Showing posts with label editorial. Show all posts
Showing posts with label editorial. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Bigfoot Field Researchers Do Not Collect Enough Data

Fiona Stewart, a post doc student at Cambridge University
pioneered a new way of understanding our closest ancestors.
Collect data, any data. Record what you observe. These are tenets, we believe, are missing in Bigfoot field research. Fiona, in the picture above is a great example of how simple data collection can be pretty revealing. The data she collected spanned only twelve nights, and yet, yielded some interesting results.

In an article On catching up and new primatology methods ERUDEF cites Fiona Stewart's published research on why wild chimpanzee sleep in nest. At first the article comments on what is very familiar in most of the Bigfoot research we have come across.
The early primatological field researchers valued highly personal, anecdotal evidence; they did not separate it from quantitative data collection.
Then it goes into the data driven era of modern research, which, we believe has rarely happened in Bigfoot research.
However, the discipline today, like many scientific disciplines, is legitimized predominantly by the objective analysis of quantitative data.  A methodological approach is only considered valid and reliable if the scientist removes the personal journey experienced while attempting to answer a research question.
There is a third way, to combine subjective experience with objective data. In order to understand why chimps sleep in nest, Fiona slept in them herself.
Understanding why chimpanzees choose to sleep in nests has been a difficult question for many primatologists to answer. Nest building is a complex and time-consuming activity, yet all weaned chimpanzees do it every night. Several hypotheses have been proposed to explain this ubiquitous activity pattern: antipredation, antipathogen and thermoregulation. However, nobody has ever had the opportunity to empirically test any of these hypotheses for both logistical and ethical reasons.
Chimpanzees hanging out in a nest. Photo courtesy of Fiona’s new approach was unorthodox, but it seems to have yielded interesting and intriguing results. For 12 nights she slept in either an arboreal chimpanzee nest or on the bare ground, all the while collecting data on her core body temperature, sleep duration, external and internal sources of disturbance and number of parasitic bites.
She then compared the data from her nights sleeping a chimpanzee nest with night spent sleeping without a nest structure. The results provided the first evidence that arboreal nests provide protection from parasites, assist with thermoregulation and improve overall sleep quality.
Chimps nesting.
Although Fiona gets credit for pioneering this "type" of research, it is important to note, according to a Grover Krantz obituary, "Once, in order to find out the advantage of huge brow ridges to Homo erectus, he made himself a replica of a homo erectus brow ridge that he strapped above his eyes [for six months]."

Fiona's example makes two arguments for us; one, we are not collecting enough data, two, data collection is simple and does not require a lot or time or effort to come to a conclusion.
Please read our terms of use policy.