September 10, 2008

Bigfoot is Like the White Horse. Or Something.

There have been sightings of Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Yeti, Abominable Snowmen, and whatever else you care to call them in cultures from Vietnam to Washington State. Asia and northwestern North America...cultures that haven’t had much in common with one another since the Alaskan land bridge ceased to be.

Interesting, then, that the belief in a demonic, oversized man-ape should be found in China, Nepal, Siberia, and Canada, no? The first documented British encounter with one of these creatures occurred in Nepal when a Brit’s servants were supposedly attacked by one. The locals said this creature was a Raksha or “demon”...suggesting a religious mythology behind the belief in the creature.

In North American Indian tribes—particularly northern Plains tribes—there is the belief in a huge, hairy man who acts as a warning to men when they displease the Creator. This man is called Unk-cegi by some, meaning “Brown Earth”...the waste product of the Creation.

Some of you may be familiar with Gigantopithecus. Google him if you’re not. Anywho, Giganto was a large (up to 10 feet tall) ape that lived from about a million years ago until about 300,000 years ago. Upright, he looks pretty much like what we picture for Bigfoot. Giganto has been found in southeastern at a time and place that coincides with other prehuman hominids.

It is interesting to think that human/prehuman memory could be so long as to incorporate the living Giganto into a world in which he has been extinct for hundreds of thousands of years. It seems more likely, however, that the belief in a Bigfoot-type creature came from the discovery of Giganto’s bones by people who did not know what exactly the bones came from. Humans have a great capacity for inventing stories to explain the unknown.

Even so, it is fascinating that the belief in the creature would exist in cultures that came from the same place thousands of years ago. Either these people independently invented such a creature or the belief has been around for a very long time.

Or Bigfoot is real. Take your pick.

References: Most of the information for this post came from my college education, which included a few courses in biological anthropology (see Russell Ciochon’s body of work for more information on Gigantopithecus). This education was supplemented with Jim Willis’s The Religion Book.

Posted by Jennifer at September 10, 2008 02:38 PM | TrackBack


I kind of like the idea of bigfoot still being around. It's pretty hard to believe, but if you put that away for a second; how cool would it be to know a bigfoot? I bet they make great friends, and it'd be awesome to hang out with one on a regular basis.

Posted by: shank at September 10, 2008 03:34 PM