Stories about Bigfoot or Yeti have always been very controversial. Just like UFOs, scientists could never prove the existence of the horrific human-ape hybrid monster that was roaming around the forests or snow-covered wilderness, despite its “sightings” being recorded many times and uploaded to the internet. However, according to scientists, new DNA analysis reveals that the Yeti, a scary snow monster, could originate from Tibetan and Nepalese folklore and could be, in fact, a Himalayan brown bear.
People have tried to discover more about the Yeti for many centuries. They described footprints in the wilderness they would stumble across at times. People even claimed to have samples of Yeti’s skin, bones, teeth, hair, and feces. Scientists conducted a DNA analysis of these samples found in the Himalayan area and discovered that the samples actually originated from an animal that is actually known to us.
Scientists published their findings in a paper in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. They reported the results of the DNA analysis of nine species “related” to the mysterious Yeti. While one sample analysis revealed that it was a dog, the other 8 belonged to an Asian black bear, Himalayan brown bear or Tibetan brown bear.
Charlotte Lindqvist of University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, who was the lead scientist said that although the genetic analysis was carried out before, none of the previous tests were as rigorous.
“This study represents the most rigorous analysis to date of samples suspected to derive from anomalous or mythical ‘hominid’-like creatures,” the researchers said in the paper.
Lindqvist investigated the sample along with her team from her university, with others also from France, Norway, and Pakistan. The investigation included testing a skin sample from a paw, which was saved as a relic in a monastery and was discovered to come from an Asian black bear. Also a femur bone fragment from a cave on the Tibetan Plateau was discovered to belong to a Tibetan brown bear.
Lindqvist, who also teaches at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, said in a statement on Tuesday, “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.”
The research also included how Asian bears evolved, and discovered that the Himalayan brown bear separated from other brown bears in their early evolutionary history. On the other hand, the Asiatic brown bear has a close common ancestor with its relative from America and Eurasia. The Himalayan brown bear separated from its cousins 650,000 years ago, at a time when glaciers were expanding. That and the mountainous landscape could have contributed to their separation.
“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 additional “Yeti” samples could contribute to this work,” Lindqvist said.