The Bigfoot-Giganto Theory
"Bigfoot research" is a term loosely used to describe any
efforts to probe or explain the reports and physical evidence
associated with bigfoots. Over the years several different
theories have been offered. Some of the more common theories are:
1) fear manifestations, 2) misidentifications of bears, 3)
paranormal / UFO-related, 4) the Collective-Memory hypothesis, 5) the
Bigfoot advocates as well as informed skeptics generally do not believe a hoax
is responsible for this phenomenon, primarily because the observations extend
so far back in time.
The patterns among eyewitnesses are not demographic, they are geographic --
they are not reported by certain types of people, rather by people who venture
into certain areas. This simple pattern suggests an external cause.
No matter what that cause is, it is important to understand, and not just because
of the potential behind the most likely explanation.
Bigfoot researchers generally lean toward one explanation: The Bigfoot-Giganto
Theory (hypothesis). The subject of Gigantopithecus has attracted an increasing
amount of interest anthropologists and primatologitsts over the past few decades.
The Bigfoot-Giganto hypothesis suggests that bigfoots are surving relatives
of the genus Gigantopithecus. Gigantopithecus (the Latin word for "Giant Ape")
was a giant cousin of the orangutan. It was presumed to be extinct.
Click on the figure to the upper right to see a chart showing the place of Gigantos
in primate evolution.
Bigfoot-Giganto theorists deal with a few issues
that affect the potential linkage of modern bigfoot reports to
ancient Gigantos. Probably the most crucial question concerns
whether Gigantos walked upright. There is more than one school of
thought among anthrolopogists regarding this issue. Some physical
anthropologists interpret the scant fossilized remains to
indicate an upright walking ape, measuring an impressive nine
feet tall, and weighing more than 1000 pounds -- the general
description of bigfoot type creatures reported for centuries in
North America and Asia. Even if Giganto posture is uncertain, no
one can reasonably dispute the conclusion that Gigantos were the
largest primates that ever walked the earth.
Bigfoot-Giganto theorists believe that Gigantos'
large brain size (perhaps the largest in the terrestrial animal
kingdom) and upright-walking posture facilitated their dispersion
across Asia and North America. Thousands of years of adaptation
to temperate and mountainous climates, it is believed, would have
given these large upright walking apes the ability to tolerate
cold temperatures, climb through deep snow, and cross high
mountain ranges with relative ease.
The figure to the left is a photo of a life-size Giganto
reconstruction based on fossilized remains (click on the photo to
see a larger version; the same reconstruction is pictured below
with the sculptor showing its size relative to humans). The first
photo is from the cover of a book about Gigantopithecus. The
translation of the German title is "Why Did Giganto Have to Die?"
(The original English version of the book is titled, "Other
There is some physical evidence to indicate that Gigantos in Asia were hunted
and eaten by Homo erectus (ancestors to humans that lived contemporaneously
with Gigantos). The mainstream explanation for the apparent disappearance of
Gigantos lays blame primarily on this predation by Homo erectus. Bigfoot-Giganto
theorists do not accept the idea that a highly mobile genus like Gigantopithecus
could have been completely wiped out by Homo erectus. Instead they look to consistencies
in present day bigfoot reports and see the necessary behavioral adaptations
which would have allowed the Giganto line to avoid extinction at the hands of
Bigfoots are typically sighted in or near remote wooded, mountainous, or swampy
areas. They are rarely seen far from the cover of trees. If they encounter humans
during daylight hours they tend to retreat and vanish into the forest. They
seem to be most active when humans are least active -- late at night. Unlike
mountain gorillas, bigfoots are never seen in large groups, and they don't stay
in the same place for very long.
The ellusiveness of these modern mystery animals may stem from their bad experiences
with pre-humans in Asia.
Over the past 500,000 years hominids gradually emerged from the thickest forests
and began to organize into more stationary settlements. Gigantos remained semi-nomadic
in the thick forests. Small family groups of Gigantos were widely dispersed
in these forests. This dispersal provided more reliable foraging. It also made
quick, quiet evasion much easier.
Small Giganto families of 2-4 wandered nomadically through vast forests. The
territories were usally remote, but sometimes bordered human settled areas.
After thousands of generations they developed some amazing evasion/defense mechanisms
and behaviors, including night vision abilities. They also developed powerful
vocal abilities, which allowed them to locate and interact with others of their
kind. They made powerfully loud screams and howls that could be heard for miles
in the dead of night. Late hours allowed them to avoid various undesirables:
human dangers, overheating, water loss, and the worst insects. The night time
vocalizations, and occassional tracks, were usually the only things noted by
humans in the area.
The most commonly heard argument against the Bigfoot-Giganto hypothesis is
that "we should have found their bones in North America by now..." This argument
is, in fact, weak when one considers that very few remains of Gigantos have
ever been found in Asia, where they were much more abundant. Tens of thousands
of years of Gigantos' accepted existence in Asia would have produced literally
millions of Giganto skeletons, yet the volume of collected remains from Asia
is so small that the entire collection could fit easily in one suitcase.
One flavor of the
Bigfoot-Giganto hypothesis suggests that bigfoots might not be direct
descendants of the genus Gigantopithecus, but rather some other
offshoot of the giant Asian "wood ape" line, perhaps a line for
which we have zero fossils remains at the present time. The
Giganto line is an important reference point for this alternate
explanation for two reasons: 1) the Giganto line illustrates the
potential for primates to grow to such 'gigantic' proportions
(twice as large as the largest 'known' living primate), and 2)
the fact that so few remains of Gigantos have been unearthed and
identified makes it more conceivable that there could have been
other lines of giant Asian wood apes for which we have no fossil
remains at the present time.
People often assume that bones of a wild animal are
present and available long after the animal's death. Many people
assume that wild animal bones always become fossilized. The fact
is bones become fossilized or otherwise preserved only in the
rarest of circumstances. Without fossilization or preservation,
bones of wild animals will, in time, become completely reabsorbed
into the biomass. We would literally be climbing over piles of
animal bones if they were not naturally recycled. An animal
carcass in a dense forest will be reabsorbed relatively quickly
through weathering, decay and scavenging by other animals and
insects. The odds are very very poor that bones of a rare,
elusive, forest dwelling species will be found in some
recognizable form by a hiker cruising along a trail.
No research group has ever made an attempt to look
for Giganto bones in North America, so no one should be surprised
that Giganto remains have never been identified in North America.
Ironically, the most vocal skeptics and scientists who
rhetorically ask why no bones have been located and identified on
this continent are the last people who would ever make an effort
to look for them. Some Bigfoot-Giganto theorists speculate that
fragmentary remains of Gigantos have been unearthed in North
America in the past but were simply disregarded or misidentified.
The second most common argument against the
Bigfoot-Giganto hypothesis asks " Why haven't hunters shot one in
North America yet ? ..." The reasons are more obvious than most
people might realize, and there's enough of them to make a separate article on that topic.
The third most common argument against the
Bigfoot-Giganto hypothesis asks " Why aren't there more photos of
these modern Gigantos ? ..." This question is also addressed in a