Friday, August 12, 2011

Have Sasquatches Already Been Discovered?

I spend a lot of time speaking with people about my involvement with sasquatch research. Nearly every day I respond to emails, phone calls, potential expedition participants, witnesses, enthusiasts, skeptics, etc. As you can guess (and as many bigfooters can relate to) I answer a lot of the same questions each time.

By far, the most commonly asked question is: "Why haven't sasquatches been discovered yet?"

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dis·cov·er

–verb (used with object)
1. to see, get knowledge of, learn of, find, or find out; gain sight or knowledge of (something previously unseen or unknown)
2. to notice or realize
3. Archaic . to make known; reveal; disclose.
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Sasquatches, by the above definitions, have been "discovered".

- Indigenous North American People Describe Sasquatches - 
  
One of the primary focuses of many individuals and organizations since the dawn of "bigfoot research" has been the wealth of knowledge that indigenous North American people (Native Americans, First Nations people) have about sasquatches. There are numerous examples of native knowledge and awareness of these animals. 
  • Many tribes have unique names for them.
  • Tribes from across the continent have detailed, consistent descriptions of the physical morphology, behavior, and ecology of these large primates.
  • Sasquatches are depicted quite consistently in the art of indigenous peoples.
  • Native people named certain places after these animals, presumably because they encountered them in these specific places. Many of these places yield consistent observations of sasquatches in modern times. 
  • Some tribes have deep cultural connections to sasquatches in their belief systems and creation myths.
- Early Settlers (Pre-1900) Describe Sasquatches -    
  • Since the establishment of European settlements in the East (and later through Westward Expansion), early European settlers have described observing and encountering sasquatches. 
  • These early settlers had regional names for these animals, and named specific places or terrain features after them. Often times, these were the same places that indigenous peoples had previously assigned sasquatch-related names to. Sightings of sasquatches in these places persist to modern day.
  • Early settlers' descriptions of sasquatches are incredibly detailed and consistent across the continent. They describe the physical appearance and behaviors of sasquatches. These descriptions are consistent with many of the Native descriptions, as well as the modern descriptions.
- Observations and Encounters Continue into Modern Times -
  •  As print media became more prevalent, more accounts of observations are circulated throughout the continent. 
  • In the Pacific Northwest, the anglicized word "sasquatch" became a blanket term used to describe the creatures. More observations and encounters are reported.
  • By the 1950's, interested individuals began gathering and compiling information related to sasquatches.
  • In 1958, the word "bigfoot" was coined. The American media obsession with bigfoot was born.
- The Current State of the Bigfoot/Sasquatch Related Data and Evidence -
  •  Thousands of purported sasquatch tracks have been reported. Hundreds of those have been photographed and/or cast. Many of these tracks have unique and consistent morphology, and have convinced a growing number of scientists the sasquatch is an extant species.
  • Dozens of hair samples have been collected and analyzed by modern scientists. Many of the samples have a consistent and unique morphology, and have convinced a growing number of scientists that the sasquatch is an extant species.
  • Dozens of photographs and clips of footage have been obtained documenting sasquatches. Several of these pieces of data have been meticulously studied, and have convinced a growing number of scientists that the sasquatch is an extant species. (Anyone seeing the pattern here?)
  • The number of reports of observations, track finds, and encounters is in the thousands, and continues to grow. Hundreds of people report observing and encountering sasquatches and their sign across North America every year.
  • Over a hundred books about the sasquatch phenomenon have been written and published. 
  • Dozens of documentaries about the phenomenon have been produced and circulated worldwide.
  • Television series about the sasquatch phenomenon have been produced and aired worldwide.
  • Sasquatches appear ubiquitously in different types of media advertising. 
  • Many small towns across North America base a portion of their local economy around the area's sasquatch activity, exploiting the interest of travelers and tourists.
  • Regardless of whether they believe the species exists, the majority of Americans know what a "bigfoot" or "sasquatch" is.
Sasquatches are a species of mammal that has been described and encountered by people living on this continent, from as far back in time as we can look, right up to modern day. They have been seen, heard, smelled, tracked, pursued, filmed, and photographed. In essence, they have been discovered.

While mainstream science has yet to recognize the sasquatch as an extant species, many amateur scientists, researchers, and enthusiasts continue to stand at the vanguard of science working to collect data and evidence, and experiencing varying degrees of their own personal "discovery".

In my opinion (and in the opinion of many others), discovery has already happened.