Medicine

Identity of Elusive Himalayan Yeti Finally Revealed by Modern DNA Testing

Identity of Elusive Himalayan Yeti Finally Revealed by Modern DNA Testing

Researchers analysed nine alleged "yeti" samples - including bone, tooth and hair - that had been collected in the Himalayas and Tibetan Plateau.

The paper will be published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Lead author of the study, Dr Charlotte Lindqvist said that the 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'.

A group of researchers studying diverse samples supposedly belonging to the mythical Yeti have discovered through DNA analysis that all of these shreds of evidence actually belong to endemic bears of the region.

The results are in and we finally have some answers about the mysterious and enigmatic legend of the Yeti, the cryptid sometimes called the Abominable Snowman or Bigfoot's Asian cousin. The skin sample turned out to be from an Asian black bear and the bone from a Tibetan brown bear. In a sense, they got one thing right.

Lindqvist and her team reconstructed the complete mitochondrial genomes of each specimen, leading to important discoveries about the region's beleaguered carnivores and their evolutionary back story.

As it turns out, brown and black bears from the region are actually quite different when looking at their genetic code up close.

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The split occurred about 650,000 years ago, during a period of glaciation, according to the scientists.

However, another study by CJ Edwards at the University of Oxford in 2014 found that the sample that matched Sykes and co-authors' Himalayan ones, was in fact, from a present-day polar bear from Alaska, not from a fossil.

Lindqvist and colleagues extracted DNA from each of the samples and then sequenced their finds.

Today, the Himalayan brown bear - Ursus arctos isabellinus - is listed as "critically endangered" on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's Red List. The existence of the "wild men" had been largely discounted before because there wouldn't be enough of them to have a viable breeding population. Some believe it is more than just a legendary creature.

Meanwhile, Lindqvist says she wouldn't mind having more Yeti bones to further some of her work into the evolution of Asian bear species.

"Even if there is no proof for the existence of cryptids" - creatures whose existence remain disputed - "it is impossible to completely rule out that they live", she added.


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