Image: Bison
John Heilprin  /  AP file
A DNA hair sample from what eyewitnesses believed to be a Sasquatch turned out to belong to a more mundane bison, like these seen grazing in Jackson Hole, Wyo.
msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 7/29/2005 12:41:19 PM ET 2005-07-29T16:41:19

Perhaps he is still stomping around somewhere, but a DNA test has confirmed that it was not Bigfoot roaming the Yukon earlier this month — it was just a bison.

A hair sample was reportedly plucked from a bush near Teslin in the Yukon at a spot where several people claimed they saw and heard a large, hairy creature making a late-night run through their community. They also reported seeing an unusually large footprint.

The witnesses speculated that they had seen Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch, an ape-like creature said to haunt the wilderness of western Canada, among other places.

But Bigfoot's presence was refuted after a geneticist from the University of Alberta did tests on the sample, and said the DNA match for a bison was 100 per cent.

David Coltman, the geneticist, says the DNA suggested the hair sample was not fresh.

Coltman agreed to do the tests as a favor to a colleague, and had said Monday that he suspected the hair was actually left behind by a much more mundane Yukon bison.

“If Sasquatch is indeed a primate, then we would expect the sample to be closer to humans or chimpanzees or gorillas,” Coltman said at the time.

The legend of the large, hairy, two-legged creature lurking in mountains dates back to before Europeans settled the continent. This was the second report of the creature near Teslin in just over a year.

In the latest reported sighting, a group of Teslin residents told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. they heard branches cracking and saw a large human-like creature run by a house. It left behind large footprints, they said, and the hair tufts that were given to wildlife officials.

Coltman said Monday that the process should serve as a good way to get students interested in the field of DNA testing.

“It’s sort of like a wildlife CSI story,” he said.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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