Idaho scientist seeks to launch aerial Bigfoot search with blimp
By Laura Zuckerman
SALMON, Idaho (Reuters) - An Idaho scientist shrugging off sceptical fellow scholars in his quest for evidence of Bigfoot has turned his sights skyward, with plans to float a blimp over the U.S. mountain West in search of the mythic, ape-like creature.
Idaho State University has approved the unusual proposal of faculty member Jeffrey Meldrum, an anatomy and anthropology professor ridiculed by some peers for past research of a being whose existence is widely disputed by mainstream science.
Now Meldrum is seeking to raise $300,000-plus in private donations to build the remote-controlled dirigible, equip it with a thermal-imaging camera and send it aloft in hopes of catching an aerial glimpse of Bigfoot, also known as sasquatch.
Meldrum, author of "Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science," said the undertaking represents a giant leap in the quest for an animal he believes may have descended from a giant ape that once inhabited Asia and crossed the Bering land bridge to North America.
"The challenge with any animal that is rare, solitary, nocturnal and far-ranging in habitat is to find them and observe them in the wild; this technology provides for that," he said.
Decades of alleged sightings, elaborate hoaxes and the discovery of huge footprints in the forests of the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere have led to beliefs that Bigfoot is a man-like ape, an ape-like man or a figment of the popular imagination.
Most scholars discount Bigfoot as a phenomenon borne of myth and perpetuated by a mix of fakery and misidentification of real animals. They contend that science demands a high standard of evidence that has not been achieved in the case of sasquatch.
No fossils or other physical evidence has been unearthed to suggest that the largest primate ever known migrated from Asia to the Americas, and no Bigfoot has been captured or killed, sceptics argue. Continued...