Investigation of cryptic species such as the yeti whose existence is unproven, through genetic testing is a new university-backed project.
To do so, researchers from Oxford University and the Lausanne Museum of Zoology are asking anyone with a collection of cryptozoological material to submit descriptions of it. The researchers will then ask for hair and other samples for genetic identification.
"I'm challenging and inviting the cryptozoologists to come up with the evidence instead of complaining that science is rejecting what they have to say," said geneticist Bryan Sykes of the University of Oxford.
While Sykes doesn't expect to find solid evidence of a yeti or Bigfoot monster, he says he is keeping an open mind and hopes to identify perhaps 20 of the suspect samples.
Along the way, he'd be happy if he found some unknown species.
"It would be wonderful if one or more turned out to be species we don't know about, maybe primates, maybe even collateral hominids," Sykes told LiveScience.
Such hominids would include Neanderthals or Denosivans, a mysterious hominin species that lived in Siberia 40,000 years ago.
The project being led by Sykes and Michel Sartori of the zoology museum is called the Oxford-Lausanne Collateral Hominid Project.
The collection phase of the project will run through September, with genetic testing following that through November.