An American scientist is claiming DNA samples reportedly taken from Bigfoot show the beast is a product of mating between female humans and an undiscovered primate.
Dr. Melba Ketchum has undergone a five-year examination of North American Sasquatch samples, and told The Register that she had discovered that the non-human samples contain mitochondrial DNA that matches that of modern humans, with its nuclear DNA indicating the creature was a newly discovered form of hominid.
"Sasquatch nuclear DNA is incredibly novel and not at all what we had expected. While it has human nuclear DNA within its genome, there are also distinctly non-human, non-archaic hominin, and non-ape sequences. We describe it as a mosaic of human and novel non-human sequence," she said.
The team sequenced 20 whole mitochondrial genomes and three whole nuclear genomes from the samples, which team leader Dr. Ketchum said came from researchers tracking Bigfoot. Some of the samples were "quite scientific" she said, and came with pictures of the creature that the samples apparently came from.
"Four other university laboratories have tested the samples prior to this study and they all found human DNA, so they all made the assumption that the samples were contaminated," Dr. Ketchum told El Reg. "That's why we took a forensic approach, going to two different laboratories and testing two different ways and we were very careful to avoid contamination.
By examining the samples the team postulates that the Bigfoot was the product of a union between a human female and a form of primate around 15,000 years ago. This would make it a relatively recent offshoot of the human family tree, but one that Ketchum said we should recognize.
"Genetically, the Sasquatch are a human hybrid with unambiguously modern human maternal ancestry. Government at all levels must recognize them as an indigenous people and immediately protect their human and Constitutional rights against those who would see in their physical and cultural differences a 'license' to hunt, trap, or kill them," she said.
The paper reviewing the samples is currently under peer review, and the team hadn't intended to make the news public beforehand, but Dr. Ketchum explained that one of the Russian team had let the news slip. Hopefully the full results will be published soon.
El Reg awaits it with interest. While it's easy to chortle at such stories, the scientific method demands that disbelief be suspended until peers have reviews and retested. Maybe it is possible that someone had the one-night stand from hell and we ended up with a near relative – but great claims demand great evidence. ®