The naming of "Bigfoot," which Humboldt Times editor Andrew Genzoli did on October 5, 1958, was a significant cultural event.
The following is from the book "Bigfoot! The True Story of Apes in America" by Loren Coleman. You can purchase it here.
The widespread use of the term Bigfoot has been, in one sense, quite beneficial, making it easier for people outside the Pacific Northwest to "own" the creatures too. Before reports of "Bigfoot" were widely published in the press, the pervasive nature of these shaggy forest giants was inadequately acknowledged. But since the advent of Bigfoot, this word has actually made it easier for law enforcement officers, media reporters, and the general public to "accept" and "file" sightings of all kinds of unknown, hairy, upright creatures. Reports of a seven-foot-tall, brown-haired, white-maned creature seen in Ontario or Illinois might have been ignored in 1941, but in 2003, would be duly collected and written up as an "out-of-place" or "neighborhood" example of a Bigfoot. Such has been the positive effect of the name.
On the downside, the enormous popularity and humorous connotation of the term Bigfoot has been a tremendous drawback to funding research on these primates. Bigfoot tends to get the tabloid treatment whenever the topic arises in a mainstream publication. While it only took about sixty years of moderately financed hunting and collecting parties in search of mountain gorillas to "discover" and verify those giant African primates, the label Bigfoot just does not lend itself to university, zoological-society, or museum funding. The moniker that was rather universally avoided by most main-stream zoologists and anthropologists is just now starting to loose the chains of its silly origins in describing a certain body part. There's a change in the wind and the trend is one of more open-mindedness, divorced from the jokes about the name.
From the book "Bigfoot! The True Story of Apes in America" by Loren Coleman. You can purchase it here.
In this fascinating and comprehensive look at the fact, fiction, and fable of the North American "Sasquatch," award-winning author Loren Coleman takes readers on a journey into America's biggest mystery -- could an unrecognized "ape" be living in our midst? Drawing on over forty years of investigations, interviews, and fieldwork on these incredible beasts, Coleman explores the modern debates about these powerful, ape-like creatures, why they have remained a mystery for so long, and what we can learn about ourselves from these animals, our nearest cousins!
From reports of Bigfoot's existence found in ancient Native American traditions, to the controversial Patterson-Gimlin film of a Bigfoot in the wild, to today's Internet sites that record the sightings almost as soon as they occur, Coleman uncovers the past, explains the present, and considers the future of one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in the natural world.