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Alleged 'Bigfoot' DNA Samples Sequenced, Turn Out To Be Horses, Dogs, and Bears 198

Posted by Soulskill
from the film-at-never dept.
sciencehabit writes: In North America, they're called Bigfoot or Sasquatch. In the Himalayan foothills, they're known as yeti or abominable snowmen. And Russians call them Almasty. But in the scientific laboratory, these elusive, hairy, humanoid creatures are nothing more than bears, horses, and dogs. That's the conclusion of a new study—the first peer-reviewed, genetic survey of biological samples claimed to be from the shadowy beasts. To identify the evolutionary source of each sample, the team determined the sequence of a gene—found inside the mitochondria of cells—that encodes the 12S RNA, which is often used for species identification. Unlike standard DNA, mitochondrial genes are passed only from mother to offspring.

Seven of the samples didn’t yield enough DNA for identification. Of the 30 that were sequenced, all matched the exact 12S RNA sequences for known species, the team reports online today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Ten hairs belonged to various bear species; four were from horses; four were from wolves or dogs; one was a perfect match to a human hair; and the others came from cows, raccoons, deer, and even a porcupine. Two samples, from India and Bhutan, matched polar bear 12S RNA—a surprising finding that Sykes is following up on to determine whether some Himalayan bears are hybrid species with polar bears.
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Alleged 'Bigfoot' DNA Samples Sequenced, Turn Out To Be Horses, Dogs, and Bears

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  • Clever! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Bender Unit 22 (216955) on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @05:24AM (#47366923) Journal

    That is what Sasquatch wants you to believe by placing DNA from other sources!!!!
    Now excuse me, I see I need to go out and spay those nasty chemtrails again. ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com] )

    • Re:Clever! (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @06:52AM (#47367145)

      I am not up on my conspiracy lore, but it seems unlikely to me that chemtrails have genitals.

      • If the chemtrails didn't have genitals, how would they be able to impregnate a horse, a woman and a polar bear with bigfoot sperm?
    • Re:Clever! (Score:4, Funny)

      by nospam007 (722110) * on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @08:23AM (#47367503)

      "Two samples, from India and Bhutan, matched polar bear 12S RNA"

      Obviously there was a Dharma Initiative station there at some time.

    • Actually, it's just racist scientists badmouthing BearHorseDog for nothing else than being BearHorseDog in the first place. Horrible. You would have thought we left things like this in the 19th century, but no...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @05:32AM (#47366939)

    From making more BS shows about something that doesn't exist, and people selling books on fabricated facts.

  • by TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @05:33AM (#47366943)
    UFOs, Bigfoot, Ghosts!

    You would think the modern age of cameras in everyone's phones would produce evidence-a-plenty of these kinds of things.

    But reality is far less interesting than we want it to be ...

    No magic, no supernatural stuff --- and sadly no bigfoots or aliens that bother to come here and snatch cows.
    • by CastrTroy (595695) on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @06:31AM (#47367089) Homepage
      Relevant XKCD [xkcd.com]
      • by narcc (412956)

        LOL! One of Randall's worst, by far. IIRC, he even takes a beating on the forum for that one.

        • by TheCarp (96830)

          Yet, as soon as I saw GP, I started scrolling down looking to see if somebody already posted it.

          Actually, I liked this one. It took me a second but, honestly, I think he makes a great, if somewhat tounge in cheek point. I can see more evidence of people's fancy breakfast than I care to count, a significant portion of the population has high definition cameras that do a great job, even in the hands of novices.... and nobody caught a picture of Nessy or Big foot yet?

    • by peragrin (659227)

      ah that is because those are digital camera's. ghosts, big foots and ufo's only show up in analog photos.

      digital stuff just can't reproduce all the details.

      Haven't you ever listened to an audiophile talk about vinyl?

    • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @07:09AM (#47367193)

      But reality is far less interesting than we want it to be ...

      For some reason I end up talking to a lot of people that believe in this nonsense... especially ghosts. My main argument is usally that their view of the world is just too mundane. Ghosts? No... the universe is far stranger, far wackier then that. Then I go on to explain Relativity and Quantum mechanics. They freak out, refuse to believe it. They'll believe in a 7' tall ape man living in the pacific northwest that no ones ever found a corpse for... but a sub atomic particle being in 2 places at once? I'm just crazy!

      • by physicsphairy (720718) on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @08:00AM (#47367367) Homepage

        To be fair, in the domain of common experience a 7' tall ape man living in the pacific northwest *is* far less crazy than the idea of a subatomic particle being in two places at once.

        Many scientists of yesteryear were hardly willing to accept such preposterousness, though I imagine they would not have batted an eye at an undiscovered hominid of unusual cleverness. (In fact, sometimes they seemed to be far too trusting when evidence of new hominids was presented to them.) People can go to the zoo and encounter all sorts of species they never anticipated. Where can they experience quantum mechanics?

        It's only through substantial and careful methodological treatment of the evidence that we're able to develop the capacity to distinguish truth which contradicts intuition, accepting the fantastic but real and dismissing the common but false.

        My wild and probably quite unpopular thinking on this is as such: the people you describe are perfectly reasonable people. They are drawing reasonable(ish) conclusions. They just lack access to the expanded toolset and and supply of evidence modern science has provided. What if instead of calling their theories a bunch of hocus pocus, we simply sent them on the right trail? Used the Socratic method, as it were. They are clearly already interested in the subject of undiscovered species, so "You think there is a wild ape man? Interesting. I wonder how we could prove its existence. What about DNA evidence? There's this great book called 'Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters.' Maybe we could read it to learn a bit more about genetics and see if it helps us come up with any ideas."

        • Some of the people might be reasonable but just with bad evidence that they don't know is proven false. Many more, though, are thoroughly mentally committed to the proven-false phenomenon and will take any debunking of their theory as propaganda from The Conspiracy that wants to keep everyone in the dark about it. (See: The Moon Landing Deniers.)

          • You cannot prove falsehood. You can only establish likelyhood of truthfulness. While these seem to be the same thing, they are not. For as much as nobody has proof (and therefore unlikely) evidence of Sasquatch, it only takes one to prove it true, and that is still possible (though unlikely). While I doubt there is a Bigfoot living in various wildernesses, that doesn't mean they do not exist. It only proves I have doubts.

            But then again, this is what makes for a wonderful conspiracy, the fact that you cannot

        • by Ol Olsoc (1175323)

          My wild and probably quite unpopular thinking on this is as such: the people you describe are perfectly reasonable people. They are drawing reasonable(ish) conclusions. They just lack access to the expanded toolset and and supply of evidence modern science has provided. What if instead of calling their theories a bunch of hocus pocus, we simply sent them on the right trail?

          Some folks don't want to be on the right trail. The right trail is kind of hard. The right trail also requires the ability to throw away knowledge when it is disproven. If the History Channel shows a program that has script like "Some scientists believe that humans were descended from DNA experiments by aliens from outer space" well there you have it. That was a lot easier than studying biology, anthropology, and physics.

          Or of course the easiest explanation of them all.

          Used the Socratic method, as it were. They are clearly already interested in the subject of undiscovered species, so "You think there is a wild ape man? Interesting. I wonder how we could prove its existence.

          They aren't all that interested. T

          • by Archangel Michael (180766) on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @10:31AM (#47368467) Journal

            IMHO, true Atheists don't talk about atheism. Those that do, border on religious. I don't talk about not believing in the FSM or Pink Unicorns or .... because I don't believe in them. If I ran into someone that believed in those things, I would simply be amused and go on my way. But this isn't the case for vocal atheists, who run around recruiting like Jehovah's Witnesses people to their cause. They even sponsor, like churches, the "Atheists of Butte County " Roadside clean ups and get a hwy sign, just like a church.

            If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it is likely to be a duck like creature.

            • by Arker (91948)
              While I wont dispute I have seen people that remind me of your description, I would caution against applying it too liberally. Just having e.g. an Atheist organization that functions something like a church does not necessarily imply anything religious. Churches themselves, often, have little if anything to do with religion. They are communitarian institutions, social institutions, and it makes sense that atheists would feel the same need for socializing as theists do.
            • by Ol Olsoc (1175323) on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @12:30PM (#47369511)

              IMHO, true Atheists don't talk about atheism. Those that do, border on religious.

              Fascinating that you take one small throway statement in my contribution to th ediscussion, and turn it into the never ending "attack on religion". meme. Which in itself was just part of a group of people who I believe think differently than the scientifically inclined.

              But since you steered it this way.........

              While I don't recruit new atheists, I am not all that amenable to people who have a long list of abominations thet their God commands them to kill people for.

              Ant therein lies the issue. There are Christians out there who would gladly kill me for my lack of belief - and they have verse and scripture to justify that. It's not possible to dent that it has occurred, and still does occasionally (usually gays at this time) But 2 Chronicals 15 tells us of the penalties for nonbelievers.

              They even sponsor, like churches, the "Atheists of Butte County " Roadside clean ups and get a hwy sign, just like a church.

              If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it is likely to be a duck like creature.

              This is exactly what I am talking about. You are sitting there taking umbrage that Atheists are sponsoring a roadside cleanup. "Just like a church."

              Churches do not own the rights to road cleanup efforts. Road cleanup is not the exclusive right of churches, and shame on you for insinuating that atheists are trying to horn in on the churches domain.

              Iin my area, Fraternities sponsor road cleanup, there is a society of chemical scientists, Some individual families, and some local businesses. Other student groups. And a couple churches. But the majority is not churches.

              It's a good thing that these people do.

              But despite your desires, the real reason that a lot of church-targeted groups have decided to not sit in silence and conform to what the fundamentalists demand is that many of them are in the same groups that the fundamentalists want to eliminate. Others just don't want whacky ideas like the world being created in 4004 b.c.e. or that the speed of light speeds up and slows down conveniently or that the Flintstone Cartoon was a documentary (that's a joke)

              I mean the absolute crap that went down in Arizona recently was religion oriented, The "Religious Freedom Restoration Act", or Georgia's HB1023, and SB377 bills Idaho's HB427 and HB426, Mississippi's Religious Freedom Restoration act has passed, and Missouri's Senate bill 916.

              All of these allow Businesses to refuse to do business with anyone they feel like, and call it religious belief.

              Arizona's Governor only vetoed it because a lot of businesses, and the Superbowl were planning on pulling out:

              http://washingtonexaminer.com/... [washingtonexaminer.com]

              So no no no, dear believer. As much as you might desire that Atheists, and Homos, and all those other yucky people you want to muzzle would just keep their mouths shut, and not sponsor roadside cleanups and not meet to discuss anything.

              We've seen your plans, and how you want to implement them. You do not have the right to deny other people their rights, and those

              This has drifted far off topic, and if someone wants to mod me off topic, they should have the decency to do the samt to your post too.

              • by SillyHamster (538384) on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @02:05PM (#47370479)

                And therein lies the issue. There are Christians out there who would gladly kill me for my lack of belief - and they have verse and scripture to justify that. It's not possible to dent that it has occurred, and still does occasionally (usually gays at this time) But 2 Chronicals 15 tells us of the penalties for nonbelievers.

                And who are those Christians, exactly? Where do they live? What groups have they formed? How many people have they killed in their fervor to live out 2 Chronicles 15?

                There's actually a religion out there known for killing unbelievers (and believers), but this citation of a singular verse in the Old Testament as evidence that Christianity is bloodthirsty against unbelievers is pretty pathetic.

            • IMHO, true Atheists don't talk about atheism. Those that do, border on religious. I don't talk about not believing in the FSM or Pink Unicorns or .... because I don't believe in them. If I ran into someone that believed in those things, I would simply be amused and go on my way. But this isn't the case for vocal atheists, who run around recruiting like Jehovah's Witnesses people to their cause. They even sponsor, like churches, the "Atheists of Butte County " Roadside clean ups and get a hwy sign, just like a church.

              If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it is likely to be a duck like creature.

              I totally agree. Personally, I believe in God, but I've a pretty weird faith, I'm an Omnist: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O... [wikipedia.org]

              But I'm not so weak in my faith that I need to recruit people to agree with me. I think there's a special kind of personality that has trouble accepting its own beliefs without convincing others first. I believe in God, I accept that my belief is likely weird and not accepted by most, and I don't care. It's not something I desire to debate since I know it's an argument that can ever

        • To be fair, in the domain of common experience a 7' tall ape man living in the pacific northwest *is* far less crazy than the idea of a subatomic particle being in two places at once.

          Good point, and one many of the /. types often forget.

          There's this great book

          But here... here you come off the rails. How about not acting like a creepy religious zealot who must witness and prosthelytize and lead people to the Light?

      • It freaked Einstein out too ya know?
        • It freaked Einstein out too ya know?

          And me... I'm still astonished by it. The world is very strange indeed. What's even more amazing is that we may very well figure it out before I die. I couldn't think of anything greater than finally seeing the grand unified theory come together.

    • by Z80a (971949)

      Even if there was any sort of "magical or supernatural event", it would end being just some regular but unknown physics property or some smart use of the existing laws.

    • What really shocks me about our modern life full of cameras is how often a guy getting hit in the balls gets recorded. Then I wonder what percentage get captured on video and I just feel sick.

      Then again, maybe "Ow my Balls!" will soon become a real show, probably on Fox.

      • Then again, maybe "Ow my Balls!" will soon become a real show, probably on Fox.

        It's already a real show. It's called Ridiculousness and it's on MTV.

        Though I hate to admit it, I actually enjoy that show. But I realized a while back that it is essentially "Ow, My Balls". That knocked my self-regard down a peg.

    • Feynman nailed flying saucers [youtube.com] before the digital era.
    • But reality is far less interesting than we want it to be ...

      I dunno, polar bear hybrids in the Himalayas. That's pretty interesting.

    • Actually, I think reality is far more interesting than we think it is. It just isn't "interesting" in the area of Bigfoot, UFOs, and ghosts. Look to astronomy, though, and we're constantly finding weird planets/stars/etc that challenge our current understandings of the Universe.

      • by ray-auch (454705)

        It just isn't "interesting" in the area of Bigfoot,

        Um, 2 of the hair samples from the Himalayas match polar bears. 40,000yr old fossil polar bears. That is pretty interesting, no ?

        • I was actually going to add another example where life is interesting - just not UFO/Bigfoot/Ghost interesting, but didn't. Yes, Himalayan Polar Bears qualifies as interesting. Just not the same kind of interesting as finding actual evidence of Bigfoot or of a ghost would be.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Actually, UFO groups have seen some seriously diminishing numbers in believers over the last decade.
      Mostly, because of cameras.

    • by l0ungeb0y (442022)
      Ever consider the fact that Bigfoot, werewolves and ghosts have the right NOT to be surveiled? I for one have encountered ghosts and aliens on a pretty regular basis, but unlike some people around here *cough*glassholes*cough* I respect their right to privacy and to not be recorded by my camera phone and posted to youtube.
    • by Tablizer (95088)

      You would think the modern age of cameras in everyone's phones would produce evidence-a-plenty

      One "UFO enthusiast" answered such this way: The craft know if and who is using a camera in the area through advanced scanning. Like any other bureaucracy, they are pressured to do as much as possible with as few resources as possible. Occasionally they'll let low resolution photography slip through rather than chase the photographer down. They know to stay at the "edge" of detectability. Being too careful slows d

    • by k6mfw (1182893)
      One story, mildly amusing, I believe extensively discussed here was someone dressed in a gorilla suit and would greet hikers in the back country of a national park. He would greet himself as Bigfoot, welcome people to the national park and ask they not litter, stay on the trails, and not abuse plants and animals in the park. He had a friend take video with a camcorder which uploaded footage to Youtube became very popular. Park service protested and banned him from playing Bigfoot on grounds that he didn't h
  • Well, Russians are calling it the Snow Man. Almasty is what it's called in Caucasus - Chechnya and so on. Just saying.

  • Of course (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @05:54AM (#47366993)

    The logical explanation is that Bigfoot has no mitochondria, and that the results obtained are from contamination. Scientists really shouldn't bring their pet polar bears to the lab.

  • by Mashiki (184564) <[mashiki] [at] [gmail.com]> on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @06:13AM (#47367045) Homepage

    It wasn't ManBearPig [wikipedia.org] it was ManBearHorseDog! Quickly someone let Al Gore know!

  • Chupacabra isn't included.

  • Documentary series (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sockatume (732728) on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @07:05AM (#47367181)

    Channel 4 put out a three-part documentary series about this research last year, called Bigfoot Files. Depending on the episode you got a mixture of local legends, interviews with bigfoot chasers, and of course the search for and testing of the putative hominid remains. The article mentions that one of the samples tested as human; there's a rather heartbreaking local tale behind that. Very nicely done and desensationalised.

  • It's human on its father's side.

  • by dietdew7 (1171613) on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @07:54AM (#47367349)
    Bigfoot has shape shifting abilities. That would explain why there is so little evidence of his existence. A shape shifting big foot turns the big foot is a robot theory on its ear.
  • Seriously, we have never found any corpses from this beast and with the amount that man has spread out, I am 100% certain we would have found the beast by now.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      I'm not a Bigfoot believer or anything — I personally am the closest thing I know of — but the excuse is that they eat their dead.

      • Including the bones? And what if one Bigfoot is wandering the woods, gets injured and dies alone? Do the other Bigfoot hunt his corpse down (knowing where it is due to psychic abilities or something) for the sole purpose of eating him? Even if Bigfoot did eat their own dead, there would still be traces.

        • by iggymanz (596061)

          there are traces, big piles of bigfoot poop that gets blamed on bears. Bears don't actually shit in the woods.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Including the bones?

          Why not?

          And what if one Bigfoot is wandering the woods, gets injured and dies alone?

          Maybe they don't get out much.

          Even if Bigfoot did eat their own dead, there would still be traces.

          Probably. But you can't reason with people who believe things without evidence.

    • Seriously, we have never found any corpses from this beast and with the amount that man has spread out, I am 100% certain we would have found the beast by now.

      At the risk of sounding like a tinfoil hat wearing lunatic, just a few years ago I remember seeing several scientists stating on camera that they believed that every large mammal on earth was already documented and known to science. Not long after that I read a news piece reporting the discovery of several previously unknown species of mammals including a species of deer that reportedly weighs in at 150lb. Another example is a species of whale native to the Southern Arctic that is only known from a few DNA

      • by niado (1650369) on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @09:37AM (#47367983)

        Seriously, we have never found any corpses from this beast and with the amount that man has spread out, I am 100% certain we would have found the beast by now.

        At the risk of sounding like a tinfoil hat wearing lunatic, just a few years ago I remember seeing several scientists stating on camera that they believed that every large mammal on earth was already documented and known to science. Not long after that I read a news piece reporting the discovery of several previously unknown species of mammals including a species of deer that reportedly weighs in at 150lb. Another example is a species of whale native to the Southern Arctic that is only known from a few DNA samples obtained from whalers. The point being that even though it is fun to ridicule crypto zoologists, there are numerous examples even in this day and age of unknown species hiding right under our noses.

        Here are some relevant lists for your perusal:

        List of megafauna discovered in modern times [wikipedia.org]
        List of recently discovered mammals [wikipedia.org]
        List of cryptids [wikipedia.org]

        Not very many on the second list that I would consider "large" (scientific definition of "large" in the context of megafauna [wikipedia.org] is somewhat ambiguous, though often bounded on the lower end at 100 pounds). Most of the creatures on these lists are very similar to already known and described species (the giant peccary, for example), and aren't very impressive discoveries from a lay viewpoint. Notice on the "list of cryptids" there is only one creature with "confirmed" status - the Okapi, [wikipedia.org] discovered over a century ago.

      • by dave420 (699308)
        You have a point, but by your logic it would be deemed unsuitable to ridicule alchemists when a new element is discovered in a particle accelerator. The vast, vast majority of Cryptozoologists don't engage in science - they engage in wild speculation and pseudoscience. Plus I wouldn't call the southern Arctic or dense jungle "right under our noses" :)
      • by myth24601 (893486)

        A new type of deer that to 99% of people might look similar to some other type of deer could escape detection but a bigfoot would be similar if they were all so similar to humans and simply blending in with us. Maybe that is the answer, tall people are bigfoots!

  • Two samples, from India and Bhutan, matched polar bear 12S RNA—a surprising finding that Sykes is following up on to determine whether some Himalayan bears are hybrid species with polar bears.

    While it may look like a waste of time searching for bigfoot, something unexpected and interesting was found.

  • The general description of Bigfoot matches a large bear standing upright. Which they can do. Horses and Dogs are far less believable to be mistaken for Bigfoot, but possible depending on where they were found. A large wolf in the Himalayas might be when visibility is low. But I can't see how someone could mistake a Horse as Bigfoot. Even in extreme conditions.
    • by iggymanz (596061)

      Take a few swigs of 105 proof moonshine in those extreme conditions and re-evaluate your so-called "bears and horses". You doubters and your sobriety affliction....

  • by 14erCleaner (745600) <FourteenerCleaner@yahoo.com> on Wednesday July 02, 2014 @10:56AM (#47368685) Homepage Journal
    Legendary alpinist Reinhold Messner once wrote a book about his encounters with suspected Yetis in the Himalaya. He concluded that they were bears, a variant of Ursus Arctos, the same species as polar bears.
  • cousin to the infamous man-bear-pig
  • ... just how deep the conspiracy goes!

  • An article talked about over the years people make claims they've done some incredible feats mostly unintended. Like someone going too fast on a skateboard off a ledge, board separates from rider, board bounces off a wall, lands on hand railing at same time rider lands on board, which then by chance the angle was just right the rider was able to smoothly land on clear surface and come to a controlled stop. Yeah right, oh wait! A friend got it on the phone and it's gone viral on FB!

    OK, so where's the space

  • sorry for OT but I could not pass this one up. You can here NORAD air defense command center, their callword is Bigfoot, on these frequencies, http://home.comcast.net/~kilow... [comcast.net]
    I actually have heard Bigfoot, NORAD's ATC base giving vectors for what I believe was a KC135, I scan the freq regularly. Not much traffic but occasionally hear something.

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