Tag Archives: cryptid

Bigfoot Bounty

I just got around to watching the first few episodes of “10 Million Dollar Bigfoot Bounty” from SpikeTV. This is another cryptid based TV show, but instead of being another pseudo-documentary about the cryptid, this show is based on the reality TV template. There are nine teams of two, one team is eliminated every episode after competing to see who brings the best evidence in for Bigfoot. The teams also have a smaller challenge during each episode, wherein they compete for advantages going into the main elimination competition.


I am just going to start by saying, this show is terrible, and unless you have a huge interest in reality TV shows or Bigfoot, it is not worth watching. However, there are two highlights of the show. The first highlight is Dr. Todd Disotell. Dr. Todd already has a reputation among crypto-zoologists in that he is the one who tests material to see what type of DNA signature it has. Dr. Todd’s no nonsense approach to genetic testing is a breath of fresh air when it comes to this and other cryptid related shows. In “Bigfoot Bounty” the show’s producers gave him a state of the art mobile genetic testing lab. Dr. Todd is able to test the different samples brought in by the contestants in a matter of hours. I feel this testing lab is the best thing to come out of this show.


The second highlight of this show is Natalia Reagan. Natalia is a field biologist and her job is to teach the contestants how to act like actual field biologists. Natalia is always instructing the contestants on how to take proper field notes and collect proper field samples. As an actual field scientist myself, I can greatly appreciate the fact that Natalia is teaching crypto-zoologists the basics when it comes to fieldwork. There are many tedious notes to be taken long before anything can be sampled in a lab. Natalia and Dr. Todd make a good point in informing the contestants that none of the samples will be tested unless they follow the proper procedures when it comes to collecting their samples.


Another aspect of the show that I find funny is just how out of shape the contestants are. All but one team are either actual hunters or active Bigfoot researchers. However, one would not be able to tell that they spent anytime out in the field with just how out of breath they are on a simple hike. Beyond that, the way most of the contestants act when they are in the woods (they jump at any noise and think it is a Bigfoot) is highly suspicious to someone that has spent any amount of time hiking and camping. It appears to me that none of them has any basic outdoors experience. If it were not for Natalia teaching them what to do while in the field, they would just be running around scaring the hell out of each other. However, in the end Dr. Todd and Natalia cannot save this show. It is just another run of the mill reality TV show with standard made up drama between the contestants and added dramatic tension before each commercial break. In my opinion, this show is best left unwatched and forgotten. I do like Dr. Todd and Natalia’s attempt to bring some science into this show, but their efforts alone cannot save it. I hope that Dr. Todd and Natalia will end up with their own TV show one day; I would watch it. In addition, the mobile lab that Dr. Todd now has may lead to some awesome real biological discoveries.

How MonsterQuest gives creationists a platform

As you already know, I sat through several days of the History Channels pseudo-documentary MonsterQuest (the joy) and much to my surprise, in two of the episodes we find creationists. Now, I knew the History Channel had gone off the deep end by having this show in the first place, but I did not think it would stoop down to allowing creationists on their channel. Than again, one must ask themselves, what is the major different between an average creationist and an average crypto-zoologist?

Nevertheless, I digress. The first episode I noticed that allowed a creationist on was entitled “Flying Monsters” (episode 15, season 3). This episode deals with a group of creationists from Genesis Park, which mounts annual expeditions to Papa New Guinea in search of pterosaurs (or Ropen). Now, the History Channel did do a wonderful job editing out (what I can only suspect to be) the vast majority of the crazy coming from the creationists on this program, but they let a few things slip. At ~10 minutes in, Garth Guessman (the head creationist), while holding a copy of an old map says; “This is an old sea chart from 1595 depicting Papa New Guinea, and it has animals depicted on here that are similar to pterosaurs that could very well be distant memories of legends of possible pterosaurs.” I kid you not! That was what set the alarm bells off in my head, but it was not until around the end of the program at ~40 minutes in when he said, “Every culture in the world has stories of dragons. And if you think about it, they also have stories of people killing dragons. And when you ask the question what happened to dinosaurs, people never want to put that together.” This statement made me look into this person. Sure enough, he is a Young Earth Creationist (YEC) hoping that if he finds evidence of pterosaurs in Papua New Guinea that will somehow disprove evolution.

However, in this episode, not only do they have a YEC, but they also have an actual paleontologist (Dr. David Martill) whose specialty is pterosaurs. I truly wish I could get my hands on some of the unedited material for this episode. I would love to see the reaction from Dr. Martill when dealing with the inanity of the YECs.

However, this was not the only episode to feature creationists in it. While researching the above episode, I thought back to one of the first episodes I watched entitled “The Last Dinosaur” (episode 18, season 3) which was about Mokele Mbembe, thought to be a sauropod. This episode was not as bad as the first one I talked about (in terms of creationism, it is a terrible show after all), but the narrator was the worse part of this show. At ~13 minutes in, they talk to a creationist who went to Africa to take a picture of a living dinosaur (no doubt, because he thought that would somehow disprove evolution); instead, he took pictures of what were three toed tracks of something large (most likely a rhinoceros). The creationist claims they are most likely from a sauropod, yet gives no evidence as to why. This mistake can be forgiven, because he is nothing more then a creationist, however the narrator starts talking about how sauropod tracks have three toes and starts showing pictures of fossil dinosaur track ways (the tracks are from theropod dinosaurs). I cannot really get mad at the narrator because he is only reading a script, but whoever wrote that script is a moron. Sauropods had five toe tracks, and the pictures that they showed were of theropod dinosaurs, a very different animal. Did I mention how terrible this show is?

I feel very upset that this show ever aired on the History Channel. I think it is bad enough that the History Channel allowed crypto-zoologists to run amuck on their channel, but to allow creationists…

I do not have anything else to say because words cannot describe how disappointed I am with the History Channel. This is a channel that I feel, when I was in high school, did a far superior job teaching me history than my actual high school. It is just upsetting to see it slip this far.

How MonsterQuest disproved Bigfoot

A far lesser known hobby I have is dealing with crypto-zoology (I have not dealt with this for years). However, recently I sat through a marathon of MonsterQuest to see how much new information cryptozoology has compiled. The only thing that I have learned is that the crypto-zoologists have all but disproved Bigfoot and all other land based cryptids with just one episode.

The main difference in the MonsterQuest pseudo-documentary compared to most other cryptid pseudo-documentaries I have seen is the use of trail cameras. A trail camera is a camera left in the wilderness for weeks to years taking pictures or video of anything that sets the motion detector off. Now, the episode of MonsterQuest that disproved land based cryptids is entitled “Lions in the Backyard” (episode 7: season 1). This episode deals with reports of black cats seen in the U.S., and of course, they were unable to show any black cats in the U.S.

However, how does an episode about black cats in the U.S. disprove Bigfoot and all other land based cryptids? Well, in the episode they eventually get to a section at ~21 minutes in where they talk to two actual biologists that use trail cameras. The two biologists explained that jaguars used to live in the U.S. (mostly the southwest) during historic times, but were now thought to be extinct in the U.S., thanks in large part to humans. Nevertheless, they were able to show, using trail cameras, three separate individual jaguars in Arizona; essentially proving that jaguars are expanding their territory back to somewhat historic ranges. Furthermore, they were able to prove this over an 8-year period.

Now, trail cameras are in use all over the U.S., not just by crypto-zoologists, but also by actual zoologists and hunters. Does anyone truly believe that something the size of Bigfoot, or any of the other cryptids crypto-zoologists love to talk about, could go undetected by these trail cameras for decades when they photographed several jaguars in 8 years? In addition, the photographs are not ambiguous, they were able to determine that two of the three individuals were male (the other remains unknown at the airing of this episode), that is how wonderful the pictures of these animals came out.

In every episode of MonsterQuest that dealt with a land based cryptid, trail cameras were placed in the areas the animals were thought to roam and yet no photographs of the cryptid were ever produced. I must point out that MonsterQuest only sets up these cameras for perhaps a month or two, but the actual crypto-zoologists, zoologists, and hunters have trail cameras that are in use for most (if not all) of the year, for years! One would think that if these cryptids were real, at least one of them would be captured on camera in the decades that trail cameras have been in use.

There are two things I learned from watching MonsterQuest; the first is that crypto-zoologists appear to be just as dogmatic as creationists are when it comes to their preconceived notions. I know that this information does not definitively disprove Bigfoot and his kin, but it seems to be very compelling evidence that any rational person should consider.

The second is I really want a trail camera now. Here in New Mexico there is a lot of wildlife that would be very interesting to photograph without human interference. Seeing the price tag on most of the trail cameras makes this dream something that will probably never happen for the simple fact that I do not think I would waste that much money on a hobby. However, one can dream.

Edited by Dean, 12/03/2013
Reason for edit: Grammatical corrections.