If Bigfoot Is Real Where Are the Bones?
Bigfoot Bones and Fossils
When skeptics argue that Bigfoot can’t possibly be real, one of the first questions they ask is, “Where are the bones?”
In other words, if Sasquatch really exists, there ought to be some sort of physical proof left behind when they die. If not bones and bodies, at the very least there should be evidence of a North American Ape in the fossil record.
There are no confirmed Bigfoot bones or fossils, of course, and the skeptics have a point. Biology is a science, and science is based on fact. Without compelling physical evidence no biologist or paleontologist would ever make the claim that Bigfoot does, or did, exist.
On the other hand, we humans would never have gotten very far if we weren't able to imagine possibilities that seem to be slightly outside of what we can definitively prove. The ability to form theories that can’t yet be validated, but seem to fit another set of facts, is what moves science along.
That other set of facts is the plethora of sightings and first-hand accounts that tell us Bigfoot is out there. All kinds of people spot Bigfoot. Even President Teddy Roosevelt had a Bigfoot story!
So, based on eye-witness accounts, Bigfoot appears to be a real, flesh-and-blood creature, and its habitat apparently stretches to most corners of our continent. People see it, take pictures of it and record it on video. Tracks are found, and even occasional hair samples and scat.
There is something weird in the woods, and according to witnesses and the evidence they collect it is very real.
So how do the believers answer the skeptics when it comes to the issue of bones, bodies and fossils? Or, do the lack of bones and fossils equate to an outright slam-dunk debunking of the Bigfoot phenomenon?
Whether you believe in Bigfoot or not, consider the following food for thought.
The Bigfoot Population
The chances of finding Bigfoot bones are highly dependent on the number of living Sasquatch.
Why Hasn't Anyone Found a Dead Bigfoot?
The first issue at hand is the total number of Bigfoot in North America. Bigfoot is obviously a very rare animal, but how rare? We have no idea how many Sasquatch there are in North America, but we can assume it is a fairly low number.
For comparison, in the lower 48 states there are less than 1,500 Grizzly Bears, and about 31,000 in Canada. We can assume there are many fewer Bigfoot than Grizzly Bears. In fact, the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization estimates there may be between 2,000 and 6,000 Bigfoot in all of North America, but emphasizes that the usual methods of estimating an animal’s population do not apply very well here.
Six thousand animals spread out across all of North America makes Sasquatch a very rare creature indeed. But this is just one variable we need to consider when we think about our odds of stumbling upon Bigfoot remains. The next thing we need to think about is how long these animals live, and how often they die.
Since we don't know how long Bigfoots live, we can't possibly know how often a carcass may appear.
How Long Does Bigfoot Live?
It may not be fair to compare Bigfoot's lifespan and mortality rate with that of humans, given the medical attention we receive. Instead, let’s use gorillas as an analog. According to the WWF, wild gorillas live to about 40 years of age, and experience an adult mortality rate of about 5%.
If we apply that percentage to Sasquatch, using the BFRO’s population estimates, that would mean there are only between 100 and 300 Bigfoot carcasses on the ground in any given year, across all of North America, from the swamps of Florida, to the grasslands of Ohio, to the forests of Alaska.
Of course this is only a guess. Bigfoot may live much longer, and have a much lower mortality rate. If fewer than a hundred Bigfoot bodies are available to find every year, and this animal lives is such remote locations, what are the chances someone will find one?
Even when Bigfoot dies, the forest has a way of reclaiming things. Experiments conducted with deer carcasses have shown that within only a few days the remains are completely gone from the site. Scavengers drag parts away, and the rest decomposes at a rapid rate. Unless someone was to come upon a Bigfoot body within a few days after its passing, they may never know it had been there.
Does the absence of a North American Ape in the fossil record mean the search for Sasquatch is hopeless?
Sasquatch in the Fossil Record
Even if it is rare to find Bigfoot bones, or any remains at all, if a species of North American Ape really exists there ought to be proof in the fossil record. But how likely are we to find fossilized Bigfoot remains?
Fossils only form in very specific situations. Animals that die in damp forest environments aren’t likely to fossilize due to the quick decomposition described above. Erosion may play a part in the preservation of fossils from mountainous areas.
Since Bigfoot seems to live in both dense forests and mountainous areas, and since we’ve already established how few Bigfoot must die every year, it appears a fossilized Bigfoot would be highly unlikely.
Possible Sasquatch Relatives
Some believe an ancient ape called Gigantopithecus helps to explain the lack of Bigfoot fossil evidence.
For a less theoretical take on this, let’s take a look at a creature called Gigantopithecus Blacki. Giganto was a ten-foot-tall ape that weighed in the neighborhood of a thousand pounds. It lived in Asia until about 100,000 years ago, and we know it was real from the fossil record. In fact, Giganto lived for about nine million years before it went extinct.
So how much evidence do we have in the fossil record, left by this creature over nine million years? Just a few pieces of jawbone along with some teeth.
Since there is no history of any apes in North or South America, or humans for that matter before the last ice age, we have to assume Bigfoot’s ancestors made the trip from Asia across the Bering Land Bridge around the same time humans did.
This puts the first Sasquatch in North America around 20,000 years ago (possibly earlier, as some evidence points to humans in North America much sooner.)
So, if Gigantopithecus only left some teeth and jaw fragments over nine million years, what makes us so sure Bigfoot would have left fossil evidence over only 20,000 years?
Combine low mortality with a small population and an environment not very suitable for fossilization and it is easy to see why Bigfoot fossils are hard to come by.
Sasquatch behavior and ritual itself may be the reason remains are so scarce.
Does Bigfoot Bury Its Dead?
Up to this point we’ve been talking about luck, numbers and chance, but what if Bigfoot has a hand in making sure the dead aren’t found? Perhaps Sasquatches bury their dead.
We’re not talking about ceremonial interment here. If they do bury the remains of their kind it must be in a very crude way since no Sasquatch graves have ever been found. Maybe they have learned to do this as a way of keeping their living area or territory clean and free from scavengers.
Or, maybe there is deeper reason. Being an intelligent creature, perhaps Bigfoot grasps the meaning of death, and seeks in some way to find closure to a relationship through burial. Some researchers believe Sasquatch isn’t a kind of ape at all, but instead something more like a primitive human. If that is the case it is reasonable to imagine it burying the bodies of its lost family members and even grieving.
Some primates are thought to grieve for the dead. An even better example would be elephants, which are shown time and again to express grief and mourn for their lost family members. Some have even been noted to “bury” their dead under branches and leaves.
Humanlike or not, it isn’t inconceivable that Bigfoot may somehow inter the remains of its lost. Even if only a percentage of Sasquatch carcasses are buried intentionally, it cuts down on the already small numbers that are available to be found.
Can We Trust the "Evidence"?
Interference from Forest Creatures
Everything in nature goes back to the Earth. Does it make sense that animals may be scattering Bigfoot remains?
Do Porcupines Eat Bigfoot Bones?
One theory put out there by some Bigfoot researchers says porcupines eat up or hide all the Sasquatch bones. After getting over the initial “Huh?”, and then shooing images of conspiring Bigfoots and porcupines out of our heads, when we look at this it is actually an interesting idea.
Porcupines are herbivores, so they aren’t going to munch on a Bigfoot carcass for food. However, they are known to chew on antlers and bones to satisfy their needs for certain minerals. They also may drag bones to their den.
But there are a couple of problems with this theory. While porcupines are prevalent in much of Canada and Alaska, as well as the Northwestern and Northeastern United States, there are also some Bigfoot hotspots where porcupines are rare or nonexistent, such as Florida.
And, with so many abundant animals to choose from, it’s hard to image porcupines would be a main reason Bigfoot bones are so hard to find. Still, it’s an intriguing idea that conjures up some odd mental images.
Are there really rare Bigfoot bones out there to be found? Or, are all of these arguments put forward by Bigfoot enthusiasts and researchers simply wishful thinking? Is it unrealistic to suggest a creature like Sasquatch could live among us for thousands of years and not leave any fossil evidence or physical remains?
Even if it seems reasonable that Bigfoot bones would be extremely hard to come by, it’s a darn shame that is so. Even the discovery of fossils as minuscule as what we have for Gigantopithecus Blacki would turn the Bigfoot debate upside-down. It would be near-certain proof of the existence of a North American Ape.
But for now the skeptics have the scientific high ground. Without any solid proof Bigfoot is relegated to the shadowy world of cryptozoology. Many of those skeptics would love nothing more than to be proven wrong, and be shown that Bigfoot does exist. Bones or fossils would do it, but for now this evidence is sorely lacking.