ARE WE plaguing their population to the point where they may JUST remain a mystery?
Sasquatch researchers are dedicated individuals, yearning to solve the world’s greatest mystery. Many techniques to lure these creatures are often debated and well-researched. However, some tactics like leaving offerings of food and household items may just be a detriment to this species’ survival. Let’s take a look through history to determine how safe it really is to be contacting these creatures and roaming through their environment.
Christopher Columbus, a seemingly brave and heroic explorer, encountered many native groups during his voyages to unknown land. Imagine his excitement when his ship arrived on an island inhabited by a community of people he had never seen before. Upon arriving in San Salvador, Columbus and his crew met the Taino tribe. Within minutes, the groups were exchanging greetings and forming a friendship. A year later, Columbus built his first town on the island of Hispaniola, where the Taino population was estimated at 60,000 individuals. By 1548, this number had dropped to less than 500. Why did this Native group disappear so quickly? Both the Natives and the Europeans could not wrap their head around it. They will soon find out that the answer lies in the diseases brought over by the Europeans. Pathogens like Smallpox, Influenza and other viruses were sweeping through indigenous communities, caused by direct contact with Europeans or trading within their own group. The Taino tribe was not the only to suffer, in fact, in April of 1520, Spanish forces arrived in Veracruz, Mexico, bringing along with them various diseases like Smallpox. Within 2 months, Spanish troops entered the Capitol of the Aztec population estimated at 50,000-300,000. By October of that same year, the virus had killed nearly half the population.
Nothing hits home like the story of disease in the Americas. In 1492, Columbus landed in the Americas, where Native populations were around 2-18 million, spread out across the land. By the end of the 19th century, 530,000 were left. Native American Indians may have been living in North America for 50,000 years. They migrated from Asia and spread out across the continent. (CLICK READ MORE)
Their cultural history and primitive living style defined them as a community. When the Europeans arrived, they brought along tools, guns, horses, and technology. The Indigenous people were intrigued and began trading fur pelts for tools and weapons. When trade and contact began, the Indigenous population started to dwindle. It is now estimated that 90% of the Native population was killed by European disease. In other words, 1 in 10 individuals survived. Not only was disease spread through trade and contact, but by slavery. Before 1700 in the Carolinas, ¼ of enslaved people were American-Indians. The disease sweeping the nation was fought off well by Europeans, due to their existing immunity. However, Indigenous tribes did not have any prior exposure to these illnesses, rendering their immune systems useless. Although Europeans were certainly the largest at fault for disease transmission, it did go the other way around as well. Syphilis, although existing in Europe already, was being transmitted to Europeans, proving deadly to most. The strain of Syphilis existing in the Native community was a stronger and deadlier version of the European illness. Within a short time frame, disease became the largest killer of Indigenous people, even above weapons. Now, how does this relate to Sasquatch?
It is believed that Sasquatch is either a descendant of Gigantopithecus (a large Asian ape) or Paranthropus (An African hominid.) In both instances, these ancestors would have crossed the land bridge along with the groups that would then settle in North America, becoming Native American Indians. It is assumed by researchers that as Native tribes settled and spread, so did Sasquatch populations. If this creature is alive today, its numbers would be small. It is hard to imagine a species so large, remaining undetected in high numbers. This species may very well be endangered, and as researchers we need to do everything in our power to protect them. Although trying to make contact is an exciting idea, it may not be the best one. We have seen in history how germs can spread between communities who do not have immunity to these pathogens. If Sasquatch is a human or ape, we are likely able to transmit viruses and disease to them through air, water, soil, surfaces, and bugs. We are also likely susceptible to any pathogens they carry as well. Next time you decide to leave out an apple or candy bar to lure a Squatch, consider their immune system and how it may be affected by human contact. Bring hand-sanitizer on your expeditions and be sure to wash your hands well after touching any evidence. When conducting research techniques, focus on footprints and audio evidence, instead of trying to bait them. We are all excited to discover this species and prove their existence to the skeptics. However, we must be careful in our research in order to avoid plaguing their population to the point where they may just remain a mystery.
Heather PringleJun. 4, 2015, et al. “How Europeans Brought Sickness to the New World.” Science, 25 Sept. 2018, www.sciencemag.org/news/2015/06/how-europeans-brought-sickness-new-world.
Meltzer, David J. “How Columbus Sickened the New World: Why Were Native Americans so Vulnerable to the Diseases European Settlers Brought with Them?” New Scientist, 10 Oct. 1992, www.newscientist.com/article/mg13618424-700-how-columbus-sickened-the-new-world-why-were-native-americans-so-vulnerable-to-the-diseases-european-settlers-brought-with-them/.
Rosenwald, Michael. “Columbus Brought Measles to the New World. It Was a Disaster for Native Americans.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 5 May 2019, www.washingtonpost.com/history/2019/05/05/columbus-brought-measles-new-world-it-was-disaster-native-americans/.
“American Indians at European Contact.” NCpedia, www.ncpedia.org/history/early/contact.
“Guns Germs & Steel: Variables. Smallpox.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, www.pbs.org/gunsgermssteel/variables/smallpox.html.