So my colleagues and I (see Mike Hickerson's Hickerlab page at CUNY Queen's College) recently published a tongue in cheek commentary poking fun at the recent explosion of the ecological niche modeling (ENM) field using bigfoot data. Really it was Mike's idea, and we played around with it at the last Evolution meeting, where it seemed like 90% of the presentations made use in some way of ENMs (mine included). Somewhat unexpectedly, the paper received a fairly substantial response from the press (including Nature, New Scientist, a Czech newspaper, and a number of sciblogs) which was pretty fun!  So I thought I'd put up a set of links to some of the better articles.

Our main intention with this paper was not to prove/disprove bigfoot, or to disparage the technology or applications of niche modeling in any way. We were only urging people who might want to use the method to pay close attention to the data points they use. We really have no stance on the existence of bigfoot, except that given the lack of tangible evidence we are forced towards skepticism. But to clarify for the bigfoot believers, we did not consider the  sighting data set we used for modeling questionable because of our opinions on the existence/non-existence of the beast, but because of the lack of physical specimens to back up these records. Our goal was simply to encourage careful specimen-level scrutiny of public biodiversity data from museum collections, etc before application in niche modeling or any other scientific endeavor. In my opinion, if people are inclined to believe that the bigfoot data is valid, our maps are a valuable resource for planning future expeditions, as ENMs have proven useful for identifying new populations of species in areas where they have previously not been observed. As for myself, I am open minded, but unitil I see some tangible evidence, our black bear comparison is too striking to ignore.

Lozier J. D., Aniello P., Hickerson M. J. (2009) Predicting the distribution of Sasquatch in western North America: anything goes with ecological niche modeling. Journal of Biogeography, online early.

Nature (July 7, 2009) Bigfoot study highlights habitat modeling flaws.

Nature Podcast (July 9, 2009).

New Scientist (July 10, 2009) Bigfoot's Favorite Haunts Revealed.

The Missoulian (July 2009). Researcher maps Sasquacth sightings to display problems with new technology.

LIDOVÉ NOVINY (12. srpna 2009). Kde je doma sněžný muž.  

John Hawks Weblog (July 3, 2009) Bigfoot biogeography.

The Evilutionary Biologist (July 2, 2009) Bigfoot of Mistaken Identity?

i'm a chordata! urochordata! (July 1, 2009) Mapping the Sasquatch.

Myrmecos Blog (July 2, 2009) Big changes afoot for Sasquatch.

World of Weird Things (July 8,2009) where the sasquatches roam... 

Tonic (July 7, 2009) Sasquatch out for bad data.

Standard Deviations from the Beaten Path (July 8, 2009) Publishing Cryptozoology (Legitimately).