Oxford examines the yeti

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Oxford University is at the forefront of a new project to test the existence of the ‘Yeti’ and other cryptid hominid species.

Working in collaboration with Switzerland’s Lausanne Museum of Zoology, the Oxford-Lausanne Collateral Hominid Project intends to gather together organic remains as potential evidence, through anonymous donations from individuals and organisations, which will then be submitted to rigorous genetic analysis.

The existence or otherwise of the ‘yeti’, also known by the names ‘Bigfoot’ and ‘Sasquatch’ has been a subject of debate since Eric Shipton’s 1951 expedition to Everest, from which he returned with photographs of giant unidentifiable footprints in the snow. Despite numerous eye-witness accounts since then, the scientific community around the world has always been dubious as to the existence of such a creature.

Professor Bryan Sykes, of Wolfson College, is spearheading this most recent investigation in conjunction with Michel Sartori, Director of the Lausanne Museum of Zoology.

Sykes commented, “It’s an area that any serious academic ventures into with a great deal of trepidation. It’s full of eccentric and downright misleading reports.

‘Mainstream science remains unconvinced by these reports both through lack of testable evidence and the scope for fraudulent claims. However, recent advances in the techniques of genetic analysis of organic remains provide a mechanism for genus and species identification that is unbiased, unambiguous and impervious to falsification.”

Sykes added, “It is possible that a scientific examination of these neglected specimens could tell us more about how Neanderthals and other early hominids interacted and spread around the world.”

The reaction amongst Oxford students to the reseaerch has been mixed. Poppy Rimington-Pounder, a student at New, commented, “They’re hairy, white and big: a cross between men and polar bears. And they are real.”

Tom Hoskins, a first year at LMH, said, “To quote ‘The Logic Manual’: “A yeti features in Monsters, Inc. Monsters, Inc. is real. Therefore, Yetis are real.”

Not everyone, however, was so positive about the legendary monster. Physicist Aneesh Naik said, “I hate yetis, they’re abominable”, and refused to comment further.

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