John Napier (primatologist)

For other people with the same name, see John Napier (disambiguation). John Russell Napier, D.Sc. (1917 – 1987) was a primatologist and physician, who is notable for his work with homo habilis and human and primate hands/feet. He is also known for his research on Bigfoot.


Napier was a primatologist and physician at the University of London and founder of the Primate Society of Great Britain, and was among the group, with Louis Leakey and Philip Tobias, that named Homo habilis in the 1960s.

Napier later became Director of the Primate Biology Program at the Smithsonian Institution, where he examined the famous Bigfoot footage, the Patterson-Gimlin film.

After leaving the Smithsonian, Napier became a Visiting Professor of Primate Biology at Birkbeck College in London. He also served as President of Twycross Zoo in Leicestershire, England.

Bigfoot research

Napier was one of the first notable scientists to give serious attention to the Bigfoot/Sasquatch phenomenon. His investigations included screening the 1967 Patterson-Gimlin film (and concluding it was a clever hoax), interviewing amateur investigators and purported eyewitnesses, visiting alleged Bigfoot sighting areas, and studying the scant physical evidence.

In his 1973 book on the subject, Napier ultimately judged the evidence to be inconclusive: there was not enough hard proof to confirm to Napier that Bigfoot was a real creature, but Napier judged the indirect evidence -- especially footprints -- as compelling and intriguing enough to avoid dismissing it entirely.

Selected Bibliography

  • Hands (1980) John Russell Napier
  • Handbook of Living Primates (1967), John Russell Napier and Prudence Hero Napier
  • Roots of Mankind (1971), John Russell Napier
  • Bigfoot; The Yeti and Sasquatch in Myth and Reality (1973), John Russell Napier


External links

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