The yeti, the abominable snowman, the sasquatch, Bigfoot - whatever the hell you want to call it - has been a modern myth as long as most people can remember. A big hairy monster prowling the woods, probably eating the odd sheep or two - very scary, I think you’ll agree.
Some people even reckon they’ve got proof of its existence, whether through photos, videos or even actual specimens in the form of bones or bits of skin. These samples, either held in private collections or museums (like the Messner Mountain Museum in Italy) have long been thought to irrefutably prove that these large scary ape-men are 100% real.
Well, until now, at least, because a bunch of the evidence had finally been DNA tested, and it’s not good news for yeti-truthers, that’s for sure.
Dr Charlotte Lindqvist, lead scientist in the research, said:
“I initially became involved in this study when I was contacted about a previous study that found two purported yeti samples to match genetically with an ancient, 120,000-year-old polar bear that I was doing research on.
“But the data was very limited, and it made me suspicious about the speculation that the yeti legend represented some strange, hybrid bear roaming the Himalaya mountains. So, I agreed to follow up on this study with a more rigorous approach based on more genetic data from more purported yeti samples.”
The subsequent study, published in the journal Proceedings Of The Royal Society B, essentially found that the samples came from bears. Yep, normal, common-or-garden bears.
“Our findings strongly suggest that the biological underpinnings of the Yeti legend can be found in local bears, and our study demonstrates that genetics should be able to unravel other, similar mysteries.
“Clearly, a big part of the Yeti legend has to do with bears.”
A scrap of skin that was supposedly from a Yeti paw, was actually from an Asain black bear; a fragment of thigh bone was found to come from a Tibetan brown bear; and one sample even belonged to a dog.
So yeah, no yeti-proof, just yet, sorry guys. However, there is an upside - we know a tiny bit more about certain types of bear, now. Dr Lindqvist said:
“Bears in this region are either vulnerable or critically endangered from a conservation perspective, but not much is known.
“Further genetic research on these rare and elusive animals may help illuminate the environmental history of the region, as well as bear evolutionary history worldwide, and and additional ‘Yeti’ samples could contribute to this work.”