Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Creature Feature: Bigfoot Porcupines.

In the vein of speculation about the new Grass-type starter, "porcupine" has come up repeatedly. The idea of getting a massive porcupine as a starter brought to mind a certain "Bigfoot" video that was debunked in a flash. We already had a yeti Pokemon; a porcupine becoming Bigfoot would not be out of the question. I doubt Game Freak will be that creative, but just in case, the stuff connecting porcupines and Bigfoot is pretty crazy anyways.

Late last year, this video was blogged by an ardent cryptozoologist. Unfortunately, not only was it a year or two too late, but the video had been debunked. Not "no way, you're avoiding the truth!" debunked, but legitimately, "OK, yeah, our bad" debunked. It continues to fool people today regardless. So, what was it, really?

A few PhotoShops and de-fuzzes later, "Bigfoot" was revealed to be a rather large North American Porcupine. For those of you who are secretly mole people, porcupines are spiny rodents native to virtually every landmass except Australia and Antarctica. They are herbivores, but are armed with spiny hairs ("quills") which they do not shoot, merely bristle whenever a predator approaches. They are also fairly large, third only to the beaver and capybara in size.

It turns out porcupines can look an awful lot like large primates when they want to. The first instinct of a porcupine is not to turn buttwards towards a mouth of teeth; they would rather run than fight, and resemble rather large, furry, short-tailed monkeys when they climb away from predators. Giant, short-tailed thing? Clearly Bigfoot.

One of the craziest conspiracy theories has a basis in fact: that porcupines may be hiding Bigfoot bones. Macabre as it sounds, porcupines do indeed hoard bones. Bones are the rodent version of vitamin tablets. If a porcupine finds a bone, it may well chew on it in order to gain phosphorous.  Whether Bigfoot wound up in there and absolutely nowhere else or not is another matter entirely. I would suspect the men in black before a porcupine conspiracy.


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