When it comes to discussions of statistics, most people’s eyes glaze over unless they are about sports. Statistics’ partner – probability – is more glamorous and useful with its connection to gambling … even though the lottery is a prime example of how many people ignore it. Statistics suffers a similar fate because they are used so much during elections to model and predict how people will vote. It is important to remember that oft-hated adage that a model is only as good as the data it is fed. Statistics are or can be used in virtually all fields – including the paranormal. Recently, a data analyst used statistics to show that there is little chance that the Loch Ness monsters is a giant mutant eel – a theory presented by a DNA analyst who collected samples from the loch and saw an abundance of eel DNA. That same data analyst felt so good about the response to his Loch Ness monster statistics that he’s published a paper on his latest statistical analysis on the existence of Bigfoot. What do the numbers show this time?
Floe Foxon is a data analyst in the Department of Data Management and Statistical Analysis at Pinney Associates in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Just a few weeks ago he published a preprint paper in the online journal bioRxiv which used eel catch data from Loch Ness and other freshwater bodies in Europe to determine the chances of finding a large eel in Loch Ness are around 1 in 50,000 for a 1-meter (3.1 feet) specimen but zero for a giant eel around 6 meters (18.6 feet)in length – the estimated size of most Loch Ness monster sightings. After that, he set his sights on Bigfoot. Being a numbers guy, he went to one of the top sources of Bigfoot sightings in the U.S. – the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (BFRO), which maintains a sizeable database on all things Sasquatch. While many Bigfoot statistical analysis list number of sightings by state, Foxon decided a better gauge is the number of sightings by population density. For that, he turned to the king of statistics – the U.S. Census Bureau. Finally, like in Loch Ness, he looked for something that could easily be mistaken for Bigfoot and settled on a creature found in many of the same area where Sasquatch are seen – bears.
This may be the case in some reported sightings, but certainly not all. To read more, click here.