The room was overflowing with people sitting in the aisles as students, professors and community members gathered to listen to Jeff Meldrum discuss the possibilities of Sasquatch being more than a myth. The lecture sponsored by the Humanities department was held Friday, Nov. 11, and received much curiosity on campus.
“There is the traditional legend of Sasquatch, but is there evidence behind the lore?” Meldrum said as he began his presentation. Meldrum is a physical anthropologist and currently teaches at Idaho State University. He dedicated a large portion of his life to studying the history, folklore and evidences surrounding “big foot.” Along with traveling to Russia and parts of China, Meldrum has tracked the Sasquatch figure around the U.S. as well.
Meldrum walked the audience through the history of different interpretations of Sasquatch, or “the wild man,” beginning with Enkidu and Gilgamesh and going into the myth of Grendel and Beowulf. He laughed about the different movies and depictions of the Sasquatch figure.
Meldrum also discussed the ancestry and evolution of monkeys and how that potentially ties in with Sasquatch by showing several different slides.
“There have been several different humanoid species at a time in history,” Meldrum said. “There is evidence that Neanderthals coexisted with the human species, and there have been six different humanoid species in the last 20,000 years.”
With such a varying range of evolved human and ape-like species throughout history, Meldrum made the connection that it is very possible that the Sasquatch figure could be one of these variations coexisting with the human race today. However, Meldrum pointed that through studies, it still remains hard to determine if the Sasquatch is more of an ape or man.
In his argument that the Sasquatch could potentially be considered to have more of a monkey ancestry, Meldrum cited evidences that apes can grin, have breasts, and can walk upright on two legs, just like humans. These are all characteristics that have been linked to the Sasquatch by several eye witness accounts.
“But, people often see what they want to see, so eye witness accounts aren’t always totally reliable,” Meldrum said. People have also taken footage of the Sasquatch walking in the forest, carrying only a crude stick. “Humans often carry and collect objects,” Meldrum said as he continued to weigh the characteristics of human versus monkey traits apparent in Sasquatch.
Meldrum also cited the historical sightings of Sasquatch, beginning with several stories and footprints appearing in several Asian countries. He feels that the “Yeti” monster reported about in the Himalayan mountains may be an ancestor figure to the current day Sasquatch. Meldrum’s main line of expertise involves the footprints and tracking of the Sasquatch. He has studied several different imprints in mud and sand, and he possesses fossilized models to figure out the movement of the massive “big foot.”
Meldrum meets much skepticism with his theories and worldwide research associated with chasing the evidence of Sasquatch.
“When a friend said, ‘Well after all, these are just stories,’ I replied, ‘Yes. Stories that shed hair, leave footprints, and are seen by eyewitnesses.’”
By Faith Heaton – Staff Writer
Photos by Gilbert Cisneros