Across the world there are tales of unexplained animals, from the blood-sucking Chupacabra to the ship destroying Kraken. Most of these creatures have long been abandoned as myth. They are the creatures that science doesn’t accept; this is the realm of Cryptozoology.

That’s not to say that all the creatures of myth are real, but, to be a true scientist, no evidence should be dismissed without a second glance. The creature with by far the best case for its existence has many names across two continents, including Sasq’ets and Meh–Teh: we know it better as Bigfoot or the Yeti.

The descriptions of the Yeti and Bigfoot are remarkably similar despite one originating in North America and the other in the mountainous regions of Asia. A hairy primate that stands on two legs and towers over humans certainly makes a great story. There were once many types of apes that stood upright and walked on two legs – including our ancestors – but according to science they died out millions of years ago, leaving humans as the only bipedal apes. Is it possible that another may have survived?

The descriptions of the Yeti and Bigfoot are remarkably similar despite one originating in North America and the other in the mountainous regions of Asia.

The remote areas the Yeti and Bigfoot supposedly live in have always caused problems in attempts to lay the matter to rest. The inhabitants of the Himalayas treat the creature not as myth but as a living creature, and many report seeing it at some time or other. It’s hardly surprising that foreigners, on the other hand, who only see a tiny bit of this massive mountain chain, rarely see anything unusual.

The best alleged sighting of Bigfoot came in 1967 when it was caught on camera in what became known as the Patterson-Gimlin film. Many claim the film shows a human in a Gorilla suit, however many scientists who have studied the film have actually come to the opposite conclusion. The walk of the creature is unlike a human’s and would be very difficult to replicate; the ‘costume’ was incredibly detailed with fur moving over muscles beneath; the lower leg is disproportionately short compared to the upper leg. The animal was around 2.4 meters tall, revealed when compared to the trees around it. To pull off a fake like this you would need a giant of a person with very abnormal legs and a costume more detailed than they used in the Hollywood movies of the time. Casts of the footprints made soon after the film showed fine details including blood capillaries and where hair stuck to the ground.

Cryptozoology is what is left; the junk yard of animals that science couldn’t find. Many are ridiculous but others, like Bigfoot, do have a case behind them.

In Canada, hair has been collected from a supposed Bigfoot and analysed by experts in New York, who concluded that the outer surface was human-like, but the core of the hair was like an ape’s, a combination impossible to fake and supposed to not exist in nature. Very badly damaged bits off DNA were also obtained which were primate in origin, but of an unknown species.

The bones of a giant ape called Gigantopithicus have been found in several places across Asia. Normally only very small parts of its skeleton are found so it is unknown how the creature walked. What is certain is that if it did stand on two legs it would be over two meters tall. Mostly teeth are searched for due to their high demand in Chinese medicine. The interesting part is that many are not fossilized, they are actual teeth begging the question, is Gigantopithicus really extinct?

The world was once filled with unknown species and outlandish tales of mythical beasts; science has bit by bit cataloged them and given them names. Cryptozoology is what is left; the junk yard of animals that science couldn’t find. Many are ridiculous but others, like Bigfoot, do have a case behind them. A myth can never be killed off; it can only be proven.

Timothy Winstanley

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Image: Gordon Wrigley via Flickr

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