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Bigfoot hair samples ruled out through DNA analysis

july 2014 DNA hair

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#1 SRA Kris

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Posted 04 December 2014 - 02:10 PM

Link to the original CNET Article:


Bigfoot hair samples ruled out through DNA analysis

Yeti, Sasquatch, Bigfoot; whatever name it goes by, the wild-dwelling beast-man of local legends still has yet to be proven to exist, according to science.



Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin


In spite of many eyewitness accounts, footprints, and even (controversial) footage, the mysterious creatures resembling giant shaggy humans walking on two legs remain elusive. To date, not a single fossil or body has been found -- not of the North American Sasquatch or Bigfoot, not of the Himalayan yeti, not of the Russian Almas.

What has been found and handed in as evidence is hair samples, many of which are held in museums and private collections around the globe. It is using these hair samples that researchers at the University of Oxford, led by Professor of Human Genetics Bryan Sykes, have sought to verify the existence of these scientifically unidentified primates.

The team collected a total of 57 samples from collectors and museums, and subjected them to a series of macroscopic, microscopic, and infrared fluorescence tests in order to eliminate material that was not actually hair; in one instance, the sample provided was actually plant material, and another turned out to be glass fibre. In total, only 36 samples of hair were chosen for genetic testing.

Of these 36, only 30 yielded recoverable DNA. Of these 30 samples, each and every one was a 100 percent genetic match for another known mammal species. However, what the researchers did find was that, in some cases, that the mammal's hair was found well outside of areas it is known to inhabit. Two "yeti" samples, for example, sent from India and Bhutan, actually turned out to be hair from an extinct Pleistocene polar bear, which dwelled exclusively -- as far as we know -- in the Tibetan Plateau.


table.jpgTable displaying the provenance of the hair samples and their genetic matches.Proceedings of the Royal Society B; University of Oxford

This, however, does not necessarily mean that the creatures do not exist.

"Does this evidence disprove the legends of the Yeti, Migyhur, Almasty, Sasquatch/Bigfoot? It does not. Scientific Q1 hypothesis testing of this sort is not designed to, and cannot, prove hypotheses alternative to the null hypothesis," wrote Norman MacLeod of the London Natural History Museum.


"All that can be said with confidence is that the results obtained by the Sykes team for the 29 [sic] samples that yielded DNA sequences failed to reject the null hypothesis that these samples came from species already known to science."

He notes that -- like the okapi and the coelacanth -- strange discoveries may yet await the world of cryptozoology. As Sykes' team observes, the results mean that evidence may need to be sought elsewhere.

"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," the paper reads. "The techniques described here put an end to decades of ambiguity about species identification of anomalous primate samples and set a rigorous standard against which to judge any future claims."

The full paper, titled "Genetic analysis of hair samples attributed to yeti, bigfoot, and other anomalous primates", can be found online in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.



SRA Kris
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#2 SRA-Todd



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Posted 04 December 2014 - 06:27 PM

Matt M. did a pretty good write up about this particular endeavor taken on by Dr. Sykes.  He indicated that since this was sponsored by a television show, it had a pretty rigid timeline so it could be aired.  The samples chosen were the ones most likely to produce viable DNA, which would get quick results.  Purported sasquatch hair does not contain a medulla which is where the DNA resides, so it is much more difficult to extract viable DNA needing a root attached.  


So, Sykes took what he could use to get results, which the table above pretty much confirms.  I can't believe he wouldn't be able to identify a cow hair just by sight, but he went ahead and tested a bunch of them anyways.   

#3 SRA Kris

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Posted 04 December 2014 - 10:15 PM

I also remember something about Matt M writing about this.  Anyone out there think they can find and post that article here?

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#4 SRA-Todd



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Posted 05 December 2014 - 06:26 AM



Here you go.

#5 SRA Kris

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Posted 05 December 2014 - 11:29 PM

Thanks SRA-Todd



Posted: July 1st, 2014 11:44PM


Here's the request for comment we received from the Senior Correspondent for Discovery News in London. Below her request you will find the response from Matt Moneymaker, president of the BFRO:

From: Jennifer Viegas

To: ContactUs@BFRO.NET

Sent: Monday, June 30, 2014 10:53 AM

Subject: Discovery News Query re. Royal Society Papers on Bigfoot


Dear BFRO Directors,

I am a senior correspondent for Discovery News, the news service for the Discovery Channel. I am preparing a piece on the new Royal Society papers, attached, concerning the DNA analysis of hairs attributed to Bigfoot, as well as to Yeti and anomalous primates. Please share your thoughts on the research, and whether or not you agree with the conclusions. What evidence now holds that Bigfoot exists? A prompt reply would be appreciated.

Thank you in advance.

All Best,

Jen Viegas


Jennifer Viegas

Senior Correspondent

Discovery News, the news service for the Discovery Channel

Hello Jennifer (senior correspondent for Discovery News),




This is Matt Moneymaker. I'm the president of the BFRO.

Here's my opinion about the "Royal Society Papers on Bigfoot" which I shall refer to as "the Sykes study":


The Sykes study is meaningless scientifically.


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). The Asia samples had even weaker connections to Yetis.


Much of the DNA work on was directed at samples that were obviously from bears from the start, or were strongly suspected of being bear, or otherwise had a story attached that would provide better content for the well-hyped TV documentary.


Here's part of the flimflam in the Royal Society paper attempting to whitewash the corruption at the sample inclusion stage:


"Of these 58 samples, two were excluded as being non-hair and only 37 of the remaining 56 samples were selected for DNA analysis. The 19 samples excluded from DNA analysis were so designated for a variety of reasons including budget constraints, prioritization of samples of particular historical interest and amount of material available. In this reduced sample, seven of the samples selected for sequencing yielded no DNA. However, all of the 30 samples that did yield DNA contained base-pair sequences that were 100% compatible with known mammal species, though in certain instances the hair sample was reported to have been obtained from a region well outside the species’ known geographical range."


I could pull this apart all day long ... It renders the whole study meaningless. According to this statement, some samples were excluded based on "prioritization of samples of particular historical interest". That's a clever way of saying a few samples provided better fodder for the TV documentary, and thus received most of the scientific attention.


Even before that point ... "19 of the 57 samples" were "excluded" from the study because it would have taken much longer to find and/or extract sequence-able DNA ... in most cases 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).


After that elimination round, seven (7) more samples yielded "no DNA at all."


Hence, according to the study itself nearly half of the DNA samples came from species that could not be identified, because those samples did not yield a sufficient amount of DNA to be amplified and analyzed.


Most people don't understand how it could be more difficult and more expensive to extract DNA from an authentic bigfoot hair sample, and thus why those samples would be more likely to be excluded.


One reason is related to the size of the hair sample (the number of hairs in the sample) and how that increases the difficulty in pulling DNA from the sample. A larger clump of hair will provide more DNA without much fuss, so a larger clump of hair is more likely to be included.


Bigfoot hair is not typically found in large clumps.


The other factor is the nearly non-existent medulla structure (the core of the hair that holds most of the DNA) in samples that have long been thought to be authentic bigfoot hair samples (none of which were included in the study).


If hairs of bigfoots have almost no medulla structure it will be much more difficult, and more time consuming, and thus more expensive, to extract sufficient DNA ... unless there are hair follicles (roots) still attached that are relatively fresh.


For those reasons, any authentic bigfoot samples that might have been part of the original 57 samples available to Sykes ... had a higher probability of being excluded.


The 30 samples that were included in the Sykes study were, for the most part, the ones that easily yielded DNA of known species. Most were hair samples with plenty of material (i.e. a lot of hair), provided by people who simply found a clump of hair in the woods and then wondered (or hoped) that the hair was from a bigfoot. I say "probably" without knowing the actual specifics of each sample because that's USUALLY the case for most hair "possible bigfoot" hair samples that get sent to a scientist. It has always been that way. And those larger clumps of hair found in the woods have always come from animals that are much more numerous (e.g. bears), as one would expect.


Unfortunately there's no way to know if ANY of the samples from North America had any connection with a credible witness who had a close encounter, during which the observer actually saw the bigfoot leave clump of hair behind.


Unless the sources and circumstances of each "bigfoot hair sample" were to be documented and released, I would assume the hair samples were simply found in the woods by layman finders who wondered if they could be bigfoot hairs ... Nowhere is there documentation for how each non-excluded sample was collected. Again, none of the samples examined by Sykes came from the BFRO, nor did he ask for any from us.


I don't want to pillory Sykes because I do believe, based on a close viewing of the documentary, that he was put in a difficult position. He was asked to perform a study that he was honestly interested in, and he was paid to perform that study, but with a budget and calendar that was destined to yield inconclusive results.


The important conclusion that SHOULD emphasized in the media right now:




The ugly truth underlying the Sykes study is that the DNA samples were "prioritized" to help yield more conclusive results for a TV documentary. The Royal Society Paper had to be consistent with that TV documentary.


Matt Moneymaker

SRA Kris
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