Posted by Rachel Leigh email
(CNN) -- A policeman and a former corrections officer say that on Friday they will unveil evidence of what they claim is their biggest find ever: the body of Bigfoot.
Matthew Whitton and Rick Dyer, a pair of Bigfoot-hunting hobbyists from north Georgia, say they found the creature's body in a wooded area and spotted several similar creatures that were still alive.
The carcass of the furry half-man, half-ape is 7 feet, 7 inches tall and weighs more than 500 pounds, they say. However, the two are not disclosing the exact location of their discovery to protect the remaining creatures.
Tom Nelson, chairman of the biology department at North Georgia College and State University in Dahlonega, said he's "pretty skeptical" the world will feast its eyes on a new species Friday.
"That would certainly rock mammalogy," joked Nelson, who specializes in the study of mammals. "I see a research grant in my future."
Whitton and Dyer plan to unveil what they say is DNA and photo evidence of the discovery in Palo Alto, California, in conjunction with a group called Searching for Bigfoot Inc.
A photograph on that group's Web site shows what appears to be the body of a large, hairy creature with an ape-like face, stuffed into a large freezer.
According to a written release, the two announced the discovery on an Internet radio show, "Squatch Detective," several weeks ago.
"The only person we would allow to come down and verify the body was 'the Real Bigfoot Hunter,' Tom Biscardi," Dyer said, referring to Searching for Bigfoot's CEO, who has been looking for the elusive, legendary creature in the United States and Canada since 1971.
Whitton is a Georgia police officer who is on administrative leave after being shot in the wrist during a pursuit. Dyer is a former prison guard.
DNA tests on the body have begun, said the statement, and "extensive scientific studies" will be done on the body by scientists, including a molecular biologist, an anthropologist and a paleontologist.
Nelson, the university professor, acknowledged that new species of animals have been discovered in recent decades and that, in science, "we always acknowledge the possibility of something new."
But he said that even in north Georgia, home to the Blue Ridge Mountains and the foot of the Appalachian Trail, it stretches the imagination to think a family of 7-foot-tall creatures could have eluded hunters, hikers and creeping development until now.
"To the average person, these places just seem like extreme wilderness where you'll find lions and tigers and bears," he said. "The reality is that you're never more than a mile from a road."
The group says the animal is male, has reddish hair and "blackish-gray" eyes and human-like feet, hands and teeth.