A summon had been send out for supposed Big Foot material so university scientists can do genetic testing.
A new university-backed project aims to probe cryptic species such as the yeti whose existence is unproven, through genetic testing.
Researchers from Oxford University and the Lausanne Museum of Zoology have asked anyone with a collection of cryptozoological material to submit descriptions of it. The researchers will then ask for hair and other samples for genetic identification. The project is called the 'Oxford-Lausanne Collateral Hominid Project'. It is being led by Bryan Sykes and Michel Sartori of the zoology museum.
"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.
While Sykes doesn't expect to find solid evidence of a yeti or Bigfoot monster, he says he is keeping an open mind and being optimistic.
"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. Such hominids would include Neanderthals or Denosivans, a mysterious hominin species that lived in Siberia 40,000 years ago.
The collection phase of the project will run through September, with genetic testing following that through November. After that, Sykes said, they will write up the results for publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal; this would be the first such publication of cryptozoology results, he said.
"Several things I've done in my career have seemed impossible and stupid when contemplated, but have impressive results," Sykes said. When he set out to find DNA from ancient human remains, for instance, he thought, "It's never going to work." It did, and he published the first report of DNA from ancient human bones in the journal Nature in 1989.
"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."
An insight to Bigfoot and an Yeti:
Bigfoot, is an ape-like cryptid that purportedly inhabits forests, mainly in the Pacific Northwest region of North America. Bigfoot is usually described as a large, hairy, bipedal humanoid.
The Yeti or Abominable Snowman is an ape-like cryptid said to inhabit the Himalayan region of Nepal, and Tibet. Stories of the Yeti first emerged as a facet of Western popular culture in the 19th century. The scientific community generally regards the Yeti as a legend, given the lack of conclusive evidence,yet it remains one of the most famous creatures of cryptozoology. The Yeti may be considered a sort of parallel to the 'Bigfoot' of North America.