Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by river, Dec 27, 2012.
Pal, you are so far from seeing any "big picture" it's not funny.
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Yes, I am aware of the arguments as to how implausible it would be to have an undiscovered large primate roaming north america (Undiscovered to scientists).
But the counter argument is also somewhat plausible - they would be extremely intelligent and far more elusive than a fox. Further, there are vast tracts of land which are virtually uninhabited (by people) where they could conceivably exist. And then, of course, there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of eye-witness reports proclaiming to have seen a 'bigfoot'. One has to conclude that they are ALL hoaxes (which might be true). That is why the purported double-blind study of hair samples is interesting. It is also interesting because the purported result is not what people would have expected (hybridization with a human maternal ancestor). However, I leave open the possibility that that was concocted (scam) because of its interesting result, and make no final conclusions until I've actually seen the full report.
And highland gorillas went "unnoticed" for millenia; i.e. they were unknown to western science until only relatively recently. As a warm-climate species, it was relatively easy for people to access the habitat. The mountainous regions of the pacific northwest, however, pose much greater difficulty in access, in large part because of the climate (try going there in spring, winter or fall, on foot, and you're taking your life in your hands).
Last year's discovery of a new primate monkey species serves to illustrate that much of our planet's life still remains un-categorized, with much biological research left to be done.
And we don't know that Gigantapithicus went extinct 500,000 years ago. That is simply our youngest fossil found to-date. It is conceivable to have existed until the recent past in dwindling numbers, leaving little or no fossils that could be stumbled upon in later years as evidence.
Your counter argument flips things so we have prove the non-existence of Bigfoot, obviously impossible to do. If such a creature exists, eventually it will be discovered. but right now it remains in the same scope as ghosts and UFO sightings for a reason.
so do they eat their dead or do they bury them so dang deep scavengers never find them?
good question, one of the arguments used against bigfoot existence. but, they might well bury their dead; and it's not like we found lots of mountain-gorilla carcasses before we finally found a mountain gorilla. if they exist, if one dies unburied, its carcass would likely be scattered/eaten within days and would not be found.
Perhaps. Perhaps not. we're applying characteristics to a species that, so far, is non-existent. Not a really fair thing to do for either of us.
However, what we can do is apply characteristics of known primate species and extrapolate behavior. If we do that, then they clearly should be more available than they are (which is apparently non-existent). Intelligence and elusiveness cannot completely hide a large primate in today's North American wilderness, particularly when there are groups of people who are actively looking for animals in that wilderness. Even if we ignore the hundreds of people hunting for "big foot" directly, there are thousands of researchers who are actively looking for bear, wolves, foxes, birds of all sorts, deer, and varied species of equid, caprid, and bovine genera. And we're not talking about a single, individual primate. This would need to be a population large enough to permit reproduction, so it would almost have to be hundreds. This sort of primate population leaves a footprint on the environment (a metaphorical footprint). Bones, teeth, etc. would be found.
Conceivably, yes. But the reality is that there are thousands of people looking at the wild life in these vast tracts of land. Uninhabited doesn't mean unobserved. We use all sorts of methods ranging from ground surveys to aerial overflights with low-flying manned and un-manned craft (helicopters, light planes, ultralights, UAVs...). Biologists set up sophisticated camera equipment to capture both diurnal and nocturnal activities of wildlife. There are people looking for everything from the smallest fungi to the largest grizzly... And they're trained to do it. This isn't even including the thousands of sportsmen or the thousands of hikers/campers. Nor does it include the people who are purposefully looking for a "big foot." When you role those thousands of people, with varied agendas, and nearly everyone of them carrying photographic or other recording equipment, you'd think someone would already have identified a large, non-human primate population. Not an individual... a population.
Yep. Lots of anecdotes for "big foot" ... there are for flying saucers, ghosts, the Loch Ness monster... you name it, hundreds if not thousands have report seeing it. Anecdotal evidence is actually a strike against the existence of "big foot."
Not at all. In fact, I suspect that while many of the more high-profile cases are hoaxes, the vast majority are simply mis-identification and delusion. I was once convinced I saw a bear while hiking in Pennsylvania once (had I been a big foot believer, I might have jumped to that conclusion instead). I was so convinced that the bear was real, my adrenaline flowed, and my eyesight began to narrow (tunnel vision) on the "bear." These are normal, physiological reactions when your life is in danger. The initial reaction lasted only a few seconds until I was able to begin rationalizing my situation and think clearly, calm my heartbeat, etc. But I was still convinced it was a bear and treated it as such. I planned a new route that box-stepped the bear, keeping me both down-wind and up hill a hundred meters or so. Once I had a new vantage point, I realized my "bear" was nothing more than a tree trunk. Had I not changed vantage points.. had I instead gone the other direction, I would be convinced to this day that I had an encounter with a bear. I even remember the "bear" moving, which now I realize had to be either a delusion, a trick of the light, or the wind moving a branch -or a combination of all three.
People see shit. I doubt even a quarter of them are hoaxes.
"Purported" is the key word here. In addition, the hybridization claim seems consistent with a contaminated sample from what I know of DNA testing. But I'd be interested to see the methods and results: what are the data collection methods; what are the proveniences of the data; what are the direct results of the DNA tests? The proveniences are going to be the interesting points. This is why I'm completely suspect of her data in general. If she'd shared her data with experts in the field prior to submission for peer review, she might have been questioned on this. I suspect this is one of the reasons why she didn't make that effort. If people are "sending her samples" how does she control for their validity? How do we know what we have is 1) a clean sample without contaminants, 2) a sample that is what the sender claims it is? So unless she and her team went on-site for data collection, the entire study is suspect from the start. But perhaps she has a methodology that explains it. She touched on this somewhat in the interview, but hardly in a manner that is scientifically satisfying.
That really is a meaningless statement, and here's why: they went unnoticed to western science. They weren't unnoticed to humans indigenous to the regions the highland gorillas lived. Indeed, that's why western scientists went looking for them... they heard the indigenous stories. You cannot equate the absence of the highland gorilla in the primate taxonomy for "millennia" to the absence of "big foot." Once scientists heard of it's purported existence, primatologists went to the highlands and found them. That the same cannot be said for "big foot" say's more about its non-existence than its existence.
Been there. It's done all the time. See above.
This was a fourth species of three sub-species of a known genus (Nycticebus. The species was, until the discovery of this new Slow Loris, comprised of three subspecies, but the addition of the fourth has prompted a new interpretation of the taxonomy to included all four as separate species of the genus Nycticebus. The discovery is cool, no doubt, but two things are worth noting in the context of trying to discover a "big foot" species: 1) the Slow Loris is tiny, measuring only a few centimeters in length; 2) the new species is Nycticebus kayan and has probably been observed time and again by people along the Kayan river, but researchers were only able to capture a few and determine that there is a distinct and separate taxonomy among the N. kayan which is different from the other three in the Nycticebus genus.
It's conceivable. Just not very likely. Sure, Gigantapithicus may have gone extinct less than .5 Ma, but I doubt it was much more recent than that. The estimated caloric intake is what paleoanthropologists attribute to leading to it's demise as a species.
If (a huge IF) a species of non-human primate big enough to be considered a "big foot" exists in North America, they almost certainly do not bury their dead. This would necessarily require tool-use and culture, which are a whole new set of assumptions that aren't even applied to known species of non-human primates (beyond termiting sticks and rocks to crack open nuts).
Even human primates frequently do not expend the energy required to bury their dead.
Eating their dead implies that they are carnivorous, or at least omnivorous, which would leave an even greater footprint on their local ecology which would be noticed.
If a "big foot" species exists, it is one that excels in tip-toeing through the deep forest, quiet in it's daily life, subsists on air and water, defecates in such a way to mimic other species, and is completely bald, leaving no hair or trace behind. And it's so light it's feet leave no impression on the ground it tip-toes across.
In short, "big foot" is a ninja.
You do realize, of course, that the reason it is called 'bigfoot' is because of the large number of purported footprint casts that have been obtained which show it to have big feet. And the Ketchum report purportedly has hair samples left from brushes against trees or whatever. And while many of the 'sightings' might well be bears, etc., many of the reports are so distinct as to leave no room for confusion, and to conclude either 'hoax' or 'bigfoot'.
And yes, western researchers went looking for the highland gorilla, just like researchers are nowadays going looking for a 'bigfoot', based entirely on reported sightings.
It will be interesting to see which laboratories were involved, and what their findings were, if the report is ever published. It purportedly excludes contamination, but I've not seen the evidence.
It should be easier to find a large creature in North America then it is to find one in a jungle. Leaves fall off trees in North America, but the jungle canopy isn't so kind. And the gorillas were found with far less technology. The native population knew where they were.
In my judgement - given what we've learned so far - you will *never* see a report OR data. Everything presented so far is negative about Ketchum - there's been nothing lately from anywhere in defense of her claim. I'd venture a guess that within a year or so she will be completely ignored and totally forgotten.
It's a much larger area. And the leaves don't fall off of the conifers, making it easy to hide.
Read-Only: You might be right. Time will tell.
Come on! It is not plausible it is completely ludicrous. Professional hunters roamed North America and killed every single wolf in the western states - wiped them out. They killed all of the grizzley bears except for a small number in yellowstone park. But no one has ever shot or found a 9 foot tall 300 - 500lb creature roaming around? If you believe there is actually a big foot creature either you are either terribly ignorant, stupid, or in some inexplicably deep denial of reality.
I played a Star Wars video game a long time ago that had wookies evolve from a lower animal intelligence to a relatively average IQ. And if you remember the movies you'd realize Chewbacca understands how a hyper-drive works. Hence, if "Big Foot" is actually a wookie, that species may be privy to a much more advanced technology and able to elude the populace.
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