Legend Meets Science

Book - 2006
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In this landmark work on a subject too often dismissed as paranormal or disreputable, Jeffrey Meldrum gives us the first book on sasquatch to be written by a scientist with impeccable academic credentials, an objective look at the facts in a field mined with hoaxes and sensationalism. Meldrum reports on the work of a team of experts from a wide variety of fields who were assembled to examine the evidence for a large, yet undiscovered, North American primate. He reviews the long history of this mystery--which long predates the "bigfoot" flap of the late fifties--and explains all the scientific pros and cons in a clear and accessible style, amplified by over 150 illustrations. Anyone who has pondered the mysteries of human evolution will be fascinated and eager to join Dr. Meldrum in drawing their own conclusion.
Publisher: New York : Forge, 2006.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780765312167
Branch Call Number: 001.944 Meldrum
Characteristics: 297 p., [16] p. of plates :,ill. (some col.), maps ;,25 cm.


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Jul 18, 2018

Dr. Jeff Meldrum is a frequent sight on cryptid-related television. He is brought in as an expert in primate footprints, there to explain why a plaster cast is or is not a fake. He always interviews well, and I was accordingly happy to find this book. I am sad to say it was a complete disappointment. It took a long time to get through it - checking it out multiple times - and in retrospect, I should have just quit and called it good.

Meldrum comes across as snappy and peevish in tone through most of the work. He does exactly what I hope scientists would not do: he is claiming that his valuable insights are being suppressed. While he does attempt to address his critics’ arguments - and there are many - he can’t resist talking about how obviously wrong they are. I was not convinced, and I don’t think it was my lack of background in comparative anatomy of various primates. I think he’s making the cardinal error of underestimating the ingenuity of forgers and pranksters.

This has undermined more than a few scientists through the years, and I strongly believe Meldrum is among them. He repeatedly says that this or that cast must be legitimate, because no one could create a cast with the appropriate degree of realism. I have seen some amazing work done with rubber and plastic and foam in costuming over the years, and that’s at an amateur level of costuming expertise. It saddens me that he completely disregards the ability of interested amateurs to do what experts have not considered doing, just because they think it’s difficult.

Mostly, though, his tone annoyed me. At first I thought it was just snark. Over time I came to realize that no, he’s just grumpy and annoyed, and in doing so he made himself annoying. After this many years in the business I would have expected him to grow a thicker skin or at least some responses that make more sense than a movie mad genius’s rant. One of five stars.

SPPL_jcl Feb 07, 2018

A fascinating look at the science looking into the possibility that a man-like creature roams the wood of the Pacific Northwest. Meldrum's book looks at the stories of Sasquatch and "Bigfoot" and critically examines the array of evidence that has been gathered through the years.

Jan 15, 2015

After reading this book among similar ones and watching documentaries, I wanted to see the footprint casts for myself. I arranged to visit Dr. Meldrum's laboratory where I spent several hours studying some of the most impressive foot, butt and hand print casts. The detail of finger nails and clear friction ridges seen upclose where you can touch and feel them were compelling. We found him professional, intelligent and rational. My partner and I questioned him at length until we were satisfied that there is enough trace evidence to warrant more research. I went on to take a forensics class so that I could appreciate the evidence more fully. Since it's publication there have been several DNA studies. It isn't so funny anymore to poke fun of big foot believers.


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