Yeti, Sasquatch, or Bigfoot, no matter what you call him everyone has heard the stories and legends. Since photographs from an expedition to Mount Everest in 1951 presented evidence of giant footprints in the snow, there has been talk about Bigfoot. He has supposedly been spotted in remote areas all over the world.
There have been DNA tests done on hair samples and skin samples that are believed to be from Bigfoot but today those tests are much more conclusive.
In a project announced this week, scientists at Oxford University and the Lausanne Museum of Zoology in Switzerland appealed to museums, scientists and Yeti aficionados to share hair samples thought to be from the mythical ape-like creature.
New genetic tests will be done on just a few strands of hair and should be completed within weeks. Even if the sample is judged to come from an unknown species, scientists should be able to tell how closely it is related to other species, including apes or humans.
“If the Yeti is real and somebody has found bits of their hair, you should be able to tell from the DNA in the hair if this is actually a Yeti,” said Mark Thomas, a professor of evolutionary genetics at University College London. He is not connected to the Bigfoot project.
“If Yetis have survived for the last 30,000 years, they have probably had a pretty miserable existence and are a small population vulnerable to extinction,” Thomas said. “It’s not as insane an idea as many might think, but the chances are pretty small.”
Bryan Sykes of Oxford University said he has always been intrigued by stories of Yeti sightings but would rely on science rather than such tales to prove if the stories are credible.
“It’s not really possible to fabricate DNA evidence,” he said.