|Finally Oxford University has something to brag about; Bigfoot genetic research|
On May 16th we mentioned Dr. Meldrum's Participation, May 17th we posted a Video of Meldrum talking about his initial meeting with Bryan Sykes, and finally we broke the official news to the world on how to send Bigfoot samples to Oxford University before the mainstream media did.
Some would argue it is hard to brag about scooping mainstream media, when Bigfoot news is your niche, but we actually find it quite easy.
Speaking of mainstream media, we have collected articles from across the globe in a single place, in chronological order (oldest to latest) So you can catch up with what the rest of the world knows about the Oxford University/Bryan Sykes Bigfoot Genetic Research. You'll notice we left out NPR, HuffPost and a few others, that is because they just copied and pasted from Reuters News. But rest assured this news is EVERYWHERE. By the way, our terminated fact-checker called in to tell us C|Net gets it wrong; Dr.Sykes is only interested in Hominid (Bigfoot) samples, he is not interested in Nessie. Great catch Joe, your still fired.
Oxford University to probe 'yeti' DNA
By Duncan Geere May 22, 2012
Supposed yeti remains are being put under the microscope in a collaboration between Oxford University and the Lausanne Museum of Zoology.
The Oxford-Lausanne Collateral Hominid Project has been created to try and entice people and institutions with collections of cryptozoological material to submit it for analysis. Anyone with a sample of organic remains can submit details of where and when it was collected, among other data.
Once a reasonable database has been collected, the team will select the most interesting samples (hair shafts are particularly desirable, apparently) and ask the owners to submit them for rigorous genetic analysis. The results of these analyses will be published in peer-reviewed journals.
A large number of cultures around the world have variations of the yeti legend, including bigfoot, sasquatch, meh-teh, almasty, migoi and orang pendek. Bryan Sykes from Wolfson College, Oxford, 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."
He added: "Mainstream science remains unconvinced by these reports both through lack of testable evidence and the scope for fraudulent claims. However, recent advances in the techniques of genetic analysis of organic remains provide a mechanism for genus and species identification that is unbiased, unambiguous and impervious to falsification. It is possible that a scientific examination of these neglected specimens could tell us more about how Neanderthals and other early hominids interacted and spread around the world."
If you've got a yeti scalp in your shed, and you'd like to submit it for verification, you can find out how to do so over on the project's website.
Scientists Deploy Genetics in Search for Bigfoot
(Reporting by Chris Wickham; Editing by Andrew Heavens) Tue May 22, 2012 10:02am EDT
(Reuters) - Scientists are turning to genetic testing to see if they can prove the existence of the elusive hairy humanoid known across the world as bigfoot, yeti and sasquatch.
A joint project between Oxford University and Switzerland's Lausanne Museum of Zoology will examine organic remains that some say belong to the creature that has been spotted in remote areas for decades.
"It's an area that any serious academic ventures into with a deal of trepidation ... It's full of eccentric and downright misleading reports," said Bryan Sykes at Oxford's Wolfson College.
But the team would take a systematic approach and use the latest advances in genetic testing, he added.
"There have been DNA tests done on alleged yetis and other such things but since then the testing techniques, particularly on hair, have improved a lot due to advances in forensic science," he told Reuters.
Modern testing could get valid results from a fragment of a shaft of hair said Sykes, who is leading the project with Michel Sartori, director of the Lausanne museum.
Ever since a 1951 expedition to Mount Everest returned with photographs of giant footprints in the snow, there has been speculation about giant Himalayan creatures, unknown to science.
There have been eyewitness reports of the "yeti" or "migoi" in the Himalayas, "bigfoot" or "sasquatch" in America, "almasty" in the Caucasus mountains and ‘orang pendek' in Sumatra.
Tests up to now have usually concluded that alleged yeti remains were actually human, he said. But that could have been the result of contamination. "There has been no systematic review of this material."
The project will focus on Lausanne's archive of remains assembled by Bernard Heuvelmans, who investigated reported yeti sightings from 1950 up to his death in 2001.
Other institutions and individuals will also be asked to send in details of any possible yeti material. Samples will be subjected to "rigorous genetic analysis", and the results published in peer-reviewed science journals.
Aside from the yeti question, Sykes said he hoped the project would add to the growing body of knowledge on the interaction between humanity's ancestors.
"In the last two years it has become clear that there was considerable inter-breeding between Homo Sapiens and Neanderthals ... about 2 to 4 percent of the DNA of each individual European is Neanderthal," he said.
One hypothesis is that yetis are surviving Neanderthals. The joint project will take DNA samples from areas where there have been alleged sightings to see whether the Neanderthal DNA traces are stronger in the local population.
As for the project's chances of success? "The answer is, of course, I don't know," said Sykes. "It's unlikely but on the other hand if we don't examine it we won't know."
Oxford making scientific search for Yeti, Nessie
by Chris Matyszczyk May 23, 2012 10:20 AM PDT
There are those who believe that Yetis exist, most especially Georgians.
All too often when these claims are investigated, though, they turn up a gorilla costume and a couple of rogues.
However, someone is finally bringing scientific credibility to the search not only for Yetis, but also the Loch Ness Monster and, for all I know, unicorns.
Oxford University's Wolfson College has decided to invite every human being in the world to send in samples of animals that appear to be something of a mystery.
I am indebted to the Daily Mail for unearthing this massive development in human progress.
The brains at Wolfson College aren't doing this as a little side project. No, they intend the use the very latest in DNA technology to attempt to uncover what they call "cryptids."
You see, the minute you put a fine, ancient-rooted word to Bigfoot, it already sounds more scientific, doesn't it? Cryptids are all those weird, hidden beings whose existence has never been proven and whose legend has grown greater than that of Tom Cruise.
The project is to be run by visiting fellow Bryan Sykes and enjoys the quite luscious name "The Oxford-Lausanne Collateral Hominid Project."
Sykes is particular looking for hair shafts. In announcing the project on the college site, Sykes explains the history of legitimate Yeti-hunting:
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.
So he seems utterly convinced that some of these legendary beings might actually be real.
Indeed, he added that this project represents humanity's first attempt to be truly rigorous on the subject:
Recent advances in the techniques of genetic analysis of organic remains provide a mechanism for genus and species identification that is unbiased, unambiguous and impervious to falsification.
Many of you are of a rigorous bent and perhaps consider that you've seen something weird in your neighborhood at least once or twice.
So if you'd like to send a specimen to Sykes and his team, here are where the details of the project are to be found.
It has always been my ambition to write the headline: "Yeti found." Even better, though, would be "Yeti found at Oxford University." Or even: "Yeti Found in Congress."
BIGFOOT AND YETI DNA STUDY GETS SERIOUS
by Jeanna Bryner, LiveScience Managing Editor | Tue May 22, 2012 02:18 PM ET
A call is out for supposed Big Foot material so university scientists can do genetic testing.
- Scientists have requested that cryptozoologists send them material supposedly from cryptic species.
- They plan to conduct genetic analysis of the material.
- The call is a challenge to those who claim that science simply rejects such claims.
A new university-backed project aims to investigate cryptic species such as the yeti whose existence is unproven, through genetic testing.
Researchers from Oxford University and the Lausanne Museum of Zoology are asking anyone with a collection of cryptozoological material to submit descriptions of it. The researchers will then ask for hair and other samples for genetic identification.
"I'm challenging and inviting the cryptozoologists to come up with the evidence instead of complaining that science is rejecting what they have to say," said geneticist Bryan Sykes of the University of Oxford.
While Sykes doesn't expect to find solid evidence of a yeti or Bigfoot monster, he says he is keeping an open mind and hopes to identify perhaps 20 of the suspect samples. Along the way, he'd be happy if he found some unknown species. (Rumor or Reality: The Creatures of Cryptozoology)
"It would be wonderful if one or more turned out to be species we don't know about, maybe primates, maybe even collateral hominids," Sykes told LiveScience. Such hominids would include Neanderthals or Denosivans, a mysterious hominin species that lived in Siberia 40,000 years ago.
"That would be the optimal outcome," Sykes said.
The project is called the Oxford-Lausanne Collateral Hominid Project. It is being led by Sykes and Michel Sartori of the zoology museum.
Origin of a Legend
The story of a big hairy monster of the Himalayas stomped into popular culture in 1951, when British mountaineer Eric Shipton returned from a Mount Everest expedition with photographs of giant footprints in the snow.
The cryptic creature goes by many names in many places: yeti or migoi in the Himalayas, Bigfoot or sasquatch in the United States and Canada, respectively; almasty in the Caucasus Mountains; orag pendek in Sumatra. (Infographic: Tracking Belief in Bigfoot)
And while reports of such creatures have abounded around the world since then, there is no real proof they exist; the reports inevitably turn out to be of a civet, bear or other known beast.
Sykes doesn't want to start receiving loads of skin, hair and other samples haphazardly, so he is asking people to send detailed descriptions of their "yeti" samples.
Once he and his colleagues have looked over the details — including physical descriptions of the sample (even photographs), its origin and ideas about the likely species it belongs to — they will send a sampling kit for those that are deemed suitable for study.
"As an academic I have certain reservations about entering this field, but I think using genetic analysis is entirely objective; it can't be falsified," Sykes said. "So I don't have to put myself into the position of either believing or disbelieving these creatures."
One theory about the yeti is that it belongs to small relic populations of other hominids, such as Neanderthals or Denisovans. While Sykes said this idea is unlikely to be proven true, "if you don't look, you won't find it."
The collection phase of the project will run through September, with genetic testing following that through November. After that, Sykes said, they will write up the results for publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal; this would be the first such publication of cryptozoology results, he said.
"Several things I've done in my career have seemed impossible and stupid when contemplated, but have impressive results," Sykes said. When he set out to find DNA from ancient human remains, for instance, he thought, "It's never going to work." It did, and he published the first report of DNA from ancient human bones in the journal Nature in 1989.
Wanted: Bigfoot hair samples sought by European scientists to see if mythical creature exists
By Associated Press, Updated: Wednesday, May 23, 9:32 AM
LONDON — European researchers are planning to use new techniques to analyze DNA that could help crack the mystery of whether Bigfoot exists.
In a project announced this week, Oxford University and Lausanne Museum of Zoology scientists 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.
Bryan Sykes of Oxford University said the group had already received many offers of samples to test, including blood, hair, and items supposedly chewed by Bigfoot. Sykes and colleagues plan to sift through the samples for the next few months before deciding which specimens to test. They will then publish their results in a peer-reviewed journal.
Other experts agreed recent advances made in DNA testing could theoretically solve the Bigfoot question.
“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.
But Thomas was unsure how likely it was anyone might have actual Yeti hairs. Some scientists theorize Yetis are either a distinct hominid species, or a mix between homo sapiens and Neanderthals or other species. There is already evidence of interbreeding between homo sapiens and Neanderthals.
“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.”
Sykes 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.
He acknowledged that the chances of proving the existence of a new Yeti species are low, but said that the study was still worthwhile. “If we don’t look, we’ll never find out,” he said.
Bigfoot is a legendary giant, hairy, ape-like beast that is variously known as Sasquatch, the Abominable Snowman, Yeti and other names. It supposedly lives in heavily forested or snowy mountains. Although most scientists don’t believe in the beast’s existence, decades of eyewitness reports, suggestive photos and stories have kept the legend alive.
David Frayer, a professor of biological anthropology at Kansas University, told The Associated Press in an email that “No serious scientist (would) treat Yeti as a worthy research project.”
He said previous tests on supposed Yeti hairs have already been done — “and they turned out to be from a bison.”
Scientists Seek Big Genes of Bigfoot
Published May 22, 2012FoxNews.com
Can science unravel one of life’s enduring mysteries?
Rumors of the hairy humanoid known variously as the yeti, bigfoot and sasquatch have persisted for decades, despite little hard evidence beyond grainy photographs and plaster casts of giant footprints. Now scientists are hoping to make more of a case for the creature -- with the help of genetic testing, Reuters reported.
The Lausanne Museum of Zoology in Switzerland together with prestigious Oxford University said Tuesday, May 22, that they will together use DNA testing to examine organic remains that some claim belong to the beast.
'There have been DNA tests done on alleged yetis but since then the testing techniques have improved a lot.'
- Bryan Sykes at Oxford's Wolfson College
"It's an area that any serious academic ventures into with a deal of trepidation ... it's full of eccentric and downright misleading reports," Bryan Sykes at Oxford's Wolfson College told Reuters.
Lausanne has an archive of such organic material assembled by researcher Bernard Heuvelmans, the news agency reported. Heuvelmans sought the yeti for over 50 years until his death in 2001.
"There have been DNA tests done on alleged yetis and other such things but since then the testing techniques, particularly on hair, have improved a lot due to advances in forensic science," Sykes said.
Despite the lack of hard evidence, Bigfoot believers are steadfast in their conviction that somewhere out there lurks a giant hominoid that simply has eluded all efforts to track it down.
"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.
Ogopogo: The world's second best-known lake monster after Scotland's Nessie, captured recently on a grainy cell phone video.
Montauk Monster: Some speculated it was an escaped mutant. Others thought it was an alien. Or was it just a raccoon?
The Carolina Critter: A bizarre creature that washed ashore last week in Folly Beach, S.C., sparked speculation of sea monsters.
Gerhard, who also heads up the Gulf Coast Bigfoot Research Organization, said Texas has one of the nation’s highest incidents of bigfoot reports, outranked only by Washington, California, Oregon, Ohio and Florida.
Bigfoot hit the headlines earlier this month when an Oregon fan discovered that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Association regulations would make it legal for a hunter to kill the mythical creature.
Despite the fact that chief of staff Lt. David. Sinclair told FoxNews.com that he never mentioned bigfoot specifically, Texas law does seem clear; if Bigfoot is indigenous to Texas, it can be killed there.
So is Bigfoot a Longhorn? Absolutely, said Brian Brown, media coordinator for the Texas Bigfoot Research Conservancy.
“We’ve got hundreds of sightings going back decades. I don’t think we’d have any problem proving it’s indigenous. We think they’re all over the region,” Brown told FoxNews.com.