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The hunt for the elusive Bigfoot

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There are nearly 10,000 different new species discovered on the planet Earth annually, while over half of the land is uninhabitable for humans.

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According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, "...one half of the human population lives on less than 10 percent of the Earth's land, and three quarters on only 20 percent."

In other words, that's a rather large area for undiscovered species to remain that way, including one of the most sought after "cryptid" which goes by many names -- Yeti, Sasquatch, B'gwas or the Skunk Ape.

But almost everyone knows it by its most common name -- Bigfoot.

That's where cryptozoologists like Ken Gerhard enter the picture, as they hunt for creatures or monsters like Bigfoot.

Gerhard has appeared on television shows such as "MonsterQuest" and the History Channel's special "The Real Wolfman" and recently was one of the featured presenters at the Shooting Star's Paranormal Convention.

The pursuance of discovering animals that have never been seen by humans has brought Gerhard to more than 26 countries, and it's a passion that actually started with his childhood in Minnesota, where he lived until the age of 12.

"I've been fascinated all my life with the animals such as Bigfoot," Gerhard said. "I've always read up on them and watched every television show about them. It's just been a life-long passion."

When Gerhard goes out for an investigation for one of his cryptids -- which is the term used for the undiscovered animals of cryptozoology -- it can last for days or weeks on end.

He and his group will spend days hiking the area, searching for clues or evidence of a cryptid, such as hair or blood samples.

"Many times, we investigate during the night, since we believe most of these cryptids are nocturnal," Gerhard added.

The investigators do call-blasting, which is a vocalization call to attract the species in and capture evidence of their existence.

But the number one cryptid and the Holy Grail of cryptozoology is the discovery of a real Bigfoot.

Gerhard, who wears his trademark leather cowboy hat, has hunted for Bigfoot across the United States.

His best evidence to date has been his recording of a vocalization during one of his camp-outs.

"I am familiar with all the sounds of animals in the U.S. and this particle one sounded like a primate, similar to the ones I heard down in South America," Gerhard explained. "It was very deep, loud and aggressive sounding."

He went on to add the best evidence of the existence of Bigfoot includes track castings and the Patterson film, which was taken in 1967 depicting what looks like an ape -- or Bigfoot -- running through a clearing in the forest.

So why, through the many years of searching for Bigfoot, has one not been discovered?

Gerhard said even though there are potentially thousands of such creatures in the U.S. region, that still makes them very rare and enough to put them on the endangered species list.

"Secondly, they choose to live in remote areas and they sense humans are their biggest threat," Gerhard said. "Much like a bear, they have very keen senses and can pick up people early and flee to a more remote area."

Another reason why sightings are so rare is they are nocturnal and nomadic.

Even the question of why no carcass of a Bigfoot has ever been found can be explained, Gerhard said.

"You very rarely find animal carcasses in the wild, because Mother Nature disposes of them very quickly by fast decay and scavengers spreading their bones about," he added. "I've talked to hunters who have hunted for many years and they say they don't come about many carcasses.

"There also is the theory they bury their own dead like the Neanderthals did. That also decreases the odds of stumbling across one of (Big-foot's) body."

With 10,000 species discovered yearly -- with most being insects or mollusks -- Gerhard does believe the discovery of a Bigfoot species is close.

That alone could advance the thought of human evolution.

But there is plenty of area to cover and for Bigfoot to hide, making the ultimate goal of proving the existence of one of the most sought after cryptids in the world a most difficult one.

If that time ever does come, it will be a milestone for the ages.

"It would be one of the greatest discoveries of the century," Gerhard concluded.

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