Bigfoot (also known as Sasquatch) is the name given to a cryptid simian-, ape-, hominid-, or Hominin-like creature that is said to inhabit forests, mainly in the Pacific Northwest region of North America. Bigfoot is usually described as a large, hairy, bipedal humanoid. The term sasquatch is an Anglicized derivative of the Halkomelem word sásq’ets.
Most scientists discount the existence of Bigfoot and consider it to be a combination of folklore, misidentification, and hoax, rather than a living animal, because of the lack of physical evidence and the large numbers of creatures that would be necessary to maintain a breeding population. However, a few scientists, such as Grover Krantz and Jeffrey Meldrum, have focused research on the alleged creature for the greater parts of their careers, or, in the case of John Bindernagel, for significant parts of it.
Appearance and anatomy
Bigfoot is described in reports as a large, hairy, muscular, bipedal ape-like creature, with adults in a range of 1.8–3 m (5.9–9.8 ft) tall, and usually estimated to weigh from 280 to 1,000 pounds (130 to 450 kg). It is reportedly covered in hair that is usually black, dark brown, or dark reddish. “The skin, when it can be seen, is generally dark”, “but sometimes light.”
Hair is described as straight and short or medium length. Rupert Matthews noted the occasional presence of a mane, or “mantle”, of hair.
With respect to the torso, Rupert Matthews states: “Their shoulders are wider in proportion to their height than is usual for a human and that width is maintained right down to the equally wide hips”; he characterized the chest as deep.
Matthews describes females as having “visible breasts” (unlike gorillas). Breasts have been reported to be located lower on the chest than a human’s. A lack of detail on genitalia in reports have led some to conclude they are inconspicuous.
The arms are reported as long. “Their hands are large and wide with stubby fingers and short thumbs that are not opposable to the fingers.”
The neck is purportedly thick and so short as to be unobservable. Claimed witnesses have described the head as being flat-faced, like a human, or exhibiting slight prognathism; having a pronouncedbrow ridge; and having a low-set forehead with the skull behind it being noticeably higher in back than in front, culminating in a top that is rounded and crested, similar to the sagittal crest of the malegorilla.
Locomotion, gait, and posture
John Bindernagel describes three reported elements of Bigfoot’s gait as: gracefulness and smoothness, owing to its bent-knee or compliant gait; an exaggerated arm-swing; and a high shank-lift, which “brings the sole of the foot to an almost vertical position at the end of each stride.” John Green (1978) writes, “Whether walking or running, they almost always took long steps.”
Bindernagel further states that a “hunched or stooped posture” is “noted in many Sasquatch reports” . . ., with “their long arms dangling” when standing. Sasquatches have been reported crouching, squatting, and sitting. “Swimming . . . appears to be an important means of locomotion, … especially on the west coast.”
(“Sign: The trail or trace of wild animals, etc.”A synonym for “spoor”.)
- Tracks. Features of the foot have mostly been inferred from footprints. Green writes, “The bottom of the foot is flat; there is no longitudinal arch of the foot, nor a transverse one.” The feet seem to be somewhat flexible, though not as much as those of apes. Fahrenbach’s analysis finds the average foot length to be 15.6 inches, with a low end of 7 inches and a high of 27. Grover Krantz writes, “… for individuals of the same stature the sasquatch foot is 23 percent longer than the human. It is also about one-third wider for the same length ….”
- While most casts have five toes — like all known apes — some casts of Bigfoot tracks have had numbers ranging from two to six. Some have also contained claw marks, making it likely that a portion came from known animals such as bears, which have five toes and claws.
- Broken or twisted-off saplings. Beds, nests, bowers, and dens. Possible instances of these are described by Bindernagel, Krantz, Alley, and Matthews. Odor. Bigfoot is often but not always reported to have a strong, unpleasant odor by those who have claimed a close encounter.
John Napier writes, “A frequent comment is that when observed, the creature stands and stares, immobile and expressionless ….” Behavioral traits claimed by John Bindernagel and others include that they occasionally sway slightly from side to side when standing; that infrequently, bristling hair (piloerection) has been observed on the shoulders and neck; and that reports of them sleeping are rare – but that a face-down position appears in some accounts. Drinking from cupped hands, as a man would.
Proponents further claim that Bigfoot is omnivorous and mainly nocturnal.