While I do love researching things "unknown zoological", this time of year most of my work involves ghost things. Every conference at which I present requires something ghost based, and as an additional requirement they have to "allow" me to do a small presentation about Cryptozoology as well. This year, during a visit with an attendee, I was asked if bigfoot could be the ghost of a neanderthal.
What an interesting question! This would certainly explain why we aren't finding hair, bone, teeth, or scat samples. Ghosts don't leave them. Additionally, bigfoot sightings tend to be most concentrated in those areas where "humans" originated and initially migrated--Africa, Asia, and along the North American Pacific coast, right?
Nope. Neanderthal fossils were first found in Germany. The fossils believed to be of the most recent Neanderthals are from Gibralter, very near where Cro-Magnon skeletal remains were found. Many people have yet to understand that Neanderthal DNA in humans is most likely from interbreeding rather than evolution and science now holds Neanderthals as a different human species than we modern humans. Additionally, Neanderthal evidence has not been found in North America or east of the Altai Mountains in Asia. In Africa, "modern" humans are evidenced at least 160,000 years before the present which predates the Neanderthals.
Neanderthal cranial capacity is thought to have been as large or larger than ours, indicating that their brain size may have been comparable, or larger, as well. Neanderthal and modern human brains were the same size at birth, but by adulthood, the Neanderthal brain was larger than theour brain. Like we suspect of bigfoot, Neanderthals were much stronger than modern humans, and fit the general size as reported by witnesses of bigfoot--Males stood 164–168 cm (65–66 in) and females about 152–156 cm (60–61 in) tall. These early species used tools and often made homes with bones. Nothing even remotely similar to this has been reported with the classic North American bigfoot.
One theory that was discussed at this conference was the idea that humans have "spirits" and animals do not. I'm not sure how I personally feel about this but I do know if you try to tell a cat owner his pet has no personality or spirit, you're asking for trouble. Additionally, there have been many reports of animal hauntings. Add to that, the idea that Bigfoot is more human than animal and that theory pretty much gets put to rest.
The sheer lack of logic in the idea of one unknown (ghosts) explaining another unknown (bigfoot) is enough to prohibit me from studying them as a possible same entity. Like Jane Goodall though, "I'm sure they exist." And for me, that means BOTH Bigfoot and Ghosts.