Bigfoot DNA evidence is far and few between, and most specimens are inconclusive or only suggestive. However, a story of an ape-woman named Zana seems to support the existence of the creature Bigfoot. Zana was a mysterious woman discovered in 1850 in the Ochamchir region of Georgia, Russia by local hunters. Zana’s appearance was extremely unusual and uncharacteristic of modern human. Her body was massive at 6’6”, she was covered in hair, and was slightly different in anatomy than the humans of the time. After being captured from the dense forest, she was brought to an isolated mountain village called T'khina, fifty miles from Sukhumi Russia. She became extremely violent, and exercised non-human strength and speed. Zana would outrun horses and effortlessly climb trees. Zana’s incredible strength, unmatchable speed, and physical appearance is exactly what witnesses report in North American Bigfoot sightings. Zana was determined to be a relic hominin. During her time in the village, Zana conceived children from two men in the community. Her youngest son, Khwit’s tooth along with the saliva of several of Zana’s living descendants were submitted to Oxford professor Bryan Sykes for DNA examination. The skull of Zana’s son was also submitted, and appeared extremely peculiar, exhibiting characteristics of both modern and ancient human. Zana’s son and descendants were determined to have ancient Sub-Saharan African DNA, which is not present in modern humans. This points to the fact that Zana was not a Homo Sapien, but rather part of a relic population of human that had left Africa some 100,000 years prior to settle in the Russian Caucuses Mountains.
Dr.F. Martin Duncan, the man in charge of the hair collection at the London Zoo, analyzed samples sent to him by Ivan Sanderson, found at Bluff Creek, CA. Duncan concluded that such samples could not be linked to any known animal, but did demonstrate the same characteristics and features of a large primate. Almost 10 years later, in 1968, hairs collected in central Idaho were sent to an instructor of police science at the California State College in LA. Ray Pinker determined that the hair samples did not match any known animal, and in fact demonstrated characteristics from both human and nonhuman primates. The hairs showed many characteristics of apes like the changing of thickness and tint along their length however their scale pattern was eerily similar to humans. In 1993, another analysis of suspected Bigfoot hair (this time found in northern California) was done by Dr.Sterling Bunnell, M.D, of the California Academy of Sciences. He examined the hairs of humans, chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutan, and pygathrix to compare and contrast the specimen. He concluded that the assumed Bigfoot hair sample was closely related to the human-chimpanzee-gorilla group, but was also clearly different than each of these apes in its pigmentation. These other apes show medullary streaks while the possible Bigfoot sample showed no observable medullary structure. In most all studies, the DNA from the hairs was not able to be sequenced due to damage, however structural differences rule out any known species. Bunnell placed the sample side-by-side with human, chimpanzee, gorilla, orangutan and Pygathrix monkey hairs, and revealed that although similar to all, the specimen was noticeably different than these known species. He compared the surface and general appearance to human and gorilla, and left his study there. However, Dr.Jeff Meldrum and Dr. Henner Fahrenbach further examined the reports from many labs including Dr.Bunnell’s, to determine if the unknown samples (CLICK READ MORE)
shared characteristics. Dr. Meldrum explains that in non-primate mammals, hair is grouped into 3 types including longer, coarser hairs, a finer undercoat, and whiskers. Out of all the hair types, the coarse hair layer is what yields the most evidence. In order to identify a species, scientists observe overlapping scales, which can be different in color and thickness, diameter of the hair, cross-sectional shape, and length of the hair shaft. Human hair grows differently and longer than other species, therefore showing its own characteristics such as a cut end and distinctive follicle structure. After Fahrenbach gathered nearly a dozen samples that were not linked to any known animal, the two scientists began studying their similarities. Their findings were interesting in that two of the samples had the same structural characteristics, making them the same species, however their hair color & hair length varied, as it does in Homo sapiens as well. Although the samples were ultimately inconclusive, they did point to the probability of an unknown hominin species, with origin that resembles both human and ape.
Aside from hair samples, scat has provided an interesting source of evidence. A very quiet analysis done by a medical lab in Oregon proved to contain some intriguing evidence. The assumed Bigfoot scat analyzed was said to have contained the eggs of a parasitic nematode worm whose size of their eggs depends on the species they feed on (the larger the animal, the larger the eggs). The largest eggs found in the suspected Bigfoot scat were far beyond the size of human parasites, but have been reported in many primates. Dr. Vaughn Bryant, an anthropologist at Texas A&M University, was on the case for two scat samples originating in the Pacific Northwest of America. After microscopic examination, he determined that the cells present in the scat were able to rule out the possibility of it being from human, moose, elk, deer, and bear. What other large animals exist in this environment that may be the host of these parasites?
Although DNA evidence is not abundant within Bigfoot research, there are a few studies that have certainly concluded that the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence. Hair sample structure that resembles both ape and human, DNA evidence of a relic hominin in Russia, and scat samples that point to a large, unknown species should be enough evidence to warrant more research and funding into this worldwide interest.
Meldrum, Jeff. Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science. New York: Forge, 2006. Print.
“Oxford Scientist Analyzed DNA of Russian ‘Ape Woman.’” Pumpkin Person, 9 May 2017, pumpkinperson.com/2017/05/09/oxford-scientist-analyzed-dna-of-russian-ape-woman/.