‘Bigfoot’ samples analyzed in lab

first_imgIn North America, they’re called Bigfoot or Sasquatch. In the Himalayan foothills, they’re known as yeti or abominable snowmen. And Russians call them Almasty. But in the scientific laboratory, these elusive, hairy, humanoid creatures are nothing more than bears, horses, and dogs. That’s the conclusion of a new study—the first peer-reviewed, genetic survey of biological samples claimed to be from the shadowy beasts.“There are very few reputable scientists who have ever been willing to go publicly on record as far as Bigfoot and yeti,” says anthropologist Todd Disotell of New York University in New York City, who was not involved in the new work but has performed unpublished analyses of anomalous primate samples in the past. “This study did it right, reducing contamination and following all the standard protocols.”Supposed evidence for Bigfoot and its ilk comes from observers who spot apelike creatures darting through the woods or who find giant footprints in the mud. Bigfoot believers have various ideas about what the animals are, often revolving around the survival of a prehistoric humanoid. Yet many sightings have later turned out to be hoaxes, and scientific support for the existence of the primates is scant.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)In 2012, researchers at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom and the Museum of Zoology in Lausanne, Switzerland, put out a call for hair samples thought to be from anomalous primates. They received 57 hairs from Bigfoot enthusiasts and museums around the world, including samples from Washington, Texas, Oregon, Russia, and India—a few as old as 50 years. Some “hairs” immediately turned out not to be hairs at all, but rather plant or glass fibers; others were too worn to study.The researchers, led by Oxford geneticist Bryan Sykes, focused on the remaining 37 samples, isolating and cleaning a 2- to 4-centimeter segment of each hair, many of which have been extensively handled by people, contaminating them with foreign DNA. To identify the evolutionary source of each sample, the team determined the sequence of a gene—found inside the mitochondria of cells—that encodes the 12S RNA, which is often used for species identification. Unlike standard DNA, mitochondrial genes are passed only from mother to offspring.Seven of the samples didn’t yield enough DNA for identification. Of the 30 that were sequenced, all matched the exact 12S RNA sequences for known species, the team reports online today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Ten hairs belonged to various bear species; four were from horses; four were from wolves or dogs; one was a perfect match to a human hair; and the others came from cows, raccoons, deer, and even a porcupine. Two samples, from India and Bhutan, matched polar bear 12S RNA—a surprising finding that Sykes is following up on to determine whether some Himalayan bears are hybrid species with polar bears.“I’ve had very good cooperation with the Bigfoot community, who are generally pleased that there is now a method of identifying their quarry in a way that would be universally accepted,” Sykes says. “They are returning to the forests with renewed enthusiasm in search of the ‘golden hair’ which proves their beliefs.”The fact that the findings now appear in a peer-reviewed paper, says New York University’s Disotell, is key to bridging the gap between enthusiasts hoping to understand Bigfoot and professional scientists with access to modern labs. It also illustrates the proper protocol that’s needed to test a scientific hypothesis, he adds. “I think this study will bring home the message that you can’t go off and make any old claim you want; there are scientific methods to testing claims.”last_img read more

BMWs China electric car export plans on hold amid tariff uncertainty

first_imgBut Washington and Beijing are locked in a trade dispute, with U.S. President Donald Trump threatening to increase tariffs to 25 percent from 10 percent on $200 billion of Chinese goods if the two sides can’t reach a deal.The uncertainty is making it hard for BMW to take a decision about exports, chief executive Harald Krueger said.“We have no basis for taking a decision at the moment. Whether this is financially viable and whether it makes sense needs to be evaluated,” Krueger told journalists at the Geneva car show.BMW bought a majority stake in its Chinese joint venture partner Brilliance last year and announced plans to build an electric version of its X3 sport-utility vehicle at the venture’s plant in China.So far, BMW has no other plans to produce the electric X3 in other markets, so that it can ramp up economies of scale in a technology that has so far proven to be a low margin business.BMW has also signed a memorandum of understanding with China’s Great Wall to build an electric version of the Mini.Whether an electric Mini could be exported from China is an open question, Peter Schwarzenbauer, BMW’s board member responsible for Mini told Reuters in an interview.“That’s probably the most strategic question we discussed over the past two or three years. With all the uncertainty around tariffs. I wouldn’t be able to give you a good answer of what will happen. The only option is to put yourself in a situation where you can react.”U.S. behind on cyber threats: “Dawn of the Code War” authorChina’s size and government regulations favoring locally produced electric cars make it worthwhile for BMW to pursue the alliance with Great Wall to build a Mini in China.But BMW is still undecided where to have Mini’s export hub for electric cars. It has the option of building electric Mini’s in Oxford, England, Born the Netherlands and in China, Schwarzenbauer said.“If China export is something that can be done easily, we could export much more out of China. If this becomes difficult, we have to balance it with Oxford and Born.”Reporting by Edward Taylor and Costas Pitas; Editing by Mark Potter GENEVA (Reuters) – BMW’s ambitions to establish China as a hub for exporting electric cars are in limbo because of uncertainty over potential trade tariffs between China and the United States, company executives told Reuters. London best pest control last_img read more