American YouTuber and wildlife presenter Nathaniel "Coyote" Peterson surprised his fans on Thursday with a Facebook post in which he claimed to have found a "non-human primate" skull.
"Leaking pics here before they are taken down and before government/official try to cease our footage," Peterson wrote in the post, adding that he was waiting for a primatologist to take a closer look at the skull.
" Absolutely unreal… we thought it was a bear skull when we found it, I can 100% guarantee it is not."
Peterson carefully did not mention Bigfoot in the post – though it was Sasquatch which he was hunting for in his show – merely hinting that it could be from something mysterious.
"I don’t know if its what you all think it might be," he wrote, "but I cannot explain finding a primate skull in the Pac Northwest without wondering! What do you believe?"
His innuendo turned to outuendo when he titled his video on the subject "Bigfoot Skull Found in Canada!".
In the video, Peterson stumbles across the skull while his crew attempt to take overhead shots using drones. After initially declaring it to be a bear skull, he suggests "I mean I'm almost afraid to say it. That could be a sasquatch skull," while his skeptical crew tells him to put it back, believing it to be from a primate. He places it in his bag without their knowledge – which is illegal to do without a permit, assuming that the skull is a natural object – and removes it from the park.
The video ends with no conclusion on what the skull actually is.
So, what do scientists think? It's not exactly the only option – there's a chance it could be a real skull – but there are suggestions that it is a replica gorilla skull that can be purchased on AliExpress.
"This is undoubtedly a gorilla skull, as is obvious from numerous anatomical details, and as verified by a list of experts," vertebrate paleontologist Darren Naish told Live Science, adding that there was no way that the skull was from an unknown species."Also, it seems to be identical to commercially available casts of a specific gorilla skull."
It's possible that Peterson has stumbled across a skull replica of a gorilla abandoned for unknown reasons and has been taken in by it in his hunt for Bigfoot. It's much more likely than finding a Bigfoot skull, anyway.