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Is Bigfoot Real? Emerging Scientific Evidence

Is Bigfoot Real? Let’s Look at Emerging Scientific Evidence

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In 1967, Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin spotted, and filmed, or so they claimed, a Sasquatch next to Bluff Creek in California. Dubbed an elaborate hoax by many, this image has become the universal symbol for Bigfoot throughout the United States. But, is Bigfoot real? A better question would be to ask why mainstream science has failed to put the question to the test when it comes to not only Bigfoot, but to other cryptids as well. Science is duty-bound by definition to explain the unexplained, yet some people are still debating the existence of Bigfoot rather than examining emerging scientific evidence, some of which has come to light in unexpected places.

Iconic frame 352 from the Patterson-Gimlin film which gave a face to the now popular cryptid creature known as Bigfoot. Despite emerging evidence, people continue to ask: Is Bigfoot real? (Bob Gimlin / YouTube)

New Bigfoot Evidence from Washington State: Tooth and Bite Marks

One of these places is Mount St. Helens in Washington State. In 2013 and 2014, along with one of my former college students, I located three different ungulate rib prey bone assemblages (elk and deer rib bones) that had seemingly inexplicable chewing marks left in them. We conducted a two year Zooarcheological field research project, which culminated at the 69th Annual Anthropological Research Conference on March 26, 2016.

At the conference I presented our conclusions to a room full of respected academic and governmental anthropologists and archeologists, in the form of incisor, molar and pre-molar dental signature evidence that we were able to very carefully link with current scientific literature describing historical and contemporary hominin chewing evidence. This published, peer-reviewed literature described a diagnostic framework for accurately separating and identifying hominin mastication evidence recovered from both pre-archaic sites and comparative contemporary chewing studies upon ungulate rib bones.

A new category of incisal dentition signature termed a Notch.

As part of Bigfoot-related evidence presented at the 2016 conference, Mitchel Townsend presented a new category of incisal dentition signature termed “a notch.” (Author provided)

Hominin Mastication Activity Discovered on Bones

Furthermore, we proposed the evaluation of a new category of incisal dentition signature termed a “notch,” which consolidated the applicable literature and accurately described some of our field research evidence. The conference gave us a chance to demonstrate the links between the tooth marks that we recovered in the field, with current peer reviewed scientific research covering the same subject. This current research provided a framework by which we could compare our tooth mark descriptions. It also helped provide a very effective tool that enables scientists to re-examine other suspected human chewing evidence upon bones.

All three locations contained the same evidence profiles of ungulate (deer and elk) rib evidence with clear and measurable evidence of hominin mastication activity. The dentition of other known local ecosystem specific predators and scavengers was compared against Homo sapiens dentition. Of the 25 total hominin incisor measurements taken from all three sites, 92% are outside the average lateral incisors size range for modern  Homo sapiens. In this same sample, 80% are outside the average measurement for central incisor. From this evidence, Upper Inter-Canine measurements can be accurately estimated. All of the comparative analysis demonstrated hominin dentition physio-morphology of at least two times the size of modern humans.

The evidence was clear and consistent across all three locations. The teeth marks and jaw shapes of bear, cougar, humans, porcupine, and wolverine along with every other potential species that might have been responsible was examined and eliminated or included. After identifying the teeth marks as Hominin, we measured the geometry of the individual marks and were able to determine that they were primarily outside the upper size range for current humans. From these measurements we were able to estimate mouth size, which again was over double the size of a modern human.

Fossil jaw of Neanderthal.

Fossil jaw of Neanderthal. (P Sémal /Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences)

Rib Peeling as Evidence of Hominin Mastication

The Pre-Molar and Molar dentition signature evidence analysis is perhaps the strongest indication of hominin mastication evidence that emerged from the field research. The current peer-reviewed scientific literature describes Rib Peeling as a clear hominin assigned bone surface modification diagnostic characteristic. The physical act of rib peeling entails putting a rib in a hominins mouth and using their hands as levers to move the rib in cooperation with using their pre-molars and molars to masticate the ends.

This specific force application procedure has been evaluated over several peer-reviewed studies both pre-archaic and contemporary as clearly diagnostic of hominin mastication activity. This process creates specific secondary dentition signatures in consistent hemispherical regions of masticated ungulate rib specimens. The pre-molar impressions were triangular in shape while the molar evidence is characterized by double arch shapes. The evidence recovered from all three sites demonstrated clear and consistent rib peeling evidence.

The physical act or process of Rib Peeling is very simple. It consists of using your hands to put a rib in your mouth and using those same hands to move the end of the rib around as you chew on the opposite end. This creates very specific damage and tooth marks in predictable locations on a rib. It also creates secondary tooth marks in expected locations. This predictable combination of damage and individual teeth mark impression evidence is clearly supported in current scientific research and is an accurate tool that enables the separation of hominin verses predator chewing evidence in bones.

Rib Peeling.

Rib Peeling. (Author provided)

Bone Stacking and Other Hominin Behavior

Behavioral evidence analyzed from each site supported the forensic evidence. A review of the applicable scientific literature also demonstrated that ungulate ribs were a central and connecting theme. We have proposed the addition of three behavioral manifestations or categories illuminated by the neoichnological analysis of the supplementary data. All three are fundamentally connected to ungulate rib mastication evidence.

The first is called Bone Stacking and has a very long history in hominin evolution. In the case of our data, bone stacking was present at all three locations. We propose and the literature supports the assertion that hands are required to accomplish this behavior. The second revolves around prey of choice. Ungulate ribs were statistically the most prevalent bone evidence preservation medium recorded in all of the literature examined. Contemporary chewing studies initiated to understand hominin mastication strategies have all produced ungulate rib evidence in alignment with pre-archaic studies. The overall prevalence of this type of bone evidence modification medium is a central theme throughout the literature and the field evidence recovered from Mount St. Helens.

The final behavioral expression that we illuminated centered upon the behaviors associated with Rib Peeling. Rib Peeling is a behavioral act that requires hands to accomplish. As previously described it requires putting a rib in a hominins mouth and using hands as levers to help apply additional forces during mastication activity. This association of hands and rib peeling is clearly supported in the literature and the analyzed field data. The central themes throughout that emerged were the statistically high incidence of ribs, the requirement of hands, and the assignment of associated dentition evidence coordinated with behavioral evidence as a reliable diagnostic framework for assessing potential hominin attributed mastication activity in bones.

Humans throughout time have behaved in certain predictable ways when selecting food and processing these foods. The accurate coordination of physical evidence with behavioral evidence is a well-developed field in criminal science. We were able to demonstrate a clear connection throughout our research with the physical evidence. This connection was clearly centered upon the use of hands, eating in a predictable manner, and selecting ungulate species as a primary food source.

Bone stacker.

Bone stacker evidence presented. (Author provided)

What Does It All Mean? Is Bigfoot Real?

The conclusions generated by a careful analysis of the applicable peer reviewed literature and a cross comparison of the field data enable the construction of a currently unclassified hominin profile. The dentition evidence demonstrates hominin incisor measurements primarily outside the possibility of  Homo sapiens. Evidence based reconstruction of inter-canine distances demonstrate a measurement that is over two times the size of a modern human’s mouth.

The statistically high presence of rib peeling and required associated supplementary regionally located evidence is perhaps the strongest indication of hominin dentition mastication evidence. The behavioral evidence mutually supported the forensic dentition evidence and is further confirmation of reliability across the applicable literature and field evidence profiles. When taken in totality both the Neoichnology and Taphonomy evidence is mutually supporting and grounded in applicable peer-reviewed literature. The data is mutually supporting and clearly illuminated in the current literature. The conclusions are accurate, well supported, repeatable, and construct physical and behavioral profiles of a currently unclassified hominin living (Bigfoot) at Mount St. Helens.

The evidence and analysis that I presented at the 69th Annual Anthropological Research Conference represented an opportunity for mainstream anthropologists and archeologists to examine part of the credible evidence that is slowly emerging. The Zooarcheological field research project that we conducted used the most current scientific theories and analytical techniques to illuminate data that clearly constructs a profile of a hominin with associated dentition physio-morphology and definable behavioral characteristics. Our conclusions are based upon clear and repeatable data grounded in and supported by contemporary peer reviewed science. They refer too, build upon and expand currently accepted mainstream scientific theory.

The anthropological research conference gave those in attendance the opportunity to hear our conclusions and review the evidence we based them upon. They had a chance to analyze our process and framing theories. The audience’s reaction to our presentation was one of encouragement and astonishment. Attendees were very encouraged by our comprehensive efforts and broad based analysis. They were astonished by the results.

Conclusions image from Mills and Townsend 2016

Conclusions image from Mills and Townsend 2016. (Author provided)

Comprehensive Bigfoot Investigations Required

As we emerge full circle, once again we are faced with the central question of why mainstream science has failed to comprehensively examine the possible existence of what some people refer to as Bigfoot. Credible multi-disciplinary evidence continues to emerge from unlikely places, yet in general it has failed to attract the professional scientific attention it deserves. By conducting this type of transparent research, writing a paper, and presenting it at a prestigious academic conference we hope to encourage deeper analysis of our own conclusions as well as inspire further scientific attention into the questions that surround the possibility of a giant, unclassified hominin living and thriving in the Pacific Northwest.

Our research has provided a place to begin for those willing to take up the task and put credible evidence to the test. At the end of the day why are we still asking the same question: “is Bigfoot real”? We encourage the scientific community to move beyond their skepticism in order to conduct deep examination of our efforts as well as that of others in this emerging area of research. Science has an obligation by definition to explain the unexplained, whatever that may be. By presenting our conclusions at a prestigious anthropological research conference and authoring this article I hope to highlight a place where researchers can start.

Top image: Why is the scientific community still stuck on asking “is Bigfoot real” rather than conducting scientific analysis of the evidence. Source: ginettigino / Adobe Stock

By Mitchel N. Townsend

Updated April 6, 2021.


Chu, S. J. (2007). Range and mean distribution frequency for individual tooth width of the maxillary anterior detention. Journal of Practical Procedures and Aesthetic Dentistry, 19, 209-215.

Lyman, R. L. (2009). What taphonomy is, what it isn’t, and why taphonomists should care about the difference. Retrieved from [Online] Available here.

Fernandez-Jalvo, Y., & Andrews, P. (2010, August 4). When humans chew bones. Journal of Human Evolution, 60, 117-123.

Harvati, K., Darlas, A., Bailey, S., Rein, T. R., El Zaatari, S., Fiorenza, L., Psathi, E. (2012, February 1, 2013). New neaderthal remains from mani peninsula, southern greece: the kalamakia middle paleolithic cave site. Journal of Human Evolution, 1-14(14), 1-14.

Pickering, T. R., Dominges-Rodrigo, M., Heaton, J. L., Yraveda, J., Barba, R., Bunn, H. T., ... Brain, C. K. (2012, June 26). Taphonomy of ungulate ribs and the consumption of meat and bone by 1.2 million-year-old hominins at olduvai gorge, tanzania. Journal of Archaeological Science, 40, 1295-1309.

Saladie, P., Rodriguez-Hidalgo, A., Diez, C., Martinez-Rodriguez, P., & Carbonell, E. (2012, February 13). Range of bone modifications by human chewing. Journal of Archaeological Science, 40(), 380-397.

Townsend, M. N., & Mills, G. (2016, March). Using forensic biotic taphonomy dentition signature analysis and neoichnology profiling to determine the identity of the predator responsible for the deposition and mastication of three independent ungulate rib prey bone assemblages in the mount st. helen’s ecosystem of the cascade mountain range: a zooarcheology field application case study.  Paper presented at the 69th Annual Anthropological Research Conference, Tacoma, WA. Retrieved from!123&authkey=!AE9vh_ZHn84PpUw

Viegas, J. (2012). Prehistoric people ate each other, bones show. Retrieved from



Hi Cuzco,

Okay what I'm about to share will most likely CUZCO leave you wondering what does this current Subject have to do with Big Foot? Actually what I'm in the process of sharing goes back to your earlier question when will mainstream Science Finally accept the existence of Big Foot Correct?

I equate the question with an similar experience in my growth As a Christian. I thought I knew almost everything about The Bible as a Believer till I watched a documentary on The History Channel Banned Books of The Bible and they featured Enoch.

I lived for quite sometime as an Christian Suspicious of Enoch due to The Gospel Matthew and Luke when Jesus warned his Disciples which echoes down to me especially through Time See to it that you are not deceived.

For their should rise Counterfeit Messiahs and False Prophet's (later Epistles of Paul and Peter teaches of False Teacher's), if so could Deceive the very elect, so naturally hearing of Enoch I did for sometime believe it was written by you guessed it A False Prophet.

An then I had my Thomas experience that's the Disciple known by his Street name Doubting Thomas (I no longer call Thomas that), Thomas needed to both touch and speak to Christ before saying I Believe.

That is how it was with me an Enoch an now, I just adore these incredible Bible Book's of Enoch an all other Books that were dropped from The Scriptures as well.

Okay so much like as an example of how; I and even today my fellow Brother's and Sister's in Christ, approach The Book of Enoch at a distance.

So too me, I feel that is what Science is doing when touching on the matter of Big Foot although, honesty I'm not certain even in all the Scientific evidence of Big Foot they'd still Deny It.

Think about it that would be forcing Scientist out of their comfort zone; like, I was spiritually pushed out of my symbolic Holy Bible Box of just so.

I don't believe I said I didn't believe did I? In Big Foot and the Scientific evidence?

Anyway that was all I wished too share with you CUZCO so until, next time!

If you read the report you find that it is surprisingly current, since it focuses on the physicality of the creature, including height, breasts, musculature, and body mechanics related to neck, limbs, stride, foot placement, knee bend, and other factors which, when compared with human capabilities, stand in stark contrast to a human actor in a monkey suit. No computer was necessary for the analysis, and in my opinion it still stands as a powerful proof of life for the existence of the creature. That said, it remains shameful that, with the wealth of evidence since accumulated, mainstream science still refuses to turn its powerful research tools on the subject. In that regard I heartily agree.

The Photek analysis is pretty good however it is 23 years old.  It predates the “Internet” phenomena and the massive amount of online reports in forums like the BFRO that have revolutionized our ability to identify cryptic sightings of animals (or other phenomena) by ameliorated the inherent reluctance of people to discuss unusual animal/UFO or other sightings to avoid ridicule.  So, for one, the Photek report does not include the thousands of Sasquatch reports that have occured in the past 23 years.  It is also apparent that the storage capacity and computer power available in 1998 was a fraction of what is now available, so I would think better technology would make analysis easier and faster.  For these reasons, and as Mitchel Townsend has stated, it would be nice to see a current or updated scientific analysis of the “Bigfoot” phenomena. 

Rolfe Jaremus

A highly methodical analysis of the Patterson-Gimlin film was undertaken by the Photek photo analysis company, which supports the authenticity of the what is still on of the best motion pictures of a bigfoot in existence.


Hi All,

Abominable Snow man, Big Foot, Snow Beast, Skunk Ape, an Yomen up around Canada I may have mis-spelled Yomen.

These are but a few in which eyewitnesses has claimed too both see these unknown creatures but has said to have heard & smelled them that's with Big Foot and Skunk Ape in Florida.
So either (I'm not making fun of witnesses), everybody up an used LSD or these things are out there oh and I found out about Skunk Ape from Unsolved Mysteries.

I guess until more people continues seeing or video taping these animal's there never going to be accepted by traditional Science correct me if I'm wrong but, isn't Science supposed to be based on Nothing in Science is Impossible.

I suppose we could keep in mind of this when thinking of Big Foot an unusual Idea about these possible encounters involving encounters with Big Foot, Loch ness monster, Lake Champy Monster, and Mokele-embembe.

People only see these creatures when they're aren't Looking for Them. So perhaps develop a scenario that involves not expecting too Run into these things although, if still maintain keeping an Camcorder handy while Not Looking for Them.

Though I understand from Canada's stories about Yomen or Yomel seeing them might be the last thing you'd do because Canada's Indigenous People maintain Yomels or if I'm spelling the name right, Yomens eat people.

This is my take on Big Foot so until next time, Everyone, looking forward to more discussions on the existence of Big Foot, Goodbye!


Mitchel Townsend's picture

Mitchel Townsend

Mitchel Townsend in an education and research scholar.

He has designed and taught accelerated interactive college level courses both internationally and at two different Northwest colleges.  His University background includes; Presidential and International Honors Scholar with degrees from the University... Read More

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