Bigfoot in the Patterson-Gimlin Film.

Why the Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot Film Should Concern Scholars of Human Origins

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…a hominid with a skull like Paranthropus Boiseiand and a skeletal composition similar to the robust Neanderthals.

…a hominid with a skull like Paranthropus Boiseiand and a skeletal composition similar to the robust Neanderthals. ( Bill Munns )

Has science become so polarized and politicized that the classical agnostic position (“I will investigate this with an open and undecided mind, basing any conclusion on the evidence”) is considered naive and laughable because scholars are expected to immediately and superficially assume one conclusion with absolute confidence and once declared, be unwavering in their determination to maintain that conclusion against all real evidence to the contrary? Sadly, that exact situation may be occurring, when scholars refuse to even explore this topic and evaluate the work thus far done by researchers, and fairly weigh the pros and cons of the evidence and record analysis. Is confirmation bias sadly still ruling the roost, and a denialism of any prospect this film could actually depict a new member of the hominid family, regardless of the merits of the evidence?

If this film proves to be a truthful event depicting a new and as of yet unidentified hominid co-existing with contemporary humans, the scholar who validates that truth will have accomplished an astonishing victory for science. One would think, given the magnitude of the potential reward, some scholars would feel that an investment in time and effort to evaluate the matter would be justified. And beginning some dialogues on that option, that the film may be authentic, would be a resounding demonstration that the scholarly community values truth above the mere perception of winning an argument, especially one derived from a mere wishful thinking to not shake the family tree.

As long as this film defies any proof of a hoax, the option it might be real should be responsibly considered, rather than shunned, by the anthropology community of scholars.

Top Image: Bigfoot in the Patterson-Gimlin Film. Source: YouTube Screenshot

By William Munns


Munns, B. & Meldrum, J. (2013) “Analysis Integrity of the Patterson-Gimlin Film Image.” The Relict Hominoid Inquiry.

Munns, B. & Meldrum, J. (2013) “Surface Anatomy and Subcutaneous Adipose Tissue Features in the Analysis of the Patterson-Gimlin Film Hominid.” The Relict Hominoid Inquiry.

The Guardian (2000) “Is it a bird? Is it a dinosaur? No, it’s a fake.” The Guardian.


1) Not a scientific conclusion at all, but for me the film shows someone walking like a man in a suit.
2) The comments about gorilla suits may apply to a costume supply store, but just about anyone could create a better suit than the example shown. Movie makers had been creating much more realistic suits for a long time. Planet of the Apes, released the year after this film was shot, shows what was possible at the time.
3) Modern tools wouldn't be of much use in detecting fakery. It's not like we're talking about Photoshop, digital manipulation, special effects or any kind of post production trickery here. I think we can take it for granted that what we have here is an unmanipulated film. The only question is whether the film shows a man in a costume or something else.

At School, our then English teacher also did RE, it being a Catholic School and him being our form master in a Catholic Grammar school, way back in the mists of time.... well, we argued this because he felt evolution to be perfectly compatible with ideas of Darwin.

Unlike my RE teacher, and Darwin, however I sensed intuitively that God our Creator was not in fact an ape from whom we were descended and whose Original Image we carried in our bones and our DNA, and was regaled always by tales of whomsoever dared to take the piss out of this brigandage of reason and logic we call faith, so, in my teens I came across the tale of how than venerable and irascible man of God Teilhard de Chardin, had assisted in the Piltdown man hoax, to crucify a few Darwinians! before later going on to discover, with others Peking Man in China.
This hoax was perpetrated when I was in my teens and we all had a great laugh, watching the original film in repeats on our black and white TVs, because no REAL animal moves in such an artificial manner at all- you need to actually be able to watch the movie over and over to realise it, but that is certainly a human in a suit, or an angel of God posing as one, rather as "yetis" do in the Himalaya.

Years ago I ran into a group of mountaineers who had got lost in the snows, completely lost, and who were , they said, rescued by a couple of Yeti and taken to their cave, where they were rested for three days and three nights, before being led to safety down the mountain and abandoned by their guides......

William Munns's picture

To those who have commented thus far, I thank you for your thoughts. But if this film is a hoax, I would like to see a proof, based on an examination of the eveidence, (actually described correctly) the method of analysis used, and the exact conclusion derived from that specific evidence. Also, I’d like to have the author of that proof give his/her name, credentials,etc.


I don’t think that’s too much to ask, but I’ve been waiting 50 years to read that proof, and so far, it doesn’t exist. So I question why.



I imagine most would believe that the statements of:
Philip Morris, the man that sold the suit to Patterson
Bob Heironimus, the man that wore the suit
provide that kind of proof.
My question would be why was that not addressed in your article?

William Munns's picture

The most compelling reason why the matter of Bob Heironimous and Phillip Morris was not noted is that in the two critical texts cited “Daegling’s “Bigfoot Exposed” and Loxton and Prothero’s “Abominable Science”, both of these clearly skeptical texts did not recognize Bob Heironimous and Phillip Morris as presenting claims of sufficient merit to be factored into those author’s analysis. Even though all authors were aware of the claims, they did not use the claims to establish a proof of hoax. So if skeptical authors and researchers cannot be confident the Heironimous and Morris are making truthful and reliable claims, then I felt that any mention of them would have required a lengthy disclosure of the issues which cast doubt on their credibility. If one were to advocate those claims by Heironimous and Morris as being truthful and factual, the claims would need to be analyzed with the same discipline and logic as all other evidence should be, and under that kind of analysis, the claims have not proven to be strong enough to be taken as fact, even by many skeptical analysists.

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