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Bigfoot hair samples: Over 30 'Bigfoot' hair samples debunked by DNA testing

Statue of "Bigfoot" at a roadside attraction along state highway 504, east of Silver Lake, Washington.
Wikimedia Commons / Bigfoot

So-called samples of Bigfoot’s hair have been shown to be nothing more than hair from any common woodland animal, such as a wolf or bear. Enthusiasts and fanatics of Cryptozoology – the pseudoscience study of paranormal creatures – have reportedly been collecting samples of Mr. Bigfoot’s hair. But such “artifacts” have all landed squarely in the cross hairs of factual science.

Reports The Associated Press, via MSN News on Wednesday: “DNA testing is taking a bite out of the Bigfoot legend. After scientists analyzed more than 30 hair samples reportedly left behind by Bigfoot and similar mythical beasts like the Himalayan Yeti, they found all of them came from more mundane creatures like bears, wolves, cows and raccoons.”

Oxford University and the Lausanne Museum of Zoology, in 2012, issued an open call to Bigfoot aficionados – Send us your samples. Close to 60 samples were sent in. Of those, about a third were immediately ruled out because they were either plant material, glass fibers or other non-animal substances.

In the end, thirty-six separate samples were sent to study leader Bryan Sykes of Oxford University, whose team employed DNA sequencing to see if the samples matched any known species.

They did – all of them.

“I thought there was about a 5 percent chance of finding a sample from a Neanderthal,” Sykes said. As it turned out, the Oxford researchers found the following: Hair from different sorts of bears, a tapir, cows, horses, deer, a sheep, a raccoon and even human hair. (We cannot confirm, but the human hair likely came from a bar of soap.)

Knowing how, um, inspired Bigfoot believers can be, Sykes was cautious to say that their study rules out the existence of the mythological beast.

“The fact that none of these samples turned out to be a Bigfoot doesn't mean the next one won't,” Sykes said.

Dr. Todd Disotell, a professor of anthropology at New York University, believes that most scientists, like himself, would want more than just DNA proof. (Or a grainy photo of a dude in a monkey suit.)

“I would want visual or physical proof, like a body part, on top of the DNA evidence,” Disotell said. “Every mammal in the forest leaves hair and poop behind and that's what we've found.”

The full paper, titled “Genetic analysis of hair samples attributed to yeti, Bigfoot, and other anomalous primates,” was published online in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

So for the Bigfoot, Yeti, Sasquatch and Abominable Snowman seekers… keep looking.

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