Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Oxford will test "yeti" DNA

This one is so unique I'll put the press release in here in its entirety.  These folks are going to be deluged with tissue samples. Wil lthey find anything? They are testing hair from Sumatra's orang-pendek, which I think has a very good chance of being a real primate.  But yeti? Sasquatch?  It's a fascinating project.  I hope they find something, but negative results would also be scientifically important... if not very exciting. 

ADDED: Before we get to the press release, he're's some good background: Ben Radford's article on why unknown-primate DNA and hair samples have not panned out.  Two lessons he hits on: some experts can be wrong; and "unidentified" does not necessarily mean "new species."
Radford on the evidence

Now, back to England

Oxford-Lausanne Collateral Hominid Project

As part of a larger enquiry into the genetic relationship between our own species Homo sapiens and other hominids, we invite submissions of organic material from formally undescribed species, or “cryptids”, for the purpose of their species identification by genetic means.
The project is divided into three phases.
DNA ANALYSIS PHASE September – November 2012
PUBLICATION PHASE November – December 2012
SAMPLE SUBMISSION  Sample submissions are invited from institutions and individuals. In the first instance, please send details of the material you would like to submit to one of the Principal Investigators. These should include:
· Your name, institutional affiliation (if any), postal and email addresses and other contact details.
· A physical description of the specimen: (Hair, tooth etc). Photographs welcome.
· Its provenance: A short account of the origin of the sample, when and where (with coordinates if known) it was collected and how it came to be in your possession.
· Identification: Your opinion of its likely species identification, and your reasons.
· Authority: A statement that you are entitled to send the specimen for analysis and that we have permission to publish the results.
In order to avoid misidentification of samples due to contamination, our preferred material is hair, although tissues will be considered.
After reviewing your submission, we will send you a sampling kit with instructions. Please do not send any materials without first hearing from us. They will not be analysed nor returned.
You may choose whether to be identified as the donor of the sample, or to remain anonymous.
At the end of the submission phase, the most promising samples will be selected for DNA analysis. You will not be charged for the analysis. Unselected samples will be returned.
The process of DNA analysis is destructive. Any unused material from selected samples will be returned or, if you prefer, will be submitted for curation as part of the Bernard Heuvelmans Cryptozoology archive in Lausanne.
Results from DNA analysis will be prepared for publication in a peer-reviewed science journal. No results will be released until any embargoes on publication have passed.
Prof. Bryan Sykes
Professor of Human Genetics
Wolfson College
University of Oxford
Oxford OX2 6UD
United Kingdom

Dr. Michel Sartori
Musee de Zoologie
Palais de Rumine
Place de Riponne 6
CH-1014 Lausanne

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