Sasquatch Tracks examines the question of whether large undiscovered species may still exist, with special emphasis on the Sasquatch in North America, and similar claims of apelike “relict hominoids” and other animals purported to exist around the world. Our approach is critically minded, yet open to the possibility that the world of zoology may have kept a few secrets–possibly even big ones–well into the modern era. As recently as 1976, discoveries like the megamouth shark by a U.S navy research vessel near Oahu, Hawaii, have shown that some large species have indeed managed to elude us. Similar discoveries like the okapi (Okapia johnstoni) in 1901, as well as the mountain gorilla (Gorilla gorilla beringei) the following year in 1902 have turned up new specimens that surprised scientists and expanded our knowledge of the natural world.
The study of cryptozoology entails the scientific search for animals, both great and small, that remain undiscovered by science. Some discoveries may come out of the blue, with a previously unrecognized specimen turning up in the wild, or even in existing museum collections of fossils retrieved decades beforehand. Other times, the cultural traditions and folklore of indigenous groups may provide scientists with clues about new, undiscovered species. Unfortunately, cryptozoology is often deemed “pseudoscience” on account of its association with fantastic claims; these are often presented in a sensational way that offers little incentive for serious biologists, anthropologists, zoologists, or other professionals who otherwise might be interested in at least considering such topics.
In our view, cryptozoology can remain fun and entertaining, while being presented in a way that encourages critical thinking and promotes science. Altogether, cryptozoology stands to benefit greatly from more involvement by professional scientists.
In many ways, Sasquatch has become a sort of “mascot” for those who pursue mysteries; the creature has become emblematic of the human search for answers about nature, and more fundamentally, what it really means to be human. One need not believe in the existence of such creatures to see the important lessons they can teach us about human beliefs and world cultural traditions. However, the responsible study of cryptozoology offers many opportunities for science education as well, through the lens of ecology, conservation, and “citizen science” efforts; all of which are excellent ways to engage the public on meaningful issues like deforestation, species endangerment, climate change, and several other issues that may threaten life on our planet.
Of course, there is also the possibility–however remote–that this path may lead us to answer one of the greatest mysteries of all time, and one capable of fundamentally reshaping our ideas about life and human evolution. We invite you to join us on this road less traveled, as we pick up the trail on Sasquatch Tracks.