According to many experts, the film footage CANNOT show simply a man in a suit:
In 2004, anthropologist David Daegling (who strongly suspects a hoax) notes that in 1967, movie and television special effects (external - login to view)
were rather primitive when compared to the more sophisticated effects in later decades, and allows that if the Patterson film depicts a man in a suit that “it is not unreasonable to suggest that it is better than some of the tackier monster outfits that got thrown together for television at that time” (Daegling, 112).
Daegling also writes, “The skeptics (external - login to view)
have not felt compelled to offer much of a detailed argument against the film; the burden of proof (external - login to view)
, rightly enough, should lie with the advocates.” Yet without a detailed argument against authenticity, Daegling notes that “the film has not gone away” (Daegling, 119). Similarly, Krantz argues that of the many opinions offered about the Patterson film, “Only a few of these opinions are based on technical expertise and careful study of the film itself” (Krantz, 92).
Curiously, the figure shown in the Patterson-Gimlin film appears to possess both a sagittal crest (usually restricted to male gorillas) and pendulous female breasts (as in human (external - login to view) and chimpanzee (external - login to view)females (external - login to view)). Neither humans nor chimpanzees have hairy breasts as does the figure in the film, and critics have argued these features are evidence against authenticity. Napier has noted that a sagittal crest is "only very occasionally seen, to an insignificant extent, in females" (cited in Wasson, 74).
Supporters speculate that a sagittal crest might be related to Bigfoot size or maturity, not to sex, and caution against applying established standards to what may be an unknown creature.
Supporters of the theory that the Bigfoot film footage is genuine:
A formal academic study of the Patterson film was conducted by Dmitri Donskoy, Chief of the Dept. of Biomechanics at the USSR Central Institute of Physical Culture, and later associated with Moscow (external - login to view)
’s Darwin Museum (Daegling, 45). Donskoy believed that the creature was non-human based on its weight and its gait. He inferred it was weighty from the ponderous momentum he observed in the movements of its arms and legs, in the sagging of the knee as weight came onto it, and in the flatness of the foot. Its gait he considered non-artificial because it was confident and unwavering, "neatly expressive," and well-coordinated, and yet non-human because its arm motion and glide resembled a cross-country skier's. Krantz describes Donskoy’s conclusion as being that the film depicts “a very massive animal that is definitely not a human being” (Krantz, 92).
Anatomist D.W. Grieve of the Royal Free Hospital (external - login to view)
School of Medicine in Hampstead, North West London, studied a copy of the film in 1971, and wrote a detailed analysis. He notes that "The possibility of a very clever fake cannot be ruled out on the evidence of the film," but also writes that his analysis hinges largely on the question of filming speed (see above).
Grieve concluded that "the possibility of fakery is ruled out if the speed of the film was 16 or 18 frames per second. In these conditions a normal human being could not duplicate the observed pattern, which would suggest that the Sasquatch must possess a very different locomotor system to that of man." If filmed at the higher speed, Grieve concluded that the creature “walked with a gait pattern very similar in most respects to a man walking at high speed.”
Grieve noted that "I can see the muscle masses in the appropriate places ... If it is a fake, it is an extremely clever one" (Hunter and Dahinden, 120). Like Krantz, Greive thought the figure's shoulders were quite broad. Also like Krantz, Grieve thought Patterson's estimate of the figure's height was inaccurate. Grieve concluded the figure in the Patterson film revealed "an estimated standing height for the subject of not more than 6 ft. 5 in. (196 cm.)." He notes that a tall human is consistent with the figure's height, but also notes that for a tall human, "The shoulder breadth however would be difficult to achieve without giving an unnatural appearance to the arm swing and shoulder contours." (external - login to view)
More personally, Grieve notes that his “subjective impressions have oscillated between total acceptance of the Sasquatch based on the grounds that the film would be difficult to fake, to one of irrational rejection based on an emotional response to the possibility that the Sasquatch actually exists. This seems worth stating because others have reacted similarly to the film” (cited in Byrne, 157).
Krantz offered an in-depth examination of the Patterson film (Krantz, 87-124). He concluded that the film depicts a genuine, unknown creature, citing the following factors, among others:
- Primarily, Krantz's argument is based on a detailed analysis of the figure's stride, center of gravity (external - login to view), and biomechanics. Krantz argues that the creature's leg and foot motions are quite different from a human's and could not have been duplicated by a person wearing a gorilla suit
- Krantz pointed out the tremendous width of the creature's shoulders, which (after deducting 1" for hair) he estimated at 28.2 inches, or 35.1% of its full standing height of 78". (Or a higher percentage of its 72" "walking height," which was a bit stooped, crouched, and sunk-into-the-sand (Krantz, 106-0.) The creature's shoulders are almost 50% wider than the human mean. (For instance, André the Giant had a typical human ratio of 24%. Wide-shouldered Bob Heironimus (see below) has 27.4%. Only very rare humans have a shoulder breadth of 30%.) Krantz argued that a suited person could not mimic this breadth and still have the naturalistic hand and arm motions present on the film.
- Krantz wrote, “the knee is regularly bent more than 90°, while the human leg bends less than 70°.” No human has yet replicated this level lower leg lift while maintaining the smoothness, posture, and stride length (41") of the creature.
- Krantz and others have noted naturalistic-looking musculature (external - login to view) visible as the creature moved, arguing this would be highly difficult or impossible to fake. Hunter and Dahinden also note that "the bottom of the figure's head seems to become part of the heavy back and shoulder muscles ... the muscles of the buttocks were distinct" (Hunter and Dahinden, 114).
- Krantz also interviewed Patterson extensively, and as noted below, thought Patterson lacked the technical skill and knowledge needed to create such a realistic-looking costume.
- Krantz reports that in 1969 John Green (who at one point owned a first-generation copy of the original Patterson film) interviewed Disney (external - login to view) executive Ken Peterson (external - login to view), who after viewing the Patterson film, asserted "that their technicians would not be able to duplicate the film" (Krantz, 93). Krantz argues that if Disney personnel (among the best special effects experts of their era) were unable to duplicate the film, there's little likelihood that Patterson could have done so.
- More recently, Krantz showed the film to Gordon Valient (external - login to view), a researcher for Nike (external - login to view) shoes, who he says "made some rather useful observations about some rather unhuman movements he could see" (ibid).
Dr. Jeff Meldrum (external - login to view)
of Idaho State University (external - login to view)
cites efforts by John Green as important in his own studies of the Patterson film. "It has been obvious to even the casual viewer that the film subject possesses arms that are disproportionately long for its stature." Meldrum writes that "Anthropologists typically express limb proportions as an intermembral index (external - login to view)
(IM)" and notes that humans have an average IM index of 72, gorillas an average IM index of 117 and chimpanzees an average IM index of 106.
In determining an IM index for the figure in the Patterson film, Meldrum concludes the figure has "an IM index somewhere between 80 and 90, intermediate between humans and African apes. In spite of the imprecision of this preliminary estimate, it is well beyond the mean for humans and effectively rules out a man-in-a-suit explanation for the Patterson-Gimlin film without invoking an elaborate, if not inconceivable, prosthetic contrivance to account for the appropriate positions and actions of wrist and elbow and finger flexion (external - login to view) visible on the film. This point deserves further examination and may well rule out the probability of hoaxing."