Genetic Analysis – Oxford-Lausanne Collateral Hominid Project
Update November 20, 2013:
Bryan and I have been receiving a lot of inquiries based on what people are reading in various blogs or Bigfoot groups and so we are setting the record straight so there is no more misinformation being spread around.
Regarding Zana, Bryan has tested both the mitochondria and the nuclear DNA and both sides revealed that Zana’s mother and father are both human. Bryan is currently working on a way to further determine if her African lineage is a modern or relic human. When he is successful at that determination we will announce the findings. Bryan did test Kwit’s tooth but was only able to acquire the mitochondria side of the DNA. Still, of the six descendants of Zana tested by Bryan all showed human lineage – just as the result were announced that she is human with half of her DNA being sub-Saharan African. When we discovered this outcome late last spring I told Bryan that there would be a great disappointment when some learn that she was indeed human and nothing else, but for some of us who are more scientific-focused will still be excited that there is now a concrete answer to the Zana mystery. When we received that result it made me fall back on my own expertise in psychology and propose the likelihood of Zana being a feral woman, potentially abandoned as a child, with a case of hypertrichosis and that would affect her physiology as well as cognitive abilities. All of these related indicators fall in line with Zana’s historic description.
There is another issue that keeps popping up in dialogue and that is that Bryan is not a friend of Bigfoot or that he is a government funded scientist that is involved in some government cover-up, and for the reasonable minded person these accusations are laughable. Bryan is an independent scientists that has his own lab facility and has funded this entire DNA project, including all of the travel, not asking a dime from anyone. We opened up the invitation for all who wanted to could submit a sample to the study. Some took him up on the offer for free testing of the samples and all we can do is report on what has been submitted. There has not been hundreds of sample as some have unsubstantiatedly claim, and we did not test all samples submitted without considering the provenance and other factors about the sample. We tested those that had the best provenance and closely matched some of the physiological characteristics that have been assigned to probable “Bigfoot” hairs in the past.
Bryan does believe, as do I and everyone else at Bigfootology, that there is something out there and we continue our work to discover “WHAT” they are, not “IF” they exist. When Bryan began this project with us he had a healthy skepticism for the Bigfoot phenomenon. Bigfootology team member, Thomas Finley, presented Bryan with an honorary team member certificate in the UK and when Bryan began traveling with me and spending hours upon hours with other Bigfooters and going out into the field with us he began to realize that there is something genuine to the reality that there is something unknown out there, more than just a bear. Very quickly into this DNA project Bryan became an official member of Bigfootology and has been one of our lead scientists since and his goal is the same as ours which is to find the answer to the Bigfoot phenomenon, “What are they?” Bryan’s rally cry to all of us is, “Get the real evidence.”
This is why Bryan is still willing to test more hairs even after the acquisition period of this study is finished, and is even willing to refund a person the expense of testing if indeed their hair tests to be a “Bigfoot” hair – what we have termed the “golden hair”. The time for free testing is passed because the acquisition period for the study is finished. Bryan’s reasoning is that with the expense of testing now falling on the sample submitter is that it eliminates the hoaxers, the unsure, and will make sure that a person submitting a sample is absolutely positive that the sample is from a Bigfoot as the cost of testing is high as well as the time commitment to do so.
There is a paper that is in peer-review and more outcomes from testing will be released then, and Bryan is also diligently working on his book about all of this and his adventures with the Bigfoot community. Bigfootology’s work continues as there is still much to do and we have several projects at various stages of fruition. Two of which are finished or in the process of being finished (e.g., Zana and the general DNA project). Another project that we have been working on is exploring the claim from indigenous tribes all over the world of Bigfoot/Human pairing in their history. To this date we have located and tested three individuals and we are still searching for two others that we are aware of. Exciting things are still happening and many other projects, again, are still planned or in some stage of planning to make happen.
If Bryan was not curious and has a degree of belief in this phenomenon then surely he would not have spent his time and money as he has, and continues to do, to continue to investigate these claims. The answer is there and the right moment, people, and circumstances being in place will bring us to that answer.
Rhettman A. Mullis, Jr., MS, PhD-ABD, CAF, MHP
November 10th, 2013
An open letter to the Bigfoot research community.
Now that the “Bigfoot Files” television series has aired, I can talk more about it. I must first preface my comments by saying there are still things I cannot say because Bryan’s paper is in peer-review and his book is scheduled to come out in the spring.
With a fundamental understanding that Bigfoot do exist, we take a multidisciplinary approach to learning more about the species. When we began working with Bryan on the DNA project we had one goal in mind – not to prove or disprove that Bigfoot exists, but to answer the question, “What are they?”
We knew the project’s outcome would be conditional on what we received as samples. If you have seen the TV series you saw that 12 samples’ results were revealed. All were known animals, with the exception of some glass fibers sent from Russia. As you can see, a lot of money and effort was wasted on some samples. It must be noted that Bryan generously self-funded this project all on his own, including all of the travel. I can tell you that this has not been cheap and I doubt if he will ever recoup his investment, so those who claim that he is in this for the money don’t know what they are talking about. Neither Bryan, nor Bigfootology, charged anyone for processing, shipping and analyzing the samples for this project.
Over the summer, I saw rumor upon rumor popping up online, and I tried to squash those rumors without divulging sensitive information. I warned the media and bloggers to watch what they say and check with me first before jumping to conclusions. I also told everyone that unless the information came from me or Bryan, to take it with a grain of salt. I tried to help the media and bloggers preserve their credibility and integrity. Some listened and some did not. One blogger even unfriended me, blocked me, publicly called me an idiot, and then continued to post unfounded rumors and information – all of which have proven to be incorrect. The ones who did not listen are those who hyped the study and television show, shamelessly building up people’s expectations about the television show. Neither Bryan nor I contributed to this hype, as it would have been premature and unprofessional.
Now to clarify some other points…
Filming of the documentary:
When I announced this project nearly two years ago, I said three things were going to happen; a documentary split into one hour segments centered on Asia, America and Russia; a formal paper on the outcomes of sample submissions; and a book authored by Bryan about his experiences with this project and working with the global Bigfoot community. I stated that Channel 4 has an ongoing habit of following Bryan in his various projects. I also stated that Bryan and I were not in control of Icon Films or the final product. I will now let you in on what went on behind the scenes.
I did work with Icon Films to set up filming opportunities, connections with many people around the world, and initial consulting, as I have done with other productions in the past. I also offered to consult on the show to save them from making novice mistakes. They claimed they were tight on their budget, but of course, they seemed to have funding to play with helicopters, planes and globe-hopping. Icon Films also tried to cut Bryan from most of the filming and we pushed back on that. Even so, Bryan and I were both cut out of filming in Northern California and at the Sierra Kill site. They finally compromised and flew Bryan in to do the “reveal” with Justin Smeja and Dan Shirley.
After they filmed Derek Randles, Bryan and I met the film crew on the Olympic Peninsula, where they filmed Mark Evans handing over the Yeti samples picked up in Nepal. You never saw that in the documentary. And by the way, that is also something else they cut Bryan out of – Nepal. They also excluded him from the Russian filming except for the reveal in Moscow.
I do not know if there will be any special edit for the two-hour special that will play on the National Geographic channel on November 17. I will find out when we all do. While the quality of the show is good in terms of graphics and filmography, it is very clear that Icon’s agenda was to show the Bigfoot community is a collective of “wackos.” Bryan and I knew that they would attempt to do this. We agreed that I would warn everyone I could that Icon may try to capture an emotional reaction to the “gotcha” moment and not to fall for it. Apparently that did not work. Did you notice that most of the results were just posted on a map with Mark Evans narrating? There is a reason for that, because they cut Bryan out of all of that. They showed Igor’s response and Justin’s response, because of their emotional reactions. They already made Igor and Dan Shirley look foolish. However, Dan had a good response, and we agree with Dan. We know Bigfoot exist and we will continue our work despite Icon’s agenda to make the world think they have closed the case on what Yeti/Bigfoots are. Bryan and I know better, as do many of you reading this.
When we started this project we knew that there were three potential answers to the, “what are they” question – some kind of large ape, some kind of human (sub-human), or some kind or relic-human or combination thereof. Our attitude was that we were going to let the DNA provide the answer. Remember Bryan’s motto, “The DNA never lies.”
Being at the lab was a lot of fun. We took nearly a thousand photos and filmed the entire time. We will someday release that video. Bryan looked like a kid in a candy shop when we were taken into the hair room. I posted a photo of that on our Bigfootology Facebook page. Bryan spent a lot of time there.
The results aired on the television shows do not compromise Bryan’s paper in peer review. The show is purely entertainment and as I said before, we had no control over it. So the concerns of some people who think that results revealed in the show are leaks from the paper are unfounded. We kept things quiet for so long, why would we suddenly “leak” anything? We are a professional organization and adhere to the proper scientific process.
The fact that Zana had difficulty with language implies that she was abandoned very young as we know that the human brain will cull off, in a process called neural-pruning, unused synaptic pathways, such as language ability, if those pathways go unused for an extended period of time. Basically, if you don’t use it, you lose it. This is why we instruct parents to keep babies consistently exposed to all sensory stimuli during their early development as to reinforce the sensory synaptic pathways in order to establish and develop those abilities. We also tell senior citizens to do the same because we now know that neural pruning is not a phenomenon restricted to children. So the theory I put forward is that Zana was an abandoned child with a form of generalized congenital hypertrichosis, and that she was a truly feral human from Africa, relic, modern to that time, or a hybrid at the point of her capture.
I must note that some forms of hypertrichosis also cause retardation/cognitive issues, and can also produce very distinct physiological properties including how the nose looks, placement of the ears, sloping forehead, and more.Igor has stated in the past that he never found Zana’s remains, but if I recall correctly, he did find the remains of an African. Now that we know that Zana was African perhaps Igor did find her remains after all and if that is the case, Igor should be thrilled that he found her and that his life’s work of solving her mystery has been achieved. Way to go, Igor, and thanks to Bryan for getting to the bottom of this mystery. When we look at photos of Kwit and other Zana offspring in light of this genetic finding, it makes more sense as to why they look like they are a blend of African and Caucasian in their appearance.
Many people comment that former Russian boxer Nikolai Valuev looks like he might be related to Bigfoot. A man I met in 1987 in Utah was almost the same size, maybe an inch or two shorter, and not quite that wide but close. He introduced himself as, and had everyone call him, “The Big Ugly Indian.” I asked Bryan if he tested Nikolai to see if there are any anomalies in his genetic code and I hope that he has. I say all of this because we are embarking on another project in which we will test some people who claim or have been told that they have Bigfoot ancestry. We know of several and have leads on more.
Through Bigfootology, we hope to show people that science is giving this field the serious look it deserves and that answers are now being revealed. We will continue this work and more as we find funding. We will not get people’s hopes and expectations up; we will let the results speak for themselves. That is why a science organization works quietly behind-the-scenes, often for a long time, and then when the results are found the information is properly published and made public. I understand that some may be disappointed that the television show did not prove Bigfoot’s existence, but as I stated before, it is for entertainment and not the purpose of the study. Again, we already know they exist; we want to know what they are. But from a scientific perspective, the revelation that a relic bear still lives and that a famous wild-woman may be a relic African is exciting and quite significant.
These will not be my final comments on all of this. More is still to come, but this is enough for now.
Thank you for your patience and support.
Rhettman A. Mullis, Jr., MS, PhD-ABD, CAF, MHP
UPDATE #2- October 2013
Most people know that the public submission of hair samples has been closed for some time, but some hair samples with excellent provenance were still being accepted and submitted through, Bigfootology, Bryan’s agent for samples. There were a few samples that were sent to Bryan that have potential and Bryan and I discussed which samples to still test in terms of high to low potential. Bryan told me this morning that he has made the decision on which of those last few samples he is testing now, which are samples that we have already submitted to him and he has current possession of because other factors have now come into play for us to stop testing for the project. So there are five last samples that he has put in for testing – pro bono.
He has stated that he will go ahead and implement the plan that if anyone wants to submit samples they can but the submitter will have to absorb any costs for that testing (approximately $1500) and if the sample does prove to test as an authentic Bigfoot hair the fee for analysis will be refunded. We are putting together a package that will come out with the release of the paper detailing an incentive for people to submit samples and how to do that properly, so stay tuned for that. Many will find it interesting.
So at this point no more samples are being taken, even behind-the-scenes for this project.
Rhettman A. Mullis, Jr.
UPDATE – October 2013
The first edition of the planned documentary by Icon Films has aired in the UK for Channel 4.
The next two episodes, America and Russia, will be shown on October 27 and November 3rd at 8 PM UK time.
National Geographic Channel will be airing a special two-hour episode on November 17th. I have only seen snippets and Bryan has seen all three episodes, so I cannot communicate what they decided to run with as we provided them ample opportunities and spent a few days filming with them. Icon Films follows Dr. Bryan Sykes in his projects both in the past and with this current project, and neither Bryan or myself have control over what they say or air in their programs. The shows do not belong to Bryan, they are just followers of Bryan’s work.
The formal paper is submitted and going through peer-review for publication. The date of publication now is in the hands of the peer-review journal. When we know more, we will let the Bigfoot community know more.
Bryan, through his literary agent, is going to be publishing his book this spring of 2014, which details his journey through this project and interacting with the Bigfoot community, as well as his own experiences of being out in the field. As we have a more concrete publication date we will let you know.
Rhettman A. Mullis, Jr., MS, PhD-ABD, CAF, MHP
UPDATE – August 2013
Thanks to all who have contributed samples to the project. We have collected and analysed over thirty samples and results are being prepared for publication. Following normal procedure, no results or other information will be available prior to publication, so please do not enquire.
Though the collection phase is now over, hair samples can still be submitted for analysis, but the costs (about $2,000 per sample) will no longer be covered.
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.
SAMPLE SUBMISSION PHASE May – September 2012
DNA ANALYSIS PHASE September – November 2012
PUBLICATION PHASE November – December 2012
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
University of Oxford
Oxford OX2 6UD
Dr. Michel Sartori
Musee de Zoologie
Palais de Rumine
Place de Riponne 6
When emailing please use OLCHP as the subject of your message.
You can also send samples to Dr. Sykes through Bigfootology attention OLCHP and Bigfootology will forward on the samples to Dr. Sykes. Please follow the instructions above to submit your samples as they still apply.
Send your samples to:
P.O. Box 40143
Bellevue, WA 98015
Rhettman A. Mullis, Jr., MS, PhD-ABD, CAF, MHP
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