August 17, 2008

Bigfoot Shows Some Leg; Reporters Get the Shoe

Hatched by Dafydd

So there's these three guys, right? And they're tramping in the woods when they happen to stumble across the corpse of a Bigfoot. And -- no, wait; they were in hot pursuit of an escaped felon, who shot a Bigfoot -- evidently mistaking him for a Fulton County sheriff -- which ran into the forest -- the Bigfoot, not the felon (or the sheriff) -- and these three guys followed hoping to render first aid. Oh, wait a minute; that's a different story. I meant to say these three guys were tracking a herd -- pack -- pod? Tracking a heel of Bigfeet. Bigfoots? And they saw one die, so they quickly stuffed him into the giant-sized freezer they always carry along on backpacking trips.

Yeah, that's the ticket:

[Matt] Whitton, ["an officer on medical leave from the Clayton County Police Department"] and Rick Dyer, a former corrections officer, announced the discovery in early July on YouTube videos and their Web site. Although they did not consider themselves devoted Bigfoot trackers before then, they have since started offering weekend search expeditions in Georgia for $499. The specimen they bagged, the men say, was one of several apelike creatures they spotted cavorting in the woods. [I picture a dozen or so Bigfeet, dressed in English regency costume, dancing a lobster quadrille through the underbrush.]

As they faced a skeptical audience of several hundred journalists and Bigfoot fans that included one curiosity seeker in a Chewbacca suit, the pair were joined Friday by Tom Biscardi, head of a group called Searching for Bigfoot. Other Bigfoot hunters call Biscardi a huckster looking for media attention.

I don't get this, I really don't. I don't understand how intelligent, supposedly common-sensical people like Michael Medved can so passionately believe in cryptozoological hoaxes so inherently implausible: How could a gigantic mammal -- much bigger than a human, about the size of a small bear (which, incidently, is my nominee for what animal, if any, is actually in the Sasquatchic freezer) -- roam the hills and hollers of the American Southeast, Middle West, Northwest, and the frozen Himalayas for all of human history... without leaving a single unambiguous trace of its existence?

No body. No skeleton. No identifiable tracks. No fur scraped off on a tree. No teeth. No poop. No blood, saliva, or DNA. And of course, no clear and untampered video -- that isn't obviously a brown bear balanced precariously on its hind legs, or some fat guy in a gorilla suit, balanced precariously on his hind legs.

And why just those places? I might understand if it were found only in the United States -- but only in the United States and Tibet? Why not Andalusia, the Black Forest, the Amazon, or the French Riviera? Why don't we find Yetis in the casinos of Monte Carlo, Sasquatches in Sierra Leone, and Bigfeet on Brighton Beach?

Whitton, Dyer, and Biscardi (sounds like a cross between an Italian biscuit and a Puerto Rican rum) showed up at the press conference; but they inadvertently neglected to bring the body itself for examination, as they had previously promised. Big surprise.

Instead, they brought an e-mail from "a scientist" (I'm surprised they didn't say "egghead"), which they insisted was clear evidence that they really had found the elusive, hirsuit humanoid... but I'll let our sagacious readers be the jug of that:

Biscardi, Whitton and Dyer presented what they called evidence supporting the Bigfoot theory. It was an e-mail from a University of Minnesota scientist, but all it said was that of the three DNA samples sent to the scientist, one was human, one was likely a possum and the third could not be tested because of technical problems.

For the love of Harry and the Hendersons, didn't those nitwits even read the e-mail before forwarding it to the media? As Charlie Brown would say, "How humiliating!"

By the way, I absolutely love this exchange between Tom "Bigfoot" Biscardi and the press:

Biscardi fielded most of the questions. Among them: Why should anyone accept the men's tale when they weren't willing to display their frozen artifact or pinpoint where they allegedly found it? How come bushwhackers aren't constantly tripping over primate remains if there are as many as 7,000 Bigfoots roaming the United States, as Biscardi claimed?

"I understand where you are coming from, but how many real Bigfoot researchers are out there trekking 140,000 miles a year?" Biscardi said.

Gee, Tom, I don't know. But how many Bigfoot researchers ever shot a Sasquatch in their pajamas?

Why doesn't Tom just answer the questions? Because there is no answer, of course; at least nothing coherent (or sober). One can ask similarly pointed questions about "Nessie," the mythological Loch Ness Monster, which is supposed to be a plesiosaur:

  • How did one dinosaur manage to survive for 65 million years -- wouldn't there need to be a breeding population?
  • Given the paucity of fish in Loch Ness, what does Nessie eat?
  • How does a cold-blooded reptile survive in a frigid freshwater lake in northern Scotland, which in winter approaches freezing?
  • Plesiosaurs don't live forever: Where are all the bloated, floating Nessie bodies and skeletons from the hundreds of generations which must have died just in the last few centuries?
  • Since Loch Ness is only about 10,000 years old, having been carved out by glaciers during the last ice age, where did Nessie(s) live for the 64,990,000 years before that?
  • While we're on the subject, how did cold-blooded Nessie survive that ice age, and the hundreds of previous ice ages, in the first place?
  • Since plesiosaurs were air-breathers, they had to take frequent breaths, as do whales, dolphins, walruses, and every other air-breathing, water-dwelling creature; why don't tourists see Nessie popping up to breathe constantly, day and night?
  • Finally, if Nessie is a plesiosaur, how does it stick its head out of the water? I suspect Wikipedia is probably correct in its Plesiosaur entry:

    "Contrary to many reconstructions of plesiosaurs, it would have been impossible for them to lift their head and long neck above the surface, in the 'swan-like' pose that is often shown {Everhart, 2005; Henderson, 2006}. Even if they had been able to bend their necks upward to that degree (which they could not), gravity would have tipped their body forward and kept most of the heavy neck in the water."

Intelligence is not just cramming a lot of facts into your head or memorizing formulas or somesuch; it also requires synthesizing old information into new information -- or in popular terms, using your head. There is no Nessie; there is no Sasquatch; there is no Mothman and no crashed alien spaceship in Area 51.

We know these creatures do not exist because if they did, we would have found them. The common (and foolish) retort from cryptozoologists is, "What about the coelacanth and the giant squid?" But in fact, this is an argument against the cryptozoologists' position:

We always knew that coelacanths existed; we just thought they were extinct. But we found the first live one 70 years ago, and we have studied them extensively since then (even using submersible vehicles to study them in situ).

And as far as giant squids, we have literally thousands of intact corpses on file in various marine biology labs. So for these two unquestionably extant "monsters," we have ample evidence for them -- including living and freshly dead specimens.

So where are Nessie and Bigfoot?

Unless Messrs. Whitton, Dyer, and Biscardi can actually produce a bona-fide Bigfoot bod, I think we can answer the question above: Their only known habitat is our fevered imaginations.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, August 17, 2008, at the time of 5:03 AM

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The following hissed in response by: hunter

We live in an age of profound ignorance. That is how we have opinion leaders believing in AGW and also believing Obama's platitudes are the same thing as profound policy....and that many of the same people believe that 911 was an inside job and that Area 51 has alien ET artifacts and technology.
It is all the same: profound ignorance and poor critical thinking skills.

The above hissed in response by: hunter [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 17, 2008 7:43 AM

The following hissed in response by: Karl

One of the things I've heard Michael Medved claim is that no corpses of bears have been found in the wild. (Maybe he's referring to a particular species -- I don't recall.)

If I had the patience to call in to his show, I'd love to follow up on that.

Even if we stipulate that his assertion is completely true, and no bodies of bears have ever been found in the wild, then I'd challenge him to prove that these bears actually exist. Can he think of any alternative proofs of their existence besides finding corpses in the woods?

Why do experts think there are bears? Does he know what evidence experts use to prove that bears exist? Does he find their reasoning at all sound?

And would we expect Bigfoot to leave behind any similar evidence?

Why or why not?

The above hissed in response by: Karl [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 17, 2008 12:16 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh


I would happily bet Medved $2000 that in a couple of weeks, I could find at least one person who had personally seen a dead bear in the wild somewhere. I would begin my inquiries among hunters and naturalists in Alaska.

Neglecting corpses, as you note, plenty of people -- myself included -- have seen a living bear in the wild; I took plenty of pictures, and you can clearly see that it's a bear. (So did hundreds of other passengers on the Alaskan cruise ship I was on at the time.)

I also personally saw bears in Yosemite: One ran right in front of our car as we were leaving Curry Village. Some moron had decided to cook sausages right in the area with all the tents; the bear evidently smelled it, and a couple of days later arrived to investigate. Alas, the rangers had to shoot it.

And of course, plenty of people hunt bear: They find tracks and other evidence, follow them, find the bear, and shoot it.

So yes, as you note, such large mammals invariably leave all kinds of unambiguous evidence behind of their existence and behavior.

Finally, I have personally seen a documentary on bears that did, in point of fact, show video of a bear who had died via natural causes and was being eaten by various scavangers. I suspect if Medved obtained DVDs of a dozen or so bear documentaries, he could probably find one that had such a shot. (He's probably already seen such footage; he's just forgotten.)

This is such nitwittery. I wonder if, on tomorrow's show, he's going to tout this unverified claim by those three fellows as the "proof" of Bigfoot that he has awaited all his life?


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 17, 2008 12:50 PM

The following hissed in response by: hunter

Medved is being foolish on this and placing his credibility into question.
To say that no one has found a bear corpse in the wild is just plain ignorant to the point of being annoying.
Here is what I found in about 30 seconds of googling:
It is simply ridiculous to imagine that a large primate has successfully lived in the SE US region all of these years without direct unambiguous contact or evidence. None hit by cars, none trapped, none poisoned, none caught stealing food, etc.
Medved is a pretty good political and movie critic. He is a rotten wildlife person.

The above hissed in response by: hunter [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 17, 2008 6:59 PM

The following hissed in response by: Karmi

I don’t know about Bigfoots, Sasquatches, and Yetis; however, in my area of Florida, there is a large community of Skunk apes. My ‘friend’ Pew is one. We haven’t established any verbal communication yet, but since we mainly hunt together, hand-signals work just find.

The above hissed in response by: Karmi [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 18, 2008 6:31 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh


I assume you and Pew especially like to get together to go snipe hunting at midnight.

Does he make himself scarce during skunk-ape season, or does he just hope you don't get a hankering for skunk-ape stew?


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 18, 2008 6:42 AM

The following hissed in response by: ~brb

I once saw a werewolf drinking a Pina Colada at Trader Vic's. And his hair was perfect.

The above hissed in response by: ~brb [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 18, 2008 8:38 AM

The following hissed in response by: LarryD

On MonsterQuest they showed a time lapse sequence of a deer carcase (they were using it as bait), the carcase was pretty much gone in a week.

No, no one has happened upon a bear carcase in the wild, carcases just don't last very long in the wild.

The Gorilla and the Orangutan were once considered just as fanciful a creature as the Sasquatch. This particular incident reeked to me of hoax, but there is evidence that doesn't. I'm content to let those who want to, continue looking, without any sniping from me.

The above hissed in response by: LarryD [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 18, 2008 1:48 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh


On MonsterQuest they showed a time lapse sequence of a deer carcase (they were using it as bait), the carcase was pretty much gone in a week.

The bones too?

No, no one has happened upon a bear carcase in the wild, carcases just don't last very long in the wild.

I'll bet many people have found skeletal bear remains in the wild. How about skeletal Bigfoot remains?

The Gorilla and the Orangutan were once considered just as fanciful a creature as the Sasquatch.

Well... yeah; 160 years ago. (For the gorilla; 200 years ago for the orangutan.) I suspect there has been some improvement in our ability to track elusive animals in the past century or two. There is a big difference in the ability of an animal to avoid leaving any trace in 1700s or 1800s -- and its ability to be so very invisible in 2008.

There is no "Bigfoot." I'm sorry if that sounds too definitive... but it is definitive.


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 18, 2008 4:49 PM

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