Bigfoot, Bear Paw, or Beaver Leg? Cases of Cryptozoological Misidentification

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In 2013, two boys strolling by a wooded space in Massachusetts made an uncommon, and really large discovery: an enormous, decomposing foot, that appeared nearly human.

Police who had been referred to as to noticed the horrific wanting appendage admitted they had been baffled by the discover. As reported within the native Patriot Ledger Newspaper on the time, “On March 29, Sgt. Steven Leanues picked up what seems to be a decomposed foot that the boys discovered within the woods off Pantheon Street. Police Chief Frank Alvilhiera despatched it to the health worker, who decided it isn’t human, though it seems to have 5 toes.”

Whereas the examiners had been cautious to not leap to any conclusions, the oblique implications of such a discovery appeared apparent: may this truly be bodily proof for the existence of a creature like Man of the woods?

Fairly the opposite, this was one of some related situations the place stays of a identified animal species had been misidentified, and in its state of superior decomposition, solely resembled one thing human. The foot, after all, was later proven to belong to a bear, somewhat than some huge, manlike beast.


How may a bear’s appendage resemble something human, one may ask? It is truly not that tough, contemplating once more that such a specimen is perhaps in a sophisticated state of decomposition, which removes numerous figuring out particulars; particularly the hair and claws. Additionally, a bear’s paw options 5 digits like a human, and therefore, the invention of a 5 toed, huge decaying foot may very easily–and even eerily–resemble one thing like a Wildman. With little doubt, misshapen or vague bear tracks might have at instances additionally been attributed to the legendary man beast on some events, although any clear set of bear footprints would presumably present the forepaw as nicely, which might be rather more tough to attribute to something manlike.

There are maybe much more weird circumstances of misidentification which have befallen the Wildman circles over time. On one event a number of years in the past, I recall being contacted by a researcher who granted me unique entry to a video which purported to point out the same mysterious, humanlike appendage, hoping that I would be capable of have a professional biologist with whom I used to be acquainted have a look at the video. Earlier than sending the video, the researcher in query famous probably the most peculiar aspects of the invention: along with being a big, horrific wanting foot of some type, the specimen appeared to have webbed toes! 

For sure, this had been a crimson flag from the outset, though the limb was certainly somewhat horrific wanting. The grainy video depicting the alleged discovery featured a pair of people displaying the “thriller” creature’s severed limb earlier than the digicam, with few particulars (if any) about its origins. After acquiring a duplicate of the footage, I despatched the video alongside to a biology professor I knew, Dr. Mike Stuart, who after watching it felt confidant that this was no foot of a Wildman or every other thriller animal: it had belonged to nothing greater than a beaver. Speak about mistaken identification!

beaver 570x318
Basic appearances of North American beaver tracks.

Once more, one may ask how a beaver’s hind foot may seem so uncommon, and why was it so giant? To this, Dr. Stuart talked about that he had identified of beavers that grew to as a lot as 90 kilos or extra, and that the dimensions of the limb within the video hadn’t even been among the many largest he had examined.

Bear paws are, after all, much more prone to be mistaken for mysterious stays than that of a beaver, and on at the very least a couple of events, bear paws have even been mistaken for human stays. In 2004, a mysterious wanting hand present in a manilla envelope at a automobile wash was decided by two separate health workers to have been the skeletal stays of a hand belonging to a lady or youngster. Because the investigation ensued, considerations started to come up over the shortage of any extra stays found, and eventually a forensic check was administered. The “human” hand turned out to be a bear’s paw.

So far as the enterprise of figuring out animal stays goes, skeletal stays of bears are extra generally mistaken for being human than that of every other animal. Subsequently, it solely is smart that they might often be mistaken for being one thing giant, and humanlike.

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