Bummer. The recent claim by two Georgia men to have discovered the remains of a Bigfoot corpse turned out to be a hoax.
Sure, you didn't fall for it, but somehow a couple of blockheads and a frozen gorilla costume did manage to capture public attention and create a minor media stir.
After all, Bigfoot, Yeti, and hordes of other cryptoid missing links have been igniting human imagination for ages. Even the most skeptical of us must wonder if it's possible there really could be large, undiscovered primates on earth, still unknown to us humans.
Can we be so sure we've found them all? And if some enticing evidence presented itself, how would we test it scientifically?
Tonight physical anthropologist Eugenie Scott will help us answer the question of whether or not we might one day be able to welcome some long lost relatives to the family tree.
This event is presented in collaboration with the Bay Area Skeptics- Ask a Scientist
Eugenie C. Scott
Eugenie Scott, a former university professor, is the Executive Director of NCSE. She has been both a researcher and an activist in the creationism/evolution controversy for over twenty-five years, and can address many components of this controversy, including educational, legal, scientific, religious, and social issues.
She has received national recognition for her NCSE activities, including awards from scientific societies, educational societies, skeptics groups, and humanist groups. She holds six honorary degrees from McGill, Rutgers, Mt. Holyoke, the University of New Mexico, Ohio State, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. A dynamic speaker, she offers stimulating and thought-provoking as well as entertaining lectures and workshops.
Scott is the author of Evolution vs Creationism and co-editor, with Glenn Branch, of Not in Our Classrooms: Why Intelligent Design Is Wrong for Our Schools.
Eugenie Scott shows a map of reported Bigfoot sightings in Texas and lists scientific reasons why the environment of the Southwestern United States would not likely be able to support large primate wildlife.
Large, hairy, humanlike creature that reportedly lives in isolated areas of the northwestern U.S. and western Canada. Descriptions of Bigfoot are similar to those of the Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas. It is said to be a primate 615 ft (24.5 m) in height, walking upright and either moving silently or emitting a high-pitched cry. Supposed footprints (some are hoaxes) have measured up to 24 in. (60 cm) in length. Despite many reported sightings, there is still no solid evidence that Bigfoot exists.
I don't believe in Bigfoot by any means, and watching this just helped back that up with fact. But it got me thinking, when was the last time we (the western world) discovered a new or previously undiscovered tribe of people?
• Also, Dr, Scott repeatedly indicates that Bigfoot is purported to be 10 to 12 feet tall, and expounds upon the attendant problems with body proportions and kinesiology that the existence of such a large creature would present. But accounts of creatures of that size are pretty much limited to the realm of folklore from long ago. Virtually all credible eyewitness accounts describe creatures in the 6.5 to 8-foot tall range, with a comparatively rare estimate of 9 feet. Considered in that proportional context, a limber bipedal creature is not at all biomechanically unfeasible. Consider some humans that are well within that range – Shaquille O'Neal, for example. At 7’1’’, O’Neal is not only capable of comfortably carrying his own mass, he is very agile and athletic, and, his limb structure is not elephantine. He is built pretty much like an average-size person, albeit an athletic one. This does not prove that Bigfoot exists, but Dr. Scott should apply her dimensional analysis to the actually-reported-sized creatures, not the mythological giant ones. And such an analysis would not reasonably preclude the existence of a 7 to 8-foot tall creature with somewhat human-like proportions, though the slam-dunk capacity of such a creature would be questionable.
Very interesting. Dr. Scott did provide plenty of fuel for reasonable doubt. However, her refutation of the Patterson film was not supported by a thorough familiarity with the more recent analysis of the film. I am not sure what to conclude about it, but anyone who is interested in the subject should see a couple of documentaries from the past few years. (Both can be tracked down on the internet.) One of the first "Monsterquest" editions ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rL3b6M5op_w ) featured a digital enhancement/enlargement and isolation of the frames that revealed some interesting movements of the "creature"’s lips. This would have been difficult to achieve with a gorilla mask. A Bigfoot edition of "American Paranormal" ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mKNj5UPyXg ) also showed a digital reformatting of the footage, this one stabilizing the perspective. It provides a very good limb and body proportion analysis/comparison that casts serious doubt on the ability of a guy in a suit being able to manifest the appearance of the figure in the film. And the muscle movement Dr. Scott said she could not see is visible in these enhanced versions. Certainly in 1967, and likely even now, it would have been extremely difficult, if not impossible, for someone to have both thought of all of these details, and been able to convincingly produce them. Skeptics of this film, including Dr. Scott, have some 'splainin' to do.
Originally Posted by AlienIquirer
It's a good thing scientists don't control Hollywood.
If scientific ideas were represented in Hollywood films we would have far more original stories and a more informed public who are curious about the real mysteries of the world. Why do so many people believe in bigfoot, ufos and aliens that build pyramids? HOLLYWOOD.
I think Eugenie Scott is brilliant and I appreciate her promotion of reason and science, However I was shocked to hear her say that a basking shark is a kind of WHALE! Basking sharks are definately sharks - they have gills. Quite a big boo-boo for an evolutionary biologist. No worries, I will still watch your talks Prof. Scott.
What Eugenie is saying is like this: Remember the movie Pitch Black with Vin Deisel? It had these nocturnal flying carnivores that were shaped like manta rays and about the same body size. They only came out of subterranean caves every 24 years on an arrid, multi-sunned, desolated desert planet to feed. But on what? There was nothing else on the planet. The same dietary inconsistency is rife throughout scifi/horror film history as numerous aliens roam alien planets that mysteriously have no forage for feeding. Their survival is improbable. This is in addition to the obvious question as to how they managed evolutionary descent with modification under these conditions. It makes sense that if Bigfoot is real, its dietary provenance must be real too. Also, where's the sasquatch scat?
~replying to saquatch~
Your derogation of Dr. Eugenie Scott is reprehensible. 'Genie' is just about the smartest, sweetest Lady of Science I've ever known and I ought to know---she's my cousin! You ought to be ashamed of yourself.
This woman is an idiot. She is denying the existence of a large primate because she claims large primates have limited geographic distribution and specific dietary needs.
SHE IS A LARGE PRIMATE! Her very existence invalidates her argument!
"Consider a large bodied primate...like Eugenie Scott."