Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

What's Next, the Bigfoot Genome Project?

You British scientists are so droll!

What's Next, the Bigfoot Genome Project?

I'm starting to see what it takes to get a science story on the breaking news column of Philly.com. This exciting bigfoot story is from AP, and somewhere I think something was misconstrued. It’s possible the AP writer is in on the joke and trying to be funny too, but it’s hard to tell: 

"If the Yeti is real and somebody has found bits of their hair, you should be able to tell from the DNA in the hair if this is actually a Yeti," said Mark Thomas, a professor of evolutionary genetics at University College London. He is not connected to the Bigfoot project.

But Thomas was unsure how likely it was anyone might have actual Yeti hairs. Some scientists theorize Yetis are either a distinct hominid species, or a mix between homo sapiens and Neanderthals or other species. There is already evidence of interbreeding between homo sapiens and Neanderthals.

"If Yetis have survived for the last 30,000 years, they have probably had a pretty miserable existence and are a small population vulnerable to extinction," Thomas said. "It's not as insane an idea as many might think, but the chances are pretty small."

Oh you Brits and your naughty sense of humour! How will you identify Yeti DNA? Would you compare it to the OxBridge Yeti DNA database? You all deserve a spanking - especially Mark Thomas.

The last line is good:

He said previous tests on supposed Yeti hairs have already been done, "and they turned out to be from a bison."

Well, anyone could make that mistake.


About this blog
Faye Flam - writer
In pursuit of her stories, writer Faye Flam has weathered storms in Greenland, gotten frost nip at the South Pole, and floated weightless aboard NASA’s zero-g plane. She has a degree in geophysics from the California Institute of Technology and started her writing career with the Economist. She later took on the particle physics and cosmology beat at Science Magazine before coming to the Inquirer in 1995. Her previous science column, “Carnal Knowledge,” ran from 2005 to 2008. Her new column and blog, Planet of the Apes, explores the topic of evolution and runs here and in the Inquirer’s health section each Monday. Email Faye at fflam@phillynews.com. Reach Planet of the at fflam@phillynews.com.

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