Why the Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot Film Should Concern Scholars of Human Origins
There are only two reasonable explanations for why no conclusive proof of a hoax has been produced. One explanation would be to say the evidence is insufficient to make a rigorous conclusion. The other explanation is that the film cannot be proven to be a fake because it is not one. And this second explanation is what the anthropological sciences need to be mindful of, because if this is in fact the explanation, then a new and significant reconsideration of the hominid family tree is in order, and a new hominid needs to be added to the family. And that would be a major development most anthropologists would dream to accomplish, so their name may go beside Leakey and Johanson in the annals of human origin studies.
A color representation of bigfoot from the PGF. ( Fair Use )
So, with this curious film evidence holding a potential to shake up the human family tree and project some scholar to lofty acclaim, why don’t we see scholarly candidates eager to explore this evidence and make some kind of determination. Like the disdain and arrogant rejection Raymond Dart experienced when his Taung Child skull was denied its truthful merit for decades, this curious film may also be suffering the same disdain and arrogant rejection. It deserves better. The following is why:
Four Factors Arguing for More Consideration of the Film
1. This film has 954 known film frames of 16mm film using a film stock famous for its image quality. The film is in perfect focus, and was processed to yield a perfectly exposed image, so one cannot say that the evidence is lacking either quantity or quality. The film’s resolution is such that the subject figure seen walking away from the cameraman is captured with sufficient detail to determine or identify anatomical elements of the body between 0.5” and 0.4” in size (based on two studies by independent experts). One cannot say the body aspects or features are too vague for analysis.
Retouched still image. This chart shows the famous Frame 352 (VFC 354). (Munns, B. & Meldrum, J. )
The camera was hand held and the operator moved while filming, so there is motion blur from the shaking camera for some frames, but at least 350 of those 954 frames none-the-less are stable and sharp, dispelling the myth that because of a shaky camera, no determination can be made. And when the operator was closest to his filmed subject, and there were no significant landscape elements obscuring his view, the cameraman planted himself firmly in place and filmed a segment with a steady hand, during which time the filmed subject changed the path of its walk, looked back directly at the cameraman, and then briskly snapped its head back to a forward posture and rapidly strode away.
Anyone who claims the evidence is insufficient to do a proper analysis that could prove a hoax is simply misinformed or unqualified to appreciate the evidence. If the film is a hoax, the evidence is more than enough to support a splendid proof.
- Wildman, Chinese Version of Bigfoot: Sightings, Scientific Tests, Theories
- Is Bigfoot Real? Emerging Scientific Evidence
2. Many detractors of the film argue that the hand held and sporadic shaking of the camera somehow impedes a proper investigation (and often implying the cameraman did so deliberately to prevent a hoax from being revealed). But nearly any special visual effect technique which allowed a film to be “tricked” required a lock down camera on a tripod, and pin registration to hold the film securely and precisely in the film gate, frame after frame, so any special effect alteration could be integrated in a believable manner. The camera used had no pin registration, and the hand held operation (plus sporadic motion blur) utterly demolished any prospect of altering the film after processing. Even the idea of editing to alter the segment content and misrepresent the activity of the day could not be done undetectably because of the way the first copies were made and any editing would show easily and absolutely on said copies. In this respect, we can say categorically that the film was not altered or edited to hide evidence of hoaxing and create false evidence of authenticity.
3. Forensic analysis of the film using techniques and technologies, that did not exist in 1967 when the film was taken, have been applied to this film’s analysis and if ever there was potential to reveal a truth and expose any hoaxing, these new technologies are ideal. Clever hoaxers (like stage illusionists) use false positive suggestions and misdirection to distract an analyst from seeing how the hoax was staged. But any hoaxer can only create false positives for analysis techniques he/she knows exist at that time, and will likely be used to analyze the film. If a hoaxer in 1967 could not anticipate what future analysis technology a film may be subjected to, the hoaxer could not create false positive components in the film to deceive analysts of the future.