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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.

References

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

(Republished from Evo and Proud by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Science • Tags: archaic DNA, Archaic Humans 
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  1. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Is There an Own-Race Preference in Attractiveness?

    Even in multicultural nations interracial relationships and marriages are quite
    rare, one reflection of assortative mating. A relatively unexplored factor that could explain
    part of this effect is that people may find members of their own racial group more attractive
    than members of other groups. We tested whether there is an own-race preference in
    attractiveness judgments, and also examined the effect of familiarity by comparing the
    attractiveness ratings given by participants of different ancestral and geographic origins to
    faces of European, East Asian and African origin. We did not find a strong own-race bias in
    attractiveness judgments, but neither were the data consistent with familiarity, suggesting
    an important role for other factors determining the patterns of assortative mating observed.

    http://epjournal.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/EP11855872.pdf

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  2. Sean says:

    If there is anything but abominably negative results, I would think the samples are very old, and not from an archaic human of North America. I've read there were giant bears in north America and no trees to escape up. For something alive in the last millennium, Tibet has to be a better bet.

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  3. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Wasn't Bigfoot already discovered to have lived up to about 100,000 years ago?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gigantopithecus

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  4. Anonymous • Disclaimer says: • Website

    Something does seem to possibly be afoot, but we'll have to wait for this fall to see. Thanks for referencing my article :)

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  5. Anon,

    Endogamy seems to be culturally mediated, although I wouldn't rule out some kind of imprinting, e.g., by a suckling infant on its mother's face. I recently referreed a paper that argues for an imprinting effect.

    Sean,

    To be honest, I'm a Bigfoot-skeptic. Such a creature would need a reasonably large breeding population to perpetuate itself, as well as a large contiguous habitat. Surely we would have caught one by now.

    Yet Bryan Sykes is a reputable geneticist and he seems to have found something, unless I'm reading too much between the lines.

    Anon,

    I'm more open to the idea that archaic hominins have survived in Asia, at least until recent times. But there's no record of Gigantopithecus (or other hominids/hominins) in North America.

    Jay Cooney,

    I can hardly wait!! ;)

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  6. Sean says:

    Deer species of SE Asia were still being discovered in the 90's. Pygmy chimps were last to be discovered.
    A lot more likely than a ten foot snowbeast, would be 'Smallfoot', an ultra-cautious Homo floresiensis like species that browsed in the rain-forest. Yeti-nother possibility is that the samples are phonies and actually of modern humans, but of a human in North America who had previously unknown DNA, like that Y chromosome from Cameroon that is 70% older than any other in modern humans.

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  7. What about the Caucasus or Hindukush?

    Or South America – there's no saying it has to be hominin DNA to be interesting.

    Peter, have you any idea where the samples might be taken from.

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  8. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    There are various species of snub-nosed monkeys in southern China and northern SE Asia. These snub-nosed monkeys resemble East Asians. Is it possible that East Asians evolved from them or are related to them? That an archaic hominin related to the snub nosed monkeys interbred with East Asians? Would this be consistent with any multiregional theories?

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  9. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    I'd say it's more likely that Sykes has been travelling in connection with some film project or other, but that's just a guess. I'd love for him to find something.

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  10. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Sykes is doing this project in conjunction with the Museum of Lausanne in Switzerland. I recall Bernard Heuvelmans donated his collection to the Museum of Lausanne in 1999 before is death. Heuvelmans was known as the father of cryptozoology.

    Perhaps the Museum of Lausanne found something from Heuvelmans collection and Sykes is expanding on it?

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  11. What happened with the DNA testing of the Longlin-Maludong people?

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  12. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    What happened with the DNA testing of the Longlin-Maludong people?

    Good question! They were known to exist in China during the time the paleo-Indians crossed the Bering Strait.

    With recent discovery of Denisova, we should not be surprised that some other hominid may have followed the paleo-Indians to North America.

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  13. According to Jeff Meldrum the Lishu hominin is also under study.

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  14. Anonymous • Disclaimer says: • Website

    This is something we need to take into consideration.

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