Oxford University wants Bigfoot DNA, such as hair samples, in an effort to crack the mystery. They want to find out if Bigfoot (or the Yeti) actually exists as a species, and they are determined to do it through genetics.
In a project announced this week, Oxford University and Lausanne Museum of Zoology scientists appealed to museums, scientists and yeti aficionados to share samples thought to be from the mythical ape-like creature. Researchers plan to focus on hair to determine the species it originated from.
Bryan Sykes of Oxford University said the group had already received samples to test, including blood, hair, and items supposedly chewed by Bigfoot.
Sykes acknowledged that the chances of proving a new yeti species’ existence was low, but “if we don’t look, we’ll never find out.”
Other experts agreed recent advances made in DNA testing could theoretically solve the Bigfoot question.
“If the Yeti is real and somebody has found bits of their hair, you should be able to tell from the DNA in the hair if this is actually a Yeti,” said Mark Thomas, a professor of evolutionary genetics at University College London. He is not connected to the Bigfoot project.
New genetic tests will be done on just a few strands of hair and should be completed within weeks. Even if the sample is judged to come from an unknown species, scientists should be able to tell how closely it is related to other species, including apes or humans.
In fact, there is already evidence of interbreeding between homo sapiens and Neanderthals.