Countless people from around the world swear they've had a run-in with the ape-like beast known as Bigfoot (or Sasquatch, or Yeti, depending on your region) but a fossil has never been discovered. Several private collections and museums do have strands of hair thought to have come from one of the creatures, and researchers have used those samples to see if science can prove once and for all that Bigfoot does exist.
A team at the University of Oxford led by Professor of Human Genetics Bryan Sykes collected 57 samples of hair and put them through macroscopic, microscopic, and infrared fluorescence tests. That helped eliminate 21 samples that weren't hair, but rather glass fibers, plant materials, and other substances. Of the remaining 36 samples, 30 had recoverable DNA, and all of those matched species that were already known.
The researchers did find that some of the hair didn't come from places where the mammal was known to dwell; two samples discovered in India and Bhutan that were believed to be from a yeti were actually from the extinct Pleistocene polar bear, which was thought to have only lived in the Tibetan Plateau.
Although scientific evidence proving Bigfoot is real wasn't found this time, researchers aren't ruling out that the creature exists.
"Does this evidence disprove the legends of the Yeti, Migyhur, Almasty, Sasquatch/Bigfoot?" Norman MacLeod of the London Natural History Museum wrote. "It does not. Scientific Q1 hypothesis testing of this sort is not designed to, and cannot, prove hypotheses alternative to the null hypothesis." Catherine Garcia
Baltimore police on Saturday arrested 12 people after a dwindling protest over the police custody death of Freddie Gray descended into violence.
An estimated 2,000 people marched peacefully for hours hours before a small splinter group began hurling rocks, smashing windows, and scuffling with police. Protesters also tangled with bystanders and police outside Camden Yards during a game between the Orioles and Red Sox, prompting the city to ask fans to remain inside the venue until authorities cleared the scene.
"I am profoundly disappointed to see the violence in our city this evening," Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said.
The city has suspended six officers while investigating how Gray suffered a fatal spinal injury while in police custody. Jon Terbush
A massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal Saturday, leveling historic structures, causing widespread damage, and killing at least 1,457.
The quake struck around noon about 50 miles from the capital, Kathmandu. The death toll is expected to rise as rescuers pick through the rubble in search of survivors.
"We never imagined that we would face such devastation," Minister of Information and Communications Minendra Rijal said.
The quake also triggered a fatal avalanche on Mount Everest that killed at least a dozen climbers while injuring or trapping several more. From Romanian climber Alex Gavan:
Huge disaster.Helped searched and rescued victims through huge debris area.Many dead.Much more badly injured.More to die if not heli asap.
— Alex Gavan (@AlexGAVAN) April 25, 2015
The U.S. said it would send a disaster response team and pledged $1 million in aid. Jon Terbush
An internal review of NBC anchorman Brian Williams' reporting has found several more alleged exaggerations, according to multiple reports. The New York Times on Friday reported NBC found a half-dozen such instances; CNN and The Washington Post later upped the tally to 10 and 11, respectively.
In February, NBC suspended Williams as it launched an investigation following his apology for embellishing details of his wartime reporting from Iraq. When completed, the investigation is expected to form the basis of NBC's decision to keep or cut ties with Williams. Jon Terbush
President Obama and Bill Nye sat down Friday for an Earth Day chat in the Everglades where they discussed America's lagging interest in, and understanding of, science.
After discussing ways to get American kids excited about science again, the conversation turned to Washington's inability to reach a consensus on climate change. And on that front, Obama lamented the way some lawmakers are "being part of the climate-denier clubs and basically stiff-arming what we know are facts — and not rebutting them with other facts, but rebutting them with anecdote or just being dismissive."
'"Oh, I'm not a scientist,'" Nye chimed in, mocking the standard defense climate change skeptics employ when pressed on their beliefs. —Jon Terbush
A massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked Nepal on Saturday, causing substantial damage and killing at least 1,000 people, according to government estimates. Via the BBC, here's some footage of the quake and the immediate aftermath. —Jon Terbush
Hawaii on Friday passed a bill that would raise the legal smoking age to 21 while also banning the sale and purchase of electronic cigarettes for anyone under that age limit. If Democratic Gov. David Ige signs the bill — he has yet to indicate whether he will — Hawaii would become the first state in the nation to raise its smoking age to 21.
"The activities we've engaged in over the years to manage smoking — our additional efforts in education, the raising of cigarette taxes — this is a continuation of those policies," Democratic state Senator Rosalyn Baker told Reuters. Jon Terbush
Baltimore's police commissioner on Friday conceded that officers made mistakes in their handling of Freddie Gray, the unarmed black man who died last weekend of a severe spinal injury while in custody.
"We know that police employees failed to get him medical attention in a timely manner," Commissioner Anthony Batts said, adding that 30 investigators are probing the incident.
"If someone harmed Freddie Gray, we will have to prosecute him," Batts said.
As they have all week, demonstrators took to Baltimore's streets Friday to protest the incident. Jon Terbush