The bigfoot conference near Mayville earlier this month was a huge success, I'm told. Hundreds of people came from all over. People had a good time. People spent money. People made money. People got to tell each other, "We know something those haughty scientists and rationality freaks don't."
My guess is that, like the ghost hunting craze, it was a harmless but useless do-it-yourself Disneylike fantasy fest. No bones. No DNA. No scats. No convincing pictures despite all the automatic game cameras inexpensively available today. No real tracks. Not even a hair. Just eyewitness accounts, the worst possible kind of evidence but to the people there, extremely convincing. Ask a psychologist, a cognitive scientist, a lawyer, an artist, or a cop about eyewitness evidence.
I'll bet there was little or no talk of what the big apes find to eat, where they find shelter, and even less of minimum sustainable breeding populations, necessary contiguous range, habitat destruction, and genetic bottlenecks.
I will pay anyone $10,000 who brings me any scientifically certifiable remains of a previously unknown contemporary ape or human species - you don't even have to prove it is local, much though I would prefer if you will agree to pay me $10 each year you don't. And to sweeten the deal, I will even name a star after your mother for an additional $25, less than half what that vendor on the radio who does the same thing charges. I have just as much authority and legitimacy to do that as he does.
A bigfoot who resembles a man so strikingly would have to have a skeleton, including a skull, which resembles human examples. Police and hunters have a fairly good record of finding human murder victims' skeletons and skulls that are left in the woods. If there are bigfoots locally, certainly a breeding population would suffer a considerably larger number of deaths per unit time than the number of murder victims disposed of locally in the woods.
So why doesn't anybody find their skulls? Maybe they bury their dead, one woman suggested to me.
Oh, come to think of it, I maybe saw one at a farm auction last year bidding on a shovel. And maybe that guy I thought was a Neanderthal in my junior high study hall ...
NORMAN P. CARLSON,