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LONDON - European researchers are planning to use new techniques to analyze DNA that could help crack the mystery of whether Bigfoot exists.

Oxford University and Lausanne Museum of Zoology scientists appealed to museums, scientists, and Yeti aficionados this week to share hair samples thought to be from the mythical ape-like creature.

New genetic tests will be done on just a few strands of hair and should be completed within weeks. Even if the sample is judged to come from an unknown species, scientists should be able to tell how closely it is related to other species, including apes or humans.

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Bryan Sykes of Oxford University said the group had already received many offers of samples to test, including blood, hair, and items supposedly chewed by Bigfoot.

Other experts agreed recent advances made in DNA testing could theoretically solve the Bigfoot question.

“If the Yeti is real and somebody has found bits of their hair, you should be able to tell from the DNA in the hair if this is actually a Yeti,’’ said Mark Thomas, a professor of evolutionary genetics at University College London. He is not connected to the Bigfoot project.

But Thomas was unsure how likely it was anyone might have actual Yeti hairs. Some scientists theorize Yetis are either a distinct hominid species, or a mix between homo sapiens and Neanderthals or other species.