Debunking yeti DNA, and the incredibly strong arms of prehistoric female farmers

Science Podcast
Skeleton of a woman between 25 and 35 years of age. Lived between 6740 and - 5680 BP.
Didier Descouens/CC BY SA 3.0

The abominable snowman, the yeti, bigfoot, and sasquatch—these long-lived myths of giant, hairy hominids depend on dropping elusive clues to stay in the popular imagination—a blurry photo here, a big footprint there—but what happens when scientists try to pin that evidence down? Online News Editor David Grimm talks with Sarah Crespi about the latest attempts to verify the yeti’s existence using DNA analysis of bones and hair and how this research has led to more than the debunking of a mythic creature.

Sarah also interviews Alison Macintosh of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom about her investigation of bone, muscle, and behavior in prehistory female farmers—what can a new database of modern women’s bones—athletes and regular folks—tell us about the labor of women as humans took up farming?  

Listen to previous podcasts.

[Image: Didier Descouens/CC BY SA 3.0; Music: Jeffrey Cook]