Wanted: Hair Experts

Hair experts or biology grad students needed for exams of hair samples

At least a few times each month people contact the BFRO to say they found hairs in the woods which they suspect might be bigfoot hairs based on their appearance and proximity to sighting locations. These are honest folks, typically. They often have a strong desire to identify the hairs, especially if they were found on their own property. Usually those people will send us some of the hairs so we can take a look. We photograph them under a microscope then email the photos around to various biology experts to see if any are willing to comment. It's a very informal process at present, because we do it for free.

People who find strange hairs on their land are often willing to pay for a reliable examination. Some even offer to pay for DNA analysis -- whatever it takes to positively identify the species. Private environmental labs in the U.S. and Canada will perform forensic examinations for clients. They often charge fees beginning in the thousands of dollars. That's discouraging to most people because they know a competent hair analyst may only need to take a quick look identify the species.

What we would like to see:

We want people to be able to pay $50 - $100 to have strange hairs examined by a graduate student at an accredited colleges or university. etc. The examination would not attempt to positively identify the species, but rather exclude various animals species (e.g. bear, dog, horse, etc.) and then say which species the hairs appear to be most similar to. That's the halfway point to identifying the species. Property owners would be happy pay about $50 - $100 to know which species the hairs did not come from.

We want the hair examiners to be graduate students for a few reasons: They usually have access to all the right equipment and reference hair samples. They would appreciate the $50 - $100 fee. And if the hairs are truly unidentifiable ... then we want the hairs to be looked at by some professors at the same college/university. We want that level of feedback before recommending that expensive DNA analysis be performed on the hairs (which we might pay for ourselves).

It would be ideal if there were a few grad students at different schools in the U.S. and Canada who were willing to do this type of exclusion examination. The $50 fee for the work is justified and necessary, actually. If there was no fee for the service then too many people would be flippantly sending in hair samples for examination -- hairs found in basements or urban neighborhoods or school playgrounds, etc. In other words, hairs which could not possibly be bigfoot hairs. The hair-finders who will pay the fee are the ones who really, really want to know.

If you are a graduate student who is interested in doing this, please email us at