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Is Bigfoot Really Dead?

Bigfoot has a way of stirring the imagination and bringing out the kid in all of us – which is why it would be a real shame if self-proclaimed “Bigfoot hunter” Rick Dyer is telling the truth about bagging the legendary man-beast. <a title="New York Daily News" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/man-claims-killed-captured-bigfoot-article-1.1567530" target="_blank">The news</a> has been circulating since Dyer claimed he lured Bigfoot to his (her?) demise using $200 worth of pork ribs in a woods located outside of San Antonio, Texas, on September 6, 2012. He has released a photo and some video of his exploits, and has promised the world he intends to take the carcass on a world tour – very, very soon. <strong>A Big, Hairy History</strong> The Bigfoot legend has persisted for decades and has ancient roots in the tribal lore of natives on every populated continent. The term “Sasquatch” is derived from the name given to the beast by the indigenous people inhabiting the Pacific Northwest, but there are other names. The Yeti of the Himalayas, the Yowie of Australia and the Wendigo of Eastern Canada are commonly referenced mythical analogs. That people of disparate and unrelated cultures would come to embrace similar ghost stories is not strange, or even uncommon. What is strange, though, is that arguably reputable people are willing to entertain the possibility of these hairy hominids. <strong>Big Bigfoot Science  </strong> From the Sasquatch Genome Project (yep, that’s real) to the television series <em>Finding Bigfoot</em>, there are plenty of people who take this stuff very seriously – or at least say they do. Even famed primatologist Jane Goodall and former professor of physical anthropology Grover Krantz have pondered its existence with apparent sincerity. What evidence exists can be made to look very convincing. People sit up and pay attention when <a title="Idaho State University" href="http://www.isu.edu/~meldd/fxnlmorph.html" target="_blank">fully vetted anthropology professors</a> point out that alleged Bigfoot tracks suggest cross-continental relationships of a bipedal hominid adapted to rugged terrain that is notably distinguishable from a human gait. In other words, it appears that there’s something out there in the woods, and it ain’t us. But, why is it so hard to believe? <strong>The Counterclaims</strong> The biggest problem, really, is that most people assume that someone would have stumbled upon this creature by now given an expanding population, increased technology and our growing propensity to monitor and report everything. And, that’s fair. The problem, of course, is that this kind of “evidence” is no better, and may be worse, than evidence in support of the hirsute hermit. Bigfoot believers have <a title="Christian Science Monitor" href="http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2014/0107/Bigfoot-hunter-claims-to-have-shot-killed-hirsute-cryptid-video" target="_blank">track marks</a>, an evolutionarily credible basis for the possibility and (admittedly sketchy) photos and videos. What does the opposition have? While demanding that someone prove a negative – in this case that Bigfoot <em>doesn’t</em> exist – as evidence of anything is a fallacy, it’s often tempting to do just that. <strong>The Dyer Effect</strong> But, they do have Dyer. He has played into skeptics’ hands by trying to pull off hoaxes in the past, most notably in 2008 when he got caught trying to pass off a gorilla suit as Bigfoot. And anyway, he presents a moral conundrum: It’s easy to discount him because most of us believe there is no Bigfoot. But, if Bigfoot was real and this guy killed it there would be no shortage of outrage. It would be like shooting the last bald eagle ... only worse. A lot of people would like to see proof, no doubt, although presumably not at the expense of starting a Bigfoot Apocalypse. But, what do you think? <a title="ATG Stores Homepage" href="http://www.atgstores.com/default.aspx" target="_blank">ATGStores.com</a> welcomes your anonymous vote: Did this guy really find Bigfoot? [poll id="32"]
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