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Dutchess_III's avatar

Do you think Big Foot exists?

Asked by Dutchess_III (42453points) July 7th, 2015

Yeti, Abominable Snowman, Sasquatch, whatever. Do you think such creatures exist?

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35 Answers

canidmajor's avatar

I was assigned the “yes” position recently in one of those “we’re all a little buzzed and doing deep thinking” (so we thought) events.
Came up with a few things against the absolute “nope” arguments.

There are still quite a few absolutely remote areas that could sustain primate life that have been only sketchily explored. Western Canada has huge tracts of unexplored forests. A group of small populations of Sasquatch could exist without notice.
A primate intelligence could evade discovery.
The diet could be like the diet of omnivorous grizzly bears, so it follows that the scat would be, as well. Same for clumps of hair. Carcasses would be quickly disarticulated by predators and scavengers, bones gnawed and broken for the marrow. The leftover small bones would likely be mistaken by random hikers for bear bones.
The people discovering any of these clues would likely not be scientists.

And many distinct and separate cultures had these stories before there was global communication.

I’m not saying there are large non-human, unclassified primates living in remote areas, but the arguments against absolute denial of same can be reasonably made.

Dutchess_III's avatar

in my opinion, the fact that we have found absolutely ZERO physical evidence of any kind tells me that they probably do not exist.
Not every bone, not every trace of every animal is erased when they die.
If they did exist, then they have likely been around for hundreds, if not thousands of years. They would have lived in areas that were remote for most of that time, but are no longer remote.

canidmajor's avatar

But not everything is found, or, if found, is properly analyzed. Would you, @Dutchess_III, be able to differentiate a partial femur of a large bear from that of a large primate? It may be more of a lack of proper scientific appraisal than a lack of scientific evidence.

Again, I am not positing that they exist, just that a simple “nope” is inappropriate.

The platypus is much less likely to exist than than a large primate.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I appreciate your argument, @canidmajor!

But we know for a fact the platypus exits.

The thing is, there are people who are actually dedicating their lives to finding evidence (if you believe the reality shows) and it they found anything remotely “suspicious” they’d gather it up.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

At first I would have said no, but several years ago in a mountain pass late at night, this thing the size of a large Black Bear was standing at the edge of the highway turned and ran down the bank and into the bush ON 2 LEGS, bears don’t run on 2 legs especially down hill.
There wasn’t another human around for miles, to this very day I don’t know exactly what that was.
But now I think big foot (Sasquatch) might really be out there.

Pachy's avatar

I like @canidmajor‘s answer. I tend to be pretty skeptical about rare sightings like Big Foot, UFOs, office-worthy GOP SCOTUS candidates, and such, but I’m also open-minded enough to think… well, do I really know everything?

canidmajor's avatar

And those people are roundly dismissed as crackpots, @Dutchess_III.

Say you buy some property in the foothills of the Cascades in north central Washington State.
You excavate in order to build. You unearth something that is very obviously a larger-than-human primate skull. Excited by the find, you rush the skull to the University of Washington to be analyzed. The biology department refers you to the anthropology department. You leave the skull with them, they promise to keep you apprised.
They can’t identify it, they, too, think there is a possibility that it is a Sasquatch skull. They realize that by going public with such a find, they will lose credibility, funding, and possibly their positions, not only at the university, but in the scientific community as well.

They declare it a gorilla skull, probably from a circus animal that escaped from a train and took refuge in the mountains 100 years ago. they “keep it for further testing” so they don’t have to give it back to you, life goes on, it gets forgotten.

Popular culture has reduced the possibility of things like this to the realm of crackpot extremists. The feeling now is that even if an actual, living breathing Sasquatch wandered into Nieman Marcus in New York City, it would be dismissed as a hoax because no reputable scientist or group would willingly confirm its existence.

osoraro's avatar

Question flagged because you misspelled “exists”. pffft.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Tattle Tale!

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, if a group of scientists covered their tracks like that, I wouldn’t consider them credible, @canidmajor.

keobooks's avatar

People who talk about Bigfoot seem to believe that there would just be one to be found. But this isn’t the case, unless they are on the brink of extinction. There would have to be at least 2 to maintain the species, and it would need at least one small pack or group of them to maintain biodiversity and live in a social group. Primates all share the trait of being very social creatures. I assume that people expect Bigfoot to be some sort of primate.

Perhaps one living creature could hide from mankind without a trace for this long in North America, but I seriously doubt an entire pack of them could all live out in the woods without a trace.

canidmajor's avatar

They are human, first, @Dutchess_III, and the very real possibility of having all your research and life’s work tainted because of one considered-to-be-crackpot event would also give me pause before declaration.

@keobooks: perhaps, as a dying species, they would have to learn to live in small family groupings to avoid detection, only connecting up with other family groupings to breed, and maybe the gene pool is rapidly diminishing because of this.

I am enjoying this, @Dutchess_III, good question! :-)

And we’re talking one or two scientists, not many.

ucme's avatar

If he does, the NBA need to sign him up quick.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I would like to think so, but without hard evidence, it’s difficult to.

keobooks's avatar

@canidmajor I find it unlikely that a scientist would hide a bone rather than investigate. Scientists are very curious by nature. They could get funding for research on the bone without ever having to mention Bigfoot.

I find it very unlikely that there could be an animal aware and smart enough to know they should hide from humans and do this perfectly. At the same time we have to believe that these beings have no tools or fire, because we would have seen evidence of this left behind. This is highly unlikely as well.

I’ll have to go with Occam’s razor here. In order for there to be a group of Bigfoot in the woods, you need to create several hypothetical situations that depend on several different things happening at the same time to explain why nobody sees any creatures or any evidence that they would have left behind.

In order for them to not exist, I only have to accept that we’ve done a heck of a lot of searching and traveling and they never appeared.

canidmajor's avatar

Ah, but @keobooks, rocks and sticks are tools. Other, less-sophisticated-than-us primates don’t use fire. If a primate could live on what bears eat, (and we humans could, easily) that would include quite a varied and complete diet.
Look at a map of Canada. There are thousands and thousands of basically unpopulated square miles that go unseen by human eyes most of the time. An expedition would, by its very nature, be easily avoidable.

And really, guys, the “scientists” you seem to think are uncorruptible probably don’t actually exist. Like I said before, if it was a choice of clinging to one’s integrity, with every likelihood that someone else would refute my findings, or keeping my job and the rest of my work valued, I would likely choose the latter. If this stuff wasn’t all in the same folder as Roswell and suchlike, I’m sure scientific integrity would win out.

And, except for the fact that we know there are platypuses (platypus? :-) ) Occam’s Razor would negate their likely existence.

Again, not saying I believe that there are Big Feet, just saying that there is an argument to be made.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Just as much as the Loch Ness Monster exists.

Berserker's avatar

If things like bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster exist, there would have to be more than one. Damn things can’t live forever.

keobooks's avatar

When chimps use sticks and rocks as tools, you can tell that they were used. You can tell where animals slept in makeshift campsites. And yes, most primates live without fire—but they also almost all live in tropical or subtropical locations. I can only think of one monkey that lives in areas that get cold.

Yes there are thousands of miles of unpopulated forest. I guess you can argue that just about anything could be there. But when creatures are fairly large and likely live in social groups, they would likely be nomadic to keep their group fed. Eventually, even if you never saw them, you’d come up with some sort of sign of foraging or sleeping nests or items used as toolson the outskirts. Even if they were smart enough to physically hide, they wouldn’t know to erase all of the evidence.

I’m not saying that scientists are uncorruptable. I’m saying that they are innately curious. They would want to go and investigate. And their integrity wouldn’t be damaged at all for investigating.

The platypus isn’t a good example of Occam’s razor. I don’t think people spent centuries looking for platypuses with absolutely no evidence of them existing.

ragingloli's avatar

There is no credible evidence as of yet to substantiate that hypothesis.

ucme's avatar

Fun fact: The famous shot of the “Loch Ness Monster” where its head & elongated neck appears to be protruding from the water is an elephant’s trunk, blowing air as it swims just under the surface.
A travelling circus was in the area at the time & they allowed the elephants to cool off in the loch.
I shall now go ask Lord Google of the Interwebz if he has the aforementioned photo.

keobooks's avatar

While listening to this 3AM talk radio guy, I did hear a theory that claimed Bigfoot was telepathic and so could detect us and hide. He also knew to hide all his evidence because he could read our minds and knew what we were looking for. He could also detect hidden cameras and all traps with telepathy. Also, if you did find him, he’d hypnotize you and make you forget.

I’m wondering how this creature hasn’t taken over the world by now.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Shit. I’m married to a Big Foot.

gorillapaws's avatar

While my feet are sasquatch-like, I’m highly confident they don’t exist. Likewise I have no reason to believe that elves, gnomes, trolls and leprechauns exist despite folklore. You need evidence to make a claim, and the bigger the claim, the stronger the evidence required.

lugerruger's avatar

I don’t think so, but anything is possible, right?

Dutchess_III's avatar

No, @lugerruger. “Anything” is not possible.

canidmajor's avatar

A viable, genetically sustainable population might consist of a thousand primates, consisting of small family groups, nomadic by nature, over thousands of square miles. They wouldn’t need fire to keep warm any more than other Northern mammals need fire. And your contention, @keobooks, that sticks and rocks used as tools are recognizable as such may be true, but recognizable as such by whom? By you? Are you a primatologist trained to see the difference between a rock used to deliberately break something and a rock that’s just a rock?

The fact that something has not been been confirmed as scientific evidence doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, it simply means that the appropriately trained individuals have not seen and /or confirmed it as scientific evidence.

If such primates exist, they wouldn’t necessarily have a sophisticated intelligence or social structure, they may just be good at hiding in remote areas.

And if I were a scientist, I would be reluctant to reveal findings, just based on this thread, where the not-unreasonable idea of a primate species with which we are not familiar is grouped in with UFOs, trolls, elves, Nessie, and other creatures proven to have an origin in myth or hoax.

Again, not saying they exist, but considering the possibility, given geography and other factors, doesn’t seem to be unreasonable.

keobooks's avatar

I just think you have to rely on too many coincidences and “what if” situations to pose an argument. Technically, we can’t rule ANYTHING out. This is true. But there comes a point where it’s safe to assume the answer is no.

Sure there is a chance that we discover a whole herd of these things tomorrow. But we could also discover an alien crash site or a portal to the hollow earth as well if you really want to stretch it.

I’m just saying that it’s highly doubtful to the point that it’s not really worth entertaining the idea

Dutchess_III's avatar

@canidmajor, If your life depended on the right answer, what would you say? Just curious. I am enjoying your arguments, both of you!

canidmajor's avatar

I don’t honestly know anymore, @Dutchess_III, as the making of this argument for fun has me opening my mind. I would guess probably not, but I tend not to rule out things that others automatically and without forethought say “no, never, can’t be” to.
The good news is that all those who say “without evidence it can’t be” are not the research people who are curious about possibilities and willing to discover new things and disprove old “absolutes”.
Like butter. And radio. And entire life-systems thriving on underwater fumeroles that not so long ago were considered to be impossible. Who knew? The more we explore, the more we find out

Dutchess_III's avatar

Here is something we might find interesting. It’s Nat Geo, so I give it some credibility right off the top.

It also discusses scientist who are “Risking ridicule from other academics, they propose that there’s enough forensic evidence to warrant something that has never been done: a comprehensive, scientific study to determine if the legendary primate actually exists.”

canidmajor's avatar

Interesting article, @Dutchess_III, thanks for posting it!

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