May 23, 2012
New Yeti Research Project To Look For DNA
Lee Rannals for RedOrbit.com
Wolfson College is taking a giant leap forward by attempting to discover the legendary Yeti through analyzing samples of teeth and hair.The college, which is part of Oxford University, is asking for Yeti samples so it can use the latest DNA technology to analyze the fabled beast's genome against other species in the world.
"As part of a larger enquiry into the genetic relationship between our own species Homo sapiens and other hominids, we invite submissions of organic material from formally un-described species, or ℠cryptids´, for the purpose of their species identification by genetic means," the college told the Daily Mail.
Those who wish to donate their samples will be able to submit them anonymously, along with their own theories of what species they might actually belong too.
Yetis have been part of folklore for thousands of years, and are most often "spotted" in the wild in North America and Russia.
"Theories as to their species identification vary from surviving collateral hominid species, such as Homo neanderthalensis or Homo floresiensis, to large primates like Gigantopithecus widely thought to be extinct, to as yet unstudied primate species or local subspecies of black and brown bears," Bryan Sykes of Wolfson College told Wired.co.uk.
"Theories as to their species identification vary from surviving collateral hominid species, such as Homo neanderthalensis or Homo floresiensis, to large primates like Gigantopithecus widely thought to be extinct, to as yet unstudied primate species or local subspecies of black and brown bears."
The Lausanne Museum of Zoology in Switzerland is partnering with the Oxford University for the project. Lausanne already has an archive of organic material that has been found by researcher Bernard Heuvelmans, according to a Reuters report.
Heuvelmans was a Swiss biologist who investigated reported Yeti sightings from 1950 up to his death back in 2001.
Despite most claiming Yeti tales to just be myths, the elusive creatures are spotted thousands of times across the U.S. every year, mostly in similar locations.
"I have been immersed in Sasquatch research for a number of years, and I can tell you in my mind a mountain of evidence supports the existence of these creatures," Ken Gerhard, a San Antonio cryptozoologist who co-wrote "Monsters of Texas," recently told the Houston Chronicle.
The new project set out by Oxford University will be the first of its kind because Bigfoot research has never been subjected to modern scientific techniques.
"It's an area that any serious academic ventures into with a deal of trepidation... It's full of eccentric and downright misleading reports," Prof Bryan Sykes, from Oxford University, told BBC.
Sykes said he hopes the project would add to the growing data on the interaction between different human species in the past.
"In the last two years it has become clear that there was considerable interbreeding between Homo sapiens and Neanderthals ... about 2% to 4% of the DNA of each individual European is Neanderthal," he told BBC.