DNA study of Bigfoot launched by Oxford University

Prof. Bryan Sykes, Professor of Human Genetics University of Oxford and Dr. Michel Sartori, Directeur Musee de Zoologie, Switzerland are collecting cryptid DNA samples.

Oxford-Lausanne Collateral Hominid Project.

As part of a larger enquiry into the genetic relationship between our own species Homo sapiens and other hominids, we invite submissions of organic material from formally undescribed species, or “cryptids”, for the purpose of their species identification by genetic means.

Results from DNA analysis will be prepared for publication in a peer-reviewed science journal.

Tip: @DailyGrail

From Gizmodo: Oxford University Is Hunting For the Yeti

An interesting development. I look forward to the results. However, I can’t help but wonder if all the good stuff was already used up for Melba Ketchum’s project which has yet to be published and will face a STORM of critique if it ever is. I trust these two and their experience quite a bit more.

 
Addition: BIGFOOT AND YETI DNA STUDY GETS SERIOUS

“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.

“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.”

  11 comments for “DNA study of Bigfoot launched by Oxford University

  1. Massachusetts
    May 22, 2012 at 9:47 AM

    Yes, I wish the Oxford team got hold of the original Ketchum samples first. It’s rather bold of them to take this step, since they face the possibility of ridicule from many.

    But if Bigfoot and other unknown hominids exists then I’m sure there’s more DNA out there to find. And if not then Ketchum’s study is irrelevant and will be easily proven to be erroneous or misinterpreted.

  2. Massachusetts
    May 22, 2012 at 10:04 AM

    The Gizmodo article emphasizes the Yeti, but I got the sense it was all hominid cryptids when I read the Oxford page.

  3. Fastmover01
    May 22, 2012 at 10:34 AM

    I would focus more on the Yeti personally, less chance of a outright hoaxing by “investigators”, as the prohibitive costs associated with traveling to the region. Between the Yeti and possibly the Orang Pendak it will be interesting to see thier results and conclusions.

  4. May 22, 2012 at 10:38 AM

    They are inviting a world of trouble on their heads. Not from colleagues in academia, though that may come, but because they’ve just declared themselves to be the place where crackpots can mail their wish lists to Santa Claus. Leading to three possibilities

    – They reject most such submissions for lack of provenience and so on, and earn the scorn of bigfooters

    – They accept such submissions, and then note that they’re not much of anything, and earn the scorn of bigfooters

    – They accept such submissions, and don’t carefully note that inconclusive doesn’t mean Tribes of Forest People but, the sample is just inconclusive, and they provide fodder (but no proof), and they degrade the public role of science and should be condemned for it.

    If someone sends them a truly undiscovered sample of a body part where a new DNA sequence can be identified, hey, great. But that’s not the problem is it? Bigfooters point to the Denisovans, but the Denisovans

    – were excavated and recorded in context
    – actually did provide body parts (attn: Bigfooters, a fingerbone is still a body part. Not a swab of DNA allegedly from a fingerbone, but the actual bone. There is a difference)
    – And then had the DNA. While the DNA provided the most impressive and new evidence, it is only works as a rational argument because of the rest of the evidence supporting it and putting it in context.

    • Greg
      May 22, 2012 at 11:28 PM

      DNA does not spontaneously generate itself.

      DNA comes from biological material. Biological material comes from a critter.

      DNA = critter. No bone, or hand, or whatever needed.

      • Richard Cornford
        May 24, 2012 at 1:55 PM

        Whether “biological material” comes from a critter or not would depend on how it is defined. The molecules that critters are built from can (at least mostly, and certainly in the case of DNA’s components) be manufactured synthetically.

        By 2010 Craig Venter had spent $40 million to have a piece of DNA of over a million bases constructed to his precise specification, which may be a bit more expensive than could be justified in order to fake bigfoot DNA, but we are past the point where “DNA = critter” is a guaranteed relationship.

        • Greg
          May 24, 2012 at 5:00 PM

          Under any REALISTIC scenario, that relationship is absolutely guaranteed.

          A lab might be able to string some As Ts Gs etc together and make them stick, but our knowledge of genetics is so primitive that there’s no way such a fake would be convincing.

  5. Massachusetts
    May 22, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    I think they are walking a potential tightrope, but I’m hoping their professionalism and skill will carry the day and they will produce some useful information, most likely that the DNA will be traced to known animals like bears and such.)

    Another study to compare to the Ketchum one (if we someday get to see those results) would be a positive thing.

    Your points about inconclusive results are well founded. I agree that many members of the cryptozoological community do interpret inconclusive results as an “aha” moment, adding it to the pool of weak evidence. As we’ve explored on this site before, lots of weak evidence doesn’t add up to strong evidence, but some most certainly disagree.

    • Greg
      May 22, 2012 at 11:30 PM

      A mountain can be made up of a single stone, or a million million pebbles.

  6. Massachusetts
    May 23, 2012 at 9:52 AM

    As long as they are pebbles that fit together for all to see and understand.

  7. May 25, 2012 at 6:50 PM

    Hmm. Looks like Dr. Sykes is collaborating with Dr. Anna Nekaris at Oxford Brooks University, to make this into a television documentary to include the results of the study.

    From Cryptomundo. http://www.cryptomundo.com/cryptozoo-news/oxford-yeti-2/

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