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Thread: No Bigfoot, but maybe a bear

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    No Bigfoot, but maybe a bear

    From Science News
    Sometimes in science, you solve one mystery just to create another. So it goes with Bigfoot.

    After creating a stir last October with preliminary results, an international research team has published an analysis of dozens of hair samples from mystery animals around the world. None reveal the existence of a yeti or Bigfoot, reports Bryan Sykes, an Oxford University geneticist well-known for his research on human evolution. But two hair samples point to a possible new and (you guessed it) mysterious species: a bear roaming the Himalayas that may be related to ancient polar bears.

    ...

    So in 2012 Sykes and his colleague Michel Sartori of the Museum of Zoology in Lausanne, Switzerland, posted a call for hair and other samples thought to be from yetis, Bigfoot or any other “cryptid” species unknown to science. The researchers would compare stretches of DNA to known species in the GenBank database, which catalogs thousands of species.

    In came the hairs. There were hairs from famous expeditions, including a trek by Sir Edmund Hillary, hairs from museums, Buddhist relics, and, Sykes says, “quite a lot of material from Bigfoot enthusiasts in the United States.” Sykes whittled down 95 samples to 37 that were most interesting based on the circumstances of their collection.

    Of those 37, the team was able to extract DNA from 30. “A lot of them turned out to be very ordinary animals in their natural habitats,” Sykes says. As the team reports July 1 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, supposed yeti and bigfoot samples turned out to come from bears (brown, black and polar), horses, raccoons, one human, some canines (the test didn’t narrow down if they were wolves or dogs), cows, sheep, a North American porcupine, a Malaysian tapir and a serow, which is a known animal similar to a goat or antelope.

    But two hair samples from the Himalayas were a surprise. These hairs, both brownish in color, perfectly matched a short stretch of DNA once extracted from the jawbone of a 40,000-year-old polar bear. The hairs did not match modern polar bears. One hair came from an animal shot 40 years ago in Ladakh, India, by a hunter who reported that it behaved differently from typical brown bears. The other was collected about 10 years ago in Bhutan, 600 to 800 miles from Ladakh.
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    I saw a programme in which bear footprints walking made approx double sized footprints as the back foot overprinted the impression from the front foot. The resulting long impression with toes at the front looked exactly like a big foot of a larger animal and I think that is part of the myth.
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    There seems to be lots of evidence supporting the possibility of a Yeti (Bigfoot) spread out from parts all over the world. In most of the reports from many different cultures the descriptions appear to be the same or at least extraordinarily similar. What is surprising (if it does exist) is that there is no real hard definitive proof of such an animal existing in modern times, even after 70 years or so of documented reports, extensive searches and gained evidence.

    Do you think it is a creditable idea that such an animal exists or do you think its just myths and fairytale s based on misinterpreted sittings of bears, apes and the like?

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmocrazy View Post
    There seems to be lots of evidence supporting the possibility of a Yeti (Bigfoot) spread out from parts all over the world. In most of the reports from many different cultures the descriptions appear to be the same or at least extraordinarily similar. What is surprising (if it does exist) is that there is no real hard definitive proof of such an animal existing in modern times, even after 70 years or so of documented reports, extensive searches and gained evidence.
    Interestingly, this isn't your first thread on big feet.

    Quote Originally Posted by cosmocrazy View Post
    Do you think it is a creditable idea that such an animal exists or do you think its just myths and fairytale s based on misinterpreted sittings of bears, apes and the like?
    The latter. Take this quote from Swift's blurb:

    [...] it behaved differently from typical brown bears [...]
    That's it? A brown bear with perhaps some sort of injury or brain related disease seems a lot more likely than some vague new animal.
    And "matched a short stretch of DNA"? Isn't that expected in related species, depending on how long, and how exact 'exactly' is?
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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmocrazy View Post
    There seems to be lots of evidence supporting the possibility of a Yeti (Bigfoot) spread out from parts all over the world. In most of the reports from many different cultures the descriptions appear to be the same or at least extraordinarily similar. What is surprising (if it does exist) is that there is no real hard definitive proof of such an animal existing in modern times, even after 70 years or so of documented reports, extensive searches and gained evidence.

    Do you think it is a creditable idea that such an animal exists or do you think its just myths and fairytale s based on misinterpreted sittings of bears, apes and the like?

    Would you have believed prehistoric fish still to be alive, yet the Coelacanth is still alive and thriving of the coasts of South Africa and Malaysia.
    There is no doubt that there are literally thousand if not millions of species on this earth yet to be discovered or identified. Most will be new species of creatures we expect to find, but some will be totally unexpected and potentially a small proportion of this number species that science previously declared extinct or impossible.

    Do I believe in Big foot, the Yeti, Nessy or all the other mysterious monsters that are claimed to exist. No, well at least not as they are portrayed by the the groups that make outlandish claims based on little evidence, hearsay or myth. Generally these creatures and their sightings turn out to have perfectly mundane explanations, but there is a very small proportion that have no scientific explanation based on our current knowledge. These could well be new species yet undiscovered and verified as such.
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    Quote Originally Posted by efanton View Post
    Would you have believed prehistoric fish still to be alive, yet the Coelacanth is still alive and thriving of the coasts of South Africa and Malaysia.
    There is no doubt that there are literally thousand if not millions of species on this earth yet to be discovered or identified. Most will be new species of creatures we expect to find, but some will be totally unexpected and potentially a small proportion of this number species that science previously declared extinct or impossible.
    .
    The ocean is a much easier environment for species to go undetected in than the land, though.

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    What I also found significant is that, although the majority of the hair samples appear to have come from the United States, none of them were found to be unusual in any way. So even if it is true that there is an ancient bear species in the Himalayas, giving some credence to the Yeti concept, the idea that this unusual species is as widespread as are the "similar reports" about such a species has only lost some credibility in this report, if it had any to begin with. So whether or not it turns out there is some ancient bear in the Himalayas, the evidence appears to be only stronger that the "Sasquatch" phenomenon in the United States is a sociological phenomenon, rather than a zoological one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by efanton View Post
    Would you have believed prehistoric fish still to be alive, yet the Coelacanth is still alive and thriving of the coasts of South Africa and Malaysia.
    The Coelacanth currently living is NOT the same as the fish in fossils that looks much like it, it is not "a living fossil".
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    It seems to me, that the problem that Bigfoot proponents have, is that they insist Bf is practically living among us. I can easily believe there are species of animals, insects, or fish that we have yet to discover in remote places where there is little human contact. Telling me that Bigfoot wanders through your back yard on summer evenings is a lot harder to swallow.

    A while back, I watched a few minutes of a "Find Bigfoot" program. A very solemn and serious Native American lady insisted that you would never ever actually see Bigfoot. Why? Bigfoot is a shapeshifter. It knows when there are humans near, and shifts shape into something like a deer, or bear.

    So, there's that.

    TJ

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    Quote Originally Posted by slang View Post
    Interestingly, this isn't your first thread on big feet.
    Are you implying I have a (big) foot fetish

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken G View Post
    What I also found significant is that, although the majority of the hair samples appear to have come from the United States, none of them were found to be unusual in any way. So even if it is true that there is an ancient bear species in the Himalayas, giving some credence to the Yeti concept, the idea that this unusual species is as widespread as are the "similar reports" about such a species has only lost some credibility in this report, if it had any to begin with. So whether or not it turns out there is some ancient bear in the Himalayas, the evidence appears to be only stronger that the "Sasquatch" phenomenon in the United States is a sociological phenomenon, rather than a zoological one.
    Interestingly, from the few reports I have read or watched on t.v the American "Sasquatch" tends to be likened more to a large ape/man creature. Where as the European and Russian versions tend to be likened more to a large bear type creature. Both standing around 7 - 8 feet tall with large teeth and big feet.

    Personally I 'd go with your view Ken, maybe I'm naive but I would have expected some sort of hard evidence to have been found by now. Perhaps a body, or some decent video footage / pictures.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TJMac View Post

    A while back, I watched a few minutes of a "Find Bigfoot" program. A very solemn and serious Native American lady insisted that you would never ever actually see Bigfoot. Why? Bigfoot is a shapeshifter. It knows when there are humans near, and shifts shape into something like a deer, or bear.

    So, there's that.

    TJ
    I remember seeing that one, as soon as she sad it was a shape shifter

    Still, its a nice cop out, she's either extremely naive or thinks she's clever

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    Quote Originally Posted by slang View Post
    The Coelacanth currently living is NOT the same as the fish in fossils that looks much like it, it is not "a living fossil".
    You learn something new every day. It always struck me as weird that a species would not evolve over that length of time. Thanks for the link.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmocrazy View Post
    I remember seeing that one, as soon as she sad it was a shape shifter

    Still, its a nice cop out, she's either extremely naive or thinks she's clever
    She's drawing on Native American culture that goes back to before the first European arrived.

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    but the guy with the big hair on the Ancient Aliens show told me that Bigfoots were aliens that live in underground tunnels that span all of North America. somewhere in those tunnels is a "stargate" type of device that they use to get back to their homeworld..

    are y'all telling me that he wasn't 100% accurate in his portrayal of what Bigfoot really is?

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    Quote Originally Posted by slang View Post
    The Coelacanth currently living is NOT the same as the fish in fossils that looks much like it, it is not "a living fossil".
    So they're just modern fish that have retained some of the traits of their ancient ancestors?

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    Quote Originally Posted by KaiYeves View Post
    So they're just modern fish that have retained some of the traits of their ancient ancestors?
    A lot of their traits. But enough difference to show that with this fish too, evolution goes on, and on, and on. AIUI there's nothing special about the Coelacanth, except that most species that were close to it went extinct a long time ago, and it looks odd. Creationists use the Coelacanth in an attempt to show that evolution must be wrong, since "this fish hasn't changed at all". Well, it has. And the article I linked to claims that genome research supports that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by slang View Post
    A lot of their traits. But enough difference to show that with this fish too, evolution goes on, and on, and on. AIUI there's nothing special about the Coelacanth, except that most species that were close to it went extinct a long time ago, and it looks odd. Creationists use the Coelacanth in an attempt to show that evolution must be wrong, since "this fish hasn't changed at all". Well, it has. And the article I linked to claims that genome research supports that.
    My childhood is a lie. (I wasn't a creationist, I just read in my little-kid books that the Coelacanth was a living fossil.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by KaiYeves View Post
    My childhood is a lie. (I wasn't a creationist, I just read in my little-kid books that the Coelacanth was a living fossil.)
    Its another one of them damn conspiracies

    Have to say that's what I was always lead to believe but Slangs post proves that to be wrong.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmocrazy View Post
    Personally I 'd go with your view Ken, maybe I'm naive but I would have expected some sort of hard evidence to have been found by now. Perhaps a body, or some decent video footage / pictures.
    Yes, the proliferation of cell phones means that almost everyone carries cameras all the time. This has revolutionized a number of social phenomena, and made a lot of bad behaviors harder to get away with, but it has passed without so much as a whimper when it comes to finding Sasquatch evidence.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slang View Post
    That's it? A brown bear with perhaps some sort of injury or brain related disease seems a lot more likely than some vague new animal.
    And "matched a short stretch of DNA"? Isn't that expected in related species, depending on how long, and how exact 'exactly' is?
    According to the report linked in the OP "only the ancient [polar bear] jawbone is a genetic match" (emphasis added) to the short stretch of DNA found in the Himalayan yeti hair sample.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Robinson View Post
    According to the report linked in the OP [...]
    Then time moved on.

    The Telegraph (2015 March 16): Yeti is probably just a brown bear, say scientists

    And because brown bears live in the Himalayas, the scientists conclude that there is “no reason to believe that the samples in question came from anything other than ordinary Himalayan Brown Bears.”
    Last edited by 01101001; 2016-Jan-03 at 02:51 AM. Reason: add article date
    0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 ...
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    Quote Originally Posted by efanton View Post
    You learn something new every day. It always struck me as weird that a species would not evolve over that length of time. Thanks for the link.
    The Wikipedia entry on Coelacanth describes it as "the best-known example of a Lazarus taxon, an evolutionary line that seems to have disappeared from the fossil record only to reappear much later."

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    Quote Originally Posted by efanton View Post
    Have to say that's what I was always lead to believe but Slangs post proves that to be wrong.
    I was once under the "fossil" impression too. Ask Ken about perpetuating errors in popsci, or even proper sci. But the article I linked to was just the first I found with links to evidence, there's plenty more to be found.

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Robinson View Post
    According to the report linked in the OP "only the ancient [polar bear] jawbone is a genetic match" (emphasis added) to the short stretch of DNA found in the Himalayan yeti hair sample.
    And then it was still only one test, one finding. No confirming research. Only 104 letters. That leaves some room for errors, sample handling, the comparison data, interbreeding, or something else. Extraordinary evidence for extraordinary findings, certainly for a Yeti, but also for a new non-crypto species.

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Robinson View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by efanton
    ou learn something new every day. It always struck me as weird that a species would not evolve over that length of time. Thanks for the link.
    The Wikipedia entry on Coelacanth describes it as "the best-known example of a Lazarus taxon, an evolutionary line that seems to have disappeared from the fossil record only to reappear much later."
    Evolutionary line, not unchanged species. Fossilisation is rare and it's even more rare to find them. The Lazarus taxon article is a nice read though, and it states "Therefore, reappearance of Lazarus taxa probably reflects the rebound after a period of extreme rarity during the aftermath of such extinctions.".
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    So is "the coelacanth is a living fossil" a Squidphrase? http://cosmoquest.org/forum/showthre...(Squidphrases)

    ("Pluto has never been visited by a spacecraft" certainly is now!)

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    Quote Originally Posted by TJMac View Post
    It seems to me, that the problem that Bigfoot proponents have, is that they insist Bf is practically living among us. I can easily believe there are species of animals, insects, or fish that we have yet to discover in remote places where there is little human contact. Telling me that Bigfoot wanders through your back yard on summer evenings is a lot harder to swallow.

    A while back, I watched a few minutes of a "Find Bigfoot" program. A very solemn and serious Native American lady insisted that you would never ever actually see Bigfoot. Why? Bigfoot is a shapeshifter. It knows when there are humans near, and shifts shape into something like a deer, or bear.

    So, there's that.

    TJ
    TJ, this is interesting. If what you're saying is correct that woman *would* be serious and solemn. There are no good shape-shifters in most Native American cultures. They are so bad as a matter of fact, that it's dangerous and excruciatingly bad luck to even talk about them. Part of becoming one involves not so much surrendering your humanity as throwing it away.

    A not so subtle but distinct difference.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDon View Post
    TJ, this is interesting. If what you're saying is correct that woman *would* be serious and solemn. There are no good shape-shifters in most Native American cultures. They are so bad as a matter of fact, that it's dangerous and excruciatingly bad luck to even talk about them. Part of becoming one involves not so much surrendering your humanity as throwing it away.

    A not so subtle but distinct difference.
    They also seem to be associated with cannibalism as with the Wendigo.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wendigo

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    Quote Originally Posted by KaiYeves View Post
    So is "the coelacanth is a living fossil" a Squidphrase? http://cosmoquest.org/forum/showthre...(Squidphrases)

    ("Pluto has never been visited by a spacecraft" certainly is now!)
    Not so much a squidphrase, as a metaphor or simile which has sometimes been taken too literally. As Slang mentioned, while all organisms change with time, some (e.g. coelacanths) retain many ancient traits which others lose. Wikipedia entry on this term notes that it was Charles Darwin who wrote that the platypus and the lungfish "may almost be called living fossils". He wrote that "like fossils [they] connect to a certain extent orders now widely separated in the natural scale". (emphasis added).
    Last edited by Colin Robinson; 2016-Jan-04 at 09:10 PM.

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    A small update:

    Bigfoot hair comes from deer, says the FBI.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/histo...=.3ecc122b18f2

    Yeti hair comes from Himalayan bears, say researchers.
    https://royalsocietypublishing.org/d...rspb.2017.1804

    And there we are.
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