The question as to whether Bigfoot is connected more to ape, or human has been a big topic of discussion here at The Forest Fleur. For the past year, I have been diving into human evolution in order to figure out where Bigfoot fits into the mix. So many elements to this mystery contradict one another, but I don’t believe that’s a coincidence. The biggest challenge throughout my search to discover Bigfoot’s origins is going to be the begging question: what defines us as human?
It is theorized that the combination of language, tool use and social culture has given us our status on the evolutionary tree. However, I believe being human means much more. Afterall, many known apes have a form of language, tool use and social culture. These elements do not define us as a species; what does, is our unique ability to adapt the environment to suit our needs, rather than adapting our needs to suit the environment. When humans gained the ability for complex thought, we used it to manipulate nature to benefit us. A few examples of this are irrigation systems, domesticating animals, building shelters, and farming. We have evolved so much; we now have an active input in how we will evolve next. This unique ability to manipulate the environment can be viewed as an elevated adaptation, and one I believe Bigfoot may share with our species.
Bigfoot has remained elusive for thousands of years. Perhaps they are also everchanging within their own group. How would we be able to tell? The same elements that define our progression as a species may not define theirs. We must look for different evidence of progression and advanced adaptation in order to determine if they can be considered human.
However, finding evidence of Bigfoot is hard enough to come by; imagine the struggle to search for evidence of an evolving culture and their manipulation of the environment. Before I dive into this challenge out in the field, I want to understand why Bigfoot is even viewed as a human within different cultures. The term “Wild Man” is what represented this creature long before “Bigfoot” became its nickname. It can be argued that this species is attributed to man because of the locals’ lack of knowledge of apes. But what about regions with known apes? Why would they still relate this creature to humans? (CLICK READ MORE)
Jane Goodall has become a household name in many places, due to her extensive research and outstanding dedication to studying chimpanzees. Because of her, we now have information about this species that had never existed before. Could her methods be used for discovering and studying Bigfoot? If Bigfoot is an ape species, Jane’s research methods may just be the key to observing a Bigfoot group in the wild. Let us take a look at how Jane conducted her research.
It is very clear that the method to studying an elusive species lies within trust and respect. Before she could make contact, Jane would observe the creatures from afar, through telescopes. Eventually, Jane and her team of researchers set up a feeding station with Bananas. The researchers would record which chimps came to the station and the behavior that was observed. This study happened daily, so the data set became overwhelming. Over time, the researchers began observing closer and closer to the feeding station. By the end of the 60’s, the chimps became so used to the researchers hanging around, they were able to follow the chimps to observe their daily movements and general behavior. Nowadays, the data collected is more about their social culture and relationships. By the time the mid-80’s rolled around, Jane had finally finished her book, which included 25 years of research on this group of Chimpanzees.
Her findings included the first sign of tool-use by animals other than humans, warfare, a family life, the rise and fall of alpha males, and the births, lives and deaths of specific chimpanzees. This information was crucial in identifying the intelligence of these animals and their place in evolutionary history. According to the Jane Goodall Institute, they have collected over 30 years of data such as 320 life stories told in maps, audio recordings, photos and field notes. Additionally, they have collected 3,200 fecal samples since 1990. Researchers get DNA from the samples, which tells them more about the species’ culture and social structure. They can track disease, hormone levels, stress levels, etc. Scientists have now been studying microbiomes over the past 15 years to analyze how the species’ health has changed over time. This incredibly abundant data has served as content for 438 published scientific papers about Chimpanzee behavior. Throughout Jane’s research, breakthrough discoveries were made including the chimps making and using tools, hunting, having family lives and personality differences, and exhibiting a form of social culture.
It seems that the key to observing this species was trust. Could this be the case for Bigfoot?
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When it comes to Bigfoot, researchers are eager to find out how they live and how they have remained so elusive in the forests surrounding our civilizations. Some questions that come up often in the Bigfoot community are as follows: What food sources do they take advantage of? Where do they live? Do they migrate? For us to understand how these creatures live, we must first theorize their origins. Bigfoot has been thought to be either a highly adapted great ape or a relict hominid with close ties to modern human. To determine how Bigfoot may survive the unforgiving wilderness, we must analyze how both humans and apes have done so.
The Takelma tribe occupied the Rogue Valley region in Oregon and were considered a hunter-gatherer society. This tribe took to lower elevations in the spring and higher elevations in the summer and early fall, eventually returning to their villages along the river for the winter. The Takelma tribe took advantage of different food sources during each season in order to survive the changing climate.
Western lowland gorillas are found from Cameroon to the Republic of Congo to Angola. They determine their habitat by the local food sources, specifically, terrestrial herbs. Just like humans, the Western lowland gorillas change their diet per season. However, in their region, only two seasons exist: wet and dry season. During the wet season, these gorillas consume a large amount of fruit, whereas during dry season, their diet consists of fibrous vegetation and herbs.
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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.
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Australopithecus sediba MAY BE AN ANCESTOR OF THE BIGFOOT SPECIES
Written by Emily Fleur & edited by Connor Anderson
Bigfoot is perhaps the most widely debated mystery. Many experienced researchers and scientists believe this creature to be an undiscovered great ape. However, new theories rooting Bigfoot’s origin in humanity need to be researched. In order to determine if Bigfoot is closer to the Homo branch of the evolutionary tree, we must dive into what it means to be human. Nine species of Homo have been identified in our fossil record. This includes H. habilis, H. heidelbergensis, H. naledi, H. neanderthalensis, H. rudolfensis, H. erectus, and H. sapiens, which is what we call modern humans today. Alongside Homo on the tree, we have Australopithecus and Paranthropus, non-human species with morphology resembling both ape and human. All species on our evolutionary tree are defined as hominins, the group consisting of modern humans, extinct human species and all our immediate ancestors (including members of the genera Homo, Australopithecus, Paranthropus and Ardipithecus.)
Pictured below: A.sediba skull layered over the Patterson Gimlin film creature
the CORRELATION between sasquatch & the cave punan DISCOVERY
The origins of Sasquatch have been widely debated by researchers from across the globe. How do we find out what Sasquatch is when evidence is so scarce? The answer lies in known species. When analyzing the physical attributes of this creature, we conclude that its origin points to either man or ape. However, with either conclusion, a question still begs: How have they remained undetected for so long? The answer lies in the intelligence of this species. The reported behavior of Sasquatch has seemed to pull its origins closer to human than ape. Let’s take a ride through the world’s greatest jungles, to discover the correlation in lifestyle between indigenous people and the North American Sasquatch.
If Sasquatch is an adapted indigenous people, how could they have remained hidden for so long? We must observe existing remote hunter-gatherers to analyze the skills and adaptations needed to survive in the wild. Steve Lancing is an anthropologist working in the islands of Indonesia since 1971. Indonesia consists of 17,000 islands and is known for having the greatest diversity of human genes and languages on the planet. In 2018, Lancing and a few colleagues were working on genetic studies, communicating with Indonesian scientists to uncover their unknown ancestors and produce medication for local diseases. Lancing was holding a medical clinic in a resettlement community in Borneo when the leader of a resettled Punan indigenous group approached him, advising him that a small group of Punan people were still living in remote caves as hunter-gatherers. (CLICK READ MORE TO CONTINUE)
AN ARTICLE BY THE FOREST FLEUR AMBASSADOR, LEVI MACHOVEC
Over the summer, I attended a Bigfoot expedition and was fortunate to meet some great people. I had a fun three-day trip to the Kickapoo Valley Reserve in Southwest Wisconsin. The story that I will relay comes from the first of those three nights, which was on Thursday, June 11th. The official expedition was canceled, however, I learned that some of the members were still going out to the same area, albeit with a much smaller group than what would have been there on the official expedition. The area that we searched is an ecologically rich area in Southwest Wisconsin bordering the town of La Farge.
I met up with the group after I finished my shift at work. The group was composed of four individuals who have been members of the organization for many years. It was a unique opportunity for me to meet new people in the middle of a pandemic; most of my spring was spent working on my book so I did not have much time to get out of the house. That meant that I was more than eager than ever to get into the woods for research. Once I met the group, I could tell that the group was full of kind-hearted people, as they accepted me in without hesitation. They were very excited to be out in the Kickapoo Valley Reserve. I lived only twenty minutes away from the location whereas the other members lived over three hours away. Needless to say, the group was anxious to get into the woods and look for Sasquatch.
The night started out with us walking up a trail just as darkness descended upon the woods. As we were walking, the forest was full of life; the frogs were croaking, the owls were hooting, and there were many raccoons walking around. About twenty minutes into the walk, we stopped for a while to listen to our surroundings to see if we could pick up on anything in the area. As we stood and waited, we did hear something, although it was very faint. My best guess was that it was an owl in the distance. The other members of the group did not think that an owl was the explanation for the sound that was made: they were convinced that it was a Sasquatch. Later, while in the same location, we heard something walking near us; I used my thermal imager to get a glimpse of it. Once again, they were convinced it was a Sasquatch. However, my thermal imager revealed the identity of the individual to be, not just one, but a family of raccoons walking around.
The night continued with us walking along the same trail for another hour before we headed back to our camp. The rest of the night was uneventful. This night served as an extremely important event for me as I learned something that will stick with me for the rest of my life as I conduct research. That night, I learned that if you want to have a Sasquatch encounter, you will have one. To expand on this point, when your mind is on Sasquatch, you have to be careful not to project Sasquatch into the forest when one is not there. (CLICK READ MORE TO CONTINUE)
bigfoot may have originated in north america as a completely different species
Although typically associated with the Middle East and Africa, camels actually originated in North America about 45 million years ago. They migrated to the middle east, and also down to South America, where they evolved into llamas and alpacas. Another animal that many do not know originated in North America is the Cheetah. An international team of scientists recently discovered that cheetahs descend from a relative of American pumas. Now how does this relate to Bigfoot? Due to the record of discovered fossils, scientists believe that all hominins and apes originated in Africa and Asia. We typically associate Bigfoot with either Gigantopithecus or Paranthropus. However, perhaps Sasquatch originated in North America as a completely different creature all together. The only reason we associate this species with ape or human is because of their seemingly similar physical attributes and anatomy. Take a look at 2 known animals that look alike. Deer are part of a family known as Cervidae, while Antelope belong to the Bovidae family. These animals look extremely similar, but are not closely related & originate from different parts of the globe. Could this be the case for Bigfoot, a creature seen all over the world, but primarily in North America? Is it possible that this species migrated, evolving into variations like the yeti? Just because it looks like an ape or human, doesn’t mean it is. We cannot underestimate the origin of this species and how different they may be from our own. Dr. Jeff Meldrum and Dr. Henner Fahrenbach examined several hair samples from unknown sources. Dr. Meldrum explains that in non-primate mammals, hair is grouped into 3 types including longer, coarser hairs, a finer undercoat, and whiskers. Out of all the hair types, the coarse hair layer is what yields the most evidence. In order to identify a species, scientists observe overlapping scales, which can be different in color and thickness, diameter of the hair, cross-sectional shape, and length of the hair shaft. Human hair grows differently and longer than other species, therefore showing its own characteristics such as a cut end and distinctive follicle structure. After Fahrenbach gathered nearly a dozen samples that were not linked to any known animal, the two scientists began studying their similarities. Their findings were interesting in that two of the samples had the same structural characteristics, making them the same species, however their hair color and hair length varied, as it does in Homo sapiens as well. Although the samples were ultimately inconclusive, they did point to the probability of an unknown hominin species, with origin that resembles both human and ape. The key word in this equation is, "resembles." Does this mean Bigfoot is a hominin or an undiscovered great ape? Perhaps it is entirely different than humans and apes, much like the antelope and deer. Many Native tribes talk of Bigfoot being the "first people," saying, "they've been here forever." If there is truth to these words, perhaps this species originated in North America much like the camel or cheetah. If it is an entirely different species than human or ape, it wouldn't be unlikely for its origins to stem from North America. After all, scientists do say that we have only scratched the surface of discovering all ape and human species that ever lived. Imagine the creatures that once walked this earth, some of which, we will never know, and some of which...we choose to ignore.
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)
Bigfoot is characterized as a large, bipedal creature covered in hair with long arms, toned muscles, and an appearance representing a combination of man and ape. The question of how such a species could exist alongside ours without having been discovered by our scientific community is baffling to many; individuals tend to boast that if this creature ever did exist, it must be extinct by now, otherwise we would have discovered it. However, we are not lending this creature’s intelligence, and possible origins enough credit. Today we take a walk back through time; we will dissect the evolution of apes and man to discover clues about how a man-like species might survive as long as us, without directly competing and remaining elusive. How did it get here, and how intelligent could it be? We will piece together the characteristics of Ardipithecus, Paranthropus, and Australopithecus to determine which branch of bipedal man and ape-like creatures Bigfoot may have descended from. Ardipithecus was the very first ape species to walk bipedally. They are the closest link we have to primates. This species was rather small and primitive, so Bigfoot stemming off of this branch is unlikely.
The next two groups of evolved human-like species were Australopithecus and Paranthropus. These groups both walked upright but differed in some characteristics. For example, Paranthropus aethiopicus had large megadont teeth and a very strong jaw. Perhaps the most important feature to note on this species was a developed sagittal crest (slightly pointed head at the top of the skull) which allowed for huge chewing muscles. Since the muscles that connected toward the back of the crest were so strong, these creatures were able to chew very well with their front teeth. Unfortunately, very few remains of this species have been found. Just like other creatures from the Paranthropus genus, Paranthropus boisei had adaptations for strong chewing. A prominent sagittal crest on the midline of the top of the skull connected large chewing muscles from the top and side of the braincase to the lower jaw. This anatomy moved the species’ jaw up and down very mechanically. This creature had huge cheek teeth four-times the size of a modern human’s and the thickest dental enamel of any known early human. Because of their sagittal crest and larger cranial capacity, this species had a fast-growing brain. Remember, food equals intelligence in the equation of evolution.
The Australopithecine group was known for land and tree-dwelling, with adaptations for both walking and climbing. These creatures had traits of both humans and apes. For example, Australopithecus anamensis has a shin bone showing a human-like placement of the ankle joint, which points to frequent bipedalism. However, their long arms and strong wrist bones indicate their climbing abilities which likely lasted close to 1 million years. These multi-functional limbs supporting walking and climbing were also found in Australopithecus africanus, whose round cranium housed a large brain, and Australopithecus afarensis, whose children matured quickly after birth. Australopithecus afarensis is one of the longest-lived and best-known early human species, surviving for more than 900,000 years (four times as long as our own species has been around.) Perhaps their land and tree adaptations allowed them to excel and sustain as a species for so long. After Australopithecus and alongside the Paranthropus group came Homo.
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