Since nothing of interest happens in Canada, on the taxi ride from the University of Victoria to the airport, CBC blurted a story summarizing 2006’s Bigfoot news. The interesting thing the announcer said was that “Bigfoot is known by many names,” like Yeti around the Himalayas. He could have done something extraordinary for popular media and gone into cross-cultural studies of Bigfoot legends, for example the similarity between Bigfoot and trolls (as in epic fantasy, not the blogosphere).
Instead, he replayed interviews with Bigfoot proponents who went on and on about how awful it was that nobody was taking them seriously and how any evidence against them didn’t count. One was a Vincent Chao, an environmentalist and Bigfoot believer, who talked with glee about a state-supported search for Bigfoot in Johor Bahru. A few months later, when not a single person had signed up for the government’s drive to look for Bigfoot in the forests of Johor, he started saying that there had been insufficient publicity for some mysterious reason.
Hearing him come off as smirking but actually dreading defeat was unbridled joy for a skeptic like me. The interviewer wasn’t as hostile as Bill O’Reilly is to non-fascist guests, but she asked enough hardball questions to make skeptics radiant… and believers just as content. I’m pretty sure Bigfoot believers wouldn’t think Chao totally botched the interview, even though he did.
Although I agree that there is no credible evidence for a bigfoot the possible existance of such a creature is not necessarily impossible. One possibility is a scientific experiment run amok in which a female chimp is impregnated by male human sperm. The question as to whether this is possible has received some attention over the past decade. The late Stephen Jay Gould contended in one of his books that such a thing was possible. Others have contended that, due to the non-alignment of chromosomes, such a thing is not possible. However, consider the liger, which is a hybrid of a male lion and a female Bengal tiger. A full grown liger can exceed 400 kilograms in weight, larger then both parents combined. The reason for this is, apparently, a growth gene in the tiger fails to be turned off, allowing the liger to grow indefinitely. Thus, if a hybrid between a chimp and a human is possible, the same thing could happen, namely that the result, if male, could grow to a very lare size.
In this regard, apparently, such experiments were contemplated by the Nazi regime in Germany during the 1930s but apparently were never performed.