With online interest high in a viral Bigfoot video this week, we got to thinking about other big science hoaxes in history. True, the grainy video of four furry beings in Yellowstone National Park has not been officially ruled a hoax yet, but scientists and park officials say it's extremely unlikely that any unknown bipeds walk among the tourists and wild animals.
If the video indeed shows people in Bigfoot suits, as many have suggested, it's unclear when or if their identities will be unmasked. Many other classic hoaxes were eventually solved by skeptical observers, or by the perpetrators themselves.
That doesn't mean a little mystery still doesn't exist out there.
And this week certainly wasn't the first time Bigfoot made an "appearance." Back in the 1920s, massive footprints in the snow spooked miners in the Northwest. But retired logger Rant Mullens admitted in 1982 that he'd helped perpetuate the legend by stamping giant footprints in the snow of Washington's Mount St. Helens using the carved wooden "feet" seen above, left.
On the right, a boy in 1975 holds a plaster cast his father, Mark Pettinger, believed to be a Sasquatch footprint found in Puyallup, Washington.
—By Brian Clark Howard, photo gallery by Nicole Werbeck