Oxford University researchers are joining with the Lausanne Museum of Zoology in a project that seeks to finally take a serious look into the various claims of evidence of the existence of bigfoot throughout the years. Scientists will collect evidence through September, with testing and examination set to begin in November.
Researchers are asking for hair and other genetic samples from cryptologists or anyone who believes they have evidence that may present a case for bigfoot, also known as yeti, sasquatch and other names, the supposed giant ape-like creature that some believe is a distant cousin of the human species.
"I'm challenging and inviting the cryptozoologists to come up with the evidence instead of complaining that science is rejecting what they have to say," said geneticist Bryan Sykes of the University of Oxford, LiveScience.com reported.
"It would be wonderful if one or more turned out to be species we don't know about, maybe primates, maybe even collateral hominids," Sykes added. The scientist said that although he does not necessarily expect to find concrete evidence of bigfoot, the Oxford team hopes to potentially discover new species currently unknown to science.
The legend of bigfoot is backed by thousands of claims of sightings and vague encounters with the mysterious creature not just across the forests of North America, but from many various locations around the world, ranging from the Himalayas to Australia. While video recordings of the supposed creature caught on camera have mostly proven to be hoaxes, many people still believe there might be something to all the sightings that keep streaming in every year.
"As an academic I have certain reservations about entering this field, but I think using genetic analysis is entirely objective; it can't be falsified," Sykes said. "So I don't have to put myself into the position of either believing or disbelieving these creatures."
"Several things I've done in my career have seemed impossible and stupid when contemplated, but have impressive results," the scientist added, pointing to a mission to find DNA from ancient human remains that he thought was "never going to work." The study produced results, however, and in 1989 Sykes published the first report of DNA from ancient human bones in the journal Nature.