Speed Reads


DNA testing unable to prove existence of Bigfoot

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."