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The evolution of the arch of the human foot was a significant and relatively recent innovation in modern human walking and running. The stabilization of the midfoot, especially the lateral column, involved remodeling of the calcaneocuboid joint. The prevalence of flat feet in human populations suggests this is a “work in progress.”
Many plaster casts and photographs of footprints have been examined in detail which were reportedly made by a species of bipedal primate, the sasquatch or bigfoot. They prove not to be simply enlarged human footprints but show several peculiarities. These include flat arches, a double ball, and enlarged heels. Examination of leverage mechanics of the human foot indicates that with excessive body weight certain modifications would be advantageous. The expected modifications are the same as those seen in the reputed sasquatch footprints.
Evidence of a Midtarsal Break
Perhaps the most significant observation relating to this trackway was the evidence of a pronounced flexibility in the midtarsal joint. Several examples of midfoot pressure ridges indicate a greater range of flexion at the transverse tarsal joint than permitted in the normal human tarsus. This is especially manifest in the footprint figured below, in which a heel impression is absent. Evidently, the hindfoot was elevated at the time of contact by the midfoot. Due to the muddy conditions, the foot slipped backward, as indicated by the toe slide-ins, and a ridge of mud was pushed up behind the midtarsal region.
Casts of three large human-like footprints were made by U.S. Forest Service personnel in June, 1982, in southeastern Washington State. The fine-grained soil preserved many impressions of dermal ridges and sweat pores. Careful study by dermatoglyphics experts shows these impressions are perfectly consistent with the friction skin found only in higher primates. The foot size of 37.5 x 17 cm rules out any known primate; the nonopposed first digit indicates a hominid. Physical circumstances suggest a body weight of 300 to 400 kg. It is believed that all possible methods of faking this evidence have been considered, and ruled out.
Evidence for Bigfoot gains credibility when the possibility of human fabrication can be ruled out. The trackways of a crippled Sasquatch are said to provide such a compelling case, but examination of this claim suggests that hoaxing the footprints may have been a fairly manageable endeavor.
What distinguishes Bigfoot from other alleged contemporary monsters is its propensity to leave physical traces of its activity in the form of footprints. Indeed, the compendium of physical evidence attributed to the beast maintains the legend and has prompted some academics to argue for the animal's authenticity. Arguably the most important Bigfoot trackways were discovered in Bossburg, Washington, late in 1969. Well over 1,000 footprints were left of an allegedly crippled Sasquatch, whose left footprints were "normal" by Bigfoot standards but displayed right footprints betraying a type of acquired or congenital clubfoot deformity (figure 1).
These tracks have convinced several anthropologists that the Bigfoot phenomenon is attributable to an unidentified primate living in the forests of the Pacific Northwest. John Napier, a world-renowned expert on the evolution of human locomotion, admitted that he could not conceive that the Bossburg tracks were fabricated. (1) Similarly, Grover Krantz has related how the morphology of the Bossburg tracks convinced him of the reality of Sasquatch. (2) More recently, an associate professor of biological sciences at Idaho State University, Jeff Meldrum, identified the deformity as an example of metatarsus adductus, and includes the tracks among his examples of alleged Bigfoot prints. (3)
The rationale for accepting the tracks as genuine is summarized by Krantz in his book Big Footprints: "I figured the whole thing out after studying the footprints; any hoaxer had to plan it all out from nothing. This requires an expert anatomist with a very inventive mind, more so than me, and I seriously doubt that any such person exists" (1992, 63).
Krantz's opinion, consistent with Napier's and Meldrum's reasoning, is that the preserved imprint of the deformed foot is imbued with so much anatomical detail that the average person would not have the expertise required to fabricate the print. Critical to the argument is the suggestion that the proportions of the foot, in terms of the relative lengths of individual bones reconstructed from the deformed foot imprints, are decidedly nonhuman. Both Krantz and Meldrum agree that the bony proportions implied by the Bossburg tracks are biomechanically consistent with a large body mass significantly beyond human range. A potential hoaxer, it is argued, would be unlikely to understand the subtle functional transformations that would be entailed in scaling up a human foot to a biped of the staggering size of Bigfoot.
Investigator Jimmy Chilcutt of the Conroe Police Department in Texas, who specializes in finger- and footprints, has analyzed the more than 150 casts of Bigfoot prints that Meldrum, the Idaho State professor, keeps in a laboratory. Chilcutt says one footprint found in 1987 in Walla Walla in Washington State has convinced him that Bigfoot is real.
"The ridge flow pattern and the texture was completely different from anything I've ever seen," he said. "It certainly wasn't human, and of no known primate that I've examined. The print ridges flowed lengthwise along the foot, unlike human prints, which flow across. The texture of the ridges was about twice the thickness of a human, which indicated that this animal has a real thick skin."
Meldrum, meanwhile, says a 400-pound (180-kilogram) block of plaster known as the Skookum Cast provides further evidence of Bigfoot's existence. The cast was made in September 2000 from an impression of a large animal that had apparently lain down on its side to retrieve some fruit next to a mud hole in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington State. Meldrum says the cast contains recognizable impressions of a forearm, a thigh, buttocks, an Achilles tendon and heel. "It's 40 to 50 percent bigger than a normal human," he said. "The anatomy doesn't jive with any known animal."
A few academics believe Meldrum could be right. Renowned chimpanzee researcher Jane Goodall last year surprised an interviewer from National Public Radio when she said she was sure that large, undiscovered primates, such as the Yeti or Sasquatch, exist.
The full length of the Patterson footage in digital format, allowing you to zoom in on individual frames with unprecendented clarity.
Earlier versions of the Patterson footage were murky compared to this digital-from-master. They were always 3-4 analog generations removed from the original. Being closer to the original footage makes a big difference in the level of detail.
In early April, 2001, British scientists made a startling announcement. After examining the DNA in a strand of hair thought to come from a Yeti - the Asian cousin to America's Bigfoot - scientists were unable to identify it as coming from any known animal. "We found some DNA in it, but we don’t know what it is. It's not a human, not a bear nor anything else we have so far been able to identify. It's a mystery and I never thought this would end in a mystery. We have never encountered DNA that we couldn’t recognize before."
This astonishing discovery is the most recent peak of what has become a growing mountain of evidence that we share this planet with an as-yet undiscovered species - or perhaps several species - of bipedal primates. And whether they are a kind of ape or are more closely related to humans - or something in-between - is unknown. But this new scientific evidence combined with new detailed photos and an increasing number of compelling sightings holds the promise that we may be very close to solving the mystery.
I have by now a dozen purported sasquatch hair samples, all morphologically congruent (which rules out hoaxing) and all effectively indistinguishable from a human hair of the particular structure (great variability is available among the latter). DNA extracted from both hair shaft or roots (hair demonstrably fresh) was too fragmented to permit gene sequencing. That characteristic is also sometimes found in human hair that lacks the medulla (as does sasquatch hair - at least what I am willing to identify as such).
Other researchers were also finding human DNA "through contamination" on various bits of BF physical evidence. In "Legend Meets Science" the DNA scientist is disappointed to find human DNA on the BF physical evidence. But was it really contamination? A scientist in Michigan began to independently suspect that the human DNA he was getting from various purported BF hair samples was, in fact, not contamination but from BF. He analyzed a sample of Carter Farm hair which had been verified by Dr.Fahrenbach as meeting his standard for probably BF hair and again got human DNA. So he tried an experiment: he deliberately contaminated dog and cat hair with human DNA and tested it. They tested to be dog and cat hair.
Dr. Fahrenbach says that BF hair, like some human hair, doesn't yield DNA well. But part of his opinion is based on the fact that his previous attempts to get DNA from BF hair never came up with anything but human DNA, which he and his associates assumed was due to contamination. He was rethinking this the last time I discussed it with him.