Ever heard that expression, “Put up or shut up?” Perhaps it’s seldom if ever been used in the context of the scientific processes. But if we cut to the chase, I think it has now found its place in that context.
Researchers from Oxford University are planning to use advanced DNA techniques that could debunk or validate claims of Bigfoot, otherwise known as yeti, abominable snowman, skunk ape, etc., etc.
New genetic tests will be done on just a few strands of hair and should be completed within weeks. Even if the sample is judged to come from an unknown species, scientists should be able to tell how closely it is related to other species, including apes or humans, a spokesman from Oxford’s Lausanne Museum of Zoology said. They have asked people who claim to have hair samples or tissue samples to share them for testing.
Now from what I’ve read of this effort, these scientists don’t hold out much hope that they will find evidence of Bigfoot.
I’m already on record as a leading skeptic of this kind of stuff. Most scientists put Bigfoot in the “mythical legend” category where it shares drawer space with the concepts of term limits for Congress and alternate energy initiatives. Great ideas, but mostly urban legends.
I watch those “Searching for Bigfoot” television programs for pure comic relief. Occasionally they show a map where most of the “sightings” have occurred. And it would appear that they are everywhere but in downtown Atlanta. And I fully expect Piedmont Park to eventually have a sighting. There are even sightings reported in places where there is nothing big enough for them to hide behind. Go figure.
I’ve been told by Bigfoot enthusiasts from all over the country that just because I haven’t seen it, doesn’t mean it’s not there.
My argument has been that if they exist in such great numbers, then why do we never find a carcass, and why is the camera always out of focus?
So I got to thinking about the Oxford University project. This is a renowned institution, not Phoenix University. I’m wondering if the BFRO (Bigfoot Research Organization) is afraid of this high fallutin’ study. By the way, BFRO is really Buck, Fred, Reginald and Francine who have a couple of infrared cameras and the ability to call town hall meetings where people describe their encounters.
If Oxford determines that none of the samples are evidence of Bigfoot, what does that do to cable television where all of these programs are aired? How will they fill those spaces? Will the BFRO accept these findings, disband and move over to haunted houses and the Bermuda Triangle mysteries?
On the other hand, what if Oxford’s findings are inconclusive or worse, what if they suggest that there is such a stealth creature that stands 9 feet tall, snaps trees like twigs and can diagram simple sentences?
Cable TV could get a tremendous boost. “Ice Road Truckers” and “The Deadliest Catch” (by the way, it’s always crabs) could lose out. Someone will be selling Bigfoot detectors that can also slice tomatoes and cut galvanized pipe. How about “Dancing With Bigfoot?”
But my feelings remain the same. People just like to romance the idea that there are big boogers out there that go bump in the night.
I think we all have the genetics for that except most of us grow out of those tendencies parallel to discovering that professional wrestling is just theater, and the actors are in tremendous physical shape. Some of them may also diagram simple sentences.
I anxiously await word from Oxford. And I’ll probably get a word or two from Phoenix University as well.
Dwain Walden is editor/publisher of The Moultrie Observer.