It has been described as male, human-like, 6 ft. (~1.8 m) tall, hairy, with large hands and feet, very dark brown hair about 3 - 4 inches (~9 cm) long, and a flattened nose. One of its arms appeared to be broken and one of its eyes appeared to have been knocked out of its socket, allegedly by a bullet that was supposed to have entered the animal's head from behind. If a genuine animal, the specimen would be a significant zoological discovery, as some have suggested the creature was a Neanderthal, Bigfoot or Yeti, while others contend that it was a hoax.
Frank Hansen owned the "iceman", and made a number of contradictory statements as to its origin and how he obtained it. These statements led to criticism and charges of a hoax. Hansen reportedly claimed he had a real frozen creature and a replica, but that he only exhibited the replica due to the original's value and fragility. While touring with the iceman, Hansen was reportedly detained by Canadian customs officials, who were concerned he was transporting a cadaver, or a possible health risk. Hansen reportedly contacted his senator, Walter Mondale, who was able to "pull the right strings to let the Iceman come back home."
Two trained scientists and researchers of cryptozoology, Ivan Sanderson and Dr. Bernard Heuvelmans, examined the "iceman" and concluded it was a genuine creature, noting "putrefaction where some of the flesh had been exposed from the melted ice." Heuvelmans wrote a scientific paper about the iceman and even named it as a new species with neanderthal affinities, Homo pongoides, and theorised it was shot and killed in Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Sanderson wrote an article for Argosy magazine and spoke about the "iceman" on television. The Smithsonian Institution was reportedly briefly interested in the iceman, asking John Napier to investigate, then suggesting the FBI investigate, due to reports that the creature had been shot and killed through one eye. Shortly thereafter, the iceman disappeared, withdrawn from public display, Hansen said, by the California-based owner. It was later replaced by a similar, though different, exhibit which was clearly a model and not as accurate in appearance as the original. In a 1995 interview, Hansen reported that "I never did find out" if the iceman was genuine. In 2008, Verne Langdon appeared on the "Bigfoot Show" podcast to reveal that the Iceman was a hoax created by a Hollywood model maker. It should also be noted that, years before the creation of the Minnesota Iceman, Frank Hansen approached Universal Studios in a failed attempt to create a fake crashed flying saucer and aliens.