The Big Foot legend is a complex tapestry of stories told in the Northwest region of North America, from Northern California through British Columbia. According to the legend, a massive primate wanders the depths of remote Northwestern forests, rarely interacting with humans but occasionally leaving traces such as footprints. Similar legends about ape-like creatures can be found in other remote regions of the world, with creatures like the Yowie in Australia and the Yeti in Asia.
Native American communities were apparently the originators of the Big Foot legend. Records from the 1840s include transcriptions of Native American stories about a massive, mysterious creature in the depths of the woods, and settlers in the Pacific Northwest clearly took such stories to heart, reporting periodic sightings to this day.
Several films with an alleged Big Foot have been taken, most notably in 1967, when Robert Gimlin and Roger Patterson claimed to have caught Big Foot on tape. Other evidence of Big Foot's existence includes casts and photographs of extremely large footprints, along with sound recordings of unusual animal calls which have been attributed to Big Foot. Skeptics point out that many Big Foot claims have turned out to be hoaxes, and that the quality of evidence not proved to be faked is questionable.
You may also see Big Foot referred to as Bigfoot or Sasquatch. Believers in the Big Foot legend suggest that Big Foot may represent the remainder of a largely extinct primate group, or perhaps an evolutionary throwback. Scientists generally dismiss these claims, arguing that the survival of such a large race of primates would not have gone unnoticed, even in remote regions of the Northwest, and that the lack of scientific evidence strongly suggests that Big Foot is an entirely fictional creature.
This legend is one of the most enduring stories in cryptozoology, a field of study which focuses on researching extinct animals, legendary creatures, and animals which shouldn't exist, but do, at least according to small groups of adherents. Some cryptozoologists agree with mainstream scientists and conclude that Big Foot is simply a legend, perhaps a combination of a fairy tale and stories told by frightened, confused, and lost hunters. Others think that Big Foot really is out there, and that someday they will be able to present the scientific community with unassailable proof, pointing to the discovery of creatures like the coelacanth to show that creatures presumed extinct do show up alive now and then.