Texas is one of the largest, and thus also one of the most diverse states in the United States. A broad range of different terrains are presented there, from arid deserts to thick forests that leave little to the imagination in terms of what they might be capable of hiding.
North of Dallas, game wardens and law enforcement have recently been probing the backwoods in search of a hidden cache worth a fortune: more specifically, a marijuana operation valued at around $6.5 million.
However interesting this story may be in itself, it gets even better with the addition of a final, rather odd twist. Houston Chronicle reports that the 6,550 marijuana plants, discovered on an acre-wide section of a wildlife management area over the weekend, weren't the only thing they found:
Authorities were alerted to the site near the Sulphur River after hog hunters spotted the growers' campsite. An overnight hunt by game wardens for suspects was hampered by bigfoot hunters hoping to find the elusive Sasquatch, KETR reports.
While Bigfoot hunters were found during the operation, the mythical beast himself, however, was unavailable for comment (as usual).
Following this report, I took to social media with the story, and asked what, I felt, are some important questions; not just in relation to Bigfoot, and whether those who seek to prove the creature's existence are in the "right" or "wrong" in such instances, but more having to do with the necessity for involvement from the scientific community, if such a thing could be attained.
Below is my brief missive on what benefits could be derived from the scientific study of Bigfoot, albeit in ways, and involving certain branches of study, that are generally excluded from the discussion:
If Bigfoot's existence is something that can be proven, I wish we could get a good group of anthropologists out there doing the field work needed to make that determination. While the work of the "weekend warriors" can be admired for the determination it represents, here we see that it can actually become a hinderance to other official activities, which thus paints the "research" being attempted in a bad light.
Biologists who would be willing to consider the possibility that an indigenous species of hominid could exist would be hard to come by, to say the least; but if not physical scientists who would take up the case, perhaps returning to anthropology, a cultural study of belief systems and traditions associated with things like Sasquatch could reveal useful data just as well; a stepping stone, perhaps, toward an eventual scientific approach that would deal with the more tangible elements of the mystery, if any are truly to be found.
What about our statisticians, or others who might assist from a mathematical perspective? I'm fairly certain that "Bigfoot" isn't something many mathematicians would devote time to thinking about, but if they could be compelled to do so, they might lend useful data pertaining to trends associated with purported encounters, or perhaps, at very least, information that associates trends with cultural beliefs and regional traditions that our anthropologists might discern.
What we need, I think, rather than those who "hunt" Bigfoot, is a multidisciplinary, scientific approach to the study of what has become a pervasive element within American folklore, as well as traditions held elsewhere around the world. The call for serious scientists, and those willing to take such a subject seriously, is a necessary one.
My objective here, as it has been in the past, is not to dissuade those who believe in Bigfoot from doing so. Rather, it is to examine whether there are areas where science may help us to understand the phenomenon of belief itself, in addition to yielding data that might contribute to the mystery in more productive ways. The research community (as far as believers go) have argued the case for Bigfoot's existence for decades, and with little evidence coming to light that has proven useful in helping make determinations about whether a creature does exist, which might warrant further study by the academic community.
Despite the lack of data needed to compel scientists toward becoming involved, the areas of study I outlined in my commentary here would allow for research that would still be beneficial to such areas as anthropology and the social sciences, with or without necessarily having to be focused on making a final determination about whether Bigfoot exists.
Could this approach be of use to broadening our scientific knowledge? Absolutely... and I would further wager that such a study might bear fruit for the Bigfoot community just as well, if either side would be willing to engage the other with hope of furthering such efforts.