The hair sample found in Teslin, Yukon earlier last month (July 2005) did not come from the elusive Sasquatch, but rather from a bison.
"The DNA profile of the hair sample we received from the Yukon earlier this week clearly matches reference DNA profiles from North American bison," said Dr. David Coltman, a wildlife geneticist in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta.
The tuft of coarse brown hair was sent to the University of Alberta July 18 after Dr. Coltman offered to conduct DNA testing. The sample has undergone rigorous analysis, including using a chemical solution to separate the DNA material from the hair shaft. The gene sequences were then studied and compared to known sequences of other animals.
The DNA sequence from the Teslin hair sample produced a 100% match with known bison sequences. It also bore little similarity to other groups of mammals such as primates or carnivores.
Previous results from analysis done by the Yukon Department of Environment suggested the hair came from a bison. The clump of hair was taken from the bush earlier this month near the small Yukon community of Teslin. Witnesses claimed to have spotted a large, furry human-like figure late one night that left behind broken tree branches, large footprints and a clump of hair.
For a few days Dr. Coltman and Dr. Corey Davis were not certain they would find anything, as the DNA in the sample was highly degraded and of very low quality. It took repeated attempts to amplify sufficient mitochondrial DNA for sequencing, which is inconsistent with the idea that the hair sample was recently separated from its owner.
The extent of degradation of this sample would be consistent with longer-term, over-winter exposure to moisture and direct sunlight, or the consequence of the tanning process that is used to preserve hides and trophy mounts.
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