Calgary

'Sasquatch' hair belonged to bison

Geneticists stomped on the legend of Big Foot Thursday.

Geneticists stomped on the legend of Big Foot Thursday.

DNA tests conducted on a tuft of hair collected by northerners who swore they saw a human-like hairy beast tromp through their backyards a month ago turned out to be that of a bison.

For some, it was a disappointing end to several weeks of speculation and buzz about the possibility of Big Foot being real.

International reporters with CBS, the LA times, and the BBC had lined up for the outcome of the test results Thursday – just in case they confirmed the legend of the Sasquatch.

Wildlife geneticist David Coltman, with the University of Alberta, told the throng of reporters that testing was difficult because the hair sample was "highly degraded" and of low quality. He said the condition of the hair would suggest the sample was old, and not freshly separated from its source.

Still, he said the test results are 100 per cent accurate.

"In our experience, shed hair collected in the field is a highly reliable source of (DNA) even after weeks of exposure to ambient conditions."

Despite the cold-scientific facts he delivered, Coltman gave Sasquatch believers a glimmer of hope.

"While we have shown that this hair sample did not come from an unknown species, such as a Sasquatch, the faithful can take solace in that this finding does not disprove that such a species exists."

In early July, two men, Chucka Choumant and Trent Smarch, said they heard trees snapping and creaking as a mysterious figure passed through their Teslin yard – 180 km east of Whitehorse. They said the creature was moving fast and left behind a huge footprint, twice the size of a human's, and a small patch of hair.

Coltman predicted all along that it might be bison hair.

However, the University of Alberta scientist said he hopes the buzz around Big Foot might encourage youngster to take an interest in science.

But he's also concerned that he might become a magnet for some fringe groups. He said he's already been asked to test some fur that allegedly came from werewolf.