Yesterday was the 43rd anniversary of the famous Patterson-Gimlin footage, a short film that shows what many believe is an elusive, as-yet-undescribed-by-science species known as Bigfoot or Sasquatch.
I've written about the Patterson-Gimlin film on my Animal Planet blog Animal Oddities, where I sometimes include reports of sightings of strange animals. Usually these sightings are a case of mistaken identity or simple lack of knowledge of wildlife and the natural world on the part of the observer. But I include them because ever since I was a little kid, I've been fascinated by the possibility of the existence of wild animals that have managed to avoid detection and live their lives untouched by negative human influence. Plus, new species are still being discovered all the time, sometimes large ones, so you never know if reports of undocumented animals might turn out to be legitimate. And at the end of the day, I try to keep Animal Oddities light and fun, and let's face it, Bigfoot stories are pretty entertaining.
As a naturalist I know that the chance of such creatures actually existing is extremely remote and as a conservationist I know we need to focus our energy, dollars and conservation efforts on real wild animals that need our help. But deep down, the ten-year-old in me hopes these creatures are real and is waiting for the day that it will be proven. Just call me Fox Mulder.
I'm not alone. Books have been written about the need of modern humans to know on a subconscious level that there is still untamed wilderness out there and how Bigfoot is a symbol of that wildness whether it is an actual living species in the real world or not. For me, anything that gets people interested in the natural world and inspires them to get outside is a good thing. Despite the fact that the media portrays believers in Bigfoot as country simpletons or total wackos (not altogether without cause), some in the scientific community allow for the tiny possibility that such creatures might be real, including such prominent figures as primate researcher and conservationist Jane Goodall. After all, no one believed in the tales of large, hairy primates in the upland jungles of Africa until Europeans "discovered" them in the mid 1800s and named them mountain gorillas. Even more recently a new subspecies of extremely large chimpanzee that were long-rumored to exist but thought to be a myth were officially documented in the Congo and are now being studied.
Over the years, beginning long before the Patterson-Gimlin film, there have been thousands of sighting reports as well as videos purportedly showing this creature. This week a new video has hit the internet and it's creating quite a buzz. As with most Bigfoot videos, the footage was shot at a distance and is shaky. That said, there's definitely something there that makes you scratch your head. Check out the video below, then watch this analysis of the it.
Does this show the real deal? A hoax? Wishful thinking on the part of people who desperately want to believe? What do you think?
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