Height of a Bigfoot

Height Measurement
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What is the Average Height?

I am working on a section of the book right now dealing with the physical appearance of Bigfoots. Getting some parameters of physical size can help inform other characteristics that might not be readily observable. For example figuring out the average height and weight can help inform us as to the daily caloric needs of the creatures. For this post I am going to focus on height and some of the findings so far.

Why it’s Hard to Get an Average

Almost all of the data on Sasquatch height comes from eyewitness testimony. There are also videos and pictures that can be used with the proper scale objects present if those videos are assumed to be legitimate. Some would scoff at using any images since they cannot be verified, but neither can eyewitness testimony so I would say they are valuable to a degree. Especially if they are examined and determined to be taller than a normal human.

Really, the most reliable data comes from reports that have been investigated by a third party such as the BFRO. Investigators can visit the location and help to determine size and scale. But in the end it really is an estimate, because no one to my knowledge has ever help a tape measure up to a Sasquatch.

The unfortunate thing about this is that when Bigfoot estimated height is placed on a graph we don’t get that nice bell curve that you see in a human height chart. See the chart here that shows the distribution of human height. Notice the nice curve for both women and men that shows us a good average.

Bigfoot height plotting isn’t that simple, though. For one thing most sightings don’t specify the sex of the animal. If Bigfoots are any kind of primate it is almost certain that there will be some sexual dimorphism. Without knowing the number of male versus female sightings we cannot know that the data isn’t skewed.

Another problem with the data is that height is usually only specified to the nearest foot. When dealing with heights that probably only fall within a range of 2-3 feet of difference in adults this is simply not very telling.

What the Data Says

I have found two sources that plot Bigfoot heights based on sighting reports. Each one uses a different dataset, though there may be some overlap. If you notice in the first chart from T.A. Wilson the height estimate falls off a cliff at eight feet. This is far from the curve you would expect to see, and to some a reason to doubt the existence of the animal. But I believe the problem lies more in the lack data points – specifically inches. I think it would be helpful in the future for investigators to try to use 6 inch increments and see how adding more to the height axis affects the distribution.

In the next chart from Dr. Henner Farenbach’s research we see a bit more of a curve, but still see a significantly higher number of reports at 8 feet. I think this can be blamed on eyewitness “rounding”. You see, while it is a common argument that eyewitness testimony is unreliable it actually can rather accurate for certain things.

A study in 2012 [CG1] found that people can estimate height of other people fairly well, but accuracy suffers when estimating non-human subjects.  While the argument can be made that Bigfoots are enough human-like to rely on eyewitness testimony, other factors must be considered as well. 

Fear is a common emotion described by Bigfoot witnesses.  But how does fear affect the witnesses’ perception of the animal?  You may be surprised that a study from 1994 [CG2] found that when a person is in an emotional state they tend to be able to better recall details, particularly in regards to the subject that caused the emotion.  This doesn’t mean the person becomes better at estimating height than they were before the incident, but it does lend credibility to the description being accurate.

Distance is also a factor in estimating the size of something.  A study by Proffitt and Gilden in 1989[CG3]  examined how the perceived size of an object changes with distance.  For the study, participants were asked to judge the size of a tree at different distances by placing their hands in a position that matched the height of the tree.  When the distance to the tree increased, participants tended to overestimate the size of the tree.  Estimates of the tree’s height were consistently greater than the actual height of the tree, and the discrepancies increased when the distance to the tree increased.  The study suggests that when an object is viewed from a distance, it may appear smaller than it is, and that causes people to overestimate its size.

What is the Real Average Height of Bigfoots?

I’m working on it. But I think a deeper and more exclusive study of the data is needed. Subjects over 100 yards away probably need to be excluded unless a scale object is present during investigation. I also think that regional height distribution may vary, so the data will need to be analyzed separately by region as well as together.

We can certainly say with a good deal of confidence that the average height of a Bigfoot is considerably taller than the average height of a human, but I want to get more specific if it’s possible. I want to find any work that anyone has already done on this, so please if you know of any drop it in the comments. Also, if you know any databases that are searchable for characteristics of the Bigfoot sightings let me know. Thank you all in advance.

 [CG1]Brand, R., & Bradley, M. T. (2012). Estimating height using implicit and explicit height norms. Perception, 41(2), 145-167.

 [CG2]Cahill et al. (1994)

 [CG3]Proffitt and Gilden, 1989

Chad Gatlin

I have been a Firefighter, a Radio Personality, a Writer, and an Insurance Agent. Now I am adding Author to that list! I have had a long interest in the weird and unexplained, and love to discuss and debate these subjects.

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