Friend of the show and recent focus of our attention Sharon Hill (we’re not stalking, I swear) likes the Channel 4 “Bigfoot Files” episode on the Yeti:
You should have seen me smiling when the show began with EXACTLY the right tone: Dr. Bryan Sykes, geneticist who is heading the DNA analysis portion of the project through Oxford University, is not looking for evidence for the Yeti. He is looking for ANSWERS.
The point with which I’d take some exception is embedded within this paragraph:
Three samples of supposed Yeti hairs were analyzed by Sykes. He has taken on the most ambitious Bigfoot DNA project ever simply because, he says, he is curious. Sykes chastises cryptozoologists slightly by saying science does not reject this field. “Show me the evidence and I’ll examine it.” As of late, there are several big budget searches for Sasquatch. Therefore, there should be far fewer rants about how money, attention and science has been withheld from cryptid studies. Cryptozoologists must stop making excuses and put forth what they have. If it does not show a primate as Bigfoot is described, then this is solid reasoning to conclude that such an animal does NOT exists.
Kudos to Sykes, indeed, for his approach. He is demonstrating a truly scientific attitude towards the subject of relic hominids. While I’m still waiting to find out what, if anything, he found from the small connection I have with his study (maybe we’ll find out on TV like everyone else), I think his approach is the one to take regardless of where you stand on the issue of bigfoot, Yeti, or whatever.
The thing that made me raise my eyebrow was the “several big budget searches” part of her statement. Here are the “searches” I can think of after spending some time pondering…
- Sykes’ study. It’s a “search” in that he’s looking into the sources of hair samples submitted to him but it’s not the kind of field study I’d like to see with real trained biologists with a knowledge of primate behavior on the ground in the right kind of habitat.
- Ketchum’s, uh, study. “Scientific” in that she sent samples to scientists and “big budget” in that it couldn’t have been cheap (and we know Melba didn’t pay for it), but that’s about where it ends. Discussions of lemur people and angel DNA put a full stop to any further discussion of her or her work. Not the sort of attention that does anyone any good at all.
- SyFy’s Finding Bigfoot…? In no way scientific and not that big of a budget. Any “searches” done for a cable TV audience are the furthest thing from science and are meaningless. Same goes for Joe Rogan, Josh Gates, and any other well intentioned TV personality.
- The Falcon Project. No offense to Dr. Meldrum, but this is the equivalent of vaporware at the moment. A concept in search of funding. Maybe it’ll work, maybe it won’t, but either way, this is really just another endeavor from someone already in the world of cryptozoology to bring forward more evidence he hopes a larger scientific audience will pay attention to (hint: they probably won’t).
And that’s all I got. One actually scientific new and interesting look at evidence already collected by the same essentially ignored crew of citizen naturalists spending their own resources and time looking for an animal hardly anyone in the academic or scientific world will give the time of day along with a bunch of nutty distractions.
Skeptics gleefully criticize the evidence that’s out there but, thus far, none are apparently willing to do more than highlight the lunatic fringes for entertainment purposes and/or make sweeping pronouncements regarding the results of tests made to the relative paucity of hard physical remains that have been preserved. Surely, we have made some progress in the past ten years or so with regard to legitimacy, but we have a very long way to go until a fair judge could say the subject of relic hominids is being given anything like the kind of attention the circumstantial evidence suggests it deserves.