A study led by Bryan Sykes in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Biological Sciences has found that 30 samples from ‘bigfoot’ or related mythical creatures (yeti!) are actually known mammalian species. The group isolated mitochondrial RNA from samples donated by zoologists and enthusiasts and sequenced the RNA to identify the species. The group found the samples included human, bear, cow, dog, and horse. Interestingly, it seems that 2 samples belong to an unknown species of bear (samples from India and Bhutan). Go genetics! Maybe Bigfoot is just an elusive bear species! Too bad most of the samples were just normal animals. Abstract from the study:
In the first ever systematic genetic survey, we have used rigorous decontamination followed by mitochondrial 12S RNA sequencing to identify the species origin of 30 hair samples attributed to anomalous primates. Two Himalayan samples, one from Ladakh, India, the other from Bhutan, had their closest genetic affinity with a Palaeolithic polar bear, Ursus maritimus. Otherwise the hairs were from a range of known extant mammals.