Purported Yeti scalp at Khumjung Monastery (source). Has DNA been retrieved from it for the Oxford-Lausanne Collateral Hominid Project?
Over a year ago, geneticist Bryan Sykes launched the 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. (Sykes, 2012)
The aim was to retrieve DNA from alleged remains of Yeti, Bigfoot, and the like. At the time, I was skeptical that anything would come of the project, since most remains of this type seem to be of dubious provenance. And then there’s the problem of contamination due to human handling.
So I was surprised to see this update on the project webpage, dated August 2013:
Thanks to all who have contributed samples to the project. We have collected and analysed over thirty samples and results are being prepared for publication. Following normal procedure, no results or other information will be available prior to publication, so please do not enquire.
Academics normally don’t like to publish negative results. When I googled the project name, I came across this report about Bryan Sykes meeting with people who had submitted samples of alleged Bigfoot remains:
Interestingly, Professor Sykes has been visiting North America recently in order to speak with some of the researchers who have submitted samples, and he has also met with US Fish and Wildlife officials at one of their main laboratories located in Melford, Oregon. It has been revealed that Professor Sykes was in California very recently to speak with Justin Smeja, and also to be filmed for a documentary detailing his study which will be released on BBC Channel 4 once the results of the many samples tested by Sykes are published in a scientific journal.(Cooney, 2013)
Something seems to be afoot.
Cooney, J. (2013). Exciting updates on the Oxford-Lausanne Collateral Hominid Project, Bizarre Zoology, June 12 http://bizarrezoology.blogspot.ca/2013/06/exciting-updates-on-oxford-lausanne.html
Sykes, B. (2012). Oxford-Lausanne Collateral Hominid Project, Wolfson College, University of Oxford https://www.wolfson.ox.ac.uk/academic/GBFs-v/OLCHP