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One the most famous of all cryptids, Bigfoot has been seen since at least the early 1800s, and is supported by thousands of sightings and many footprint casts. Indian legends of large humanoid bipeds may be based on Bigfoot, though many of the creatures in the Indian legends seem to be too violent to be similare to Bigfoot. Sightings in the 1800s refer to hairy bipeds which fit the description of Bigfoot.
 
In One 19th century report, which was published by Theodore Roosevelt, a Bigfoot supposedly killed a person. A hunter, called Bauman, was near the Wisdom River with another trapper. They found that there camp had been destroyed by something, and there were Bigfoot-like footprints in the area. Deciding to leave, they split up to get their traps. When Bauman came back to the camp to meet up with his friend, he found his friend dead with a broken necks and fang-marks in his throat. There were the same footprints near the body.
 
In 1924, Albert Ostman was reportedly taken prisoner by a family of Bigfoot (Bigfeet?). Ostman managed to escape when one of them choked on some chewing tobacco Ostman had with him.
 
Another account occured in 1924 in Washington (the area is now known as Ape Canyon). Two miners there saw a large ape-like creature and shot at it. During the night a group of the creatures through rocks at the cabin in an attempt to break open the door.In the morning they found large footprints around the cabin.
 
One of the most pieces of evidence for Bigfoot, the Patterson film, was taken in 1967. Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin saw a large ape-like creature in the distance. One of them took out 16mm movie camera and shot a film of the creature. Afterwards they found large footprints near where the creature had been seen. Analysis of the film has shown that the creature was walking very different from a human, and that it is either a genuine film of Bigfoot, or an ingenious hoax that Patterson and Gimlin probably could not have pulled off.
 
Considering the vast amount of evidence for Bigfoot, there must be some truth to the reports. There is almost no way that the thousands of sightings could all be lies, mistakes, hallucinations, and hoaxes. As for the footprints, there is almost no way every one could be a hoax, considering their large distribution throughout the world.
 
Of course, the question of what Bigfoot is still remains. From the descriptions and photos, it greatly resembles a combination between an ape an a human. One suggestion is that it may be some kind of "missing-link". Another possibility is that it is some kind of prehistoric ape. There are also suggestions that it could be some kind of alien (I doubt that any alien would evolve to be so similar to an ape).

Sources
  • The Bigfoot Casebook, by Janet & Colin Bord
  • Unexplained!, by Jerome Clark
  • Field Guide to Bigfoot, Yeti, and other Mystery Primates Worldwide, by Loren Coleman and Patrick Huyghe