Bigfoot hair samples mostly from bears, wolves
by Maria Cheng, AP Medical Writer
July 02, 2014 08:30 AM | 854 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In this Friday, Aug. 15, 2008 file photo, taken in Palo Alto, Calif., a man in an ape costume is seen outside a hotel where a media conference is held announcing the claim that a deceased bigfoot or sasquatch creature has been found in Georgia. DNA testing is taking a bite out of the Bigfoot legend. After scientists analyzed more than 30 hair samples reportedly left behind by Bigfoot and other related beasts like Yeti and almasty, they found all of them came from more mundane animals like bears, wolves, cows and raccoons. In 2012, researchers at Oxford University and the Lausanne Museum of Zoology issued an open call asking museums, scientists and Bigfoot aficionados to share any samples they thought were from the mythical ape-like creatures. They tested 36 hair samples using DNA sequencing; the hairs came from Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Russia and the U.S. All of the samples tested had a 100 percent match to a known animal. Most were from bears, but there were also hairs from a Malaysian tapir, horses, porcupine, deer, sheep, and a human. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)
In this Friday, Aug. 15, 2008 file photo, taken in Palo Alto, Calif., a man in an ape costume is seen outside a hotel where a media conference is held announcing the claim that a deceased bigfoot or sasquatch creature has been found in Georgia. DNA testing is taking a bite out of the Bigfoot legend. After scientists analyzed more than 30 hair samples reportedly left behind by Bigfoot and other related beasts like Yeti and almasty, they found all of them came from more mundane animals like bears, wolves, cows and raccoons. In 2012, researchers at Oxford University and the Lausanne Museum of Zoology issued an open call asking museums, scientists and Bigfoot aficionados to share any samples they thought were from the mythical ape-like creatures. They tested 36 hair samples using DNA sequencing; the hairs came from Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Russia and the U.S. All of the samples tested had a 100 percent match to a known animal. Most were from bears, but there were also hairs from a Malaysian tapir, horses, porcupine, deer, sheep, and a human. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)
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In this undated photo made available by Britain's Channel 4 television of Oxford University genetics professor Bryan Sykes posing with a prepared DNA sample taken from hair from a Himalayan animal. DNA testing is taking a bite out of the Bigfoot legend. After scientists analyzed more than 30 hair samples reportedly left behind by Bigfoot and other related beasts like Yeti and almasty, they found all of them came from more mundane animals like bears, wolves, cows and raccoons. In 2012, researchers at Oxford University and the Lausanne Museum of Zoology issued an open call asking museums, scientists and Bigfoot aficionados to share any samples they thought were from the mythical ape-like creatures. (AP Photo/ Channel 4)
In this undated photo made available by Britain's Channel 4 television of Oxford University genetics professor Bryan Sykes posing with a prepared DNA sample taken from hair from a Himalayan animal. DNA testing is taking a bite out of the Bigfoot legend. After scientists analyzed more than 30 hair samples reportedly left behind by Bigfoot and other related beasts like Yeti and almasty, they found all of them came from more mundane animals like bears, wolves, cows and raccoons. In 2012, researchers at Oxford University and the Lausanne Museum of Zoology issued an open call asking museums, scientists and Bigfoot aficionados to share any samples they thought were from the mythical ape-like creatures. (AP Photo/ Channel 4)
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LONDON (AP) — DNA testing is taking a bite out of the Bigfoot legend. After scientists analyzed more than 30 hair samples reportedly left behind by Bigfoot and similar mythical beasts like the Himalayan Yeti, they found all of them came from more mundane creatures like bears, wolves, cows and raccoons.

In 2012, researchers at Oxford University and the Lausanne Museum of Zoology issued an open call asking museums, scientists and Bigfoot aficionados to share any samples they thought were from the legendary ape-like creatures.

"I thought there was about a 5 percent chance of finding a sample from a Neanderthal or (a Yeti)," said Bryan Sykes of Oxford University, who led the research, the first peer-reviewed study of Bigfoot, Yeti and other "anomalous primates." The study was published online Wednesday in the journal, Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Sykes and colleagues tested 36 hair samples from Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Russia and the U.S. using DNA sequencing and all of them matched DNA from known animals. Most were from bears, but there were also hairs from a Malaysian tapir, horses, porcupine, deer, sheep, and a human.

While Sykes said they didn't find any proof of Bigfoot-related creatures, he acknowledged their paper doesn't prove they don't exist.

"The fact that none of these samples turned out to be (a Yeti) doesn't mean the next one won't," he said. The scientists did find two samples from ancient polar bears in the Himalayas, who are not known to live there. That suggests there could be a new or hybrid bear species out there, Sykes said.

Others said proving that Bigfoot is real requires significantly more than a mere hair sample.

"I would want visual or physical proof, like a body part, on top of the DNA evidence," said Todd Disotell, a professor of anthropology at New York University. He warned Bigfoot enthusiasts not to make assumptions when they find weird things in the forest. "Every mammal in the forest leaves hair and poop behind and that's what we've found," he said. "Just not the big guy himself."

Some experts said that if Bigfoot existed, there would be a lot more to find than just a few errant hairs.

"Those who believe in the Yeti, Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster need basic instruction in sex," said Stuart Pimm, an ecologist at Duke University, in an email. "Each Yeti has two parents, four grandparents and so on," he said. "There should have been herds of (Yetis)," he wrote. "Where were they hiding?"

___

AP Science Writer Seth Borenstein in Washington contributed to this report.



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