Oct 192009

Go back to the Bigfoot Compendium.

Noted Sasquatch advocate Jeff Meldrum has previously argued that valid inferences regarding the Patterson – Gimlin film site track maker’s foot morphology can be drawn from the tracks themselves:

The subject left a long series of deeply impressed footprints. Patterson cast single examples of a right and a left footprint. The next day the site was visited by Robert Laverty, a timber management assistant and his sales crew. He took several photographs including one of a footprint exhibiting a pronounced pressure ridge in the midtarsal region. This same footprint, along with nine others in a series, was cast two weeks later by Bob Titmus, a Canadian taxidermist. A model of inferred skeletal anatomy is proposed here to account for the distinctive midtarsal pressure ridge and “half-tracks” in which the heel impression is absent. In this model the Sasquatch foot lacks a fixed longitudinal arch, but instead exhibits a high degree of midfoot flexibility at the transverse tarsal joint. Following the midtarsal break, a plastic substrate may be pushed up in a pressure ridge as propulsive force is exerted through the midfoot. An increased power arm in the foot lever system is achieved by heel elongation as opposed to arch fixation.


The “pronounced pressure ridge” that Meldrum is referring to is clearly seen in this photograph by Laverty:

The pressure ridge is indeed striking, and on the face of it, would suggest a non-human track maker, and thus tend to rule out or even eliminate the possibility of hoax.

Unfortunately Meldrum ignores a serious examination of alternate possibilities, especially that of considering what kind of tracks a man wearing an ape costume would make. In an attempt to find out for myself what kind of tracks would be left by a man wearing a fake, flexible, oversized foot, I decided to make my own. My assumption is that an ape-suit costume would have a flexible foot, in order to allow the wearer to walk naturally. Ideally, I should have obtained a genuine theatrical ape suit, but the results of this preliminary examination on my part are still intriguing.

Some time ago, I obtained via dumpster diving a large piece of semi-rigid plastic foam. It was about 2cm thick, with a 1 or 2mm sheet of yellow plastic adhered on one side. I suspect, but do not know, that both the white foam and yellow sheet are polyethylene. I don’t know the original application of the plastic. I cut out and formed two 15″ long matching foot shaped prosthetics. At this point I used Nylon cord to bind them to my feet, but they proved too unstable, and I eventually switched to flexible Urethane adhered “Aqua-socks”.

I took my fake feet down to Alki Beach here in Seattle and made some tracks. While many were distorted, some exhibited intriguing pressure ridges that were positioned unusually far back in the fake track. As far as I can tell, this is a result of the ball of my own foot being positioned closer to the mid-foot of the prosthetic, and thus providing the illusion of “mid-foot flexibility” in an oversized track.

One track in particular had a well defined and smooth pressure ridge morphology:

Even with crude and quickly fabricated prosthetics, I was able to create tracks that exhibited mid-foot pressure ridges.

It’s entirely possible that the mid-foot pressure ridges seen in one or more of the Patterson-Gimlin film site tracks have an explanation that does not involve Bigfoot’s mid-tarsal break.

 Posted by on 10/19/2009 Bigfoot, Hoaxes

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