An Idaho scientist is moving forward on his quest to discover Bigfoot, as he has recently been approved to obtain funding for a blimp, which will aide in the search.
Set to float over the U.S. mountain West in search of the mythic, apelike creature, Idaho State University has approved the unusual proposal of faculty member Jeffrey Meldrum, an anatomy and anthropology professor.
Despite the fact that Meldrum has reportedly been ridiculed by some peers for past research of a being whose existence is widely disputed by mainstream science, the professor is seeking to raise $300,000-plus in private donations to build the remote-controlled blimp.
The funds will also reportedly allow Meldrum to equip the blimp with a thermal-imaging camera and send it aloft in hopes of catching an aerial glimpse of Bigfoot, also known as sasquatch.
Meldrum, who is the author of "Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science," told Reuters reporter Laura Zuckerman that the project represents a giant leap in the quest for an animal he believes may have descended from a giant ape that once inhabited Asia and crossed the Bering land bridge to North America.
"The challenge with any animal that is rare, solitary, nocturnal and far-ranging in habitat is to find them and observe them in the wild; this technology provides for that," he said.
The lack of concrete evidence besides reported sightings, elaborate hoaxes and the alleged discovery of huge footprints in the forests of the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere, has led many scholars to discount Bigfoot as a phenomenon borne of myth.
There is no Bigfoot," University of Iowa anthropologist Russell Ciochon told Reuters.
According to Zuckerman, the blimp-based search - dubbed the Falcon Project - was the brainchild of William Barnes, a Utah man who said he encountered Bigfoot in 1997 in northern California.
Barnes and Meldrum hope the Falcon Project will take flight next spring when they plan to embark on a months-long expedition that will survey swaths of remote forest across parts of the Pacific Northwest as well as northern tiers of California and Utah.
The aerial evidence is to be dispatched to teams on the ground that would seek to trace evidence or "try to make contact," Meldrum said.
While Meldrum has reportedly failed to raise a single dollar so far for the undertaking, he told Reuters he was in talks with two cable channels vying for rights to produce a new weekly TV series following the Falcon Project from its inception.