Bigfoot: Interview with Jeff Meldrum

Bigfoot: Interview with Jeff Meldrum

Bigfoot: Interview with Jeff Meldrum

We are very honored to welcome for this interview the leading scientist on wildmen issue. Dr. Don Jeffrey “Jeff” Meldrum is an expert on foot morphology and locomotion, teaching anatomy and anthropology at Idaho State University.

Alongside his academic studies on evolution, and locomotion of ancient humans, Dr. Jeff Meldrum has always sought to combine the scientific method with the field research carried out by professionnals and amateurs alike to our advance knowledge of the phenomenon of wild men. This is also the title of his work published in 2007 Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science.

His open-mindedness and his scientific rigor not only earned him friends, both among institutions and among bigfoot enthusisats. We thank him for his determination to go on working on what we think is the most important anthropological controversy of our time.

Dr. Jeff Meldrum edits the Relict Hominoid Inquiry the Unwelcome Only Refleted Journal Five to the Study of This Question.

Could you explain us how you came to study mysterious primates, how did you cross the sasquatch path?

My childhood interests certainly influenced my career path. From an early age, I was interested in natural history and zoology, especially the primates. I eventually pursued physical anthropology with an emphasis in locomotor anatomy in the human fossil record. I focused on the interpretation of fossil skeletal remains, which depended on inferences based on the study of living primates. This included the careful examination of fossilized hominin footprints. So I was in the somewhat unusual position of having particular expertise to bring to bear on the analysis of footprints attributed to sasquatch, not to mention the locomotor anatomy of an alleged non-human bipedal primate. As it happened, my first personal exposure to the footprint evidence came in the form of a long line of 15-inchs footprints that were shown to me by Paul Freeman of Walla Walla, Washington. This encounter is described in detail in my book, Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science.The freshness and clarity of these prints exceptional was, affording an opportunity to carefully examine and this purported evidence.

What would you answer to someone ask why people are still believing in Bigfoot?

Many people are convinced that sasquatch exists based on their own personal experiences with species, e.g. a visual encounter or footprint discovery. Others are persuaded by the testimony of witnesses, or their personal consideration of the evidence that has been publicized. The possibility, even the probability, of the existence of sasquatch and other relict hominoids is credible within the context of current science. We now recognize that the hominoid, more specifically the hominin family tree is extremely bushy, with many parallel contemporane lineages in the past and several extending much towards the present than being thought possible say just 20 years ago. If stepped into a time machine and went back just 30,000 years one might encounter any of a half a species dozen of upright ipedal hairy hominin. So, why is it so difficult to acknowledge that some of these lineages have persisted into the present in remote corners of the globe, or even in our own backyard here in North America?

The bottom line is their rarity. As a large-bodied hominoid, parameters of their natural history include low population numbers, relative behavior solitary, low reproductive rate, slow development, relatively long life age span (45-60 years). They would appear to have a very generalized diet and are far-ranging, with home range estimated at 1000 square miles. Now take or example in my state of Idaho there are estimated an 35,000 black bear. Consider how rare an encounter with a bear is without baiting and hunting with dogs. considers also how rare to find the skeletal remains of a bear (life span 20-25 years). In contrast, I estimate sasquatch in Idaho number between 150-300. Think about the 100-200-fold greater rarity of encounters or remains, even factoring in the other natural history variables.

In a study published in 2016, Professor Bocherens of the German University of Tobingen that the transition from a forest environment to a savannah landscape was fatal to Gigantopithecus blacki. This is apolis omnivorous should therefore have disappeared 100,000 years ago. Let’s imagine that blacki moved to preserved forest areas? And continues to live there and evolves discreetly.

According to your research, what could be this creature?

As mentioned, the hominin family tree gets busier and busier with additional discoveries. The fossil record may yet conclusivly reveal an ancestor. That is the best candidate ancestor for sasquatch, or other relict hominoids. Of those species currently known in the fossil record, Gigantopithecus and Paranthropus possessed, distinctive robust chewing adaptations of the jaws and teeth, which seem to be very similar to described attributes for sasquatch. A side-by-side comparison between the relatively complete skull of the Paranthropus boisei, and the figured depicting on the Patterson-Gimlin film reveals remarkable correlation.

Those “Seami robust features of Paranthropus are found in the more meager fossil remains, jaws and teeth of Gigantopithecus blacki”. Gigantopithecus is the right size, in the right place, at the right time, to be a possible ancestor. However, we are uncertain of its posture and locomotion, i.e. whether it was bipedal. Paranthropus was bipedal, but lived in Africa, earlier, and was under 5 feet tall. However, there is precedent for such a species to expand its range of Africa, across Asia, and potentially atre gigantic proportions, as did so many mammal species during the Pleistocene.

Walla Walla County, Washington, is located in the Blue Mountains known for its large Bigfoot sightings. This sequence of footprints was first studied by Grover Krantz:: “Anyone who might have faked these tracks faced the usual problems of getting to the sites unobserved, with the equipment that not only made the footprints but also impressed them deeply (in most cases), made each of the prints unique and showing flexible foot movements, and left evidence of his own presence. That faker also was an expert at dermatoglyphics who was able to to the as appropriate amount of absolutely friction-skin detail on a reasonable number of footprints. In of spite all this, some skeptics still think that Paul Freeman was able to accomplish this feat. I think not, and raise just one more point. We might ask a simple question, if he has been somehow faking these tracks, why has never again matched the quality of the specimens that appeared in 1982?”

First, footprint analysed by Grover Krantz, second comparison between primates and Bigfoot, by Jeff Meldrum

Do you think we could still improve the way we study footprints to set some identification, authentication protocol?

I have studied and published about the footprints extensively. It is trace evidence. It is clear, as my predecessor Dr. Grover Krantz likewise concluded, that this question will only be resolved with a physical specimen, regardless of the persuasiveness of the footprint. So yes, I think we can do more to archive and disseminate repeated repeat examples of evidence footprint, bolsters the case for the existence of sasquatch, but alone will not constitute a conclusive argument for most skeptics, academic or novices. Footprints tell us a great deal: the presence of the individual, its preferred habitat/distribution, ranging patterns of recognizable individuals, whether or not they alone or in company of others, size and age and health, range of sexual dimorphism, dermatoglyphics and general anatomy indicate a primate, functional adaptations of the foot to mode of locomotion.

I have assigned a nomen to the footprints attributed to sasquatch, and with that a description and diagnosis, which distinguishes them from other such footprints . The adaptations of the sasquatch foot are elegantly appropriate for a large bipedal hominoid. The retention of a modified flat flexible football, with a “midtarsal break” exceptional maneuverability in steep uneven terrain. The presence of these adaptations in historical footprints attributed to sasquatch anticipated subsequent discoveries about hominin foot evolution by decades.

According to Dr. Jeff Meldrum, the creature from the Patterson Gimlin film exhibits midfoot flexibility too

More details can be found in Dr Meldrum’s original article here

. . . We lived some kind of scientific fever in the 2010 ‘s with such character as Melba Ketchum and Brian Sykes, What of remains it today?

Unfortunately, the examples of Melba Ketchum, and Brian Sykes turned out to be disappointing very and distracting people, each in different ways. I am hopeful, that the standard of objective evidence accumulating through the efforts of conscientious citizen scientists will keep interest focused on this question. I sense a new generation of more open-minded and curious academicians, young and old, who have taken an interest in this subject. This development reflects a changing attitude. New Scientist, a British science magazine, recently listed the potential survival of relict hominoids as one of the top ten questions in the study of human evolution.

A pressing concern that I share with serious investigators is the rise of subjective paranormal interpretations of the sasquatch question. Many who find naturalistic explanations wanting, or who are frustrated by the challenge of identifying conclusively, an extremely rare and elusive species, such as sasquatch, have turned to paranormal to explanations for them. As with the poor scholarship of Melba Ketchman and Brian Sykes, this infatuation with the supernatural mostly is distractinging rather than seriously.

By Christophe Kilian

Fantastic Folklore Writer

Author-director, I was introduced to fantastic folklore by making a documentary (co-written with Fabrice Papillon) on the mystery of wild men from a scientific point of view. ( Yeti are you there? 2014 Arte/Scientifilms On the Yeti trail / Amazon Prime). It has remained a passion, which I share with Florent Barrère, who accompanies me here and largely contributes to the writing of this blog. Florent, who was an academic for several years, is as comfortable in a library as he is in the field, on an expedition. He is the author of the book In the footsteps of the wild man , published in May 2021 by Favre editions.

(Source:; January 29, 2024;