from BBC News
22 May 2012 Last updated at 11:57 ET
A UK-Swiss team will use DNA testing to investigate the origins of remains claimed to be from yeti and bigfoot.
The project will examine hair, bone and other material from a collection amassed by a Swiss biologist – and will invite submissions from elsewhere.
Many cultures relate legends of hairy, humanoid creatures that lurk in the wilds, rarely seen.
But material claimed to be from such creatures have never been subjected to modern scientific techniques.
“It’s an area that any serious academic ventures into with a deal of trepidation… It’s full of eccentric and downright misleading reports,” said Prof Bryan Sykes, from Oxford University.
The researchers will apply a systematic approach and employ the latest advances in genetic testing, aiming to publish in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
“There have been DNA tests done on alleged yetis and other such things but since then the testing techniques, particularly on hair, have improved a lot due to advances in forensic science,” the Oxford geneticist told Reuters news agency.
Modern testing could get valid results from a fragment of a shaft of hair, added Prof Sykes, who is leading the project with Michel Sartori, director of the Lausanne Museum of Zoology.
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