Posted by: Loren Coleman on October 14th, 2011
One of the Siberian foot casts that Jeff Meldrum examined during his recent trip to Russia. But is was not the one found in the cave during the field trip conducted as part of the recent conference.
Discovery News reporter Eric Niiler wrote of the viral wave of information coming out of Russia in an article published on the afternoon of October 13, 2011, entitled “New Bigfoot Sightings: Proof Still Lacking ~ A Michigan woman says she feeds a bigfoot family blueberry bagels; others say a “snowman” roams Siberia.”
Niller details the new claims of Bigfoot encounters — in Siberia and rural Michigan, and you can read more here.
Discovery News quotes Robin Lynn Pfeifer, a 47-year-old resident of Newaygo County, north of Grand Rapids, as saying, “They get fish every day, a bucket of fruit, a bucket of dry dog food….Their favorite thing is blueberry bagels. If I’m not baking them, I go to different stores to buy them. I tell them they are feeding the wildlife.”
Niller presents a balanced view, and indeed, extensively interviewed Jeff Meldrum and myself. He writes:
Loren Coleman directs the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine and has been studying and writing about strange sightings of creatures for several decades. He says he’s skeptical of anyone who comes forward with tales of lengthy Bigfoot encounters without providing serious evidence.
“All the Bigfoot contactees — for some reason they never take photographs,” Coleman said. “There’s a lot of interest in finding these things, but we have to look at the credibility of the people feeding us the stories. I’m always careful of two kinds of people, the debunkers who have no interest [in openly looking at the evidence] and the true believers who will not bring any critical thinking [to the inquiry].”
Coleman said he hasn’t met with Pfeifer, but is doubtful, comparing her story to people who meet with aliens from UFOs.
“They really believe they are having these experiences,” Coleman said. “I don’t know if it’s hallucination or a psychological state.”Eric Niiler
Niller then goes back to Pfeifer, mentioning among other things that she says, “I want people to realize that they do exist….They are not aggressive, they are more human-like than an ape and I’m very protective of them.”
Later in the piece, Niller turns to Meldrum for his reaction to Pfeifer’s claims and those of Igor Burtsev, her supporter:
Jeff Meldrum, professor of anatomy and anthropology at Idaho State University, was at the meetings in Russia and has been sifting through the various claims about both the Russian Yeti in southern Siberia and Pfeifer’s story of a Michigan Bigfoot.
“There’s no substance to any of her claims,” said Meldrum, who is an expert in the evolution of early hominid gait. “If there were 10 to 12 around her home, she should be opening up a museum with all the artifacts.”Eric Niiler
Meldrum also has questions about what Burtsev presented during the two-day trip to the cave in the Kemerovo region. He says when the group of scientists entered the cave, there were several large footprints along the muddy floor, but strangely enough, they were only imprints of right feet.
“He must have been playing hopscotch,” Meldrum quipped.Eric Niiler
Meldrum says that while he’s doubtful about the evidence for this particular creature, he is keeping an open mind when it comes to the possibility of a new species of hominid that could be alive today.
He points out that German scientists found finger bones from a new species of human ancestor known as Denisova hominin that co-existed with both humans and Neanderthals only 30,000 years ago.
That research was published last year in the journal Nature, using DNA sequencing to verify its age and identity. The cave where Denisova was found is 35 miles from the site where Meldrum and the other researchers were taken on their field trip.Eric Niiler