A recent groundbreaking discovery of a 90,000-year-old bone revealed shocking origins of the individual. The fossil was analyzed, yielding 50% Neanderthal and 50% Denisovan DNA. This find was a landmark discovery, in that this is the first hard evidence to prove that interbreeding took place among ancient human species. This exciting find is not only important to the scientific community, but to the Bigfoot community as well. This evidence suggests that other ancient species may have interbred as well, providing clues into Bigfoot’s origin. It is important to keep in mind, that the successful breeding took place between two different species of Homo. Although they were quite different, they both came from the same genus. Bigfoot is described as a large, bipedal, ape-like man. Its physicality shows incredible unification of both primitive human features and ape-like anatomy. If Bigfoot is a human/ape hybrid, it would have to descend from an ape species with an extremely specific genetic code; a species not yet discovered by our scientific community.
First, we must analyze known apes to identify the element that prevents us from crossbreeding. Humans and chimps share 99% of DNA coding sequences. However, humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes, whereas apes have 24. This difference makes it impossible for our species to successfully mate. This is because humans come from the genus “Homo” and apes come from different genera. How could it be that apes were our predecessor, but have a different number of chromosomes? The answer lies in chromosome 2 in the human DNA chain, which appears to be 2 ape chromosomes stuck together. This fusion of 2 chromosomes was an evolutionary event that began our family tree. When the 2 chromosomes fused together, 24 became 23, and began a new genus.
Successful interbreeding is only seen in animals that share the same genus. For example, Equus caballus (horse) and Equus asinus (donkey) have interbred to produce an offspring known as a mule. These animals may be of different species, but they share the same genus. Now that we understand how genetics work, we can conclude that in order for different animals or humans to mate, they must come from the same genus. Bigfoot’s facial features are often reported to be Neanderthal in appearance. Hair samples analyzed by Dr.Meldrum show characteristics of both human and ape. In addition to exhibiting mid-foot flexibility, their hand casts have shown characteristics similar to ape. Although it seems like this evidence suggests a cross-breeding between human and ape, we know this cannot be the case, due to the differences in genus. However, we do know that many early species of human exhibited ape-like characteristics. Could it be possible that the Bigfoot species is merely a result of interbreeding between both an evolved and primitive homo species, rather than having its own individual lineage?
Homo heidelbergensis was a species of human that existed about 700,000 to 200,00 years ago in Africa and Asia (China.) This species certainly exhibits enough characteristics to put it in the running for a Bigfoot ancestor. It was the first homo species to dwell in cold climates, hunt large animals, and build stick/rock shelters. As we know, these are all behaviors we have concluded to be characteristic of Bigfoot, based on eye-witness reports and footprint evidence gathered in specific locations. It is believed that Neanderthals and our own species originated from H.heidelbergensis. This human was intelligent and well-adapted. Could this be where Bigfoot gets its expert hunting abilities from? A common argument to why Bigfoot could not be of homo lineage is that there is no evidence of them constructing tools or fire. The first thing to consider is that Bigfoot evidence is not abundant to begin with, so evidence of tool use would surely be difficult to find without a team of excavators out in the PNW woods. However, if Bigfoot does not use tools or fire, we must explore a second ancestor that may have been a bit more primitive. The only other known homo species that lines up around the same time as H.heidelbergensisis H.floresiensis, which lived about 100,000 – 50,000 years ago in Asia (Indonesia.) This species was more primitive with a smaller brain size than H.heidelbergensis, and although more evolved than a great ape, their feet displayed ape-like features. Scientists are still looking for the H.floresiensis ancestor, believing it to be an undiscovered, more primitive hominin that dispersed into Asia. This would mean that if H.heidelbergensis and the H.floresiensis unknown ancestor interbred, their offspring may have resembled something like a Bigfoot. H.heidelbergensis was both intelligent and large, standing at 5’9 during a time when most human species were typically small. They had a large brain case, indicating a higher intelligence than most other species at the time. Their tool and fire use is what really prevents them from being a viable candidate for a purebred Bigfoot ancestor. However, if they had mated with a more primitive human species, they may have produced an offspring with ape-like anatomy and some human-like physical features; it would also yield a species with heightened senses and expert hunting abilities, but with slightly lower intelligence than a tool-constructor. If the H.floresiensis ancestor was more primitive like scientists hypothesize, then it would certainly be a viable candidate to father a Bigfoot species along with H.heidelbergensis.
Hypothetically, the H.floresiensis mystery ancestor and H.heidelbergensis would have coexisted in Asia, mated successfully, and produced a unique offspring. The offspring would have had an elevated skill set, average brain size, human/ape anatomy, and fairly robust physicality. Perhaps eventually, due to competition, they crossed the land bridge and migrated to North America, evolving into what we know today, as Bigfoot. Oftentimes, we, as researchers, will try to explain Bigfoot’s origins with just one species. However, it is vital to keep an open mind to the possibility of their ancestors being a 50/50 mix of 2 species; one more evolved, and one more primitive. Unfortunately, our evolutionary tree is missing a significant amount of information. There are species waiting to be discovered and mysteries that may never be solved. Is Bigfoot one of them?
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Hugo, Kristin. “‘Humanzees’ Make a Great Story, but a Human-Chimp Hybrid Is Likely Impossible and Never Existed.” Newsweek, Newsweek, 1 Feb. 2018, newsweek.com/could-chimp-humans-mate-tales-humanzee-hybrids-murky-likely-impossible-796646#:~:text=Humans and chimps have DNA,the offspring would be infertile.
Jungers WL;Harcourt-Smith WE;Wunderlich RE;Tocheri MW;Larson SG;Sutikna T;Due RA;Morwood MJ; “The Foot of Homo Floresiensis.” Nature, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19424155.
Meldrum, D. Jeffrey. Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science. Forge, 2007.
“The Smithsonian Institution's Human Origins Program.” Homo Floresiensis | The Smithsonian Institution's Human Origins Program, humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/human-fossils/species/homo-floresiensis.
Understanding Genetics, genetics.thetech.org/ask/ask229.
Photo taken at NABC: northamericanbigfootcenter.com