That is the hypothesis of a new study by Floe Foxon, published in the Journal of Zoology. The study is a comprehensive analysis of the factors that influence the frequency of bigfoot sightings across the US and Canada.
The study used data from various sources, including the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, which maintains a geo-tagged database of reported sightings, the Canadian and US governments, which provide estimates of the black bear population and the forested area in each state or province, and the national census, which gives information on the human population density.
Researchers found that there is a strong correlation between bigfoot sightings and the local black bear population. For every 1,000 bears, the probability of a bigfoot sighting increases by about 4 percent.
This correlation holds even after controlling for other factors, such as the amount of forested land and the number of people living in the area. The study also found that bigfoot sightings tend to occur more often in regions where black bears have a wider range of colors, from golden brown to deep reddish, as well as black.
Researchers suggests that many people may mistake black bears for bigfoot, as they have similar colors, sizes, and behaviors. Black bears can weigh up to 600 pounds and stand up to six feet tall on their hind legs. They also frequent the forested areas that are supposedly bigfoot’s favored terrain.
They can walk upright for short distances and sometimes make vocalizations that sound like grunts or howls. The study cites an example of a reported bigfoot sighting that said that pictures were obtained but, “One of the pictures looks like a bear.”
The study concludes that “if bigfoot is there, it could be a bear.” The study does not rule out the possibility that bigfoot exists, but it casts doubt on the reliability of eyewitness accounts.