Jane Goodall on Bigfoot: "I'm not going to say it doesn't exist"

Originally published at: Jane Goodall on Bigfoot: "I'm not going to say it doesn't exist" | Boing Boing


“Oh yes. We’ve seen monkeys without tails. They walk upright and they’re about six foot tall.”

What, do you mean people?


That’s a kind interpretation. You are a jerk if you go around telling folks that Santa Claus is not real.

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Not trying to be difficult, but now I’m curious about measuring systems in these remote settlements, and whether they use “feet” or if something else, did the interpreter do some quick mental math or what?

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Bigfoot: “I’m not going to say it doesn’t exist”

I am.


This is the same as SETI devoting so much truly serious effort and resources looking for extra-terrestrial life. A good scientist should only trust evidence while at the same time ruling almost nothing out. The basis of research is observing and defining things that have not yet been observed and defined. Ruling out possibilities stifles that immediately.


I’m sure that’s week one interpreter school stuff.


Or perhaps at Mar-a-Lago?




I remember an interview with Brian Blessed, recounting a conversation he’d had during one of his Everest expeditions with a local who told Brian how his grandfather had shot a yeti who’d wandered into his village one night. Did they still have the body? No. What did it look like?

“It looked like you, Brian!”

This led Brian to hypothesise that the story of the yeti originated from, or was at least given new life by, Victorian and Edwardian explorers, wrapped in furs and sporting gigantic beards, stumbling into Nepalese villages in the middle of snowstorms.


There’s absolutely nothing in the contemporary physical evidence or the known fossil record to support the theory that non-human apes—let alone a completely new branch of hominids—ever made it to the Americas.

That said, if Goodall thinks that keeping hope of Bigfoot alive might help encourage people to preserve our remaining rainforests then more power to her.


They took took the ice bridge - and rafted over.

“ Others have suggested that hominids have been sailing for as long as a million years; stone toolsfound on the Indonesian island of Flores date back that far. It could be that both modern humans and Neanderthals were boating around for hundreds of thousands of years and we just don’t have any evidence of it because the boats back then would have been made of wood and evidence of their existence would have decayed to nothing long ago.”

Now they just fly the red eye. The masks help.


It would be neat to find evidence of Neanderthals in the Americas but that would definitely be pushing the definition of “non-human ape.”



Its just Chewbacca. He got a little lost


That was my first thought. It seems clear they were joking around. Possibly the interpreter themselves didn’t get it and passed it along as a genuine answer.


I don’t know how many places would have traditionally distinguished between neanderthals and Homo sapiens sapiens who lived in the hills or woods or wherever they didn’t. It has taken scientists a long time to recognize that we are all one species, would even be one race by the standards we apply to others, and some shamefully still struggle against the notion. And it’s generally recognized even centaurs were probably people on horseback (and mermaids were probably animals like manatees).

Meanwhile, I am certain these forests have undiscovered species that would be just as remarkable, save that they wouldn’t vindicate people who care about folklore they learned as a child over actual biology. :man_shrugging:


While I agree that it’s good to never absolutely rule anything out to the point where valid evidence would be dogmatically rejected, there are many, many things that we can and should rule out for practical purposes in our day to day lives because of the overwhelming unlikelihood or evidence to the contrary. I’d consider Bigfoot one of those. As for Jane’s hunters, it seriously sounds like they were being snarky and just describing, as knoxblox said, regular old human beings. Maybe there’s more to it that didn’t come up in the interview, but reports from natives about cryptids have been falsified or misinterpreted in the past as well (see Mokele-mbembe).


Yeah, there’s definitely a balance where skepticism trumps speculation with zero evidence. But I’ll take Jane Goodall’s reasoning about potentially undiscovered primate species over pretty much anyone else on the planet.