A generation ago grew up watching the Leonard Nimoy narrated tv show In Search Of that created interest in all things unknown, but ingrained cryptozoology into the realm of speculation and mystery for the general masses. It was viewed as entertainment but not much more.
Bigfoot research had never had the following of mainstream science. That is not surprising; science deals in what can be measured, studied, observed and tested - none of that can be done with bigfoot evidence. At least until recently. That is because of who is involved. 1968 was the pivital year.
Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin are known for the 16 mm footage the obtained of a female sasquatch in northern California (a film that to this day has never been debunked), but they also acquired evidence that is just as strong. They were able to cast numerous footprint found in areas were there was a rash of sightings. With a continuation of prints being found over the decades, these things cannot continue to be ignored.
In the decades since the Patterson Film there is now a growing body of 'evidence' that has made many in the scientific and academic community begin to take notice. When you consider the number of footprint cast and audio of strange behavior such as tree knocking and howls that cannot be attributed to any known animal, no wonder bigfootery is now becoming more recognized.
Fortunately (perhaps because of the fame possible in the new media) some scientist have entered the fray in the search for the North American Sasquatch. Dr. Jeff Meldrum and Estaban Sarmiento added their expertise in zoology and primatology. They do this at great risk. Without following the proper procedures of scientific methodology, they may be considered scientific heretics. That judgment is for future scientist to consider.
Digital technology has allowed the 'hobbyist' to get into the game. I mean now that trackers and woodsman with no formal academic training in biology, zoology and so forth, can be at the front line and often get way ahead of those that do not go into the field. It is in the field were the real discover will be made. Yes, studying dermal ridges has its place but is in the outdoors were this thing will finally be found. Sasquatch will not just walk into a University lab and introduce himself.