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Top 5 Bigfoot Theories: What Is Bigfoot Really?

Eric has been fascinated by folklore and the paranormal from a young age and enjoys exploring controversial subjects and events.

What is the truth behind the Bigfoot legend?

What is the truth behind the Bigfoot legend?

It seems a lot of people believe in Bigfoot, and many have their own theories on what he is and where he comes from. Hard-working Bigfoot research organizations are trekking through the woods of North America and the rest of the world as you read this, trying to get to the bottom of the mystery. As of yet the big guy hasn’t given up his secrets.

Since no Bigfoot has been willing to come forward, and nobody has ever captured one, how do we really know anything at all about this monstrous man-ape? Sure there’s supposed evidence: blurry photographs and videos, plaster footprint casts, and a few hair samples, but nothing definitive. Most of our knowledge comes from first-hand reports.

Allegedly, people see Bigfoot all over the world. Unfortunately, it seems that people without cameras, or those with cameras that can’t focus very well, are more likely to encounter the beast. From these accounts and legends, we’ve pieced together the picture of a large, hairy, bipedal humanoid we call Bigfoot.

As for me, I'm not totally convinced. Shouldn’t an 8-foot monster supposedly lurking in every corner of the continent be easier to track down? Eventually, we have to ask ourselves if we’re missing something here. Could there be more to this mythical creature than we realize?

This article examines several Bigfoot theories, and attempts to answer the question: What is Bigfoot?

1. North American Ape Hypothesis

The most prevalent theory is that Bigfoot is a highly-evolved great ape of some sort, a species some researchers have referred to theoretically as the North American Ape. This certainly fits with the description of Sasquatch through the years. But where would such an ape have come from?

Bigfoot-Giganto Hypothesisis an interesting concept that says Bigfoot may trace his family tree back to a giant, 10-foot-tall ape species known as Gigantopithecus Blacki. This massive creature went extinct long ago, but some researchers speculate that Giganto may have evolved into what we call the Yeti in Asia.

Yeti ancestors may have then followed ancient humans across the Bering Land Bridge to North America during the time of the last ice age. This accounts for two similar creatures—Sasquatch and the Yeti—existing so far apart. And, it gives us an explanation for Bigfoot.

As nice and neat as this theory seems, there are many problems with it from a paleontology perspective. But even if Bigfoot didn’t evolve as a result of the Giganto connection, by most modern accounts he does seem to be some kind of ape.

There’s no fossil record of apes in North America, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Fossils don’t preserve well in forests, and there are many scavengers to clean up any carcasses.

However, it is hard to explain how such a large creature could leave so few clues that it even exists. In the end, this theory still presents us with a flesh-and-blood creature that biologists ought to be able to track down.

2. Bigfoot Is a Human Relative

What if Bigfoot isn’t an ape at all? What if he’s more like us? Many Bigfoot witnesses say the creature is very human-like, and in some Native and even early European-American cultures Sasquatch is referred to as a man, not an animal. This does make some sense on a few different levels.

Many people don’t realize that there have been several species of humans on this planet, not just Homo sapiens. Like any other animal, our family tree has twists and turns and dead ends. Some human species merged and evolved into what we are today, and some died off. Do any of them fit the description of Bigfoot? Well, sort of.

Homo Heidelbergensis is an extinct human ancestor that lived half a million years ago. Some researchers originally speculated they were a very robust species, standing much taller than modern humans and with very heavy musculature.

We now know that most of them weren’t much different in average height than modern humans, but some specific populations may indeed have been taller. What are the odds that a remote population of very large H. Heidelbergensis or another primitive human relative survived and migrated to North America?

This would explain a few things, such as the extremely high level of intelligence Bigfoot is said to possess for one. It would also explain how Sasquatch could survive in harsh climates by hunting. If H. Heidelbergensis learned to fear H. Sapiens it would make sense that it would try to hide from us at all costs.

But like a few of the most popular Bigfoot theories, this one still leaves us with problems. Even H. Heidelbergensis used stone tools, and a social human species living in groups would almost certainly leave other evidence behind.

This early human was likely far more advanced than Bigfoot appears to be, and the chance that it would have culturally “forgotten” its ways is illogical and unlikely. In the end, if Bigfoot is a type of human, we should still find more evidence than we do.

3. Sasquatch is an Ancient Earth Spirit

Let's be sure to cover all the bases: What if this creature doesn’t exist in the natural world at all?

Is it just luck and happenstance that the only people who ever see Bigfoot are totally unprepared to document the encounter? It’s an odd paradox that a creature so secretive that it has not even been properly documented by science seems to readily reveal itself to moving cars, hunters wearing orange camouflage, and teenagers wandering along dirt roads. Of course, even in this age where everyone is carrying a smartphone with a camera attached nobody who claims to spot Bigfoot ever snaps a picture.

Sure they’re startled and shaken up by the encounter, but during tsunamis, earthquakes, street riots, and every other terrifying event people will record video and take pictures. However, some witnesses will claim to observe a Sasquatch for thirty seconds and it never occurs to them to take a photo. Why not?

Is it possible that Bigfoot is a forest spirit, a supernatural guardian of the Earth and woodlands? Might this be why witnesses report being mesmerized by encounters, and might this be why so few have the wherewithal to go for their cell-phone camera?

Indeed, in some parts of North America, Native Americans regard Bigfoot as a supernatural being, and often a messenger of the natural world. This is similar to the way the indigenous peoples of Nepal and Tibet view the Yeti: as a spiritual entity.

Perhaps Europeans, and modern researchers, have missed the mark, so to speak, when it comes to understanding the true nature of Sasquatch. Maybe there is so little evidence because there is simply none to find.

4. Bigfoot Has Alien Origins

I'll be honest: I'm willing to have a reasonable conversion about either Bigfoot or UFOs with almost anyone. However, when the two subjects cross, I'm out.

Some people believe Bigfoot may be an alien species, dropped off here by visitors from another world for reasons known only to them. As odd as this sounds, there does seem to be a correlation between increases in Bigfoot sightings and increases in UFO activity. But what point could there be to this strange relationship between aliens and Bigfoot?

Maybe these Sasquatch creatures are a type of experiment. Aliens would leave them on our planet for a while and then collect them again after a period of time. Since they are apparently so similar to us, the alien visitors may be able to see all kinds of results that exposure to our Earthly environment has had on them. Maybe this is a kinder, gentler way for aliens to get information about the human race, rather than all that inconvenient abducting and probing.

Perhaps Bigfoot is a hybrid of some sort, a cross between humans and some kind of creature that exists on the alien homeworld. Or, maybe an alien race is somehow attempting to reverse engineer human DNA, and this Bigfoot creature is the closest thing they’ve come up with so far.

The Bigfoot alien theory is certainly among the most bizarre of the Bigfoot theories. We could speculate forever, but I suppose alien involvement could explain why no specimen has ever been captured, why no carcasses have been found, and why Bigfoot seems to be here one instant and gone the next.

5. Bigfoot Is a Myth

So far each of these Bigfoot theories is more bizarre than the one that came before, but here’s one even the most devout skeptic can get their brain around. What if Bigfoot only exists in our minds, as a sort of ancestral memory passed down over thousands and thousands of years? Of course, this explains why nobody has found any evidence, but it does not account for why the legend is so ingrained in the cultures of North America, both ancient and present day.

One way to explain this is by looking at ancient people’s way of remembering history through storytelling. Many Native American tribes and we presume the primitive tribes who crossed the Bering Strait, kept history based on oral tradition. They had no written language, only the stories passed on from generation to generation.

If early human ancestors shared the forests of Asia with a creature such as the aforementioned Gigantopithecus, these stories and accounts may have survived to recent times, and passed on by the indigenous tribes of the Americas.

These Native American Bigfoot legends would have been passed down to early European explorers, who no doubt were mystified by the prospect of such a fantastic creature living in the New World. Naturally, Europeans would have built upon the myth themselves and perpetuated it to the present day.

This satisfies skeptics and explains why there is little physical evidence, but it does not account for all the reported sightings. If Bigfoot isn’t real, why are so many people spotting him?

The Sasquatch Legend Lives On

Wherever you stand with the Bigfoot mystery, you have to admit it’s an interesting puzzle. There must be something to the Sasquatch phenomenon, but getting all the pieces to fit together seems impossible at this time.

Is Bigfoot some sort of undiscovered ape, possibly a relative of the Yeti descended from an ancient species called Gigantopithecus? It makes a lot of sense, even though there is no way to prove it in the fossil record, at least at this time.

Could Sasquatch be a species of primitive human, perhaps a remnant population of Homo Heidelbergensis that migrated to North America during the last ice age? If not H. Heidelbergensis, then perhaps some other species of human, far more like us than we’d like to think.

Might Bigfoot be an alien, or a spirit, or maybe just a figment of our collective imagination? As wild as these theories sound, they do account for the missing evidence and the elusive nature of the beast.

Or, maybe Bigfoot doesn't exist at all.

Nobody knows, but rest assured that tireless Bigfoot researchers are out there looking for the truth, and getting to the bottom of these Bigfoot theories.

Your Opinion

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Danny Bear on June 30, 2020:

Bobcats, coyote, bear, mointain lion, wold, etcetc.. all live on the forests and wild places.

They're also much more denser in numbers than a sasquatch would be.

Do we find their bones? No we do not.

Its extremely rare. Ive found deer bones, but nothing predatory.

So to all you skeptics, expain that.

dave schulz on January 15, 2020:

Well the mystery goes on for you none believers. For one they are not a ape there goes that idea. They are a spirit being just like us humans' those that have a spirit. They could be an alien just like the humans that are also picked up by ufos.So to me they are a part breed of a human; but, a bit bigger just like some humans. They are educated differently then us; but, are more intelligent on the psychic level. Seen one and it looked like a huge human, it had hair every where just like us humans.dave

Bantha on August 14, 2019:

I reckon they are just afraid of our lifestyle ,I mean I'm not American nor have I any scientific or Palynological understanding of this creature but from the light research I have done it seems as though they or it want to stay hidden in which case I don't blame it, Humans are tearing up this beautiful world and I should think they want no part of it besides their said to have lived for some time now, they must be doing something right.

ElijahPOD on May 28, 2019:

Being a believer, and one who knows I appreciate anyone that attempts to write about this subject in order to get a dialogue going.

That said, the arrogance of us humans to not believe in this hominoid because we either A. Can't wrap our head around not being the most advanced, intelligent species on the planet. Or B. Think we have possibly traveled, researched, and been through all wooded areas on the planet is laughable at the least. But really that is just the start. Not to discount the previous comments, as some are partially based on some actual research that has been been done or is currently going on. I would however beg anybody that had any type of opinion on the matter to really do some deep research on the subject instead of hurling out random ideas on what bigfoot could be or where they could possibly be. Instead if you do go through countless reports from not just everyday people that see them in passing, but also the reports from our first responders, and those who protect and serve our country all across the world, who have seen these creatures or their variants, based on climate and location in other countries.Yes, you may find that those people do NOT want their names mentioned due to the nature of their work or security clearances they may hold. Or maybe being told that what they saw "never happened" by their superiors. Also if you are of the thinking our government as well as others across the world do not know, acknowledge, and yes keep quiet about the subject for a number of reasons, is as naive to think as skeptics thinking believers and those who know due to first hand interactions are also mistaken or naive. As for those that have skeptical reasons as to why we cannot find them at will? 1. No Body- bury their dead/if you look hard enough you will find reports of bodies being taken from scenes of wildfires or hunter casualties by government authorities as well as instances of our own special forces teams being dispatched to areas to get rid of problem sasquatch. Think about it, are Navy Seals ever really suppose to speak on ops they go on? 2. Not enough land and viable food sources to sustain such a species...

Tony on May 25, 2019:

Ultra terrestrials are beings from a parallel dimension to the Earth. it is attributed to the location that Djinn, Goblinoids (Tengu, Puckwudgies, trolls etc) and other things that go bump in the night. As Earth might have gateways into this dimension, it may also link to Hell as an association with the devil and Demons is quite common. It is also a possible realm of the False gods. It may or may not be linked to the same spirit realm of the Native Americans. Notably both Native Americans(people known for tall tales but never lie) and Arabs (the people that gave us math) believe in these realms. The theory that they are just weird energy that takes the form of the human subconscious is easy enough to debunk, otherwise every family would see giant Easter bunnies or Santa Claus running around in the woods. But, could Bigfoot walk the line? What if it is a creation half of this world and half of that one, created to protect the forest from mischievous spirits? Suppose Goblinoids all are intelligent mischievous animal spirits and a Squatch is a good Ape spirit cross bread with a human? There are a number of cryptids that might step in and out of the parallel realm. Science does not discredit this either, many scientist go here to explain that which they cannot as a fall back. As for UFO's there are so many reasons for glowing lights to occur and a number of these are associated with living, captured or dead spirits that the UFO sightings associated with cryptids is possibly related to the the cryptid phenomenon, but Many UFO sightings are a completely unique phenomenon. People in a panic don't take the time to notice if their orb light is a volleyball sized orb with a human figure in it, just a glowing ball or a spaceship. (many look at their photos after and are convince the reflections in their photo are spirits, the only ones I ever had on film I could see physically and they were all different things.

Tegan on February 18, 2019:

Has anyone heard of ultra terrestrials that live in the super spectrum. And he also theorized that there are certain paranormal hotspots or is he called them window areas where there’s a lot of sightings of a large variety of different types of paranormal phenomenon going on. Like Bigfoot for example, ghosts, different Cryptids, UFOs, balls of light/fireballs, shape shifters, Animals that are out of place in Earths timeline and geographically, portals, be able to see an event that happened in history for a moment, A long history of legends and stories about the area. I really like his theory because it explains why there’s not a lot of physical evidence it also describes why there’s a lot of UFO activity around Bigfoot and I don’t know it’s just a really interesting theory.

wilde313 on September 04, 2018:

1/2 and 1/2 , abomination made . 100% dependent on the people that created them "however" long ago . ONLY reason they STAY and GO to where people are , when a 5 year old child can walk into the woods and NEVER see another person again EVER . these things NEED people to survive , period .abomination has no place in the food chain . especially groups of 5-10 of these things in a single location . grocery store isnt enough for that many animals in single location to eat more than day or two .

Dave Gibson from Florida on September 01, 2018:

I lived with Sasquatch around my remote cabin in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York for three years. While I may certainly be wrong, I am convinced of several things.

They are no more an ape than we are. Nor are they creatures or monsters. They are an ancient race of people.

They have a language, both written and spoken. I was able to translate about half of their glyphs from a Chinese symbol table.

For whatever reason, they are very elusive. I never saw one there. My wife saw her buddy for only a few fleeting seconds.

They are protective. Our Sasquatch chased off all predators to protect us and our pets.

They are pranksters. They would knock on our cabin's walls and windows at night to see what we would do.

You can tramp through the woods forever and never find Bigfoot. They find you.

And finally, mindspeak (mental telepathy) is a real thing.

Dennis Garwitz Sr. on August 21, 2018:

Bigfoot has been around a long time. I am 76 years old and I remember Bigfoot in the Big forest in East Texas and Arkansas well over forty years ago. No body was interested in it then and many people then thought it was a joke of some kind. This animal is from Another dimension. You cannot catch it and you cannot kill it. There is absolutely no proof that Bigfoot or Sashquash as the Yankees call it has ever killed or hurt anything. Bigfoot does not sleep nor eat and is immune to the weather. Why it is here is a mystery but I feel that other aliens are trying to get us used to it. No one can catch bigfoot nor kill bigfoot it has been try so many times by so many people and they all have failed.

David Robidoux on June 19, 2018:

These are men or rather human beings. It's not 1/2 ape or 1/2 human for this would be a genetic impossibility.It is 100% human being just a species not recognized. There are many different variations just as there are many different variations with homo sapiens. The intelligence ratio is much higher than the average homo sapien and I knew that prior to reading some of the posts. You can always tell when someone is totally dishonest when they describe an ape-like creature. Anyone who has been close enough to see knows these are humans though large in statue. The United States government is also very aware of these facts and that's why an elite military group is usually sent in with the FBI being on the scene shortly after.The native Americans are well aware and have considered these people another tribe for many many centuries.Believe what you will but most will recognise the truth when they hear it.

Rob Zimmerman on May 23, 2018:

I've only ever seen one Bigfoot but I have had numerous local encounters hollers and screams and whistles as if I was the one that was being hunted

WEIERDO on April 26, 2018:

i have seen bigfoot

Annie D on April 04, 2018:

This was a awesome paper! I believe that Bigfoot is a North American ape. It truly seems like one.

Bug Stomper on March 12, 2018:

Gigantopithicus. Thought to be extinct.

XXXtentacion on January 26, 2018:


ejc on December 20, 2017:

I believe it is some kind of an ape.

Fishook on December 02, 2017:

After catching it on camara I belive it looks like a preastoric man

John L. on November 16, 2017:

Why hasn't anyone proposed a theory that Bigfoot might actually just be a person who has decided to live away from people only in the wild off of nature away from technology and Mankind who then becomes kind of like a feral cat so to speak

d Groff on October 30, 2017:

As far as the Jacobs photo, that's definitely a BEAR, I have game cam photos of bear looks just like that, the animal turns for another pic and it turns out to be a bear, thin young one.

MountainEd on October 02, 2017:

Can't vote. Multiple answers to the question.

How about:

Forest spirit AND alien AND shape shifter?

From a different world, traveling through portals, existing at a higher vibration beyond our normal range of sight.

Light-beings that can make themselves visible in any form they choose. Visible one moment, gone the next.

If you want to start a real adventure into the answers, and have an open mind, research the work done by Dr. Matt Johnson. He's on YouTube and FaceBook.

Skylar on September 11, 2017:

I have news for all of you. "Bigfoot" is a generalization of an unknown creature.

1- Large Ape.

2- Apelike Man.

3- Primitive Man.

4- 3 to 4 foot ape.

They are not fairies, aliens or myths.

Flesh and blood beings who have never evolved, disproving evolution.

Mark my words, you all will know the truth in your life time. When a person says that they seen a big, hairy man walk across the road. It isn't because they had just seen a bear walking on two feet. Our brains aren't perfect. But I'm pretty sure that our brains function good enough to remember what they just had seen. How many times have you heard a witness say that they just seen Colonel Sanders walking across a forest road? Never? Thought so.

bradley56 on September 04, 2017:

i believe sasquatch is a drone..does not eat , leave waste , can maneuver almost any terrain , predators won't bother it..what is it doing?..searching for something ? plant, mineral, maybe surveying..

Jesse on July 14, 2017:

It's a skin walker.A human who can change its form...Can change into various species..Better known as a witch..Most commonly believed in down south by Indian tribes.."Shape shifter"They are out there..

Shea on May 21, 2017:

Thanks for these theories! I have to do a presentation on why sasqautch is more likely to exist then chubacabra and this was really helpful

Eric Dockett (author) from USA on August 16, 2016:

Hi Sophie: This article was intended as food for thought, and certainly not as any kind of definitive research paper. It is based on a wide range of theories put forth by various Bigfoot experts over the years. In some cases, as in the North American Ape Theory, you can look to researchers like Jeff Meldrum as a major proponent of such an idea. Other origins are a bit more obscure, and of course much of my own speculation is thrown in.

As with anything Bigfoot, I caution your students not to take anything as "fact" but instead look at any theories and ideas with a skeptical and analytical eye.

The existence of Bigfoot, of course, has yet to be proven by mainstream science, but many people experience Bigfoot encounters each year. So, we are left with many questions requiring some deep pondering. In the case of this article I'm asking people to think about: "If Bigfoot does exist, what is it?"

Sophie on August 15, 2016:

Hi Eric,

One of my students has read your article whilst researching for a school "history mysteries" project. They are curious to know where you got a lot of your information. Is it possible to provide a list of sources you used for your article?

Kind regards,


John David Stone on June 27, 2016:

Theory #6. Sasquatch is the now feral descendants of the Biblical Nephilim, or giants, who seem to disappear from history following the Assyrian and Babylonian deportations.

Eric Dockett (author) from USA on May 04, 2016:

Interesting stuff, deboramjama! I'm like you: Open-minded to new possibilities, but I need some evidence!

deboramjama on May 03, 2016:

Native Americans also believe that Sasquatch is a shape shifter. So it can change into black animals in the forest. It also likes whistling. But you shouldn't whistle back as it has the ability to possess your body. One of my Native American friends believes she was chased through the forest by one.

Muslims believe in a creature that sounds very similar. They believe that there are very ugly creatures who can shape shift and are attracted to whistling. Also like Native Americans, they believe that they prefer to shift into black animals, but are usually unseen. God wrote in the Qur'an that after he banished the Jinn named Shaytan, from heaven, for not serving mankind, and the rest were banished to the forests and deserts. They are forbidden to have contact with mankind. Muslims also believe that the Jinn who disobey God can possess you and God gave a special paragraph of the Quran to be read to exercise them from your body. This is usually done by an Iman (akin to their priests) Mohammad was also sent by God to the Jinn to read to them the Qur'an at night so that they too could enter their own version of heaven or hell. So, per this most avoid mankind in order to enter heaven.

The abilities of these creatures as described by both Native Americans and Muslims would account for the allusiveness of the creatures. And at the end of times per the Norse legend, The Bible and The Qur'an the giants of old will return.

Who knows? People used to believe that the world was flat, Xray was good for you, and that America didn't exist, so I try to keep an open mind. I'm also scientifically based and need the evidence though. And maybe it's not so much that the giants will return but that we are encroaching upon their forests and deserts by overpopulation. I'm fascinated by new discoveries and I'll withhold judgement until concrete evidence is secured.

Name on May 02, 2016:

Bigfoot is not real people are just childish

Jennifer Mugrage from Columbus, Ohio on January 19, 2016:

Love the Hub, love the sly humor too. :)

Eric Dockett (author) from USA on December 12, 2015:

@t.byran: I don't know if you are joking or not, but that is something I have seriously considered. :-)

t.bryan on December 11, 2015:

Bigfoot is a ghost of a caveman

Eric Dockett (author) from USA on October 06, 2015:

Thanks zoey. If at least some of the Bigfoot sightings are real I have to agree than an undiscovered ape is a strong candidate to explain Bigfoot.

Zoey from South England on October 05, 2015:

Great hub! I would have to go with the great ape theory. We may never know the truth but I still find the legend of bigfoot fascinating :)

zak on March 03, 2015:

omg that is cool

David Torres on December 31, 2013:

they are not of this world

bill on June 22, 2013:

i just don't understand how bigfoot manages to stay hidden from humans so well

Eric Dockett (author) from USA on April 20, 2013:

Thanks CR! Yeah, I think bears probably account for a fair number of Bigfoot sightings, and there are all kind of strange sounds in the woods at night. With those shoes, we're kind of at the mercy of the experts (and their producers) to tell us what sounds legit.

Pamela Hutson from Moonlight Maine on April 20, 2013:

What a thorough and readable hub! I really enjoyed it. I think it's very possible that a different species of human or undiscovered ape could easily live in the huge expanse of forest up in northern Canada and some parts of the northern USA and not leave much behind in the way of physical evidence. Sometimes though, the Bigfoots on the reality TV shows sound a lot like bears on their hind legs to me.

Eric Dockett (author) from USA on March 19, 2013:

LOL! Interesting comparison, Noway!

Noway on March 18, 2013:

Auditing the discussion about BF is sort of like observing Fantacy Football.

Eric Dockett (author) from USA on March 14, 2013:

That's as good a guess as any, Relationshipc. Your theory does make a lot of sense. Bigfoot sure is sneaky!

Kari on March 14, 2013:

My theory is that bigfoot lives in another dimension and has the ability to vistit ours. I mean, if the species was constantly in our world, then there would likely be a lot more sightings...and annoyingly even some captures. Obviously this is just my theory.

I was watching one show on people tracking bigfoot, and they could see a huge upright creature on their night scanner. They followed it for quite a while and eventually it just dissappeared from their vision (on the scanner). It's not like he would be able to hide under a rock or behind a me, being able to transport (possibly through a portal) makes much more sense.

Eric Dockett (author) from USA on February 28, 2013:

Thanks NitroD. You're right. With so many Bigfoot sightings, there must be something going on here . . . whatever it is!

NitroD from London on February 28, 2013:

This was a great read and some excellent theories and possible answers. I am not sure what the truth is, but one has to wonder with a story as prevalent as Bigfoot.

Eric Dockett (author) from USA on February 22, 2013:

Thanks Eiddwen! I have a feeling there will be more Bigfoot on the way, probably sooner than later. :-)

Eiddwen from Wales on February 22, 2013:

A brilliant read and thanks for sharing. I now look forward to many more. Eddy.