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Searching for Sasquatch in the Okanagan

FILE PHOTO - Bigfoot
Image Credit: Pixabay
January 24, 2021 - 10:09 AM

Stories of human-like creatures known as sasquatches or bigfoots have been around for hundreds, if not thousands, of years, but evidence to support these tall — oftentimes hairy—tales is hard to come by.

Leon Thompson, with Bigfoot Okanagan, said the group has been around for the last five years trying to find evidence of the creatures in the region. He said there have been sightings in recent years near Big White and West Kelowna.

“We can get up to seven reports a year. Most of those aren’t anything tangible for us to investigate,” he said.

Tracks are the easiest way to find evidence of a suspected bigfoot, he said. The group uses a scientific method to determine of the tracks are Sasquatch or not, and Thompson noted that while they aim to find evidence of the creatures, they also disprove claims.

The group recently examined a print in Slocan on Christmas Day but said it wasn’t a bigfoot that left the tracks.

There’s also a bigfoot sight tracking site with the Bigfoot Fields Researcher Organization, which compiles suspected bigfoot sightings from across the world, he said. On the website, 134 sightings have been reported in B.C. dating back to 1924.

Robert Young, an environmental and earth professor at UBC Okanagan, said people don’t like the unexplained so they’ll often use mythology as a reason for the unknown.

“People have inquiring minds, they want knowledge… and in modern times there’s so much information it’s hard to parse out and determine what’s real and what’s not.”

Myths and legends are meant to entertain and explain. At one time, bigfoot might have been based in some early history of humanity. During the Pleistocene era, from 2,580,000 to 11,700 years ago, researchers are discovering evidence of lost species, Young said.

“The story of the man in the forest is a compelling one, it’s kind of like the ghost stories used to keep the kids in line and it might be based in some oral traditions going back 1,000 years or more,” he said.

Its possibly human cousins came to North America and developed as a sort of Homo Erectus offshoot, he said.

He also used an example from Africa, where a human ghost subspecies was discovered recently.

“They have no bones, but the traces of them are showing up in the DNA,” Young said, which suggests that the ancestors of modern Africans interbred with the undiscovered species.

“We were not alone up until about 10,000 years ago, we were just the last survivors,” he said.

READ MORE: Mammoths claimed the Thompson Okanagan as their home more than 10,000 years ago

“There’s always going to be these stories, some of them will be actual memories, some of (them) will be embellished.”

However, leading wildlife studies using modern technology show no indication that a hominine such as a Sasquatch exists in modern times, he said.


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