Skeptic » Podcasts » MonsterTalk » Episode Notes for What the Bigfoot market will bear

The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine

section banner graphic

Episode Notes for
What the Bigfoot market will bear

IN THE FORESTS OF PENNSYLVANIA, on a dark September night, a trail-cam took a series of controversial pictures. The Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (BFRO) still claims they show a juvenile Bigfoot. Skeptics claim the photos show a bear. Join the hosts of MonsterTalk as they discuss Bigfoot photos, fair-use and the economics of unusual photos.

Read the BFRO’s analysis of the “Jacobs Creature” photos.

All Bushnell Cameras have a delay set to 30 seconds. For details on the trail cam itself, you can read the manual at Bushnell’s website. According to the manual, “Image Delay—Time elapsed between photos while events are sensed and recorded. This is fixed at 30 second intervals in the Trail Sentry”

According to the BFRO, “The two images at the top of the page [20:32:05 and 20:32:41] are the only two images of the unidentified animal. The camera obtained other photos that same night, and others earlier that same month. Some of those images are shown below, along with some scale images of the same tree in daylight.”

Blake Smith’s Analysis of the Photos

At 20:02:16 photo of mother bear and one cub taken. The BFRO website labels this photo as “More of the Bear Cubs” but size analysis shows that the bear closest to the tree is the same size as the so-called “Jacobs Creature.” Of some interest, if you compare the size of the bear in the foreground to the cubs taken at 20:04:23 (below) you will see that the animal in the foreground also has to be an adult bear, not a cub! I didn’t notice this until preparing the notes for this episode.

Trail Cam photo (right) taken by Rick Jacobs. Additional Analysis material (left) by Blake Smith. Copyright 2007 Rick Jacobs. Click image to enlarge.

At 20:02:55 the adult bear and two cubs are photographed. According to the BFRO this next photo shows “The ‘Mama Bear’ image, showing “the bear cubs huddling around the mineral lick with a larger bear—likely the mother of the cubs.” They point out that in this color photo, the adult bear does not look mangy. That may be a result of the differences in the night-vision shots vs. the color/flash shots. The adult bear appears to be facing down the hill, away from the salt-lick and cubs. I’ve inset a photo of a similarly posed healthy bear to give an estimate of the pose.

Trail Cam photo (right) taken by Rick Jacobs. Additional Analysis material (left) by Blake Smith. Copyright 2007 Rick Jacobs. Click image to enlarge.

At 20:04:23 this is the next photo we’ve been provided in the series. Why didn’t the adult bear and cubs trigger any more photos in the intervening minute and a half? Observe that the salt-lick is still upright in this photo. The photo shows two cubs at play. Note how much smaller the cub closer to the tree is compared to the adult bear in 20:02:16. The so-called Jacobs Creature is the same size as the creature the BFRO is calling the Mama Bear. (Update: Note the cub in the foreground—it is tiny compared to what the BFRO have been calling “more of the cubs” but which now appears to show two adult-sized bears in the 20:02:16 photo.)

Trail Cam photo (right) taken by Rick Jacobs. Additional Analysis material (left) by Blake Smith. Copyright 2007 Rick Jacobs. Click image to enlarge.

At 20:32:05 nearly a half an hour has gone by and the salt-lick has been tipped over. Are there no photos existing between these two time-stamps from a camera that takes photos every 30 seconds when motion is sensed? 20:32:05 is the first photo of the two “Jacobs Creature” photos. Several bear biologists agree that while this is a strange looking creature, it is likely an adult bear with mange. This makes the bear look thin due to loss of its thick coat, plus potentially emaciated due to side-effects of the mite infestation. It is likely the same adult bear from 20:02:16—but the other photos which show her do not allow the level of detail needed to observe emaciation; too much of her is hidden in the dark.

Trail Cam photo (right) taken by Rick Jacobs. Additional Analysis material (left) by Blake Smith. Copyright 2007 Rick Jacobs. Click image to enlarge.

At 20:32:41 we have the second photo of the “Jacobs Creature.” In the image below I’ve outlined what I think the photo really shows: an adult bear with a cub attempting to nurse underneath it. Note that if this pose is correct, it corresponds to the adult bear in size and orientation from the 20:02:16 photo almost exactly.

Trail Cam photo (right) taken by Rick Jacobs. Additional Analysis material (left) by Blake Smith. Copyright 2007 Rick Jacobs. Click image to enlarge.


Support MonsterTalk

The views expressed on this program are not necessarily the views of the Skeptics Society or Skeptic magazine.

get eSkeptic
our free newsletter

Science in your inbox every Wednesday!

eSkeptic is our free email newsletter, delivered once a week. In it, you’ll receive: fascinating articles, announcements, podcasts, book reviews, and more…

Popular Articles

Here are the articles that people have been sharing over the last few days.

Giving via PayPal

Did you know that you can support the work of the Skeptics Society by donating to us via PayPal or eBay? You can make a one-time or recurring donation to the Skeptics Society via the PayPal Giving Fund, or favourite us on eBay Giving Works, and specify the percentage of your eBay sales that you’d like to donate to us. Your donations directly support the work of your Skeptics Society.

Donate with PayPal
Favorite us on eBay

Help the
Skeptics Society
at no cost to you!

Shop at Amazon using our affiliate links, and the Skeptics Society will receive a small commission from your purchase.

FREE Video Series

Science Based Medicine vs. Alternative Medicine

Science Based Medicine vs. Alternative Medicine

Understanding the difference could save your life! In this superb 10-part video lecture series, Harriet Hall, M.D., contrasts science-based medicine with so-called “complementary and alternative” methods. The lectures each range from 32 to 45 minutes.

FREE PDF Download

The Top 10 Weirdest Things

The Top Ten Strangest Beliefs

Michael Shermer has compiled a list of the top 10 strangest beliefs that he has encountered in his quarter century as a professional skeptic.

FREE PDF Download

Reality Check: How Science Deniers Threaten Our Future (paperback cover)

Who believes them? Why? How can you tell if they’re true?

What is a conspiracy theory, why do people believe in them, and why do they tend to proliferate? Why does belief in one conspiracy correlate to belief in others? What are the triggers of belief, and how does group identity factor into it? How can one tell the difference between a true conspiracy and a false one?

FREE PDF Download

The Science Behind Why People See Ghosts

The Science Behind Why People See Ghosts

Do you know someone who has had a mind altering experience? If so, you know how compelling they can be. They are one of the foundations of widespread belief in the paranormal. But as skeptics are well aware, accepting them as reality can be dangerous…

FREE PDF Download

Top 10 Myths About Evolution

Top 10 Myths About Evolution (and how we know it really happened)

If humans came from apes, why aren’t apes evolving into humans? Find out in this pamphlet!

FREE PDF Download

Learn to be a Psychic in 10 Easy Lessons

Learn to do Psychic “Cold Reading” in 10
Easy Lessons

Psychic readings and fortunetelling are an ancient art — a combination of acting and psychological manipulation.

Copyright © 1992–2016. All rights reserved. The Skeptics Society | P.O. Box 338 | Altadena, CA, 91001 | 1-626-794-3119. Privacy Policy.