San Francisco, Sep 15 :
Seventy scientists from around the world, defying widespread scepticism, have been involved for the past four decades in the search for “Bigfoot”, the large and hairy beast allegedly seen in remote areas of the US, Rhettman Mullis, founder and chair of the Western Bigfoot Society, said.
“We are different from other Bigfoot researchers in the sense that we start with the certainty that Bigfoot exists, so we focus our studies on its behaviour and classification within the animal kingdom,” Rhettman told Efe news agency.
The Pacific Northwest and Washington state, where the Bigfoot Society is based, are the areas with the largest number of Bigfoot sightings in dense forests and mountains.
“It is impossible to estimate how many of these creatures live in the world, but I would say that just in North America there may be about 100,000 of them,” Mullis, a professional psychologist, said.
Mullis said he has been fascinated by Bigfoot since childhood, when he saw one of the creatures for the first time.
“I saw one with my own eyes,” Mullis said. “It was 1977 and it happened in Puget Sound (in Washington state). That changed my life forever.”
Team Bigfoot, the society’s 70-member field operation, has collected what Mullis described as “extensive evidence” of Bigfoot’s presence, like footprints and hair, that has helped researchers to figure out the creature’s features.
A main goal of the team, which includes experts in genetics, primates, zoology and biology from the US, Canada, Britain, Russia and Australia, will classify Bigfoot among animal species.
“Bigfoots are related to both humans and apes,” Mullis said. “Their hair is similar to that of humans and they walk like humans, but they have long arms and short legs like apes.”
Although the name Bigfoot has been used since the late 1950s, Mullis said there have been documented sightings and encounters with the beasts all around the world for more than 1,000 years.