Are the Yeti Just a Bunch of Bears? Genetics Says “Yes.”

by Luke Higgins

Genetically sequenced "yeti" parts all revealed themselves to be of very commonplace origin: eight bears and a dog. John Lamparski/Getty Images

Everybody loves a good cryptid. If the classic creatures of legend and hearsay — the Loch Ness monster or Sasquatch, for instance — are too campy for your tastes, perhaps your interest would be piqued by the Grootslang, the giant snake with an elephant’s head said to hang out in caves of northwestern South Africa, or the Yowie — basically the Bigfoot of the Australian outback — or the mapinguary, a giant slothlike ape reportedly lurking in the Amazon rainforest on the border between Brazil and Bolivia. If you’re game to dive into the waters of cryptozoology, you’ll be there a while, because they’re fathomless. Scientists, however, will rarely dive in there with you. They will, however, occasionally make an exception for the yeti.

The yeti, or the great, white abominable snowman of the Himalayas, is one of the world’s most beloved cryptids. It’s a major figure in the folklore of Nepal, and hikers are constantly reporting to have seen a giant, white, apelike creature stalking around the mountains. Some even claim to have brought home a piece of one of these beasts: a tuft of hair, a bone, some skin, a tooth, some possible abominable snowman dung. These yeti souvenirs have made their way into museums and private collections over the years, and now nine of them have formed the basis for a study investigating the reality behind the folktales.

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