Yeti bear: The mystery of the Yeti, also known as the Abominable Snowman or Bigfoot, has been “solved” by a scientist at the University of Oxford who, after a yearlong quest and by using advanced technology, found a genetic match between hair samples said to come from two Yetis, and DNA that comes from an ancient polar bear, reported The Guardian on Oct. 17, 2013.
“The yeti, also known as the abominable snowman or bigfoot, has been recorded for centuries in the Himalayas. Local people and mountaineers claim to have come face-to-face with hairy, ape-like creatures.” A photograph of a Yeti footprint, taken by British climber Eric Shipton at the base of Everest in 1951, fueled an international quest into solving the mystery of the Yeti.
The DNA link between the Yeti and the ancient polar bear came as a result of comparing DNA samples taken from hairs from two unidentified creatures said to be Yetis with those of an ancient polar bear found in Norway.
One of the hair samples used to compare the Yeti to the ancient polar bear came from the western Himalayan region of Ladakh, in northern India. A French mountaineer, who had received them from an experienced hunter about 40 years ago, passed the mummified remains said to be those of a Yeti on to Oxford University scientist Bryan Sykes. The hunter who had shot the animal considered it to be so unusual and so alarming that he kept some of its remains.
The other hair sample used in the Yeti and ancient polar bear DNA comparison came from Bhutan, 800 miles east. The sample of an alleged Yeti was in the form of a single hair which had been found 10 years ago in a bamboo forest by an expedition of filmmakers.
After conducting DNA tests on the two hair samples from the two alleged Yetis found in the Himalayan region of Ladakh and Bhutan, Professor Sykes compared the DNA results with other animals’ genomes stored on a database of all published DNA sequences, and he found a 100 percent match with a sample from an ancient polar bear jawbone found in Svalbard, Norway.
“That specimen dates back at least 40,000 years ago, and probably as far back as 120,000 years – a time when the polar bear and the closely related brown bear were separating as different species.”
After comparing the Yeti and ancient polar bear DNA results, Professor Sykes believes that the animals or alleged Yetis living in the Himalayas are “hybrids – crosses between polar bears and brown bears.”
As a result of the “Yeti bear” DNA comparison, Professor Sykes described the creature living in the Himalayas to be around five feet tall – much shorter than the towering figure attributed to Yetis in the mythological stories about the “Abominable Snowman.”
However, the “Yeti bear,” whose hair was brownish in color, appears to have characteristics that match those fitting the Yeti myth. “The fact that the hunter, who had great experience of bears, thought this one was in some way unusual and was frightened of it, makes me wonder if this species of bear might behave differently. Maybe it is more aggressive, more dangerous or is more bipedal than other bears,” said Professor Sykes.