The science behind Bigfoot

A seven inch track left in the Ouachita Mountains is the beginning of a trail for trackers of Bigfoot. (KTUL)

No matter what you call it, stories have been handed down for decades about the mysterious creature spotted in places all over the world.

"There were so many people from so many walks of life that were having these encounters. Many were not extraordinary encounters, just quick visuals of a large hairy thing walking around where it shouldn't have been," said Brian Brown.

Quick sightings turned into an easy passion for Brown and the dozens of others who make up the 'North American Wood Ape Conservancy. '

"I thought it was bogus. I thought it was all a big phony story that had been made up," said Daryl Colyer.

Colyer served in the United States Air Force and made a promise to his friends when he was out.

"There's no way that this thing can be real -so some of my buddies and I were talking about it one time, we had some down time, I made a vow to them, my air force buddies that I was going to look into this for real," said Colyer.

Colyer said he remained skeptical until he had his own sighting.

"Ahead of me- 40 50 yards I see this figure, that jumps across the trail. It's upright, it's jumping like a long jumper across the trail, it lands across on the opposite side of the trail. It hits the limb, makes the limb move, takes a little skip hop and disappears into the woods," said Colyer.

Alton Higgins was a wildlife biologist for more than 40 years. Collecting scat and researching animal species was his professional job for the state of Arizona.

"I can at least say that there's a biological basis behind the phenomenon. It's not hundreds of years and thousands of people that are having the same hallucination. There's something biological about the thing," said Higgins. "Some point, in science when people report things, hopefully someone at some point takes the initiative to look into it."

That's exactly what Higgins and 62 others did.

Over the course of 4 years, 12,000 hours of observation, the NAWAC published the 'Ouachita Project Monograph.'

The 229 page report details consistent unusual patterns, noises, and findings the NAWAC has found over the last four years.

To collect information, researchers spent most of the summer months camped out a week at a time in the Ouachita Mountains. Teams are typically 2-6 members and a different shift will come the next week.

One of the main findings in the report was 49 different sightings of 'Big Foot' or what they call the 'Wood Ape.'

"I guess the analogy is that I had suddenly been just yanked into this different room of reality now," said Colyer.

One thing researchers found happening consistently- wood knocks.

Researchers would often hit a tree with a bat and hear a response somewhere off in the woods.

"Some of these places we go are pretty remote. I've been camping in south east Oklahoma for weeks and have not seen literally another person," said Higgins.

There are several records of rocks being thrown in the study. The NAWAC photographed rocks being found in unusual places, recorded 'rock rain' hitting their cabin, and had several instances where rocks were thrown at researchers.

"People ask us that all the time, well why don't you have any pictures. Well it's not for a lack of trying," said Colyer.

In the beginning, Colyer said the group focused all of its resources on capturing a photo of big foot. However, no matter how fancy the camera or how often they tried, it never happened.

"They associate these cameras with humans so they stay away from them. We just don't know. There's a lot of things we don't know at this point, and that's why we continue to do this," said Colyer.

Researchers also found 'nut cracking' stations. They found sports where a smaller rock was sitting on top of a larger rock and between the two were smashed hickory nuts.

"Some kind of an animal that has a hand that can pick up a rock and small nuts," said Higgins.

One new technology that they are using is a tracker. Within the last year or so, researchers have been hanging trackers 7 feet off the ground with string. The trackers look like something found in the woods and are covered in rat glue in hopes that they would stick onto big foot while it ran past.

Recently, one of the trackers was picked up and activated.

"The known apes are notorious for pulling off tags because they've been tagged by biologists because they've got hands they've got brains. There's a tag in my hair, I'll just pull it out and throw it away," said Colyer.

Brown and the others said, they don't present the scientific report as proof-but it is a start.

"As compelling as we believe it to be, we don't present that as proof. We don't believe it's enough to establish this as a real animal," said Brown.

However, all believe they are a couple of steps away from saying 'I told you so.'

You can see the entire study below:

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