Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Smithsonian's Formal Reply Letter to Bigfoot Inquiries

The Smithsonian Institution is an educational and research institute with an associated museum complex, administered and funded by the government of the United States. Other fundings sources include its endowment, contributions, and profits from its shops and its magazines.

In 1988, due to a high volume of inquiries on the subject of Bigfoot, The Smithsonian developed a formal response letter. We can only guess the high volume of inquiries were due to the success of "Harry and the Hendersons" the year before in 1987, but that's just our amazing intelligence division connecting the dots.

Below is the formal response letter from the Smithsonian Institution.

The Museum of Natural History often receives requests for information concerning the "Abominable Snowman," "Yeti," "Sasquatch," or "Bigfoot," and other unknown creatures said to exist in certain mountain regions of the world, particularly the Himalayas, western Canada and northwestern United States. Though the term "Abominable Snowman" can refer to all these creatures, generally the terms "Snowman" and "Yeti" refer to an Asiatic creature, while "Sasquatch" and "Bigfoot" refer to North American creatures.

The actual existence of a "snowman" has not been definitely proven. Most evidence submitted so far is based on photographs of previously unknown animal tracks, unusual scats (dung), and some hair samples. Among the many explanations offered on the basis of the above evidence, one that has appealed greatly to the popular imagination is that the animal in question is a huge, human like ape, or possibly a surviving race of early man. Because of its terrifying aspect, the animal, supposedly of Himalayan origin, came to be called "abominable snowman"; it is this intriguing name that is probably responsible for such widespread interest in these creatures in various parts of the world.

Many zoologists who have reviewed the evidence have come to the conclusion that the tracks of the Himalayan "snowmen" were really made by bears, monkeys, or other already known animals. A few disagree saying there is little similarity.The tracks attributed to the Sasquatch of the northwestern United States are much more human like but of vast proportions (15-18 inches in length). With the large publicity the "snowman" has received in recent years, many popular articles of little scientific value have been written. Some of these are convincing to read, but they are mostly based on circumstantial evidence of "sightings," tracks, hair, scats, and some doubtful pelts and skull caps.

While most scientists believe the likelihood of the existence of such a creature is small, they keep an open mind as scientists should. One cannot prove anything on the basis of negative evidence, and the only satisfactory proof that an animal fitting the description of the "snowman" exists would be either to capture one and study it or to find undisputed skeletal evidence. Only these kinds of finds would result in the universal recognition of the "snowman" by all scientists.

Below is a list of references through which you can pursue this topic further:

Bryne, Peter. The Search for Bigfoot: Monster, Myth or Man? Washington, D.C.: Acropolis Books Ltd., 1975. (Summary of the evidence collected over the years by a "believer" in the "snowman's" existence.)

Halpin, Marjorie and Michael M. Ames, eds. Manlike Monsters on Trial: Early Records and Modern Evidence. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1980. (Explores Sasquatch like creatures and summarizes reports of sightings.)

Hillary, Edmund and Desmond Doig. High in the Thin Cold Air. New York.: Doubleday and Co., 1963. (The famous Mt. Everest climber recounts searches for the "snowman" in the Himalayas.)

Izzard, Ralph. The Abominable Snowman Adventure. Toronto: Modder and Stoughton, 1954. (Concerns the search for the "snowman" in the Himalayas.)

Napier, John. Bigfoot: The Yeti and Sasquatch in Myth and Reality. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1973. (An eminent primatologist discusses his views on the possibility of the "snowman's" existence. Concludes no "hard evidence" exists though allows for some "soft evidence.")

Sanderson, Ivan T. Abominable Snowmen: Legend Come to Life; The Story of Sub Humans on Five Continents from the Early Ice Age Until Today. Philadelphia and New York: Chilton Co., 1961. (Sifts the accumulated evidence for and against the "snowman's" existence rather thoroughly. For a critical comment on this book see Carleton S. Coon's review in the January 1962 issue of Natural History Magazine.)

Sprague, Roderick and Grover S. Krantz, eds. The Scientist Looks at the Sasquatch. (Anthropological Monographs of the University of Idaho, no. 3.) Moscow, Idah: The University of Idaho Press, 1977. Collection of articles first published in Northwest Anthropological Research Notes.)

Suttles, Wayne."On the Cultural Track of the Sasquatch," Anthropological Research Notes 6(1):65 90, 1972. (Discusses Native American views of the Sasquatch. Article also in Sprague.)


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