It is the mystery that continues to puzzle us all as footage and photos claiming to spot Bigfoot is all over the internet - but now scientists believe there's a much simpler answer to the phenomenon.
Bigfoot is a large, hairy, ape-like creature supposedly found in north-western America, with people claiming to spot evidence of the Sasquatch in the wild from photos to large footprints - though no one has documented a close encounter with one.
Most scientists have historically dismissed its existence and say "proof" people find is a result of folklore, misidentifying it for a different animal and hoaxes.
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Now, new research from data scientist Floe Foxon has shown that most Bigfoot sightings in the United States and Canada have a more reasonable explanation.
It is believed that what folks have actually seen are black bears, stomping along on their hind legs.
While black bears typically use all four of their legs to travel about, they also have good balance on their hind legs in order to get a clearer view of something or to get a stronger sniff if a scent had interested them, according to Science Alert.
In this stance, the bears are upright like humans and hairy so they fit the profile of what people imagine Bigfoot to look like.
This isn't the only research that's pointed to black bears as the answer.
In 2009, a similar study was conducted in the Northwest region which showed an overlap of both Bigfoot and black bear sightings.
The research by data scientist Floe Foxon has used this data and extended this analysis to places where both black bears and humans reside close by in the US and Canada.
Foxton also utilised the existing geographical database of Bigfoot eyewitness reports that begun from the twentieth century from the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization and then looked at the local data regarding black bear sightings.
After this research, Foxon concluded that Bigfoot sightings can be explained as being mistaken for black bears from his regression model that shows if changes seen in one variable are associated with changes in another.
Data shows that high numbers of black bears and humans mean more people see Bigfoot, particularly in the Pacific Northwest.
Though there are areas where sightings are common, despite the black bear population not being a common animal in the region - for example, Florida and Texas.
But Foxon noted that these could be a result of a different misidentified animal.
"Notably, sasquatch sightings have been reported in states with no known breeding black bear populations," Foxon noted.
"Although this may be interpreted as evidence for the existence of an unknown hominid in North America, it is also explained by misidentification of other animals (including humans), among other possibilities."
All in all, Foxon explained how Sasquatch sightings were "statistically significantly associated with bear populations" since on the average, one "sighting" of Bigfoot is expected for every 900 bears.
"In conclusion, if bigfoot is there, it may be many bears," Foxon added.
So next time you're in a forest and see a big hairy creature in the corner of your eye - while spotting a Sasquatch would be pretty cool (and terrifying) it could just be another animal.
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