TIME animals

DNA Study Proves Bigfoot Never Existed

Juuuuust in case...
Juuuuust in case... Lynn Janes, Photonica; Getty

Curse you, reliable DNA studies! Must you spoil all the fun?

In a stunning finding that set off shock waves of grieving through much of the world, University of Oxford researchers announced that the beloved bipedal cryptid known globally as Bigfoot is dead—or, more specifically, that he never existed.

Mr. Foot, who also went by the name Sasquatch, or Sásq’ets in the original Halkomelem, was 4,000 years old. Or maybe not.

The Oxford finding was the result of a three-year study that began in 2012 when researchers issued an open call for hair samples held in museums and private collections that were said to come from “an anomalous primate,” which is the kind of term scientists from a place like Oxford University often use when they’re publishing a peer-reviewed paper on, you know, Bigfoot, and don’t want to be snickered at by other Oxford University scientists in the faculty lounge. Thirty-six samples from the U.S., Russia, Indonesia, India, Bhutan and Nepal were ultimately submitted, a geographical range that suggested a) there was more than one “anomalous primate” out there, b) there is only one, but he is really, really well-traveled, c) there’s a teensy-weensy chance the hairs came from something else.

To find out, the investigators conducted DNA analyses on the samples and compared their findings to those of known species of animals. As it turned out they got some hits—a lot of them actually. The samples, the investigators found, came from animals as diverse as bears, wolves, raccoons, porcupine, deer, sheep, at least one human, and a cow. Again, that’s a cow.

The news was met with something less than universal acceptance that the long-rumored 10-ft. tall, 500-lb. creature with a two-ft. footprint, a coat of reddish brown hair, the sagittal crest of a gorilla and an unpleasant smell just might not exist. “The fact that none of these samples turned out to be [Bigfoot] doesn’t mean the next one won’t,” said no less a person than Bryan Sykes, the Oxford researcher who led the study, according to the Associated Press.

The Guardian headlined its story on the announcement “DNA analysis indicates Bigfoot may be a big fake,” begging the question of what it might take to warrant a headline that Bigfoot is a big fake.

None of that will do much to relieve the grief in the parts of Bigfoot-loving community that do, reluctantly, accept the Oxford team’s findings. As yet, Bigfoot intimates Kraken, Wendigo, Yeti and The Loch Ness Monster have issued no statement and have not returned calls or e-mails requesting comments. That could, scientific literalists suggest, indicate that they don’t exist either. But really, they’ve probably just gone into seclusion.

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