Showing posts with label Dr. Bryan Sykes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dr. Bryan Sykes. Show all posts

Friday, July 25, 2014

Dr. Bryan Sykes Responds to Moneymakers' Criticisms of Bigfoot DNA Study

Dr. Bryan Sykes
"I really don't know whether any of the samples arrived thanks to the BFRO or not." --Dr. Bryan Sykes

In a previous post we shared some reporting from Black Bag's Matthew Phelan regarding criticism by Matt Moneymaker. Matt Moneymaker was quoted as saying the Sykes bigfoot DNA study was meaningless scientifically.
Since our post, Matt Moneymaker Calls Sykes' Bigfoot DNA Study "Meaningless", Matthew Phelan was able to get a response to Matt Moneymakers comments from Dr. Bryan Sykes. 

Here is the correspondence between Black Bag and Sykes:

Black Bag: This is to Moneymaker, specifically, but Sykes may know something too: Moneymaker says that the "BFRO did not provide any of the North American samples, nor did we endorse those few samples from North America that were focused on in the associated TV program." UK Channel 4's Bigfoot Files, presumably. Is this, in fact, correct? Further, to Moneymaker, why did the BFRO not submit samples?

Sykes: I really don't know whether any of the samples arrived thanks to the BFRO or not. They were all submitted by individuals and not by organisations.

Black Bag: Moneymaker asserts that a substantial portion of the submitted samples were excluded "because there was a relatively small amount of material in the sample (i.e. only a few hairs in the sample ... like MOST authentic bigfoot hair samples)." Dr. Sykes, can you speak to the veracity of this and —- overall —- explain in more detail the rubric by which those 18 samples were excluded?

Sykes: Not so. Many samples consisted of only very few, sometimes a single, hair. I had a slight preference for samples with two or more hairs simply because if I had found any to be from an "anomalous primate" I would have had an independent lab test them before publishing the results. That turned out not be necessary. All told I was sent 95 hair samples of which I sent 37 (now 38) for analysis of which 30 (now 31) yielded DNA.
Check out what else Dr. Bryan Sykes has to say about funding bigfoot research and the three questions we should ask when pursuing Bigfoot in the Black Bag

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Matt Moneymaker Calls Sykes' Bigfoot DNA Study "Meaningless"

Matt Moneymaker Called Sykes Bigfoot DNA Study, "Meaningless scientifically"

"because there was a relatively small amount of material in the sample (i.e. only a few hairs in the sample ... like MOST authentic bigfoot hair samples)." --Matt Money maker on why some submitted samples were not even anlyzed was able to get an official response from Discovery News regarding the recent results of Dr. Bryan Sykes DNA study. Even better? They got a response from BFRO founder and Finding Bigfoot co-host Matt Moneymaker. In a few short words Matt Moneymaker claims the study "meaningless scientifically."

Read the full response why below:

The actual DNA analysis by Sykes' team was surely performed with the highest integrity and accuracy but the overall effort was already corrupted by that point. It was corrupted at the sample inclusion stage.

Note: The BFRO did not provide any of the North American samples, nor did we endorse those few samples from North America that were focused on in the associated TV program. None of the "bigfoot" samples that came from the US had a strong *credible* connection to a bigfoot sighting or some other credible corroborating evidence (i.e. footprints).
To be fair Dr. Bryan Sykes has not ruled out the possibility of a Yeti or Sasquatch being out there. He has said so in his response.

"While it is important to bear in mind that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence and this survey cannot refute the existence of anomalous primates, neither has it found any evidence in support. Rather than persisting in the view that they have been 'rejected by science', advocates in the cryptozoology community have more work to do in order to produce convincing evidence for anomalous primates and now have the means to do so."

Click the following link to read the entire Gawker article titled, "Bigfoot Field Research Organization Head Calls DNA Study 'Meaningless'"

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Watch How Stuff Works Break Down the Current State of Bigfoot Research

These guys give us the current state of Bigfoot research has a video series called Stuff to Blow Your Mind. This video is somewhat current covering both Bryan Sykes DNA study and Dr. Melba Ketchum's DNA Study.

Watch the video below:

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Fossils Show When Sasquatch Ancestors and Monkeys Diverged

Artist's reconstruction of two new Oligocene primates, the ape Rukwapithecus (foreground left) and the Old World monkey Nsungwepithecus (background right).
"These discoveries are important because they offer the earliest fossil evidence for either of these primate groups," --Nancy Stevens, an anthropologist at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.

So more specifically, the fossils suggest the time when apes diverged from monkeys, or as I like to translate it, "when Sasquatch ancestors diverged from monkeys". Skeptics will prefer that I am not so definitive about the existence of Bigfoots and some bigfooters would prefer I not diminish Bigfoots' intelligence and culture by associating them to apes. In order to to dissuade both camps from criticism I'm just gonna say that a blog about Bigfoot is obviously hopeful that Bigfoot will be a recognized species and to non-apers, apes is a designation of biology, not a comment on culture or intelligence.

Now we can get to the cool part and why this article is interesting. There was a gap in the fossil record and we really didn't know when monkeys and apes diverged. DNA research suggested it was about 25 million years ago, but we had no physical evidence that supported that. So this is a twofer; 1) we get solid physical evidence and 2) it supports what DNA had suggested.

Due to the confirmation of what DNA can tell us, This finding makes us more anxious for what is store with Bryan Sykes Bigfoot DNA study and Future Bigfoot DNA studies in general. 

Read the details from an excerpt of the LiveScience article below:
The fossil remnants of these two primate species date back to 25 million years ago, filling a gap in the fossil record that reveals when apes and monkeys first diverged.

"These discoveries are important because they offer the earliest fossil evidence for either of these primate groups," said lead study author Nancy Stevens, an anthropologist at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.

DNA evidence has long suggested that apes and Old World monkeys diverged from a common ancestor between 25 million and 30 million years ago. But until now, no fossils older than 20 million years had been found.

The age of the new specimens extends the origin of apes and Old World monkeys into the Oligocene Epoch, which lasted from 34 million to 23 million years ago. Previously, only three primate species were known from the late Oligocene globally, Stevens said.

"These finds can help us to further refine hypotheses about the timing of diversification of major primate groups," Stevens said.
You can read the full article at Live Science 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Dr. Bryan Sykes Has Not Even Begun Testing Yet

Big Surprise Bigfoot DNA Rumors Inaccurate
Yesterday (12-11-12), Robert Lindsay reported a leak from "someone close to the Melba Ketchum camp." In the report Lindsay wrote, "...Sykes agrees with Dr. Melba Ketchum’s Bigfoot DNA study that there is indeed a new hominid in North America. However, Sykes disagrees with Ketchum regarding the origin of this new hominid."

UPDATE: according to Rhetman Mullis, Sykes has already gone through with the an initial test. The samples he has so far have tested to not be human.

We have it on good authority that Dr. Bryan Sykes has not even begun testing on his Bigfoot DNA study. This is from two independent sources that have heard this firsthand from Dr. Sykes Himself. 

When Dr. Sykes begins testing he will do the initial screening with mtDNA (Mitochondrial DNA) loci. In other words and in plain English, he going to start with the DNA that is inherited by the mothers. This makes sense since he literally wrote the book on Mitochondrial DNA.

In Dr. Bryan Sykes' book, "The 7 Daughters of Eve, " Dr. Sykes uses mtDNA to determine that all modern Europeans can be traced back to seven distinguished groups. It is a book worth reading, since the last third ends with fictional scenarios of how the 7 daughters might have lived.

Over all we wanted to report that Bryan Sykes has not begun testing and when he does, he will start with the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), which only reveals information from the mother's side.

Michael JR Jose, in a review of Dr. Sykes book makes an interesting note, "[mtDNA] has number of key characteristics which make it an excellent biological clock (which 'ticks' once every ten thousand years). The oldest genetic line goes back 45,000 years and the most recent 10,000.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Bigfoot DNA Update!! Igor Burtsev releases info, Ketchum Responds and Paulides Piles On!

Bryan Sykes and Melba Ketchum

Thanks to Jefferey Kelly for passing this on to us.

Here is a quick update in the world of Bigfoot DNA research. Initially Dr. Melba Ketchum, an animal DNA expert, was working on sequencing the Bigfoot DNA. Many people in the Bigfoot community offered possible DNA samples and others offered to help analyze the results. Since then, there has been a parallel Bigfoot DNA project lead by Bryan Sykes of Oxford University. Igor Burtsev, Head of International Center of Hominology, was close to the initial Dr. Melba Ketchum project and released the following:
URGENT announcement from Igor Burtsev ...
"International Center of Hominology (Russia)

The DNA analysis of the Bigfoot/Sasquatch specimen conducted by Dr. Melba Ketchum the head of DNA Diagnostics, Timpson, TX, USA has been over!

Team of American scientists led by Dr. Melba Ketchum for five years has analyzed 109 purported samples of such creatures. The study has sequenced DNA of a novel North American hominin, commonly called Bigfoot or Sasquatch.

There were a large number of laboratories associated with this study including academic, private and government laboratories in which blind testing was utilized to avoid prejudice in testing. Great time and care was taken in the forensic laboratories to assure no contamination occurred with any of the samples utilized in this study.

After 5 years of this study the scientists can finally answer the question of what sasquatch really is. It is human like us only different, a hybrid of a human with unknown species. Early field research shows that the Bigfoot/Sasquatches are massively intelligent which has enabled them to avoid detection to a large extent. They are different than us, however human nonetheless.

The hybridization event could not have occurred more than 15000 years ago according to the mitochondrial data in some samples. Origin of this hominin was probably Middle Eastern/Eastern Europe and Europe originally though other geographic areas are not excluded.

The manuscript associated with this study has been submitted to a scientific reviewed magazine.

For years people have refused to believe they exist. Now that we know that they are real, it is up to us to protect them from those that would hunt or try to capture them for research or for sport. They should be left alone to live as they live now. After all, they are our relatives.

At this time, analysis of the Sasquatch genomes is still ongoing. Further data will be presented in the future following this original study. Additionally, analysis of various hair samples purportedly from Siberian Wildman are being tested in an effort to determine if relatedness exists between the Sasquatch and Russian Wildman.

Dr. Igor Burtsev,
Head of International Center of Hominology,
Moscow, Russia +7(916)812-6253 "

Almost immediately Dr. Melba Ketchum  responded on her Facebook page, “It is unfortunate that the partial summary of our data was released in this manner, however, I will be making a formal response in the next few days. Even though Igor Burtsev released this, it was not Dr. Burtsev’s fault.”

Another player in the Melba Ketchum project is David Paulides, who seems to want to position the Ketchum project in front of the Bryan Sykes Oxford University DNA study and any interest the TV Show Finding Bigfoot may have.

David Paulides writes on his website,  ”In the last twelve months you have seen a variety of groups suddenly take interest in bigfoot DNA. Where was that interest four years ago when we started our DNA Project? Dr. Jeff Meldrum has gone to Europe with his interest and utilized the resources of Oxford University in an attempt to develop a DNA sequence on Bigfoot. A weekly show about bigfoot also has just recently found an interest in bigfoot DNA and is trying to exploit this avenue, and there are others.”

Is any of this news? Steven Streufert does not think so. His reaction on his Facebook Group is as follows:
Sure, but really, NOTHING HAS CHANGED. All that happened was that Igor said something, and forced a response from the otherwise clammed-up Ketchum, and Paulides wrote his first blog entry since March 2012. The news? NOTHING.
Click the following link to learn more about Bryan Sykes Oxford University Bigfoot DNA Study
Click the following link to learn more about Melba Ketchums' Bigfoot DNA Study

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Today Show: Using DNA to Track Yeti

Books from the world's largest archive of Yeti information stored in a museum in Switzerland
Below is the Today Show piece that aired a segment on the Oxford University Yeti DNA project headed by Bryan Sykes. Click the following link to read our complete coverage on the Yeti DNA Project.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Using DNA to track the mythical yeti

Tales of the giant, mountain-dwelling yeti have been told for decades, but is it just a myth or does the creature exist? To get answers, Oxford professor Brian Sykes is using DNA analysis to test material connected to the yeti. NBC’s Keith Miller reports. src:Today Show

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Smithsonian: Yes, We’re Actually Still Looking for the Yeti

Smithsonian picked this pic not us, we assume its a Mogwai-Yeti Hybrid
The Smithsonian is no stranger to the topic of Bigfoot. In fact, in 1988, due to a high volume of inquiries on the subject of, The Smithsonian developed a formal Bigfoot response letter. That's what a movie like Harry and the Hendersons (1987) can do to 142 year old scientific institution. (click the following link to read Smithsonian's Formal Bigfoot Response Letter

Earlier this year they blogged about the Giganthepiticus, and acknowledged it was the best candidate for the null-hypothesis as a Bigfoot ancestor. the Blog was titled Did Bigfoot Really Exist? How Gigantopithecus Became Extinct. the irony is Dr. Jeff Meldrum commented on the article, and his comment was more fascinating then the article.

Smithsonian takes up Bigfoot again, actually the Yeti, because that's the reference Bryan Sykes from Oxford University uses. Below is a decent piece on Bryan Sykes Bigfoot/Yeti DNA research, or as it is officially called, "Oxford-Lausanne Collateral Hominid Project". If you really want to learn about the project we recomend a post we did earlier this week titled, "Everything You Didn't Know About the Bryan Sykes' Bigfoot DNA Research"

Yes, We’re Actually Still Looking for the Yeti

Posted By: Rose Eveleth 

Many scientists make their careers out of searching for the seemingly unfindable. The Higgs Boson, dark matter, the secret, hidden pieces of our universe. Other scientists search for things that probably aren’t real at all. Like yetis. Researchers are about to embark on a quest to determine once and for all whether or not Yetis exist.
That’s right, a Yeti hunt. It’s got a fancier name – the Oxford-Lausanne Collateral Hominid Project – but it’s a serious, scientific, Yeti hunt.
The project focuses on DNA analysis. They’re accepting submissions of samples from pretty much anyone who thinks they have evidence of a Yeti. People send the material in to them, where it’s tested for DNA. That DNA can tell them a whole lot about whether the mythical beast exists.
Now, there have in fact been DNA tests on supposed Yeti samples before. Every time they’ve come back as being human. But DNA techniques have gotten better, and the scientists are willing to give it one last go. Well, at least some of them. BBC Futures sums up the scientific atmosphere:
It is likely that the project is the biggest and most comprehensive attempt yet to probe suspected “remains”. “Nothing like this, on this level, has been done before,” says Richard Freeman from the Centre for Fortean Zoology in the UK. But therein lies the rub.  For people like Freeman who devote their lives to looking for these creatures, it is the biggest signal yet that after years out in the cold mainstream science is finally taking the seriously. But for some scientists, the whole venture is an embarrassing curiosity to be held at arm’s length.
One of the scientists involved in the project, Bryan Sykes, sees this as a catch all for those who claim science brushes them off. ““It’s one of the claims by cryptozoologists that science does not take them seriously. Well, this is their chance. We are calling for people to send us their evidence, and we will test it through DNA analysis,” he told the BBC.
This DNA evidence will certainly not be a nail in any sort of Yeti coffin. Even if they find no evidence whatsoever of the yeti, many will still believe. Last year, the Huffington Post reported that some scientists were “95 percent certain” that they had found evidence of the Yeti. Before that, bigfoot “researchers” asked people in California for money to test whether the creature left residue behind on a pickup truck.
Even the director of the International Cryptozoology Museum is skeptical of many of these claims. He told The Huffington Post:
“This does not seem to be any more than what you hear about from weekend excursions in North America that go out, discovering some hair of undetermined origin, calling it ‘Bigfoot hair,’ then locating some broken branches and piled trees, saying it was made by Bigfoot, and finding footprints that look like Sasquatch tracks. These are not ‘proof’ that would hold up, zoologically.”
But even for Sykes, the geneticist behind the project, this is all a bit far fetched. He’s not ruling out the possibility of a new species – we discover new species all the time, many of them quite large. But he acknowledges that there will need to be some evidence. The BBC says, “he is also keen to point out that he is not – nor intends to become – a cryptozoologist. ‘I don’t not want to become completely eccentric,’ he adds.”

Friday, August 17, 2012

Everything You Didn't Know About the Bryan Sykes' Bigfoot DNA Research

Painting Showing Gigantoopithecus being watched (hunted?) by Homo erectus [Credit: Profimedia] 
“Science does not accept or reject hypotheses but evaluates them on the basis of evidence. This is why I am confident that examining the evidence of alleged Yetis does not fall outside the realm of proper scientific enquiry.” -- Bryan Sykes; Project lead on the Oxford-Lausanne Collateral Hominid Project

As we get closer to the deadline (September 2012) for accepting specimens for the Oxford-Lausanne Collateral Hominid Project; a/k/a Bryan Sykes' Bigfoot DNA research. The story is making the rounds in the media again. You can read our past posts about Bryan Sykes and his Bigfoot DNA research, but it is all wrapped up in a nice package in the article below. Here is the most extensive article about the research. How it came about, how the research will be done and what it hopes to determine.

Yetis in the lab: The search for mythical beasts

By Georgina Kenyon | 16 August 2012
Yeti, Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yowie - names that conjure up images of giant reclusive creatures that never quite stay still long enough for the photographer to focus their camera.
Over the years, hundreds of sightings of these supposedly mythical beasts have been recorded around the world by the public and so-called cryptozoologists, who scour the world in search of evidence for their existence. “Proof” comes in many forms, from fuzzy photographs and shaky videos to plaster casts of footprints and tufts of hair. But, as yet, none of these encounters has provided any conclusive evidence and cryptozoology remains a field largely disregarded by science. Instead, with a knowing look and a snigger, “sightings” of “cryptids” are explained away as hoaxes, existing species or the products of over excited imaginations.

So it makes it all the more extraordinary that established scientists would become involved in a search that, on the face of it, looks like it could help to prove whether or not these undocumented creatures exist. But, in May of this year, researchers from Switzerland and the UK did just that when they launched the Oxford-Lausanne Collateral Hominid Project.

“It’s one of the claims by cryptozoologists that science does not take them seriously. Well, this is their chance. We are calling for people to send us their evidence, and we will test it through DNA analysis,” says Bryan Sykes, a professor of human genetics at the University of Oxford in the UK.

It is likely that the project is the biggest and most comprehensive attempt yet to probe suspected “remains”. “Nothing like this, on this level, has been done before,” says Richard Freeman from the Centre for Fortean Zoology in the UK. But therein lies the rub.  For people like Freeman who devote their lives to looking for these creatures, it is the biggest signal yet that after years out in the cold mainstream science is finally taking the seriously. But for some scientists, the whole venture is an embarrassing curiosity to be held at arm’s length.

Sykes is no stranger to media storms. As well as his work retrieving ancient DNA samples and mapping human migration through DNA analysis, he is also the founder of a business called Oxford Ancestors, which helps people trace their relatives through DNA for a fee. In 2003, the company claimed that an accountant from South Florida was a direct descendent of the Mongolian warlord Genghis Khan – something that sparked headlines around the world. Later analysis – and headlines –suggested that his company’s interpretation was incorrect.

Hair today...

If the episode scarred Sykes, it does not show. His new project was similarly announced to much fanfare, again sending headline writers into overdrive. “Scientists seek big genes of bigfoot”, read one. But the professor says that the response was to be expected. Myths and legends about these creatures loom large in every culture and the idea of finally finding solid evidence for their existence is appealing, no matter who you are. “It’s a story that just does not go away, we are so intrigued by these quests for the unknown, even doubters want to hear about developments,” he says.

For his own part, he says that he sees “no reason why there cannot be species not yet known to science”, but adds the caveat that he would “need to see the evidence”. He is also keen to point out that he is not – nor intends to become – a cryptozoologist. “I don’t not want to become completely eccentric,” he adds.

The idea for the project came about in 2011 when Sykes visited Dr Michel Sartori, the Director of the Museum of Zoology in Lausanne in Switzerland. Out of sheer curiosity, Sykes had gone to view the museum’s extensive library of books on cryptozoology, including over 40,000 documents and photos from a collection donated by the late Belgian-French scientist Bernard Heuvelmans.  He was a trained zoologist, who also spent much of his life looking for cryptids. The museum holds many of his books, such as In the Wake of the Sea-Serpents, which records “sightings” of giant squids and whale-like animals.

During the visit, the pair began to wonder if they could build on Huevelmans’s work and expand the museum’s display. “We started to think it would really enhance the collection if we also had specimens of ‘cryptids’ on show,” says Sartori.

And so the Hominid project was born. The team have put a call out for people around the world to submit samples to the team before September, along with theories about what they could be. They then plan to use DNA barcoding to test each specimen. It is a technique that is widely used in biology. For example it is used by food inspectors to check what is served up on a plate is what a restaurant says it is. Customs officials also use it to stop trafficking of illegal animal parts, whilst field biologists use it to identify organisms. In all cases the technique is largely the same. A sequence of DNA is extracted from an organism or sample of interest and then compared against a DNA bank.

In the case of the Collateral Hominid Project, the team will largely focus on hair samples – the most commonly presented physical evidence to back up claims of sightings.

“Up until the last couple of years, you needed quite a lot of biological material … and often the results were inconclusive,” said Sykes. “Now, all we need is a small amount of hair.”

Hair is useful because the keratin – a kind of biological plastic that encases the hair shaft -  protects the DNA that it contains from the contamination and degradation that can affect DNA from other parts of the body, such as teeth and bone. Once they have extracted a sample, the will compare it to the billions of sequences published online, such as at Genbank (managed by the National Institutes of Health in the US). If the sequence is different to those known from existing species it may be a new species. The more DNA that is used, the more reliable the comparison.

‘Hidden from view’

But even if the team find a sequence of DNA that has no match in the world’s databases it does not automatically mean that the creature is a mythical beast, says Albert Zink, an anthropologist at the European Academy of Bolzano in Italy who questions the validity of the whole enterprise. “It could be a sample of an extinct animal that has nothing to do with the Yeti myth,” he explains.

Sykes admits that might be the case but he is unconcerned. Although the search for Yeti DNA grabbed the headlines, it is part of a bigger project charting the relationship between our own species and others. It could even help identify new species of hominid - a general term archaeologists and paleontologists use for humans and our ancestors.  The team want to use the samples to narrow down their search for unknown species – alive or dead, mythical or not. If the DNA tests find something of interest, the thinking goes, the team can began to look for other clues – potentially in the area where the sample was found. Cryptids became involved because, along with unstudied primate species and subspecies of bears, some people believe the legends could describe distant relations.

"Theories as to what Yetis are... range from surviving collateral hominid species, such as Homo neanderthalensis or Homo floresiensis, to large primates like Gigantopithecus, which were widely thought to be extinct,” says Sykes.

These theories were given a boost in 2004 when scientists published details of skeletal remains of a species of human (Homo floresiensis) from the Indonesian island of Flores, in the journal Nature. The adult species, previously unknown to science, was just 1m (3ft) tall and was likely a descendent of Homo Erectus, which arrived on the island 900,000 years ago. As far as scientists can tell, the “hobbit”, as it was nicknamed, survived for thousands of years unnoticed by modern humans and was still alive as recently as 12,000 years.

Finds like this make it more likely that accounts of mythical, human-like creatures could be founded on grains of truth, some say. For example, the Indonesian cryptid Orang Pendek (“short person”) is often described in Indonesian folklore as a small, hairy, manlike creature not dissimilar to Homo floresiensis.

As Henry Gee, an editor at the respected Nature Journal, wrote in 2004 following the discovery: “In the light of the Flores skeleton, a recent initiative to scour central Sumatra for 'Orang Pendek' can be viewed in a more serious light.

He also argued that new species of mammal – including oxen - are still occasionally discovered by scientists. “If animals as large as oxen can remain hidden into an era when we would expect that scientists had rustled every tree and bush in search of new forms of life, there is no reason why the same should not apply to new species of large primate, including members of the human family,” he wrote.

Gee has since stepped away from the debate, but it’s a theory that others buy into. “Given how people are encroaching on wilderness areas, it seems increasingly unlikely that large mammals, and especially human-like species, remain undocumented,” says Dr Murray Cox from the Institute of Molecular BioSciences, Massey University in New Zealand. “However, some parts of the world, including the Himalayas and the arctic forests of North America, still show very limited impact by humans. So perhaps the possibility of new mammal species there cannot be completely discounted.”

‘Proper science’

But, others are less forgiving. According to Prof. Darren Curnoe of the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of New South Wales in Australia, the chances of finding a completely new species of hominid are remote. He is also critical of the project efforts, especially linking it to the possibility of finding a Yeti.

“There are far better ways to spend scarce funding for science than chasing mythological creatures and more than enough real and mind-boggling mysteries in nature to keep many generations of scientists busy,” he says.

Sykes has heard that kind of criticism ever since the project started. Although he admits that the project is speculative and unlikely to find a new species of hominid, he argues the search is still valid.

“Science does not accept or reject hypotheses but evaluates them on the basis of evidence,” he says. “This is why I am confident that examining the evidence of alleged Yetis does not fall outside the realm of proper scientific enquiry.”

And, of course, the project has captured the public’s imagination in a way that much of science does not. Put simply, the idea of a Yeti – or some other undocumented mythical beast from folklore – remains a seductive idea for humans. It taps into our desire to explore and understand the world around us, and to believe there are still things left to be discovered. It is part of the reason there was recently a team of 38 people tramping into the remote mountains of the Shennongjia nature reserve in Hubei, China, in search of the yeren. And part of the reason that countless teams over the last 100 years have probed forests, mountains, jungles and islands from the Himalayas to Borneo in search of them.

But the fate of these kind of expeditions – and the entire field of cryptozoology - could soon be decided by Sykes and his team. If the Oxford Lausanne project finds something interesting, it opens up the possibility of further attention from mainstream science. But another possibility is that the team races through all of the samples in the museum and proves that all of them come from species already known to science. Certainly history suggests this outcome is likely.

For example a “Yeti finger” that lay in the Royal College of Surgeons museum in London since the 1950s was tested in 2011, revealing that the remains were in fact human. Whilst in 2008, tests on hairs collected in India that were also said to have come for a showed they came from a species of Himalayan goat. Countless other examples have met with similar results.

If that is the case, the current saviour of cryptozoology could become its own worst enemy. And then, Sartori says, it will be time for believers to put up or shut up.

“We are challenging the people who claim to have seen the Yeti or the Orang Pendek to show us real evidence, or otherwise hold your peace,” he says.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Mainstream Media News Tour of the Oxford University Bigfoot DNA Genetics Study

Finally Oxford University has something to brag about; Bigfoot genetic research
We are proud to say that we broke this news first--after Jeff Meldrum announced it at the Richland, WA Bigfoot Conference. Technically, that makes us second to break the news, but due to budget constraints we fired our fact-checker (sorry Joe), so we are going with the first version. You read it here first! Dr. Bryan Sykes of Oxford University is conducting a genetic research on Sasquatch Samples.

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 "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."
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.

Yeti hairs

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,

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 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

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Its Official, Oxford University's Bryan Sykes is asking for Bigfoot DNA Samples

Bryan Sykes from Oxford University wants your Bigfoot DNA samples 
The information below is from the Oxford University website. not only does it have an official timeline, including publication date but also how to submit your Bigfoot evidence to Bryan Sykes of Oxford University.

As part of a larger enquiry into the genetic relationship between our own species Homo sapiens and other hominids, we invite submissions of organic material from formally undescribed species, or “cryptids”, for the purpose of their species identification by genetic means.

The project is divided into three phases.

SAMPLE SUBMISSION PHASE        May – September 2012
DNA ANALYSIS PHASE            September – November 2012
PUBLICATION PHASE            November – December 2012

Sample submissions are invited from institutions and individuals. In the first instance, please send details of the material you would like to submit to one of the Principal Investigators. These should include:

·    Your name, institutional affiliation (if any), postal and email addresses and other contact details. 
·    A physical description of the specimen: (Hair, tooth etc). Photographs welcome.
·    Its provenance: A short account of the origin of the sample, when and where (with coordinates if known) it was collected and how it came to be in your possession.
·    Identification: Your opinion of its likely species identification, and your reasons.
·    Authority: A statement that you are entitled to send the specimen for analysis and that we have permission to publish the results.

In order to avoid misidentification of samples due to contamination, our preferred material is hair, although tissues will be considered.

After reviewing your submission, we will send you a sampling kit with instructions. Please do not send any materials without first hearing from us. They will not be analysed nor returned.

You may choose whether to be identified as the donor of the sample, or to remain anonymous.

At the end of the submission phase, the most promising samples will be selected for DNA analysis. You will not be charged for the analysis. Unselected samples will be returned. 

The process of DNA analysis is destructive. Any unused material from selected samples will be returned or, if you prefer, will be submitted for curation as part of the Bernard Heuvelmans Cryptozoology archive in Lausanne. 

Results from DNA analysis will be prepared for publication in a peer-reviewed science journal. No results will be released until any embargoes on publication have passed. 


Prof. Bryan Sykes                        
Professor of Human Genetics                    
Wolfson College                        
University of Oxford                        
Oxford OX2 6UD                        
United Kingdom                                   
Dr. Michel Sartori
Musee de Zoologie
Palais de Rumine
Place de Riponne 6
CH-1014 Lausanne

When emailing please use OLCHP as the subject of your message


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dr Jeff Meldrum Talks Bigfoot Genetic Study with Bryan Sykes of Oxford University

Dr Bryan Sykes, A DNA expert that has already been published in Nature
"Since he [Dr. Bryan Sykes] got wind of some of the, in my opinion, premature rumors of the hybridization and origins of Sasquatch, he was interested in that." --Dr. Jeff Meldrum

 This is part 3 of Dr. Jeff Meldrum's Presentation (You can view Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3)

On April 28, 2012 Dr. Jeff Meldrum and Dr. Bryan Sykes had lunch to discuss among other things the possibility of the hybridization of sasquatch. Sykes, who is very familiar with the mixing of ancestral genes in humans, was curious about the possible hybridization of Sasquatch. During the lunch Dr. Meldrum advised Dr Sykes, "It was extremely unlikely that such hybridization had occurred," Meldrum continued, "and the evidence was non-existent at this point, but the question was out there and was worthy of examination."

As you may have read from our previous post Dr Jeff Meldrum Participates in Parallel Sasquatch DNA Study, Dr. Jeff Meldrum is working with Bryan Sykes on a parallel Sasquatch DNA research. Meldrum has already offered some hair sample to Sykes. Dr. Bryan Sykes is emeritus professor of human genetics at Oxford University. His company, Oxford Ancestors, traces human genetic backgrounds. Sykes's books include the New York Times best-selling The Seven Daughters of Eve.

Watch the video below from Thom Cantrall's Pacific Northwest Conference on Primal People (Sasquatch) held in Richland, WA. In the video Meldrum discusses his lunch with Dr. Bryan Sykes and a little about each of his co-hosts from the History Channel's documentary "Bigfoot: The Definitive Guide"

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