Eric has been fascinated by folklore and the paranormal from a young age and enjoys exploring controversial subjects and events.
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 all around the country. Even President Teddy Roosevelt had a Bigfoot story.
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, does 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.
Why Hasn't Anyone Found a Dead Bigfoot?
The first issue at hand is the total number of Bigfoot in North America. The chances of finding Bigfoot bones are highly dependent on the number of living Sasquatches.
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 Alaska. We can assume there are 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.
How Long Does Bigfoot Live?
Since we don't know how long Bigfoots live, we can't possibly know how often a carcass may appear. But we can make some guesses.
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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 in 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.
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? Does the absence of a North American Ape in the fossil record mean the search for Sasquatch is hopeless?
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.
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.
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. Sasquatch behavior and ritual itself may be the reason remains are so scarce.
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 a 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.
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.
Everything in nature goes back to the Earth. Does it make sense that animals may be scattering Bigfoot remains?
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 imagine porcupines would be the 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.
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.
Maxsdad on September 11, 2020:
I've hunted (rarely), fished and hiked from California to Alaska to Florida and a few foreign countries. I've been hiking and camping in places where there are more black bears than people (Marble Mountains, Trinity Alps, Galena Alaska). And except for in the back of a pickup or some hunting camp, I've never EVER seen a dead bear, or even the remains (skeletal, hair) of one. So, the lack of bones doesn't bother me one bit. I have many friends who claim to have seen Bigfoot along the Klamath River around Happy Camp, CA (mostly Karuk indians), and quite frankly, I don't believe them. But I even know SOME people who claim to have known HONEST POLITICIANS! I don't KNOW whether Bigfoot exists, but there is too much physical, circumstantial, and anecdotal evidence to say that there isn't SOMETHING out there. And "inconclusive hair samples" means that the samples are of no known species. Well, isn't Bigfoot an UNKNOWN species?
Olivia on May 21, 2020:
Very interesting! Maybe one of the reasons they haven’t found the bones is that they bury them? I may be wrong though and I’m definitely not a scientist.
dave schulz on January 17, 2020:
I seen one in 77. I didn't talk about it for many years. Recently I was told by a friend that he met a fellow that found a few bones. they were found in a slide area, so it is some form of evidence they bury their dead The bones found were a vertabra and a lower broken leg bone. These bones were 3 to 4 times larger then a large man. What ever the reason this fellow is keeping quiet about it I do not know. My friends were amazed at the size of these bones. The only reason I believe them is because I have seen one. Hundreds of miles from where the bones were found. So believe it or not, it is up to you to be a believer or not. dave
Kent on December 28, 2019:
It's likely that they bury their dead just like early man did.
T L Hill on March 21, 2019:
They have found the bones of bigfoot and you can see the evidence by reading old articles from the 1800s and early 1900s. They call them bones of Giants, but in nearly every article when describing the skull, they say they look like giant human skulls but with the browridge of an ape. That's exactly what you would expect to see if you examined the remains of a Bigfoot.
Eric Dockett (author) from USA on March 16, 2019:
@Wray - I would guess there are instances I am unaware of, but every case where I have seen hair tested it has come back as inconclusive or a known animal. There is of course Dr. Ketchum's DNA study, however.
As for the scalp relic, I believe it has been examined and determined to be something besides a yeti, but I don't know if DNA testing has been done on it.
wray menzies on March 15, 2019:
Interesting analysis.But what about other organic traces?.....fur, droppings? even a few specimens might leave incontrovertible DNA proof .Has the yeti skull relic in a Tibetan monastery ever been examined for DNA?
NeilG on October 28, 2018:
There is another theory that they primarily exist in another dimension and appear in our reality infrequently. When you look at those missing 411 cases, where people disappear then a body appears in a place everyone has been looking already, it does make that possibility more believable. Some of the disappearances were in areas where bigfoot was seen.
the best champion in the world on September 17, 2018:
i belive bigfoot is fake
Josie walthour on September 11, 2018:
People have Bones they just don't want man to know, because Man Destroys everything
Michael on January 06, 2018:
Isn't it odd that there are so many people who DO believe this animal exists - even though they are aware of the lack of scientifically acceptable evidence? What keeps them believing?
Also, if it does exist and those who see it report it. How many of these witnesses are given any credence?
It is widely known that mere witness statements mean nothing to science. So, whatever the status of the witness, it means almost nothing. Yet even so people continue to risk their social status, because they have experienced something they believe is unusual.
It is clear that witnesses are in difficulties. It is a wonder to me, that they even bother to report what they experience.
d Groff on October 30, 2017:
This is by FAR the toughest one to explain,bones do get scattered about but that means the bones would cover more area to be found, maybe their bones were seen but misidentified???
Ben on October 29, 2017:
It's a hoax. Every single piece of evidence ever brought forth had been proven without doubt to be a hoax.
The grizzly comparison helps prove it's bogus. People see rare animals all the time. Without looking. There are tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people looking for Bigfoot specifically. Somewhere someone would capture one. If we can find and capture an animal the size of a hamster that only exist in the dozens in a far denser and inhospitable terrain we would easily find something thats 8 foot tall and living next to our subdivisions.
Sandor, you have no idea how dna works or what it is. Even if we don't have a spot on match we can determine much about the animal from it. The problem is all dna ever turned over has been people stirring blood of several animals together and pouring it over masks made of rabbit fur.
Sandor on May 22, 2017:
We have evidence regarding Bigfoot but the problem is DNA sampling. We have no data base and when using the example of hair follicles for instance, the hair does not match any living primate. So in my mind that tells us we do have a living anomaly.
Eric Dockett (author) from USA on January 20, 2016:
Thanks Jennifer. I am certainly skeptical, but also intrigued. It seems like people are seeing something weird in the woods, but as of yet there is simply not enough physical evidence to confirm the existence of a bigfoot-like creature
Jennifer Mugrage from Columbus, Ohio on January 19, 2016:
Great title! You sound like a skeptic but then sneakily undermine skeptical arguments, all while examining the evidence fairly.
"We would have found the bones" ... mmm, I don't know. Are we really that smart ... or motivated? I remember hearing once that Europeans didn't believe in gorillas for many years, until someone brought a gorilla carcass back to Europe ... perhaps this is covered in another one of your Hubs.
G Ivanova on January 03, 2015:
I definitely agree with your points of view. Great hub! Voted up.
Eric Dockett (author) from USA on November 01, 2014:
LOL! I have to agree with some of your points, Damien (I think). When people see Bigfoot, why do they run? Get your darn cell phone out and take some pictures! People stop to take video of a Tsunami coming, but they run from Bigfoot. I don't get that.
Still, I remain optimistic!
Damien Smith on November 01, 2014:
It's no such thing,, it's a circus act...Really, they can find billion yr old lost ancient tomb, dinosaurs remains, new species everything time the ocean is explored,, but No Bigfoot...I wish they would admit the hoist.
and why do people only have distant clips, all walking claim and slowly,I mean like why didn't they follow the thing and call help while staying on the"so call"Bigfoot sitting...
Eric Dockett (author) from USA on August 15, 2013:
Thanks for all the great feedback on Bigfoot, everyone. Obviously this is a subject I find interesting and I guess I'm not alone. I started writing Bigfoot articles a little over a year ago, and at the time I was on the fence, probably leaning more toward disbelief. As I did more research and really saw the stories and "evidence" that's out there I started to shift my opinion a little, thinking maybe there really is something to this Bigfoot thing.
I like to think its possible but, in the end, who knows? If nothing else it's fun and interesting to ponder the "what ifs".
Barbara Badder from USA on August 14, 2013:
You've covered the subject thoroughly. Every answer I came up with was answered later. I don't know where I stand on the issue of Big Foot. I always say though that they didn't know bacteria existed until someone invented a microscope. You just never know.
Marc Hubs from United Kingdom on August 14, 2013:
Great hub Eric and a very thought-provoking read. Last time I looked into this topic (and as someone mentioned above) I was taken to information that suggested Bigfoot could be somehow related to ET/UFO visitation. I believe that certain creatures that were being transported as ET cargo have ended up on Earth in the past due to crashes but not so sure about Bigfoot. Though I'm an avid UFO researcher, I have never found any compelling evidence that Bigfoot and ET's are linked.
Melvin Porter from New Jersey, USA on August 14, 2013:
Great hub. Unfortunately, I am a skeptic when it comes to discussions about bigfoot. Until there is definitive proof of bigfoot then I will believe it. Voted up and interesting.
royblizzard from Austin / Leander, Texas on August 14, 2013:
Good hub. Who really knows what is in the wild. We don't have a real good handle on several large expanses of country all over the world. Many things in legends of differing peoples have truth in them, it just takes other cultures a while to figure them out. As far as bigfoot existing in America, I think we have about 535 semi-hairless varieties inhabiting DC.
NickSimpson from Jacksonville, Illinois on August 14, 2013:
One of the best hubs I've read in some time. You really bring up some great questions and you have obviously done your homework bravo!
W1totalk on August 14, 2013:
I like this. I feel like every time just before the end of summer there is some amazing story. Once. there was even a reveal of what was supposed to be a Bigfoot carcass. Great article.
whonunuwho from United States on August 14, 2013:
Interesting hub. I believe that the animal, we call Sasquatch , or Big Foot, buries its lost one's bones and much like the elephants do. whonu
moonlake from America on August 14, 2013:
Maybe they eat their own when they die, sounds awful. Congrats on HOTD. Voted up.
Chace from Charlotte, NC on August 14, 2013:
I wish someone would find some Bigfoot's bones. It would be awesome! I'd want a pet Bigfoot... I'd name him Steve and we'd have crazy adventures together..........
Randy Godwin from Southern Georgia on August 14, 2013:
Interesting article, Eric. Here in SE Georgia there's the "Alapaha River Bigfoot" where the gigantic wild boar "Hogzilla" was killed not too many years ago. Not saying I believe in the creatures, but it's fun to read about them from some people's perspectives.
Congrats on HOTD also. It's good to see a non-apprentice hub awarded to a deserving writer.
Eric Dockett (author) from USA on August 14, 2013:
Thanks for all the kind comments everyone, and some great perspectives on this topic!
Donna Herron from USA on August 14, 2013:
Interesting article - The possibility of Bigfoot's existence scared the begeezes out of me as a kid, but I'm keeping an open mind. Congrats on your HOTD!
kmaskreations on August 14, 2013:
Great hub! One thing's for sure, Finding Bigfoot tv show is a success. I love the show, but much of it is laughable. Still, some of the eye-witnesses certainly seem sincere. My husband is a land surveyor and has practically lived in the woods in the southern US for over 4 decades and has never seen anything like a Big Foot. As far as the discovery of a carcass or bones, vultures and other scavengers quickly move in followed by coyotes, wolves and dogs who would quickly do away with bones. My husband rarely sees bones of any type in the woods though the deer population is very high. The fact that some hair samples have been unidentifiable by labs has been the most convincing to me. Anything's possible. Thanks for sharing.
Nitin Pillai from Mumbai, Maharastra, India on August 14, 2013:
Wow, awesome topic! Well, the only video that has convinced me a bit of the Bigfoot's existence is the patterson gimlin footage.
cheeluarv from INDIA on August 14, 2013:
Interesting hub,with discussions similar to existence of yeti in Nepal.
Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on August 14, 2013:
First of all I would like to congratulate you on "Hub of the Day". This is a very thought provoking article. To add a thought to the comments here, one of the main reasons we don't find animals bones when hiking is that most of the time wild dogs, such as coyotes and wolves take the bones to their dens or chew them up on the spot. Generally, where ever there is wilderness, there are wild dogs. This could be another reason why no bones have been found.
I have enjoyed reading your hub, as well as the comments. Voting up, interesting and sharing. :)
Carla J Swick from NW PA on August 14, 2013:
I wrote a hub on bigfoot as well - I summed it up by saying, it's the DNA evidence that will prove or disprove this once and for all. Science based on evidence is the only way to put this to rest. I guess we shall see. Great hub with interesting points - pretty refreshing!
Dedicated Content Curator from United Kingdom on August 14, 2013:
They don't have bones, Big Foot is made of cheese.
xxtonybxx from wales on August 14, 2013:
An excellent, engaging article. I liked the fact that your arguments are open and unbiased. You present the facts and analyse them with what comes across as a real intention to get to the truth. I often find Cryptozoology can descend into a subject rife with people who think shouting "unbeliever!" at anyone who questions the existence/non-existence of a creature is a reasonable replacement for intelligent debate. More of these!
Eric Dockett (author) from USA on July 20, 2013:
@Suhail: Bigfoot as an alien visitor is an interesting idea. Hardcore Bigfoot researchers might not feel that way, but I like to keep an open mind to any possibility.
Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent from Mississauga, ON on July 20, 2013:
Another good article that I had to read after looking at your profile. You have great arguments and counter-arguments.
IMHO, if there are anything like Big Foot, they can only be ETs visiting from other distant planets. That could be the only possible reason for me.
Also, I agree with Shielamyers above. I hike a lot too and in my hiking of 30 years, I have come across a shoulder bone and a foreleg of one deer once.
Eric Dockett (author) from USA on July 19, 2013:
Very true, Maggie! And thanks!
Shinra Fenris from Bangkok, Thailand on July 19, 2013:
many one say it's true.
Maggie Bennett from New York on July 18, 2013:
Good read. Besides the bones, there should be Big Foot scat out there somewhere for someone to pick at. There are books for hunters and trackers describing all the different types. Find that and it will not be all BS anymore. LOL
Eric Dockett (author) from USA on July 18, 2013:
@sheila: Just make sure you have your camera ready!
@KyrickZ: Tracks are interesting but also easily faked. Researchers know what to look for, but the average Joe can be duped by hoaxers with some cardboard Bigfoot feet and a little time on their hands.
KyrickZ on July 17, 2013:
Interesting!! There are also footprints as evidence..
sheilamyers on July 17, 2013:
If I ever do, I never be able to tell you because I'd probably have a heart attack - not so much from fear as from the excitement of actually seeing one.
Eric Dockett (author) from USA on July 17, 2013:
Very true, Sheila! Keep an eye out for Bigfoot when you're out there on the trails!
sheilamyers on July 17, 2013:
I think all of the explanations make sense. I'm an avid day hiker and have spent a lot of time in the woods. I'm not talking regular trails here, I mean way off the beaten path. In all my years in the woods, I've found one leg bone from a groundhog and part of one deer jaw. If it's that hard to find bones of the animals we know, the same applies to Bigfoot.
Eric Dockett (author) from USA on July 17, 2013:
Thanks Geekdom! Interesting point about the plane crashes. I think I've heard that before but I haven't thought about it in a while. There are more hidden places in this world than we realize.
Geekdom on July 17, 2013:
Great Hub! A friend of mine is a biologist who has studied big foot. As a scientist he can not say that big foot exists but he does say two things that make it a very real possibility. One he has three unique samples of unidentified primate hair. (If not big foot, there is a primate species we have not recorded in North America). The size of the world is huge. There are over 100 plane crashes, on land, in North America that the wreckage can't be found. These are huge structures that don't move.