Happy Anniversary Patty!

10/20/2009

Today is the 42nd anniversary of the filming of one of the oddest creatures ever seen.  On this day in 1967, a man named Roger Patterson and his partner Bob Gimlin recorded footage of a human-like figure covered in dark fur walking in dry river bed in the woodlands of northern California. They seemingly captured for the first time relatively clear footage of a creature known as Bigfoot or Sasquatch.  Obviously female, the creature in the film has been nicknamed "Patty."

There is long history of sightings of animals that fit the description of the creature shown in the film, as well as stories from many American Indian tribes, going back centuries. Some believe that the Patterson-Gimlin film shows a real animal that has eluded scientific discovery but still survives in the remote wilderness of North America.  There are definitely primates in the fossil record that looked very similar to the creature in this film.  But could they possibly exist today?  Or is the film a well-executed hoax and is Patty nothing more than someone in a furry suit?  Check out this video of the footage in slow motion.

Despite analysis by various experts over the years, no one has been able to prove that the film is a hoax.  Patty's gait, arm movements, body mass and the way she turns her head are all very different from a human's. There are no obvious seams or zippers. Here's one analysis that highlights what looks like muscle contractions in Patty's leg, something that wouldn't be possible to achieve in a suit with the materials and technology available in 1967.  What do you think?


David Mizejewski is a naturalist with the National Wildlife Federation. His goal is to inspire others to appreciate the wonders of nature. Meet David >
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