For the full article by Dr. Meldrum go here:
Below are some highlights of the article
There must be essential evidence to lend weight to the hypotheses, and counter the critics’ various aspersions. I was once confronted by a colleague, who declared, “After all, these are just stories.” My response: “Stories that apparently leave tracks, shed hair, void scat, vocalize, are observed and described by reliable experienced witnesses. Hardly just stories.” Others mock the notion as “pseudoscience,” but fail to explain their justification for that label, let alone provide a defensible rationale for their pat disqualification of the evidence at hand.
What would be the source of a giant relict hominoid in North America?
The most likely source would be Asia. After all 75% of the mammal species now inhabiting this continent are in fact immigrants from Asia. It has been suggested that bipedalism is a uniquely derived trait of the hominin clade, therefore sasquatch must be specifically a hominin. In that case, its apparent lack of associated material culture would suggest a very early offshoot from the hominin tree, perhaps a Paranthropus, given its robust craniodental proportions.
The discovery of the relict species Homo floresiensis cast a novel perspective on at least a part of that hurdle. Here was a species with fossil remains in the farthest southeast corner of Asia as young as 50,000 years that most resembles the skeleton of a late australopithecine or a very early form of Homo, such as Homo habilis only known from Africa some 2 million years ago. Now the prospect of a paranthropine extending its range across Asia, achieving gigantism, alongside other Pleistocene megafauna as its range spread into more northerly latitudes, seems less improbable.
Where are any recent physical remains?
The wet coniferous forest thought to be their core habitats are notoriously poor preservers of bone (Fig.1). Acidic conditions and the action of gnawers make quick work of fresh skeletons. Consider also that a large-bodied, long-lived, slow-reproducing hominoid would have low population densities and low rates of mortality. In my home state of Idaho, I would infer a potential population of sasquatch numbering about 150. Compare this to the 20,000 resident black bear in the state, with an average life span of 10 years. How often are skeletal remains of black bear that have died a natural death discovered? Such remains are almost never found. The odds of finding sasquatch remains could be at least 600 times less, all else being equal.
How would a relict hominoid make a living in a temperate forest habitat?
Omnivory is a broad niche categorization and it can be partitioned in any number of ways. Bears have evolved from a carnivore ancestor and have subsequently modified the carnassial teeth and somewhat elongated the short carnivore gut, but lack a caecum and can only poorly digest plant structural parts. Sasquatch would conceivably represent a hominoid derived from a folivore/frugivore ancestor, emphasizing a flat face with deep jaws, which almost certainly support an enlarged and thick-enameled post-canine dentition. It would have the teeth and jaws of a Cuisinart. Combined with a capacious gut, slow passage time, and likely hindgut fermentation (perhaps even employing coprophagy , as practiced by some great apes) to digest a much wider selection of foods than those available to bears. One study attributed 30 plant species to the black bears diet. By comparison, the orangutans’ diet includes over 400 plant species. Bears employ a form of hibernation as needed to bide the winter months. Whether sasquatch hibernate, migrate, store food, or have sufficient masticatory and digestive attributes to get through the winter, remain unanswered questions, but any of these options are quite reasonable behavioral hypotheses for a large bipedal hominoid.
The footprints constitute a prolific body of data that permits repeatable objective evaluation. They, the footprints, exist. I have amassed over 300 specimens of footprint casts, as well as hundreds more photographs of footprints.
Footprints at the site of the Patterson-Gimlin film
One of the best documented and thoroughly examined trackways attributed to sasquatch is that associated with the controversial Patterson-Gimlin film, taken at Bluff Creek in northern California on October 20th, 1967.
The associated footprints were examined, filmed, photographed and cast by multiple witnesses. The pair of 38 cm casts made promptly by the primary witnesses form the basis of the ichnotaxon, Anthropoidipes ameriborealis MELDRUM 2007, namely the “North American ape foot.” Ichnotaxonomy is the formal classification of tracks and traces, generally of as yet unknown extinct animals. In this instance the trackmaker is unknown, i.e. unrecognized or unacknowledged, but not extinct.
One particular footprint in the trackway at the Patterson-Gimlin film site, photographed by then USFS timber cruiser Lyle Laverty, and subsequently cast by investigator Bob Titmus, has proven to be pivotal in interpreting the distinctions in morphology of the sasquatch foot, and central to its diagnosis. This footprint captured the dynamic trace of a flat flexible bipedal foot resulting, in this instance, in a distinct midfoot (or: midtarsal) pressure ridge
Most of the casts made by Titmus show evidence of a midfoot pressure ridge to varying degree, as can be seen when the casts are viewed on edge.
What can we learn about sasquatch by a detailed analysis of its footprints?
Sasquatch footprints indicate that its foot is not merely an enlarged facsimile of a human foot. The human foot is generally characterized by a relatively rigid longitudinal arch . . . . This arch is a fairly recent evolutionary innovation associated with the gracilization of the human skeleton and adaptations for endurance walking and running in Homo sapiens, or its immediate antecedents.
It derives from a primitive foot pattern marked by a greater range of flexion and rotation at the midfoot. This mobility, combined with a divergent big toe is integral to the ape’s grasp-climbing adaptation, in which the prehensile vs propulsive functions of the foot are coordinated. When climbing, or walking on the ground, this flexion of the ape’s midfoot is called the “midtarsal break.”
The action of the sasquatch foot itself, as it correlates with these distinctive footprints, is evident and observable in the Patterson-Gimlin film subject. Elevation of the heel, while flexed at the midfoot, disperses pressure beneath the entire forefoot, sparing relatively longer toes the bending stresses experience by human toes. Under appropriate conditions of gait and substrate, this action may occasionally produce the distinctive pressure ridge evident in the Titmus cast and numerous other examples.
Similar footprints in North America and China
How could these independent examples, separated by as much as three decades and some a half-a-world apart, coincidently share these sound and significant subtleties of anatomy and functional morphology? Simply a convergent happenstance of unrelated hoaxed footprints? I think not.