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Show Me the Body

Purported sightings of Bigfoot, Nessie and Ogopogo fire our imaginations. But anecdotes alone do not make a science
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The world lost the creators of two of its most celebrated biohoaxes recently: Douglas Herrick, father of the risibly ridiculous jackalope (half jackrabbit, half antelope), and Ray L. Wallace, paternal guardian of the less absurd Bigfoot.

The jackalope enjoins laughter in response to such peripheral hokum as hunting licenses sold only to those whose IQs range between 50 and 72, bottles of the rare but rich jackalope milk, and additional evolutionary hybrids such as the jackapanda. Bigfoot, on the other hand, while occasionally eliciting an acerbic snicker, enjoys greater plausibility for a simple evolutionary reason: large hirsute apes currently roam the forests of Africa, and at least one species of a giant ape — Gigantopithecus — flourished some hundreds of thousands of years ago alongside our ancestors.

Is it possible that a real Bigfoot lives despite the posthumous confession by the Wallace family that it was just a practical joke? Certainly. After all, although Bigfoot proponents do not dispute the Wallace hoax, they correctly note that tales of the giant Yeti living in the Himalayas and Native American lore about Sasquatch wandering around the Pacific Northwest emerged long before Wallace pulled his prank in 1958. (continue reading…)

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