A new genetic analysis has claimed no evidence of the existence of the mysterious man-like primate that is known worldwide as Bigfoot or Yeti.
The genetic analysis, led by University of Oxford human geneticist Bryan Sykes, tested hair samples that have been collected over the past 50 years. The hair samples, people said, are from the elusive creature, sourced from museums and collections of individuals all over the world.
Out of the 57 hair samples that Sykes and his team received, they were only able to recover DNA from 30 of them. The samples turned out to be hair from known animals, including bears, wolves, raccoons, cows, dogs, horses and sheep, with one sample from Texas from a human being. Also among the hair samples supposedly from Bigfoot are a strand of fiberglass and a blade of grass.
"Don't give up yet, the yeti may still be out there," Sykes said.
When Sykes launched the project, he wrote to museums and collectors hoping for a 5 percent chance of success.
"That would normally be too slim a margin to launch a major study," Sykes said. "[B]ut I did think there was just a chance we would uncover something extraordinary."
While most of the samples did not return anything out of the ordinary, there were two samples that returned strange matches. Both samples were a perfect match to DNA that was recovered from a Pleistocene polar bear, which lived over 40,000 years ago. Neither sample matched with modern polar bear DNA, nor was either sample from a location near the habitat of modern polar bears. One sample was taken from an animal shot in India by a hunter that said the animal looked like a brown bear but was acting differently, and the other was taken from what was supposedly a Yeti nest in a high altitude Bhutan bamboo forest.
Sykes contacted polar bear expert Frank Hailer, a postdoctoral researcher at Germany's Biodiversity and Climate Research Center. Hailer found that the two specimens were similar to a polar bear that was sampled between Alaska and Siberia 10 years ago.
While the finding does not prove the existence of Bigfoot, it supports Hailer's previous findings that polar bears hybridized with brown bears in the late Pleistocene period.
"If true, this would raise some interesting questions about the movement of polar bears outside their current arctic distribution," said Hailer.
Nevertheless, the findings are a major blow to cyptozoologists, who believe in the existence of Bigfoot and other anomalous species of primates.
"Sykes' meticulous work shows that none of the 'evidence' sent him of possible Bigfoot/Yeti DNA is anything other than mundane known animals," said Kean University science historian and cryptozoology critic Brian Regal.
Regal said that cryptozoologists have accused scientists of ignoring their pleas to analyze their evidence, referring to non-existent conspiracies. Sykes and his team demonstrated that scientists are willing to examine and analyze samples using the latest technology, as long as viable evidence is shared.