Our favorite lumbering ape-man, Bigfoot, has been spotted again—this time, hanging out near bison in Yellowstone National Park, according to a new video.
Uploaded by Youtube user Mary Greeley, and then pounced upon by Bigfoot hunters, the fuzzy clip appears to show not one, but four, Bigfeet ambling through the woods.
Bigfoot may be pure myth, but he's long held sway over popular culture—and has even sparked some scientists' curiosity. In 2014, a research group led by Oxford University geneticist Bryan Sykes conducted genetic testing on several hair samples that people claimed were from the elusive creature—the first scientific study of its kind.
Their DNA tests revealed that the supposed Bigfoot hair actually belonged to bears and other known mammals.
National Geographic reached out to Michel Sartori, a zoologist at the Museum of Zoology in Lausanne, Switzerland, and co-author of the 2014 study, to get his thoughts on Bigfoot science.
First off, what do you think of the new video?
I had two looks at the video, and although I am not a specialist in digital images, the fake is obvious in my opinion. The four of them are visible at the beginning, but for an obscure reason three of them disappeared behind a quite small fir tree ... and the one who walks has quite a mechanical way of moving. All this makes this video quite suspect at best.
How do you approach a subject like Bigfoot scientifically when there are so many rumors and legends surrounding it? Is it difficult?
Approaching Bigfoot scientifically is not so difficult. In fact, applying a scientific approach to this elusive field requires [being] honest and only applying scientific tools ... to prove or reject my hypothesis.
How did your group go about testing that hypothesis?
We chose genetic analyses of hairs that people provided. We screened the material with a genetic marker and [applied] our results to the existing data. The results [revealed] ... no proof of an unknown ape or hominoid-like creature, whose genetic signature would have been quite different.
I don't suppose this video or others have made you doubt your research at all?
Our results do not bring any evidence for an unknown ape in North America, but Bigfooters now have a method to test their samples. It is their job to bring evidence of unknown species [and evaluate them scientifically].
Last, why do you think so many people insist on the existence of creatures like Bigfoot even when scientific research like yours suggests it is probably a myth?
The answer is not easy, and probably more psychological than purely scientific. Like Mulder in The X Files, they say they want to believe such creatures exist.
Everyone may believe what they want, but pure science only examines the proof, and currently there is none. But who knows?
Follow Stefan Sirucek on Twitter.