Is Bigfoot real?


Fact Box

  • According to Britannica, Bigfoot sightings describe “a primate ranging from 6 to 15 feet (2 to 4.5 meters) tall, standing erect on two feet, often giving off a foul smell, and either moving silently or emitting a high-pitched cry.”
  • Creatures from around the world purported to be similar to Bigfoot are known by the following names: Sasquatch, Yeti, Yowie, and Orang Pendek.  
  • A 2020 CivicScience survey revealed that about 11% of US adults believe that Bigfoot is real. 
  • The 1987 family comedy Harry and the Hendersons depicts a family that adopts a friendly Bigfoot. 
  • The US states with the most Bigfoot sightings are Washington, California, and Pennsylvania.

Jay (Yes)

Bigfoot is a pop-culture icon with countless people searching for him in earnest. And because thousands of new animal species are discovered each year, and creatures thought long-gone have been re-discovered, the search for Bigfoot is legitimate. After all, the coelacanth, a prehistoric fish presumed extinct 400 million years ago, was caught off Africa's coast in 1938. 

Evidence of Bigfoot's existence includes photographs, sightings, cast footprints, and, most compellingly, audio and film recordings. Such documentation has often been discredited as the product of hoaxes, and unfortunately, tends to get grouped together with more reliable evidence. While wading through the missteps, there remain intriguing items verified by experts as authentic. 

Audio recordings purported to be Bigfoot vocalizations were analyzed by a US Navy crypto-linguist, Scott Nelson, who concluded, 'It is definitely a language, it is definitely not human in origin, and it could not have been faked.' 

The most famous piece of evidence is the Patterson-Gimlin film shot in Bluff Creek, California, in 1967. Analyzed by experts for over 40 years and yet to be disproven, it bolsters the contention that what appears in the film is definitely not human. 

The key is the length ratio between the arms and the legs. The creature in the film has proportionally longer arms and shorter legs than a human, which would be virtually impossible to fake, especially given the technology of 1967. Also, constructing a Bigfoot suit with accurate female anatomy was far beyond the pale of even the best Hollywood costume makers back then. 

Bigfoot is real, but we may need a combination of time, enhanced search capabilities, and luck to finally find a creature who may just be really good at not wanting to be found.

Ellery (No)

As fun as the story of Bigfoot is, unfortunately, the creature is a myth. The idea of a North American Sasquatch fascinated the public's imagination, becoming a massive phenomenon in the United States throughout the twentieth century. The legend began as a humor column in The Humboldt Times, published alongside a dubiously serious letter. And any evidence of the creature since then has been scientifically discredited time and again.

Supposed fur samples of Bigfoot have been identified as everything from deer to domestic cow. Likewise, in the early 2000s, a fellow by the name of Bob Heironimus admitted that the famous film popularly referenced by Bigfoot enthusiasts was indeed a fake— he had donned a gorilla costume and was recorded wearing it. A host of other images of Bigfoot have been traced to pranks or intentional hoaxes

The FBI's investigation into the matter in 1976— far from being evidence of a conspiracy or cover-up—actually turned out to be little more than proof of scientific collaboration. A biologist studying the craze had sent a few of the agency's forensic scientists some 'Bigfoot fur' to analyze, and after scrutiny, the sample was determined to be deer fur.

Far from being real, Bigfoot isn't even scientifically likely. Any similarly sized hominid would need a population of hundreds-strong to avoid extinction. With so few sightings, a population of significant size would be statistically impossible. It's true that we find new species all the time, but scientists aren't finding them in areas scoured by thousands of people over nearly half a century. If Bigfoot were real, he would have been found by now.

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