Observation: During a night time winter low tide, NWIC students Sicangu Stimmy Lee, Rosa Waterbear Hunter, and Jeramiah Ray Wallace were out sampling manila clams and sediment samples as part of a project to understand clam settlement and recruitment. On the mudflats they spotted some unusual depressions of unknown origin. There were approximately 5 of these depressions, a few had been washed out by the tide, extending in a line of 12-15 feet across the tideflats. The tideflats was littered with manila clam shells from a suspected cold induced mortality event. See related post entitled, "Manila Clam (Venerupis philippinarum) Die-Off" Sasquatch track in the Lummi Tideflats. There was also shells that had been cleaned out, and a pile of discarded shells across the bay. We wondered whether an animal had made the depressions, and also how the discarded shells had been piled up. Was something consuming them there? It brought to mind traditional Lummi stories and accounts about Sasquatch in the area. Could have been left by a Sasquatch?
LEO says: LEO Network is not only interested in the type of events that are reported in the system, but also the knowledge, experiences and belief systems that inform the observers who report them. We are also interested in seeking truth about these events, and finding ways to engage local, indigenous and scientific knowledge keepers in the discussion. This observation provides a unique opportunity to develop a constructive dialogue on a topic which often divides scientists and local and knowledge keepers, observations about creatures which are either fact or myth depending upon who you ask. For all such events, we start with the observations as it is presented, and then use this as a starting point to explore the possible causes.
Unfortunately the photo quality of the observation is not very good, which makes analysis very difficult. We may never know exactly what caused the depressions reported in the Lummi tideflats. M. Brubaker
There is a lot of rich local knowledge and observation history about Sasquatchs, Ciatqos, Glue-Keeks and other creatures made by a native peoples in Taholah, Elwha Valley and the Lummi reservation of Washington State, and in many other native cultures in North America. See article: Indian Encounters and Stories of Bigfoot - Washington State - Quinault River. And there are existing observation networks such as BFRO Washington which track Sasquatch sightings. These include sightings related to tide flats and shellfish. We have forwarded this observation to Lummi Nation traditional knowledge experts as well as ocean scientists to ask for their contributions on this event.
Ocean Science Research Contribution: Tom Okey writes, "We can't know exactly what made this pit or depression, but it certainly relates to a very important kind of process on mud flats / sand flats and other nearshore subtidal soft bottom habitats, and this is important because most of the earth's surface is covered by "benthic" soft bottoms.To me this looks like it could be a feeding pit. Various species make feeding pits in intertidal and nearshore soft sediments, including Sea Otters, Pycnopodia seastars (sunflower stars), rays, walruses, gray whales, a variety of smaller organisms, and humans. The feeding pits that each species make are generally identifiable, as each make distinctive patterns. For example, Pycnopodia make cone shaped pits, and sea otters make deep pits that are more square shaped, gray whales make larger ones, and rays make a lot of smaller pits. To me, the pits in this photo look like ray pits, but others such as Glen van Blaricom or Jennifer Ruesink, or Terrie Klinger (all at UW) might have a better idea. Most of these species are after clams, but gray whales also feed on mats of tube worms and amphipods, etc. Changes in the abundance of these "bioturbating organisms" can change the whole ecology of these soft sediment environments by changing the regime of these natural disturbances. Bioturbation is important for a variety of reasons relating to oxygenation and other effects, and for increasing the productivity of mudflats for clams and other organisms."
Photo taken in Lummi Bay during low tide Manila Clam (Venerupis philippinarum) sampling