Reaching its peak in the 1970s, Bigfoot folklore has been well known across North America, particularly in the Pacific Northwest region of Oregon, Washington, and parts of Canada. Between 1818 and 1980, over 1,000 sightings were recorded, most being discounted for misidentification of a bear or some other woodland creatures. The two most notable sightings are the 1967 photos shot by Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin in Northern California, and the 2007 video footage of hunter Rick Jacobs which seemed to be of an ape creature. While some critics claim it was a sick bear cub with mange, the proportions of the unknown creature are clearly not those of bears. Whether or not these sightings are actually a real mystery, the question still remains: has Bigfoot or a creature similar ever existed?
There is evidence that two million years ago a creature called the Gigantopithecus, which resembles Bigfoot, existed in parts of Asia. Remains have been found in modern-day China, Vietnam, and Indonesia. While these locations do not match modern sightings, it is believed that the creature could have migrated across the Bering Land Bridge to find itself in North America. Scientists believe that this primate species was 9-10 ft tall and weighed between 1,190 – 1,320 pounds. Due to the small number of fossils found of these animals it is hard to know more about this elusive animal, but it is believed its closest known relative is the orangutan.
Even though Bigfoot seems to be a joke in the present day, during the 1970s Bigfoot was a rather big deal; big enough to have an FBI investigation opened on him. This occurred when Peter Bryne, director of the Bigfoot Information Center, sent the FBI a clump of hair with skin attached that the center couldn’t identify. While the bureau concluded that the hair most likely came from a deer, Bryne, an expert on everything Bigfoot, still adamantly believes in its existence. Even today, in his nineties, he walks trails in Oregon in hopes of spotting the elusive beast.
While Bigfoot’s existence has never been confirmed many still have hope. Many have spent their lives searching for the animal, but have been left with nothing but vague evidence and a lot of ridicule. Personally, I believe that Bigfoot has existed at one point or another– a rather unpopular opinion. The Gigantopithecus has proven that these ape-like creatures are not something only out of a story and make Bigfoot’s existence much more believable. While this may be seen as ridiculous to some, I honestly would not want to live in a world without the possibility of Bigfoot.