what do you actually conclude overall?
Well, you said 0.01%.

Personally, my most likely explanation is it is some sort of psychologic response, not necessarily a hallucination but involving the psyche in a strong way.

Yes, I guess you would put that expanation at about 99.99% smilies/wink.gif

On the other hand, i think there is a small possibility that a real Bigfoot exists in very remote areas

As you said 0.01%
Well, I think we are on roughly, maybe even exactly, the same page.

Bj

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written by MadScientist, January 07, 2009
Kuroyume:

I think the best reason for not believing in a bigfoot is that there simply is no credible evidence presented for its existence. Now "never finding a bigfoot" happens to fall into the "no credible evidence" but really is of no value to the reasoning. The 'evidence' which *is* presented simply does not withstand scrutiny and therefore it is silly to believe in bigfoot at all. Even the tesimonial to the original hoax is of secondary importance to the fact that there simply is no credible evidence. "Why hasn't one been found" is a red herring - it has nothing to do with the case against bigfoot despite the fact that a logical relation of that phrase ("bigfoot has been found") would be conclusive evidence in support of bigfoot. In my opinion, people who want to criticise bigfoot believers should adhere to the rules of reasoning lest they make their own case murky by throwing in red herrings.
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written by Kuroyume, January 07, 2009
I enjoyed your search spaces and probability argument. smilies/smiley.gif
But one percent? Do you think?


I was being very cordial. smilies/smiley.gif
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written by Kuroyume, January 07, 2009
MadScientist,

Of course, I was applying the strictly 'logical' argument against actually finding specimens within the search space. Of course, the current 'evidence' is very 'incredible' (as in, 'not credible') and doesn't lend to any validity for the logical argument for existence. As we all know, testimonial evidence isn't evidence at all. It may suffice to some degree in a court of law but not in the court of science. The physical evidence has been very suspect and, under ridicule, doesn't hold up.

My positing of 'why hasn't one been found' is, of course, a loaded inquiry already knowing the outcome. But I pose it for circumspection for those who take the more 'well, here's why bigfoot may exist' stance. Unless some amazing discovery is made, I can't see any large mammal in North America avoiding detection. We know about mountain lions, deer, antelope, brown/black/grizzly bears, moose, elk, bison, cows, and so forth. If someone were to find an existent small elephant roaming N.A., not only would I be stunned but very skeptical without exemplary evidence. In essence, I compare bigfoot in N.A. to gorillas in Africa. There is no doubting that gorillas exist. If bigfoor is even remotely comparable, then the idea that we just haven't found one yet is tripe. Europeans have been trouncing about N.A. for 500 years! You'd think they'd chance upon one eventually. So, to answer my insipid inquiry: "Why hasn't one been found?", "Because they don't exist." smilies/wink.gif

I'm just throwing the herrings back in their faces.
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written by wrda, January 23, 2009
I haven't heard this point made yet. The believers haven't addressed why a bigfoot is capable of surviving in an area thick with predators. Bears, cougars, wolves, would have a field day with these creatures. You would of course find bigfoot carcasses, bones and parts dragged off by scavangers, etc. Are we to believe that this animal, larger than a human, but smaller than a Grizzly bear could defend itself so perfectly?

The explanation provided by believers as to why we don't find remnants of bigfoot's diet (i.e. killed animals, rodents, etc.) is because they are herbivores. That's also the reason they haven't attacked any people, though there are plenty of instances throughout nature where an herbivore attacks a person in self-defense or to protect their young. So this large creature is no threat to humans, but can defend itself easily from predators.
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written by MartyMichaels, March 17, 2009
there are probably quite a few anthropoda to discover (insects and arthropods)) but not primates (ever).


Two words. Bili Ape.
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