Researchers at Oxford University are reporting this week that after analyzing several different hair samples sent to them by scientists and Bigfoot trackers, they found them to belong mostly to wolves and bears. But that doesn't prove there aren't such creatures among us, says one member of the research team.
"The fact that none of these samples turned out to be (a Yeti) doesn't mean the next one won't," Bryan Sykes said.
The study began in 2012, when Oxford teamed up with Lausanne Museum of Zoology and held an open call for hair samples from Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Russia, and the U.S. Their findings were just published, and although they didn't find evidence of that elusive, legendary creature, they did find hair from an ancient polar bear in the Himalayas. Because they aren't associated with that area, scientists believe the hair samples may suggest a new species, or even a hybrid species.
The Bigfoot phenomenon has fascinated people for decades, particularly after that famous photo was released showing what appeared to be a tall, hairy, man-like creature looking warily over one shoulder as it walked through the woods. Many "sightings" reported over the years have been verified hoaxes, but that doesn't mean Bigfoot isn't out there, according to some. Those who believe in Bigfoot's existence say that more research needs to be done in order to lend more credibility to the search.
"Some of the greatest criticism within the Bigfoot community was that science would never take a serious look at the phenomenon," said study co-author and psychologist Rhettman Mullis.
Indeed, the study itself admits that the legend of Bigfoot has largely been pushed aside when it comes to research.
"On the one hand, numerous reports including eye-witness and footprint evidence, point to the existence of large unidentified primates in many regions of the world. On the other, no bodies or recent fossils of such creatures have ever been authenticated. Modern science has largely avoided this field."
Because the hair samples didn't prove the creature's existence, the scientific community wants other, more substantial proof.
"I would want visual or physical proof, like a body part, on top of the DNA evidence," said anthropology professor Todd Disotell. "Every mammal in the forest leaves hair and poop behind and that's what we've found. Just not the big guy himself."
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