Purported Bigfoot discovery met with disbelief in US

August 16th, 2008 - 2:22 pm ICT by IANS  

San Francisco, Aug 16 (DPA) Two US men’s claim that they stumbled upon the carcass of a Bigfoot, a legendary half-man, half-ape creature, has been met with scepticism. The two men appeared at a press conference Friday in Palo Alto, California, to present two blurry photographs - one of the head of what they claimed was a Bigfoot and another of a similar living creature they said followed them in the woods of the southeastern US state of Georgia.

The fact that Matt Whitton, 31, and Rick Dyer, 28, appeared at the press conference with a self-styled Bigfoot specialist who had promoted what turned out to be a fake Bigfoot discovery 13 years ago didn’t help their case as they were peppered with questions from incredulous reporters.

Whitton and Dyer insisted, however, that they weren’t perpetrating a hoax and a scientific examination of the cadaver would prove it.

The two men said they were hiking with a camera in June when they came across with the body of the 2.13-metre, 230-kg hairy creature at a riverside and saw three living Bigfoots as well.

They have given the body to Tom Biscardi, who has been hunting for proof of Bigfoot’s existence since 1971 and also appeared at the press conference.

Biscardi, who promoted a 1995 “discovery” of a Bigfoot body that proved to be fabricated, refused to disclose the location of this year’s specimen, which he said was being kept in a deep freeze.

The men said they want scientific tests to be carried out and DNA proof of their discovery to be established so the “threatened species” could be protected.

However, reporters weren’t the only ones to express scepticism - so did scientists and other Bigfoot enthusiasts. Anatomy professor Jeffrey Meldrum told the Discovery Channel that the creatures in the photos presented by Whitton and Dyer did not look “natural” but instead appeared to be a gorilla costume widely available for purchase.

Bigfoot has been a creature much like the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland and the ape-like Yeti in the Himalayas. Sporadic claims of their sightings have surfaced over the years, but their existence has not been proven.

Alleged sightings of Bigfoot have made headlines for years, including in 1958 when a forest worker claimed to have come across its footprints in Northern California and in 1967 when another American took fuzzy film footage of a large, hairy creature walking in a Northern California forest.

In 2002, a Bigfoot hoax was uncovered after the death of Ray Wallace in the US. His son confessed that Wallace had donned self-made wooden feet to tromp through mud in a Bigfoot “discovery” that made the local newspaper. Wallace also faked photos and audiotapes of what were supposed to be the creature with the help of friends, his son said.

However, numerous people, including scientists, remain convinced that an as-yet undiscovered primate lives in the forests of the US. Legends of indigenous groups in the region also tell of such a creature, which they named Sasquatch.

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