ATLANTA -- Two men claim they've bagged Bigfoot [in Buddhist terms a rudra ("howler") or yaksha ("ogre" or "nature spirit") or rakshasa (forest-dwelling "demon")], and they say they have the hairy corpse of the legendary creature stored away in a freezer.
Matt Whitton and Rick Dyer say they stumbled across the corpse in the woods of northern Georgia, across the country from the remote regions of the Northwest where people usually claim to see the man-ape.
- Story is being covered widely reprinting same skepticism
Still, the Georgia men say DNA from the creature could prove once and for all that the frozen creature is Sasquatch. [Another creature was photographed alive, with features such ears and eyes distinguishable unlike most blurred images.]
At a news conference Friday in Palo Alto, Calif., Whitton, Dyer and Tom Biscardi, head of a group called Searching for Bigfoot, presented what they called evidence supporting the Bigfoot theory. It was an e-mail from a University of Minnesota entomologist, saying one of the DNA samples that the men said they took from the corpse was "inconclusive," which could mean it didn't come from a known species.
This photograph obtained 8/15/08 from www.searchingforbogfoot.com shows what is purported to be the body of "Bigfoot," the legendary ape-like creature that has been the subject of decades of hoaxes and dubious sightings. Two US men on Friday claimed to have found the body of "Bigfoot"(AFP/www.searchingforbigfoot.com).
Whitton, an officer on medical leave from the Clayton County Police Department, and Dyer, a former corrections officer, announced the discovery in early July.
The picture they sent out in a news release and on their Web site - www.bigfoottracker.com - shows what appears to be a hairy corpse crammed into a chest freezer. The accompanying announcement describes the creature as a 7-foot-7 male, weighing 550 pounds with 16-inch human-like feet and reddish hair.
[Allegedly,] Whitton and Dyer have so far offered three different tales so far about how they came to find the creature:
In one, the animal was shot by a former felon, and the men followed it into the woods. In a second version, they found a "family of Bigfoot" in North Georgia mountains. In the third, the two were hiking and stumbled upon the corpse with open wounds.
Biscardi defended the pair at Friday's news conference among skeptical reporters.
"Do you think these fellows would come this far and put their reputations and their jobs on the line if they didn't have what they say they have?" he said.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Reserve spokesman Tom Mackenzie, however, said officers also are not taking the claim seriously and will not investigate Bigfoot because it not a federal priority.
"It's not on endangered species on any list that we've got," Mackenzie said.
Tom Biscardi, CEO and founder of BIGFOOT Inc., holds up a picture he claims is the mouth of Bigfoot in Palo Alto, California, August 15, 2008. Bigfoot, also known as Sasquatch, is a mythical ape-like creature said to live in forests of the Pacific northwest region of the United States(Kimberly White/Reuters).
PALO ALTO, California (Reuters, 8/15/08) - Bigfoot remains as elusive as ever. Results from tests on genetic material from alleged remains of one of the mythical half-ape and half-human creatures -- made public at a news conference on Friday held after the claimed discovery swept the Internet -- failed to prove its existence.
Its spread was fueled by a photograph of a hairy heap, bearing a close resemblance to a shaggy full-body gorilla costume, stuffed into a container resembling a refrigerator.
One of the two samples of DNA said to prove the existence of the Bigfoot came from a human and the other was 96% from an opossum, according to Curt Nelson, a scientist at the University of Minnesota who performed the DNA analysis.
Bigfoot creatures are said to live in the forests of the U.S. Pacific Northwest. An opossum is a marsupial about the size of a house cat.
Results of the DNA tests were revealed in an e-mail from Nelson and distributed at the Palo Alto, California, news conference held by Tom Biscardi, host of a weekly online radio show about the Bigfoot.
Also present were Matthew Whitton and Rick Dyer, the two who say they discovered the Bigfoot corpse while hiking in the woods of northern Georgia. They also are co-owners of a company that offers Bigfoot merchandise.
Despite the dubious photo and the commercial interests of the alleged discoverers, the Bigfoot claim drew interest from Australia to Europe and even The New York Times.
Biscardi said the DNA samples may not have been taken correctly and may have been contaminated, and that he would proceed with an autopsy of the alleged Bigfoot remains, currently in a freezer at an undisclosed location.
(Reporting by Clare Baldwin in Palo Alto; writing by Jim Christie; editing by Mary Milliken and Peter Henderson)