The scientific search for Bigfoot

Researchers at Oxford and the Lausanne Museum of Zoology are... well, sort of calling out the claims of cryptozoologists of evidence for Bigfoot or the Yeti.

"I'm challenging and inviting the cryptozoologists to come up with the evidence instead of complaining that science is rejecting what they have to say," said geneticist Bryan Sykes of the University of Oxford. (Source)

They're asking people who think they've got evidence of these creatures to submit descriptions of their samples, and the researchers will follow up with the better-sounding ones to run DNA analysis on.  It would be an unambiguous way of determining whether the sample comes from an unknown species.

I don't think it's ever a bad idea for scientists to try to answer a question that they have the resources to tackle, and the Bigfoot question definitely falls into that category.  But I don't think this is likely to persuade a meaningful number of people that Bigfoot isn't real.

Here's how I imagine it going down:  There will be 3 categories of Bigfoot supporters.  The ones who have their samples tested and falsified, who will accuse the researchers of tampering; the ones who aren't selected, who'll insist that their evidence was perfectly good and the researchers are deliberately picking bad evidence to bolster the scientific conspiracy; and the ones who refuse to participate because they're afraid that science is trying to steal their research ant take all the fame and credit.

I imagine there's a small subset of cryptozoologists who, like the scientists offering this study, are simply fascinated by the question of unknown species and are perfectly capable of being rational about it.  But for the most part, I think Bigfoot supporters, like most conspiracy theorists, are in it because it makes them feel special, and they'll react poorly when they're faced with studies that threaten to take that specialness away.

Here's a link to the full article.