The FBI Once Tested Hair to Determine If It Belonged to Bigfoot

iStock/RichVantage
iStock/RichVantage

For decades, humans have pondered whether a towering, hairy, bipedal creature roams our forests. Some call him Bigfoot. Some refer to him as sasquatch. Normally, his existence is debated only among paranormal enthusiasts. But thanks to some newly uncovered government files, we now know the Federal Bureau of Investigation once performed some forensic testing to see if Bigfoot was living among us.

According to the Seattle Times, the agency was contacted by a Bigfoot investigator named Peter C. Byrne in 1976 with a request to test a hair sample Byrne had collected in Oregon. The 15 hairs were attached to a small piece of skin, which Byrne and his colleagues at the Bigfoot Information Center and Exhibition were unable to identify. The hairs came from a search of a site where two U.S. Forest Service employees claimed to have seen the creature. In addition to the hair, there were 14-inch footprints.

Incredibly, the FBI was amenable to the request. Jay Cochran Jr., assistant director for the FBI’s scientific and technical services division, wrote Byrne and said that although the agency is interested primarily in criminal matters, he would make an exception. Though their office may have doubted the existence of Bigfoot, it had been asked to make inquiries in the past. It was possible they wanted to settle the matter once and for all.

If Byrne held out hope his sample might produce a definitive answer as to Bigfoot's existence, he was disappointed. Cochran revealed to him that the hairs came from a deer, although the correspondence was lost in transit and Byrne never actually read the reply until this past week. Speaking with The Washington Post, the 93-year-old expressed slight disappointment. "If the FBI says it's deer hair, I guess that's it," he said. "For now."

[h/t Seattle Times]

Meet LiLou: The World's First Airport Therapy Pig

Kseniia Derzhavina/iStock via Getty Images
Kseniia Derzhavina/iStock via Getty Images

There's a new reason to get to the airport early—you might run into a therapy pig who's there to make your trip a little easier. As Reuters reports, LiLou the Juliana pig is a member of San Francisco International Airport's "Wag Brigade," a therapy animal program designed to ease stress and anxiety in travelers.

Aside from her snout and potbelly, LiLou can be recognized by her captain's hat and red "hoof" polish. She spends the day with guests who are happy to take a break from the pressures of traveling. She might comfort them by posing for a selfie, playing a song on her toy keyboard, or offering them a head to pet.

After bringing joy to people's day, LiLou goes home to her San Francisco apartment where she lives with her owner, Tatyana Danilova. In her free time, she goes on daily walks and snacks on organic vegetables. She even has her own Instagram account.

Airports around the world are embracing the benefits therapy animals can bring to customers. The Wag Brigade program at San Francisco includes a number of dogs, and earlier this year, the Aberdeen Airport in Scotland debuted its own "canine crew" of dogs trained to make travelers feel safe and happy. Therapy miniature horses have even been used at an airport in Kentucky. According to the San Francisco Airport, LiLiou is the world's first airport therapy pig.

To see LiLou turn on the charm, check out the video below.

[h/t Reuters]

Sssspectacular: Tree Snakes in Australia Can Actually Jump

sirichai_raksue/iStock via Getty Images
sirichai_raksue/iStock via Getty Images

Ophidiophobia, or fear of snakes, is common among humans. We avoid snakes in the wild, have nightmares about snakes at night, and recoil at snakes on television. We might even be born with the aversion. When researchers showed babies photos of snakes and spiders, their tiny pupils dilated, indicating an arousal response to these ancestral threats.

If you really want to scare a baby, show them footage of an Australian tree snake. Thanks to researchers at Virginia Tech, we now know these non-venomous snakes of the genus Dendrelaphis can become airborne, propelling themselves around treetops like sentient Silly String.

That’s Dendrelaphis pictus, which was caught zipping through the air in 2010. After looking at footage previously filmed by her advisor Jake Socha, Virginia Tech Ph.D. candidate Michelle Graham headed for Australia and built a kind of American Ninja Warrior course for snakes out of PVC piping and tree branches. Graham observed that the snakes tend to spot their landing target, then spring upward. The momentum gets them across gaps that would otherwise not be practical to cross.

Graham next plans to investigate why snakes feel compelled to jump. They might feel a need to escape, or continue moving, or do it because they can. Two scientific papers due in 2020 could provide answers.

Dendrelaphis isn’t the only kind of snake with propulsive capabilities. The Chrysopelea genus includes five species found in Southeast Asia and China, among other places, that can glide through the air.

[h/t National Geographic]

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