Another Mittwoch, another week halfway through.
I find it more than a little disappointing that the Smithsonian magazine, a publication nominally concerned with science, would stoop to this: On the Trail of Florida’s Bigfoot – The Skunk Ape. Excerpt:
The first time Dave Shealy saw a skunk ape, he says, he was ten years old. It was 1974, a few years after his father had come upon a set of footprints left by the creature—an Everglades version of Bigfoot named for its supposedly pungent odor. Dave was out deer hunting with his older brother, Jack, in the swamp behind his house, in what’s now Big Cypress National Preserve, when he encountered the ape incarnate.
“It was walking across the swamp, and my brother spotted it first. But I couldn’t see it over the grass—I wasn’t tall enough,” Shealy says. “My brother picked me up, and I saw it, about 100 yards away. We were just kids, but we’d heard about it, and knew for sure what we were looking at. It looked like a man, but completely covered with hair.” He and his brother stared at the creature, mouths agape, but almost at the same time, as he tells it, the skies opened and rain poured down. The ape hurried away, into the cypress hummocks scattered amongst the marsh. “Holy crap,” he remembers thinking. “I finally saw this damn thing, and it got away, just like that.”
Here’s the point: He didn’t see a skunk ape.
There aren’t any skunk apes.
There aren’t any Bigfoots (Bigfeet?) Yetis, or any other mysterious, hairy, bipedal apes.
Why so confident, you ask? Simply this: Biology. There can’t be just a few of these creatures running around – there has to be a population. A genetically viable, breeding population – thousands of animals. In the heavily settled Southeast, it’s staggeringly unlikely that a population of thousands of giant, hairy bipedal apes exists and yet not one has been killed by a car, or shot by a hunter, or died and left remains anywhere where a human could stumble across them.
A corpse, now that would be proof – inarguable proof. But we don’t have a corpse, we’ve never had a corpse, and unless the dumbfoundingly unlikely actually happens, we won’t have a corpse. And what’s more, in this era where every cell phone has a camera, nobody manages to get an unarguable photo. Let a cop start smacking around a gang punk and everyone and their brother is taking video, but a giant, bipedal hairy ape? Somehow we’re still stuck with grainy, crappy video that could be anything from a man in a gorilla suit to a rerun of I Love Lucy.
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. In this case, there just isn’t any.
But still – videos keep surfacing: