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Asked by: Sierra Zacharias
School: Maine-Endwell Middle School
Grade: 6

Art and cooking

Career Interest: Artist and chef


Answered by: Michael A. Little
Title: Distinguished professor of anthropology
Department: Anthropology
About Scientist:

Research area: Human adaptation to the environment
Ph.D. school: Pennsylvania State University
Family: Wife, Adrienne, and two grown children
Interests/hobbies: Swimming, choral singing, antique toys and books
Web page address:


Date: 11-30-2011

Question: Is Bigfoot real?


It is exciting to think about the discovery of a new or unusual creature, especially one that may be related to humans in its general form. People in Asia have claimed to observe similar creatures that are called the "Yeti" or "Abominable Snowman." There is a very blurry film from California (Patterson-Gimlin film), footprints, some of which have been identified as hoaxes, and other indirect evidence, including numerous claimed sightings. There is even an organization called The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (BFRO) that identifies itself as "The only scientific research organization exploring the bigfoot/sasquatch mystery." There are several reasons for my lack of belief in these creatures: First, all of the evidence is indirect – no one has captured or killed the creature and all specimens of hair or hide have been shown to be from animals that we know. Second, if this creature were a close relative to the apes or humans, then it has persisted in the United States and Canada for hundreds of years without being closely observed or captured. Fourth, some people are prone to imagine having seen animals that look like monsters or humans, and other people are likely to carry out hoaxes to fool others who may be quite gullible. If the population is very small, as Bigfoot might appear, then the likelihood of it living undisturbed for hundreds or thousands of years is very small or zero. It is certainly fun to imagine what it would be like to find such a creature as Bigfoot, but I am afraid that we never will.

Ask a Scientist appears Thursdays. Questions are answered by faculty at Binghamton University.  Teachers in the greater Binghamton area who wish to participate in the program are asked to write to Ask A Scientist, c/o Binghamton University, Office of Communications and Marketing, PO Box 6000, Binghamton, NY 13902-6000 or e-mail Check out the Ask a Scientist Web site at To submit a question, download the submission form(.pdf, 460kb).

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Last Updated: 6/22/10