This Is Not The Yeti You’re Looking For

by Luke Higgins

Photo caption here. (Credit XXXX)

Researchers took another crack at hair, bone and other samples allegedly from the yeti, or abominable snowman, of the Himalayas. The analysis was the most sophisticated to date but — spoiler alert — the results won’t thrill cryptozoology fans. The study did reveal, however, an evolutionary plot twist of scientific significance.

The wild man of the snows, the glacier spirit, the abominable snowman…the yeti. The mysterious creature purported to dwell in the mountains of Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan has captured human imagination for centuries. Long before Western explorers claimed to have spotted its tracks through deep snow, local residents have revered and sometimes feared the mythic beast.

And occasionally, locals and foreign interlopers alike have collected what they believed to be physical proof of the yeti’s existence: a few hairs, a partial bone, a scrap of scalp, even feces.

With the advent of DNA analysis, researchers began testing these alleged yeti bits with mixed results. In 2014, for example, scientists found that two samples allegedly from an “anomalous primate,” aka the yeti, were genetically most similar to ancient DNA retrieved from the remains of a 40,000-year-old polar bear. The conclusion stirred up a bit of excitement, leading to the suggestion that the yeti was some sort of archaic bear hybrid or previously unidentified species.

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