Sasquatch seems to mix the behavior of both humans and great apes. However, we can only rely on reports for that information. It seems in terms of physical appearance, this species has evolved similarly to our own species, which can be scientifically backed.
The Patterson Gimlin film has proven to be the most credible piece of photographic/videographic evidence to date. Luckily, throughout the years, this film has been stabilized, enhanced, and restored to an incredibly successful degree. When focusing in on the subject’s face, we notice a few things, including what looks to be an external nose. Humans are the only ape species (with the exception of the Proboscis monkey) to possess this type of nose. There are several scientific hypotheses that support this anatomical evolution in humans. Why are we the only ape species with an external nose? The answer once again lies in our shift in food sources. When humans started eating meat, evolutionary changes began. Not only did our social structure become more complex, but our anatomy too. Consuming meat was a taxing pursuit for humans; it meant that we had to chase prey as well as outcompete other carnivores. The endurance and organization it takes to hunt not only evolved our social complexity, but our spatial awareness. Olfactory Navigation is when smells are associated with locations and activities, which in turn helps a species navigate. Because our new diet and lifestyle demanded us to navigate, our noses had to evolve to do so. The second shift in our nasal anatomy occurred when we began cooking our meat. Because of the changes in our diet, our facial bone structure changed significantly, which may have evolved our noses further. How does this relate to Sasquatch? Good question. Although we can’t verify every eye-witness report, we must recognize consistencies in physicality reported. Witnesses tend to describe the Sasquatch nose as “Relatively flat, but not like an ape-more like a human.” If we look at the anatomy of the Sasquatch, we see that they have evolved much like humans. For example, footprints indicate the evolution of their bipedalism (walking upright.) We see a lack of a divergent toe, which is a very humanlike trait. According to witness encounters, Sasquatch has been seen actively hunting and killing deer and other animals alike. If they are in fact carnivorous, this would mean that they execute organized hunting like us humans. Remember, in our own species, we needed to develop spatial awareness for hunting, which began evolving our nose. However, the difference between humans and Sasquatch is that we cook our food. There has been no evidence to suggest that Sasquatch has mastered fire. This means that their nasal evolution would have ended with Olfactory Navigation, as they still consume raw meat, which requires muscles and other anatomical features we humans no longer need. This certainly explains why Bigfoot seems to have a nose that appears more humanlike, but not quite as evolved as ours. This scientific study validates the Bigfoot species’ course of evolution, which seems to be very similar to our own.
The sagittal crest is a prominent ridge of bone that projects upwards from the cranial vault along its midline. This anatomy is most commonly seen in male gorillas and orangutans. This anatomical feature is a direct result of chewing hard food sources like fibrous plants and raw meat. The subject in the PG film clearly possesses this anatomy, which tells us a bit about their diet! Humans lost our sagittal crest because we started cooking meat, which made it softer and easier to chew.
It’s hard to say whether Sasquatch’s eyes are more humanlike or apelike, as we can only go off reports. However, it is important to note that humans have a very unique optical feature that is unlike other apes: the whites of the eyes. Humans have a white sclera, which is not seen in other apes. Scientists believe this could be due to the social structure of great apes. In their culture, it is essential to hide the direction of gaze, as not to intimidate another individual or reveal a food source. Great apes are more competitive than humans, so lacking the whites in the eye makes it easier for them to hide their gaze. Humans communicate through eye contact, which is why our eyes evolved the way they did. Sasquatch reports are mixed when it comes to this feature. Some reports include whites of the eyes in the description whereas other witness describe “big black eyes with no whites.” This feature is not apparent in the PG film and so it must remain under speculation at this time.
According to Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker, English scientist and professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, sleep is essential to intelligence, memory function, and evolution. Why are we smarter than other primates? It may just have something to do with sleep. REM, or Rapid Eye Movement sleep, is a deep paralysis that occurs during slumber that boosts social complexity and cognitive intelligence. Because primates sleep in trees, they cannot achieve REM sleep, as the sleep paralysis would cause them to fall to their death. Even though primates sleep longer than Homo sapien, they do not reach the depth of cognitive development that we do. While other hominids were sleeping in trees, Homo erectus learned how to make fire, allowing them to sleep safely on the ground and reach REM sleep. This change in sleeping patterns could be what evolved Homo sapien intelligence. Evidence strongly suggests that Sasquatch sleeps on the ground just like us humans. Between credible eye-witness reports, possible ground nesting sites and no evidence of nesting in trees, we can infer that Sasquatch spends their time sleeping on the ground. Primates sleep in trees to avoid predators, which is something Sasquatch doesn’t really need to worry about. Being the largest and most powerful animal in the forest may have caused them to transition from tree-dwelling to bipedalism and ground-sleeping. What does this mean? If modern humans evolved our social complexity and cognitive intelligence through REM sleep, the same might go for Sasquatch!
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. Throughout the spring season, this tribe focused on catching the spring run of salmon using techniques such as hook and line, nets, and harpooning. Trout, steelhead, freshwater mussels and crayfish were also harvested from the river during this season. Could it be possible that Bigfoot has the agility & strength to catch fish without these tools? Interestingly, early explorers reported seeing these natives occasionally catching fish by hand. The Takelma tribe was highly adapted with a strong knowledge of wilderness survival. Acorns collected in the fall were preserved during the winter months, making them a valuable food source in the spring. During this time, men and women of the tribe collected camas bulbs and materials for their hand-woven baskets, often used to catch fish. During the spring months, this tribe bow hunted and corralled deer, elk, rabbits, waterfowl, squirrels, chipmunks, and other small animals.
Many argue that Bigfoot cannot be part of the Homo genus due to a difference in lifestyle. For example, we haven’t found evidence of tool use, fire, domestication of livestock, or agriculture, all identifiers for our unique species. However, could it be possible that another intelligent group could survive as hunter-gatherers, living without the advancements that define Homo sapiens? The answer may surprise you.
In Northern Tanzania, a group of modern hunter-gatherers live in a tribe of 1,300 individuals. The Hadza are one of the last groups of their kind in all of Africa, and their lifestyle is one that most of humanity has abandoned. The Hadza prove that the need for life’s luxuries do not determine a group’s success. They do not grow and store food, nor do they domesticate livestock. Instead, they hunt using handmade bows and arrows, and they forage for edible plants and honey. The Hadza do not make permanent shelters, but instead weave temporary structures out of dried grass and sticks.
Homo sapiens have practiced a hunter-gatherer lifestyle dating back 2 million years. Prior to this way of life, our species relied on scavenging animal remains left behind by other predators. Based on eye-witness reports & footprint locations, it seems that Bigfoot exhibits a similar lifestyle that our own species once did. Hundreds of reports detail Bigfoots carrying livestock off farms, picking up roadkill or stealing fresh kills from hunters. This scavenging behavior is not as animalistic as one might think, as our own species survived this way for many years. Bigfoots have also been reported to gather berries and fruits, and they have been observed on multiple occasions demonstrating organized hunting of deer. Perhaps their species is so large and powerful, they do not have a use for weapons. If they have the mental complexity to organize distractions and physical strength to ambush their prey, their need for weapons may be redundant. A large rock or stick may do the trick just as well as a bow and arrow if you’re stealthy enough to sneak up on your prey. It is believed that an intelligent species must have shelter in order to survive. One of the most asked questions about Bigfoot is “Where do they live?” However, if Bigfoot is building temporary primitive structures like the Hadza, we may not find evidence of shelter so easily. The argument that evidence of a complex lifestyle does not exist may be explained by the possibility that Bigfoot leaves no trace.
National Geographic Society. “Hadza.” National Geographic Society, 9 Sept. 2018, https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/hadza/.
Photographers for a BBC Earth program captured rare footage of a dominant silverback gorilla who stood still in the middle of the road, blocking traffic to ensure the safe crossing of his family. The gorilla didn’t budge until every family member was on the other side. Could this be the case for Sasquatch road crossings?
Sasquatch, when discovered, will likely be part of the ape family, sharing human-like characteristics with our own species. However, depending on how they evolved, they may also share behaviors with other great apes like gorillas. For instance, the nesting sites in the Olympics of Washington show structural similarities to gorilla nests. Perhaps by analyzing their behavior, we can gain insight to how Sasquatch lives. Gorillas build nests for several reasons, including keeping off the cold ground and prevention from slipping down slopes. Remember, the Olympic Project nests were found at the base of trees on Western-facing slopes. It seems that this behavior is lining up! Interestingly, gorilla nests are woven out of available materials, which presents another connection to Sasquatch nests. Aside from the OP nests made from Huckleberry, several other nests have been found by researchers like Peter Byrne, who describes what he saw as a nest made of moss.
You may be wondering how these correlations can help us to find Sasquatch. The way I see it is that researching their origins is key in determining where they might be. In our last article, we explored the origin theory of A.sediba, the most complete hominin skeleton found in the fossil record. Not only does this species share striking physical similarities with Sasquatch, but their habitat lines up as well. Fossils of this hominin were found in African limestone caves, which preserved the fossils. This may be a clue for us to follow. Should we be searching for Bigfoot fossils in limestone caves across the U.S.? I think we’re onto something here. The same goes for the correlations we find between gorillas and Sasquatch behavior.
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.
Bigfoot’s origins have been widely debated for years. Did they descend from Gigantopithecus, are they closely related to gorillas, or do they sit next to humans on our family tree? Important to note, Sasquatch is a unique species with many admirable adaptations. We will never fully understand them until they are scientifically studied, however, I believe pinpointing their origins may be the key in discovering more evidence. If we can get an idea of what they are, we may be able to guess when & where they are. After studying multiple theories, I’ve come up with one of my own. Our fossil record consists of dozens of species of primates, including great apes & humans. However, our evolutionary tree expands far beyond the Homo lineage. Bigfoot is described to be very ape-like & very human-like. And what most people don’t know is that a group called Australopithecines share the same split in characteristics. This group of hominins lived between 4.2 & 2 million years ago. Could a species from this lineage still exist today? The answer may lie in Australopithecus sediba.
· Sediba existed 2 million years ago, alongside Homo erectus, the predecessor for modern humans.
· This species had long upper limbs & a developed bipedal locomotion. Their hips were wide like humans & their features were humanlike except for their feet which seem to mix ape & human characteristics, something that we also see in Sasquatch anatomy.
· This Australopithecine shares many characteristics with our own species, for example, the uneven shapes of the right and left side of the brain, as well as the structure of the brain.
· The placement of frontal lobes in the Homo sapien brain plays a big part in controlling decision-making, social behavior & creativity.
· In a study done by The European Synchrotron, the prefrontal cortex of A. sediba was analyzed against that of modern humans and apes. The study revealed advancements in the development of the prefrontal cortex that foreshadow the same proportional changes that evolved modern humans. Sediba’s orbitofrontal region expanded in ways that shaped its frontal lobes similarly to humans. In humans, the frontal lobes are associated with higher mental functions like multitasking, a capability that allows for long-term planning & innovation. In other words, Sediba shares the same anatomical characteristic that gave our own species the ability for complex thought. Scientists have also identified a feature on the brain that humans use to process language.
· Sediba had midfoot flexibility and would have produced a midtarsal break with each step. Sediba turned its foot inward with its weight focused on the outer edge of the foot. This anatomical feature seems to be evident in many Sasquatch prints, such as the Pacific Northwest Cast of 2004.
· While A. sediba’sankle was human-like in certain ways, it shares much of the same anatomy that is found in the inverted foot of a climbing ape. Sasquatch has been reported to climb trees on many occasions, which supports this theory further.
· Sediba’s distal femur possesses a human-like bicondylar angle, therefore positioning A. sediba’sknees directly over the feet during a bipedal step. A compliant gait is also observed in the PG film.
· One might make the argument that australopithecines used tools, a missing behavior in most Sasquatch reports. However, Sasquatch doesn’t need tool use to qualify as an Australopithecine. In fact, there is no evidence to suggest that Sediba used tools the same way we did. Scientists believe it is likely that they used sticks, animal bones and rocks to perform complex tasks, something that hasbeen observed in Bigfoot reports.
· Now that we’ve established the compelling similarities between these species, let’s take a look at where sediba’s fossils were recovered, so we can gain a rough understanding of this species’ environment, which may parallel that of Sasquatch. Malapa Africa is the fossil dig site of Australopithecus sediba, which just happens to be Africa’s most complete hominin skeleton. After millions of years of erosion, a cave has been exposed, allowing researchers to dig for hominin fossils. The question is, how did they get there? Dr Job Kibii, a researcher at the Institute for Human Evolution and director of excavations at the Malapa site, says that there is evidence to support that the sediba individuals & other animals found had fallen down vertical cave shafts. Fortunately for researchers, this means that their remains were not scavenged & remained intact for so many years.
· At the time of their existence, Malapa Africa would have been a very fertile & forested region, similar to the environment Bigfoot occupies today. Scientists were surprised at Sediba’s diet, which consisted of fruits, leaves, bark & various plants, suggesting their habitat was far different than the African savanna diet of other hominins of that time. The correlation between Sediba & Bigfoot’s physical characteristics, intelligence capabilities & habitat refreshing. It is exciting to think that a version of Sediba could exist in North America today. My hypothesis is forming, & in order to determine if Bigfoot is related to Sediba, I need to get out in the field & study this unrecognized species. By using information about Sediba, I may be able to track down Sasquatch.
· Professor Lee Berger of the Institute for Human Evolution and the University of (Wits), School of Geosciences, found the Malapa site by zoning in on limestone-loving trees that grow at cave sites. This method may be crucial in locating Sasquatch remains.
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)
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.
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