A new study finds a surprising correlation between reports of Bigfoot sightings and black bear populations across North America. Researcher Floe Foxon expanded on previous work showing links between bear numbers and alleged Sasquatch sightings in the Pacific Northwest.
Analyzing data from 2006, Foxon found a robust connection – for every additional 1,000 black bears in a region, Bigfoot sightings increased by about 4%. This suggests many sightings are likely just cases of misidentified bears.
Bears stand upright and have varying fur colors, making them plausible candidates for Bigfoot confusion. The analysis accounted for forest cover and human population as other possible factors. But the bear population link remained strong.
However, some gaps exist. States without breeding bear populations still report occasional Bigfoot sightings, indicating hoaxes or other wildlife misidentifications may play a role as well.
Nonetheless, Foxon concludes a significant portion of Bigfoot reports are people simply mistaking the large ursine mammal for a giant bipedal primate. He suggests Bigfoot tallies could even serve to independently track bear conservation trends.
So next time you think you’ve spotted Bigfoot, you may want to double check – it could just be someone’s furry friend heading home for hibernation.