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No. 129: MAY-JUN 2000

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If Fingerprints Don't Lie, Neither to Toe Prints

J. Chilcutt is a highly regarded finger-print expert for the Conroe, Texas, Police Department. In his spare time, he collects fingerprints and toe prints from other primates. Working with zoo officials, who were naturally skeptical at first, Chilcutt has amassed a collection of about 1,000 nonhuman primate prints. He has discovered that print characteristics differ markedly from one species to another.

When Chilcutt learned that J. Meldren, a professor of anatomy at Idaho State University, had accumulated 100 or so casts of Bigfoot prints, he had to check out their dermal whorls and arches.

Some of Meldren's casts turned out to be obvious fakes upon which human fingerprints had been impressed. But a few specimens surprised him.

The print ridges on the bottoms of five castings -- which were taken at different times and locations -- flowed lengthwise along the foot, unlike human prints which flow from side to side.

"The skeptic in me had to believe that (all of the prints were from) the same species of animal," Chilcutt said. "I believe that this is an animal in the Pacific Northwest that we have never documented."

(Rice, Harvey; "Is Something Afoot with Bigfoot? Print Expert Thinks So," Houston Chronicle, February 20, 2000. Cr. D. Phelps.)

From Science Frontiers #129, MAY-JUNE 2000. � 2000 William R. Corliss

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