Jeffrey Meldrum holds a Ph.D. in anatomical sciences and is a tenured professor of anatomy at Idaho State University.
He is also one of the world's foremost authorities on Bigfoot, the mythical ape-man of the Northwest woods. And Meldrum firmly believes the lumbering, shaggy brute exists.
That makes him an outcast -- a solitary, Sasquatch-like figure himself -- on the 12,700-student campus, where many scientists are embarrassed by what they call Meldrum's "pseudo-academic" pursuits and have called on the university to review his work with an eye toward revoking his tenure. One physics professor, D.P. Wells, wonders whether Meldrum plans to research Santa Claus, too.
Meldrum, 48, spends most of his days in his laboratory in the Life Sciences Building, analyzing more than 200 jumbo plaster casts of what he contends are Bigfoot footprints.
For the past 10 years, he has added his scholarly sounding research to a field full of sham videos and supermarket tabloid exposes. And he is convinced he has produced a body of evidence that proves there is a Bigfoot.
Over the summer, more than 30 professors signed a petition criticizing the university for hosting a Bigfoot symposium where Meldrum was the keynote speaker.
He pays for his research with a $30,000 donation from a Bigfoot believer.
Still, Meldrum has a distinguished supporter in Jane Goodall, the world-famous authority on African chimpanzees. Her blurb on the jacket of Meldrum's new book, "Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science," lauds him for bringing "a much-needed level of scientific analysis" to the Bigfoot debate.
"As a scientist, she's very curious and she keeps an open mind," said Goodall spokeswoman Nona Gandelman. "She's fascinated by it."
As my quest to work for Weekly World News is still strong, this story from CNN tells me I might be ahead of my time.