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Bigfoot Files

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Mark Evans and geneticist Bryan Sykes examine the legend of Bigfoot, using DNA testing to determine if he's a hominid, an ape or just a hoax

About the Show

Mark Evans and geneticist Bryan Sykes examine the legend of Bigfoot, using DNA testing to determine if he's a hominid, an ape or just a hoax

Series 1 Summary

Yeti, Bigfoot, Abominable Snowman, Sasquatch and Almasty are just some of the names for mysterious creatures across the globe that have fascinated cryptozoologists and confounded scientists for decades.

Are they an ancient hominid, a member of the human family like Neanderthals? Are they giant apes or some other species? Or are they simply hoaxes? A leading British geneticist believes he has the tools to finally answer the riddle.

Oxford Professor of Human Genetics Bryan Sykes has assembled substantial physical evidence, which he subjects to the most sophisticated DNA tests available, as he and presenter Mark Evans hope to answer scientifically, once and for all, the mystery of Bigfoot.

  • Episode 1

    Mark Evans travels to the Himalayas to find the real story behind the centuries-old Yeti legend.

    He risks altitude sickness at Everest Base Camp, where the photograph of a footprint in the snow set off Yeti mania in 1951. He traces the legend through ancient manuscripts, holy relics and a Nazi expedition, and meets people convinced they have come face-to-face with the creature known in the west as the Abominable Snowman.

    Meanwhile Professor Sykes reveals the results of his DNA tests on the Yeti hair samples he's collected. The results are spectacular and unexpected.

  • Episode 2

    Mark Evans visits America's Pacific Northwest in search of 'Sasquatch'. In 1958 a digger driver called Jerry Crew found a series of huge footprints in Willow Creek, Northern California and the Bigfoot legend took off.

    Since then the region has had over 1000 Bigfoot encounters. But for decades science has scorned the idea of Bigfoot, and anyone who studies it.

    Mark meets some of the Bigfootologists who believe they've come face to face with these creatures: Justin Smeja, who claims to have shot two Sasquatch; Vietnam vet Dan Shirley, who claims he can communicate with Bigfoot by 'wood knocking'; Derek Randles, who's been a Sasquatch obsessive since a close encounter in 1985; and Native American Marcel Cagey, who says a Sasquatch changed his life.

    And Professor Sykes reveals the results of his DNA tests on the hair samples he's collected. Will the results confirm the Bigfootologists' stories or will it be bad news?

  • Episode 3

    The 'Almasty' is Russia's very own Bigfoot. It has been written about for over 300 years, and Russia's Almasty hunters claim there have been more than 10,000 encounters over the years.

    The big theory in Russia is that it's a surviving hominid, possibly even a Neanderthal.

    Mark Evans travels to Russia and investigates one of the highest profile Bigfoot stories in the world. It's the tale of Zana, the so-called Wildwoman - a living Almasty said to have been found in the remote Caucasus in the 1870s.

    She was alleged to have had four children by her captors. Almasty hunters have tracked down her descendants and Bryan Sykes uses cutting edge tests to analyse their DNA and test the Neanderthal theory about Zana.

    Mark also meets a giant among Almasty hunters, seven foot tall former heavyweight boxing champion of the world Nikolai Valuev, who is now Duma Deputy (the equivalent of an MP) for Kemerovo in Siberia.

    Mark joins him as he checks out the latest hot Almasty sighting and meets the three kids who claim to have captured one on camera near a frozen lake.

    Finally, in Moscow, Professor Sykes reveals the results of his DNA tests on Zana's relatives. The results are unequivocal, extraordinary and totally unexpected.

Bigfoot Files synopsis

Mark Evans and geneticist Bryan Sykes examine the legend of Bigfoot, using DNA testing to determine if he's a hominid, an ape or just a hoax

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