July 2, 2014
DNA Analyses Of Hair Samples Reveal No Evidence Of Bigfoot, Yeti
Brett Smith for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
While the legend of Bigfoot is quite popular, popular enough for its own reality television show, a team of international scientists has tested 30 archival hair samples linked to the legendary beast and concluded that none of them can be attributed to any such creature.
In a study published in The Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the Oxford geneticist and several other researchers conducted mitochondrial 12S RNA sequencing to identify the origin of the samples. The study said the closest non-human genetic link to anything that could be a Bigfoot or yeti was a Paleolithic polar bear, Ursus maritimus.
Sykes said he started the project with just a five-percent hope of success.
"That would normally be too slim a margin to launch a major study," Sykes said, "but I did think there was just a chance we would uncover something extraordinary."
One sample was actually a human hair, four had been from horses and a additional four were actually wolves or dogs. Deer, porcupine as well as cow genetic samples were also discovered amongst those sent in from various institutions. A single interesting anomaly the research revealed was the ancient polar bear, which could lead to the rethinking of theories around Ursus maritimus.
Sykes told NBC News that he is currently writing a book about the research and he's looking into an expedition to the Himalayas with the goal of finding the anomalous bear.
"That's the next logical step," he said. "We need a live 'Yeti.'"
While the Oxford scientist wasn’t able to uncover evidence of Bigfoot, Loren Coleman, director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine said the project was conducted in a scientific manner – unlike some of the Bigfoot hunts of the past.
"Gone are the Victorian days of stomping about jungles and forests to shoot animals to prove they exist," Coleman said. "We can do verifications through testing for the DNA in hair, fecal and other physical samples found in conjunction with sightings of and encounters with possible new animals. Follow-ups then can be made in the field to obtain photographic evidence and further blood samples from living animals."
The new study comes after a team of American researchers from the Sasquatch Genome Project (SGP) announced they had irrefutable evidence of Bigfoot’s existence last year.
A report from the team said they gathered more than a hundred samples of hair, blood, saliva and other genetic material from 34 individual hominin collection sites across North America and conducted detailed analyses on the samples collected. While all of the samples were found to be human, some parts of the genetic material tested were found to be identical to no other known species.
Critics of the study suggested the samples may have been intentionally or unintentionally contaminated by collectors. Study team member Melba Ketchum, a genetics scientist and founder of DNA Diagnostics, who led the five-year study denied that possibility.
“If you have a contamination, you’re going to have one profile overlapping over a second profile,” she said. “We do not have that in any samples of the study.”