Grover Sanders Krantz (November 5, 1931 – February 14, 2002) was an American anthropologist and cryptozoologist; he was one of few scientists not only to research Bigfoot, but also to express his belief in the animal’s existence. Throughout his professional career, Krantz authored more than 60 academic articles and 10 books on human evolution, and conducted field research in Europe, China, and Java.
Outside of Krantz’s formal studies in evolutionary anthropology and primatology, his cryptozoological research on Bigfoot drew heavy criticism and accusations of “fringe science” from his colleagues, costing him research grants and promotions, and delaying his tenure at the university. Further, his articles on the subject were rejected by peer-reviewed scholarly journals. However, Krantz was tenacious in his work and was often drawn to controversial subjects, such as the Kennewick Man remains, arguing for their preservation and study. He has been described as having been the “only scientist” and “lone professional” to seriously consider Bigfoot in his time, in a field largely dominated by amateur naturalists.
On Valentine’s Day 2002, Krantz died in his Port Angeles, Washington home from pancreatic cancer after an eight-month battle with the disease. At his request, there was no funeral. Instead, his body was shipped to the body farm at the University of Tennessee Anthropological Research Facility, where scientists study human decay rates to aid in forensic investigations. In 2003, his skeleton arrived at Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and was laid to rest in a green cabinet, alongside the bones of his three favorite Irish Wolfhounds – Clyde, Icky, and Yahoo – as was his last request.
In 2009, Krantz’s skeleton was painstakingly articulated and, along with the skeleton of one of his dogs, included on display in the Smithsonian’s “Written in Bone: Forensic Files of the 17th Century Chesapeake” exhibition at the National Museum of Natural History. His bones have also been used to teach forensics and advanced osteology to George Washington University students.