The Arguments of Cryptozoology: Bigfoot
The existence of Bigfoot remains a highly controversial matter. On the one hand, there is much evidence revealed by witnesses and researchers. On the other hand, none of the collected data about possible existence of Bigfoot is trustworthy enough to convince the skeptics that this creature is real. Scrutinizing these data, it is appropriate to claim that the existence of Bigfoot is currently neither proven nor denied due to the lack of credible evidence. In particular, the rationale is that if Bigfoot existed, it would have left reliable evidence of its existence until now. At the same time, the existence of this creature cannot be denied due to the lack of evidence. Analysis of the most common claims suggesting the existence of Bigfoot offered by witnesses can serve neither as a real proof nor as refutation of this suggestion.
Some of the recent examples of direct and indirect contact with Bigfoot are described below. This evidence is synthesized to identify the most prominent and common claims that are presented as a proof that this creature exists. More specifically, the first common testimony of witnesses is a visual contact registered in pictures and videos that reveals the image of a large ape-like creature which has human posture and intelligence. Secondly, the most common claim about the creature is an enormous in shape and size footprint, which is known to be a sort of a special feature of this hominid and is even reflected in its name. Thirdly, the least impressive common evidence is the sound that is witnesses claim is produced by Bigfoot.
To begin with, ample evidence suggests that Bigfoot is real. In this regard, one should refer to the evidence about the cases of direct contact with the creature, many of which are fixated with the help of photo and video cameras. Visual evidence is, of course, accompanied by verbal disruptions that support the images imprinted in photos and videos. Direct witnesses of Bigfoot describe the creature in a similar mode. For instance, Bigfoot is referred to as “the figure, which appears to be walking upright” (“‘Bigfoot’ Picked Up”), “a huge, hairy, ugly monster” (“Man Tracks ‘Bigfoot’”), and “a large, bipedal ape-like creature” (“‘Bigfoot’ Prints”). Resonating reports are presented by other eye-witnesses, who depict Bigfoot as “a great big hairy man” (Haagenson), “a giant six hundred pound hairy, hominid creature, man-like except bigger” (Haagenson). Moreover, interesting evidence comes from a recent encounter reported by a female driver, who claims seeing “an 8 ft-tall creature chasing some deer along the road” (“Woman Blames”). Without a doubt, the similarity and consistency of witnesses’ reports can be considered as the evidence of their trustworthiness.
Hence, when assessing validity of this evidence, it is appropriate to stress that that any piece of evidence can be verified by scientific methods. For example, a man reported that he saw a group of Bigfoots, “one of them, which was extremely tall, had a pig over its shoulder” (“‘Bigfoot’ Reportedly Sighted”). An instant later, the one with a pig would trip over an irrigation system and fall (“‘Bigfoot’ Reportedly Sighted”). Scrutinizing this case, it is easier to believe that a starving father of 5 children (all dressed up in black) was stealing a pig from his neighbor rather that it was a family of Bigfoot. Moreover, it is hardly possible that a large heavy creature that tripped over something did not leave any samples for DNA analysis (fur, blood, saliva, sweat, etc.).
In other words, there is no undeniable evidence such as DNA samples obtained from fur or fluids or other kinds of DNA evidence that would satisfy all the following criteria. Firstly, the sample of DNA reveals a life form that differs from currently known living beings. Secondly, the sample is proven to be collected exactly from the creature that is referred to as Bigfoot. Thirdly, the evidence should be verified and proven to be consistent by several credible researchers who do not contact each other and who are not interested in faking the results. The latter characteristic would indicate the credibility of evidence.
On the other hand, obtaining data that the sample is obtained from a creature that is called Bigfoot would indicate internal validity of its validity, in particular, face validity of the received evidence. The fact is that researchers report finding some remains of what they claim to belong to Bigfoot (Haagenson). Nevertheless, they do not necessarily belong to this creature. For example, they can have been retrieved from some ape, either purposefully or artificially created, or from a being that is the result of a natural gene mutation. In general, DNA test results either do not support visual contacts (in spite of the reported cases that imply high possibility to collect some DNA samples), or there is no prove that the sample was taken exactly from Bigfoot.
Furthermore, there is a popular question about the remains and wastes produced by Bigfoot during lifespan. Specifically, skeptics point to the absence of fossil evidence (Dockett). Indeed, the existence of a large ape-like creature should be supported with fossil evidence (dead bodies, bones, and any other evidence of their activities). Addressing this question, believers, in particular, Native Americans, who are geographically close to Bigfoot’s habitat and thus report frequent encounters, explain that “the creatures live and die hidden underground” (Haagenson). Furthermore, believers in Bigfoot assume that they inhabit “tunnels and caves that run for hundreds of miles through the Sierra, and only come out to feed now and then” (Haagenson). Therefore, the fact that this premise remains unverified is an argument against possible existence of Bigfoot.
Moreover, indirect evidence, such as footprints, cannot be taken as reliable information about the existence and activities of an unknown creature. Both the evidence revealed by those who claim they have seen the creature and the information by those who report indirect contact with it, such as footprints, is also compromised by poor validity because the photos of Bigfoot’s footprints cannot be verified. For instance, recent evidence of unusual footprints in the Round Rock Parks in Texas does not prove the existence of Bigfoot despite their abnormal shape. The witness claims that “the footprints certainly look both large and unusual, but sadly with no evidence beyond these photographs” (“‘Bigfoot’ Prints”). This testimony illustrates unbiased narration of information since it is unclear who has left those footprints. It is particularly interesting that, as in cases with the aforementioned Bigfoot’s encounters, there is no information that somebody tries to search for DNA samples in the mud of footprint. Besides, using online software, it is presumably possible to detect the approximate weight and height of the creature, and maybe, even learn more about its posture. This information would help minimizing the cases of falsification. In addition, if the creature is unknown (unclassified by scientists), such analysis would be useful for learning more about it. Hence, as no attempts to scientifically prove the witnesses’ claims are done, it is impossible to consider the footprints as strong evidence of Bigfoot’s existence.
The sound of Bigfoot as a testimony of the existence of this creature is even less impressive evidence. The witnesses who claim to have heard the scream of Bigfoot report that it was very scary and loud (some of them say they have never heard it before). In one case, a woman reports that she heard sounds such as “Ooooappp….ooooapp…” (Haagenson). The scream was attributed to Bigfoot. Some witnesses managed to record the sound, whereas others reveal that they heard at different times and places a sound that coincided with the recorded one. Undoubtedly, this evidence cannot be taken as reputable because there may be a range of creatures that produced such a scary sound. In addition, there can be many people who are interested to make (or artificially create) scary sounds. Therefore, the scary sound is not a powerful evidence of Bigfoot’s existence.
Summing up, it is appropriate to emphasize that, at the present time, Bigfoot’s existence remains a possibility because there is no reliable evidence that would either prove its existence or deny it. The evidence that is most often reported by people is the image of an ape-like being, which is enormously tall, strong, intelligent, elusive, and goes upward. Besides, most frequent indirect evidence is abnormal in shape and size footprints. Finally, unusual and scary sounds are also reported to belong to Bigfoot. Despite consistent similarity of these pieces of evidence, their poor validity is predefined by the fact that people cannot be sure that they report what they really faced/heard. Moreover, none of the encounters may be scientifically verified, which is strange given the frequency and the number of stories about meeting this creature. Considering absence of credible evidence, one may rightfully suggest that Bigfoot (as a separate species) does not exist. At the same time, the fact of its none-existence cannot be proven either. Therefore, it is natural to conclude that Bigfoot may exist or may not exist. To prove either of these possibilities, scientific evidence should be tested by researchers using scientific methods. The aforementioned evidence was derived from deductive reasoning.
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