Showing posts with label smithsonian institute. Show all posts
Showing posts with label smithsonian institute. Show all posts

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.”

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Smithsonian's Formal Reply Letter to Bigfoot Inquiries

The Smithsonian Institution is an educational and research institute with an associated museum complex, administered and funded by the government of the United States. Other fundings sources include its endowment, contributions, and profits from its shops and its magazines.

In 1988, due to a high volume of inquiries on the subject of Bigfoot, The Smithsonian developed a formal response letter. We can only guess the high volume of inquiries were due to the success of "Harry and the Hendersons" the year before in 1987, but that's just our amazing intelligence division connecting the dots.

Below is the formal response letter from the Smithsonian Institution.

The Museum of Natural History often receives requests for information concerning the "Abominable Snowman," "Yeti," "Sasquatch," or "Bigfoot," and other unknown creatures said to exist in certain mountain regions of the world, particularly the Himalayas, western Canada and northwestern United States. Though the term "Abominable Snowman" can refer to all these creatures, generally the terms "Snowman" and "Yeti" refer to an Asiatic creature, while "Sasquatch" and "Bigfoot" refer to North American creatures.

The actual existence of a "snowman" has not been definitely proven. Most evidence submitted so far is based on photographs of previously unknown animal tracks, unusual scats (dung), and some hair samples. Among the many explanations offered on the basis of the above evidence, one that has appealed greatly to the popular imagination is that the animal in question is a huge, human like ape, or possibly a surviving race of early man. Because of its terrifying aspect, the animal, supposedly of Himalayan origin, came to be called "abominable snowman"; it is this intriguing name that is probably responsible for such widespread interest in these creatures in various parts of the world.

Many zoologists who have reviewed the evidence have come to the conclusion that the tracks of the Himalayan "snowmen" were really made by bears, monkeys, or other already known animals. A few disagree saying there is little similarity.The tracks attributed to the Sasquatch of the northwestern United States are much more human like but of vast proportions (15-18 inches in length). With the large publicity the "snowman" has received in recent years, many popular articles of little scientific value have been written. Some of these are convincing to read, but they are mostly based on circumstantial evidence of "sightings," tracks, hair, scats, and some doubtful pelts and skull caps.

While most scientists believe the likelihood of the existence of such a creature is small, they keep an open mind as scientists should. One cannot prove anything on the basis of negative evidence, and the only satisfactory proof that an animal fitting the description of the "snowman" exists would be either to capture one and study it or to find undisputed skeletal evidence. Only these kinds of finds would result in the universal recognition of the "snowman" by all scientists.

Below is a list of references through which you can pursue this topic further:

Bryne, Peter. The Search for Bigfoot: Monster, Myth or Man? Washington, D.C.: Acropolis Books Ltd., 1975. (Summary of the evidence collected over the years by a "believer" in the "snowman's" existence.)

Halpin, Marjorie and Michael M. Ames, eds. Manlike Monsters on Trial: Early Records and Modern Evidence. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1980. (Explores Sasquatch like creatures and summarizes reports of sightings.)

Hillary, Edmund and Desmond Doig. High in the Thin Cold Air. New York.: Doubleday and Co., 1963. (The famous Mt. Everest climber recounts searches for the "snowman" in the Himalayas.)

Izzard, Ralph. The Abominable Snowman Adventure. Toronto: Modder and Stoughton, 1954. (Concerns the search for the "snowman" in the Himalayas.)

Napier, John. Bigfoot: The Yeti and Sasquatch in Myth and Reality. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1973. (An eminent primatologist discusses his views on the possibility of the "snowman's" existence. Concludes no "hard evidence" exists though allows for some "soft evidence.")

Sanderson, Ivan T. Abominable Snowmen: Legend Come to Life; The Story of Sub Humans on Five Continents from the Early Ice Age Until Today. Philadelphia and New York: Chilton Co., 1961. (Sifts the accumulated evidence for and against the "snowman's" existence rather thoroughly. For a critical comment on this book see Carleton S. Coon's review in the January 1962 issue of Natural History Magazine.)

Sprague, Roderick and Grover S. Krantz, eds. The Scientist Looks at the Sasquatch. (Anthropological Monographs of the University of Idaho, no. 3.) Moscow, Idah: The University of Idaho Press, 1977. Collection of articles first published in Northwest Anthropological Research Notes.)

Suttles, Wayne."On the Cultural Track of the Sasquatch," Anthropological Research Notes 6(1):65 90, 1972. (Discusses Native American views of the Sasquatch. Article also in Sprague.)


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