Perspective on Sykes hair analysis paper
Paleontologist Norman MacLeod of The Natural History Museum recently commented on the Sykes hair analysis paper, doing an excellent job at providing perspective while bringing into question the hair samples that were not included in the analysis:
"Does this evidence disprove the legends of the Yeti, Migyhur, Almasty, Sasquatch/Bigfoot? It does not. Scientific hypothesis testing of this sort is not designed to, and cannot, prove hypotheses alternative to the null hypothesis. All that can be said with confidence is that the results obtained by the Sykes team for the 29 samples that yielded DNA sequences failed to reject the null hypothesis that these samples came from species already known to science. Interestingly, despite the fact that most cryptozoologists have suggested the cryptids in question are unknown primate species, not one of the Sykes team’s sequences yielded DNA that could be shown to have come from any non-human primate. Nevertheless, 19 of the original 55 bona fide hair samples submitted originally to the Sykes team did not produce DNA sequences. The taxonomic affinity of these samples remains unknown and science has nothing further to say about them, at least for the moment. From a scientific point of view, these samples return to the category of ambiguous evidence insofar as they cannot offer any unambiguous information that can be used to refute the null hypothesis of no link to any presently unknown (primate) species.”
Full story at the Proceedings of Royal Society Publishing!
Cryptid Chronicles readers, what do YOU think?
Your Cryptid Chronicler,
IF YOU HAVE HAD A CRYPTID ENCOUNTER AND WOULD LIKE TO TELL YOUR STORY HERE or just want to drop a note, PLEASE WRITE ME AT firstname.lastname@example.org
If you enjoyed this post please comment, Like ♥ and share!
I’m also on Facebook
• Write for Cryptid Chronicles
• Submit Art
London (AFP) - A British geneticist said Thursday he may have solved the mystery of the yeti, after matching DNA from two animals said to be the mythical beast to an ancient polar bear.
"We have found an exact genetic match between two samples from the Himalayas and the ancient polar bear," said Bryan Sykes, emeritus professor at Oxford University.
There have for centuries been legends about hairy, ape-like creatures, also known as “migoi” in the Himalayas, “bigfoot” in North America and “almasty” in the Caucasus mountains.
The myth was given credence when explorer Eric Shipton returned from his 1951 expedition to Everest with photographs of giant footprints in the snow.
Eyewitness accounts have since fuelled speculation that the creatures may be related to humans, but Sykes believes they are likely to be bear hybrids.”
He made a global appeal last year for samples from suspected Yeti sightings and received about 70, of which 27 gave good DNA results. These were then compared with other animals’ genomes stored on a database.
Two hair samples came up trumps — one from a beast shot in the Kashmiri region of Ladakh 40 years ago and the other found in Bhutan a decade ago.
"In the Himalayas, I found the usual sorts of bears and other creatures amongst the collection," Sykes told BBC radio, ahead of the broadcast of a TV programme about his findings.
"But the particularly interesting ones are the ones whose genetic fingerprints are linked not to the brown bears or any other modern bears, (but) to an ancient polar bear."
The DNA from the Himalayan samples was a 100 percent match with a sample from a polar bear jawbone found in Svalbard in Norway, dating back between 40,000 and 120,000 years.
Brown bears and polar bears are closely related as species and are known to interbreed when their territories overlap, according to Sykes.
"This is an exciting and completely unexpected result that gave us all a surprise," he said in a statement, adding: "There’s more work to be done on interpreting the results.
"I don’t think it means there are ancient polar bears wandering around the Himalayas. But… it could mean there is a sub-species of brown bear in the High Himalayas descended from the bear that was the ancestor of the polar bear.
"Or it could mean there has been more recent hybridisation between the brown bear and the descendent of the ancient polar bear."
The samples cited relate specifically to the Himalayas and the search for the yeti, not sasquatch. This is not an all-inclusive explanation for mystery ape sightings, least of all in North America. But could it be a step in the right direction?
The bigfoot community has been following Sykes’ study for some time now, holding onto it as the last hope of providing legitimate DNA evidence to support the existence of sasquatch. For months we have been hearing stories of Sykes’ trip to the Pacific Northwest, and the “shocking” results of his studies.
Could it be that the creature we know as bigfoot is, in fact, the descendant of an ancient bear (maybe the short-faced bear?) that followed a radically different evolutionary path from modern bears? Could it be that the large, bipedal figure witnesses have been describing is something far stranger, and far more unique, than anything as banal as a relic hominid?
Could it be, in its evolutionary characteristics, a man-bear?
(And does this then lend support to those who claim the existence of a creature known as “Man-Bear-Pig”?)
(I’m kidding. But it’s still fascinating and makes me all the more excited for Sykes to release his findings from DNA studies of North American samples…he’s still going to, right? This isn’t the end of the line, is it?)
Our recent interview with Monster Hunter Adam Davies. Adam has had many amazing adventures. Please click the photo or link to read the complete interview and see some photos and a video.