Another birthday notable in the field of Sasquatchery passed last week, unnoticed, unfortunately, by yours truly. Dr. Grover Krantz, Washington State University anthropologist and probably the first academic to take an interest in Bigfoot, would have been 84 years old on November 5. Krantz taught at WSU for thirty years and specialized in the study of human evolution. Often criticized by his peers for his unconventional approach to academics, Krantz was extremely influential in blazing the Bigfooting trail, even though he blamed his cryptozoological interests for his perceived lack of career advancement.
Krantz was among the first to attempt to reconstruct the extinct hominid Gigantopithecus from fossil remains, and was an early adopter of the theory that Gigantopithecus may have traveled to North America and survived into the present day. Studying hundreds of tracks and casts, he also was the first to identify dermal ridges — those unique fingerprint-like skin ridges — in purported Bigfoot tracks.
Krantz succumbed to cancer in 2002. A teacher in life, Krantz expressed the desire to be a teacher in death, as well. Unconventional to the very end, he donated both his body and those of his (long-deceased) Irish wolfhounds to the Smithsonian Institution. There, Krantz’s and dog Clyde’s skeletons were reconstructed for an exhibit on forensic anthropology. You can see the display here and read an excellent Washington Post article on Krantz and the Smithsonian here.