Deep in the woods and deep in our hearts lives the great and terrible Bigfoot. He (if Bigfoot is a he) is probably the biggest Americana celebrity there is, bigger than Paul Bunyon and Babe the Big Blue Ox (not physically speaking, Paul was like several stories tall and Bigfoot is estimated to be about 7 feet tall).
Bigfoot has many names: Sasquatch, Yeti, Wild Man, and many more across many cultures and regions. Is he man or beast? Is he real or hoax? Some people dedicate their lives to the pursuit of unearthing the mystery. They live in the legend. BFRO (The Bigfoot Field Research Organization) leads expeditions that adventure into American wilderness in pursuit of finally bringing hard evidence to the table.
Speaking of hard evidence, the science community is finally running some of this “evidence” through their gauntlet. Their best tool for scientific deduction, genetic testing of hair samples. If Bigfoot is this mysterious creature of legend, than Bigfoot’s hair sample shouldn’t match any known animals. This is very logical. So what did they find? Everything from raccoon to tapir; disheartening, I know. However, two samples came back as particularly interesting, not as evidence of the big guy, but as providing some context to the myth.
The samples are of from an extinct bear from Paleolithic times. They came form Bhutan and India, and this bear may be exactly what the Yeti is believed to be.
I know that sounds confusing, how can something be extinct if a hair sample is collected in modern days. But this is the kind of world we’re talking about. If Bigfoot can exist, hidden away in the wilderness from Man’s grasp, than so can other creatures. We call things extinct because we find evidence of their existence, but can’t find them alive anywhere we look. We call things myths because we speak of their existence, but can’t find evidence or them alive as well, but for some reason we draw a distinction. There’s no reason that every mythical animal you’ve ever heard of hasn’t existed at one time or another, for despite our satellite cameras and global connectivity, humans are, on a whole, bad at looking and listening for things. There’s so much that we miss out on.