Insights: Bigfoot Anatomy; December 2007; Scientific American Magazine; by Marguerite Holloway; 2 Page(s)
One overcast Sunday morning in 1996, Jeffrey Meldrum and his brother drove to Walla Walla, Wash., to see if they could find Paul Freeman, a man renowned in Bigfoot circles as a source of footprint casts. Meldrum--who has followed Bigfoot lore since he was a boy--had heard that Freeman was a hoaxer, "so I was very dubious," he recalls. The brothers arrived unannounced, Meldrum says, and chatted with Freeman about his collection. Freeman said he had found tracks just that morning, but they were not good, not worth casting. The brothers wanted to see them regardless. "I thought we could use this to study the anatomy of a hoax," Meldrum says. Instead Meldrum's visit to a ridge in the Blue Mountains set him firmly on a quest he has been on since.
Meldrum, an associate professor of anatomy and anthropology at Idaho State University, is an expert on foot morphology and locomotion in monkeys, apes and hominids. He has studied the evolution of bipedalism and edited From Biped to Strider (Springer, 2004), a well-respected textbook. He brought his anatomical expertise to the site outside Walla Walla. The 14-inch-long prints Freeman showed him were interesting, Meldrum says, because some turned out at a 45-degree angle, suggesting that whatever made them had looked back over its shoulder. Some showed skin whorls, some were flat with distinct anatomical detail, others were of running feet-imprints of the front part of the foot only, of toes gripping the mud. Meldrum made casts and decided it would be hard to hoax the running footprints, "unless you had some device, some cable-loaded flexible toes."