Either Bigfoot likes hanging around black bears or lots of people tend to mistake the latter for the former. A new study picks its side, suggesting that sightings of the legendary creature are almost surely cases of mistaken identity. In a paper published at the preprint stie bioRxiv, data scientist Floe Foxon found that Bigfoot sightings increase as a particular area's population of black bears does as well. For every 900 bears in a given region, one sighting of Bigfoot can be expected to follow, reports New Scientist. Previous research found such a correlation in the Pacific Northwest, but Foxon expanded the research to encompass the entire US and Canada, per Outside.
"Based on statistical considerations, it is likely that many supposed Sasquatch are really misidentified known forms," Foxon writes in the study. "If Bigfoot is there, it may be many bears." As KTLA notes, black bears usually walk on all fours, but they can also move about on their hind legs, possibly to get a better view or a better whiff of something. Foxon acknowledges that Bigfoot sightings have occurred in areas with no black bears. "Although this may be interpreted as evidence for the existence of an unknown hominid in North America, it is also explained by misidentification of other animals (including humans), among other possibilities,” Foxon writes. (Read more bigfoot stories.)