Bigfoot? Sasquatch? They Live! Or Maybe Not.

(Image credit: Luc Latulippe/Corbis)

Approach this story with caution. A Texas veterinarian named Melba Ketchum claims in a press release that Sasquatch - the elusive, hairy being most often sighted in supermarket tabloids - is real, and she has the DNA samples to prove it.

In a research paper, "currently under peer review," Ketchum says she and colleagues have sequenced the genomes from at least 20 "purported Sasquatch samples," and concluded that "the North American Sasquatch is a hybrid species, the result of males of an unknown hominin species crossing with female Homo sapiens."

Ketchum says the DNA sequencing suggests that Sasquatch is a human relative that arose about 15,000 years ago.

Taking her belief in Sasquatch's existence to an even higher level, Ketchum suggests that law enforcement and public officials recognize the Sasquatch as an indigenous people and protect their Constitutional rights.

"Genetically, the Sasquatch are a human hybrid with unambiguously modern human maternal ancestry," Ketchum said in the release. "Government at all levels must recognize them as an indigenous people and immediately protect their human and Constitutional rights against those who would see in their physical and cultural differences a 'license' to hunt, trap, or kill them."

More details on the study will be presented "in the near future" when the study is published, according to the news release. In the meantime, many Sasquatch-watchers say they are skeptical. "If the data are good and the science is sound, any reputable science journal would jump at the chance to be the first to publish this groundbreaking information," wrote Benjamin Radford, deputy editor of Skeptical Inquirer magazine. "Until then, Ketchum has refused to let anyone else see her evidence." Radford suggested it may have been contaminated by human handlers, if it exists at all.

Ketchum did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.

For more on the never-ending search for Sasquatch, click here.