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Nature's Mysteries

Scientists seek big genes of bigfoot

  • June 5, 2000: Al Hodgson, a volunteer guide at the Willow Creek-China Flat Musuem, holds up a plaster cast of a Bigfoot imprint displayed at the museum's new "Bigfoot Wing" in Willow Creek, Calif.AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

  • Photographs purportedly show a large, apelike creature in Central Oklahoma -- evidence they may also live in Texas, some say.Texas Bigfoot Research Conservancy

Can science unravel one of life’s enduring mysteries?

Rumors of the hairy humanoid known variously as the yeti, bigfoot and sasquatch have persisted for decades, despite little hard evidence beyond grainy photographs and plaster casts of giant footprints. Now scientists are hoping to make more of a case for the creature -- with the help of genetic testing, Reuters reported.

The Lausanne Museum of Zoology in Switzerland together with prestigious Oxford University said Tuesday, May 22, that they will together use DNA testing to examine organic remains that some claim belong to the beast.

'There have been DNA tests done on alleged yetis but since then the testing techniques have improved a lot.'

- Bryan Sykes at Oxford's Wolfson College

"It's an area that any serious academic ventures into with a deal of trepidation ... it's full of eccentric and downright misleading reports," Bryan Sykes at Oxford's Wolfson College told Reuters.

Lausanne has an archive of such organic material assembled by researcher Bernard Heuvelmans, the news agency reported. Heuvelmans sought the yeti for over 50 years until his death in 2001.

"There have been DNA tests done on alleged yetis and other such things but since then the testing techniques, particularly on hair, have improved a lot due to advances in forensic science," Sykes said.

Despite the lack of hard evidence, Bigfoot believers are steadfast in their conviction that somewhere out there lurks a giant hominoid that simply has eluded all efforts to track it down.

"I have been immersed in Sasquatch research for a number of years, and I can tell you in my mind a mountain of evidence supports the existence of these creatures," Ken Gerhard, a San Antonio cryptozoologist who co-wrote "Monsters of Texas," recently told the Houston Chronicle.

SUMMARY

MYSTERY MONSTERS: Legendary beast or ordinary critter? These oddities have us puzzled -- whether or not they're just stories.

Ogopogo: The world's second best-known lake monster after Scotland's Nessie, captured recently on a grainy cell phone video.

Montauk Monster: Some speculated it was an escaped mutant. Others thought it was an alien. Or was it just a raccoon?

The Carolina Critter: A bizarre creature that washed ashore last week in Folly Beach, S.C., sparked speculation of sea monsters.

Gerhard, who also heads up the Gulf Coast Bigfoot Research Organization, said Texas has one of the nation’s highest incidents of bigfoot reports, outranked only by Washington, California, Oregon, Ohio and Florida.

Bigfoot hit the headlines earlier this month when an Oregon fan discovered that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Association regulations would make it legal for a hunter to kill the mythical creature.

Despite the fact that chief of staff Lt. David. Sinclair told FoxNews.com that he never mentioned bigfoot specifically, Texas law does seem clear; if Bigfoot is indigenous to Texas, it can be killed there.

So is Bigfoot a Longhorn? Absolutely, said Brian Brown, media coordinator for the Texas Bigfoot Research Conservancy.

“We’ve got hundreds of sightings going back decades. I don’t think we’d have any problem proving it’s indigenous. We think they’re all over the region,” Brown told FoxNews.com.