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 existence of the Himalayan brother of the abominable snowman has long been contested by scientists.
Previous studies suggested most fur and bone samples belonged to bears like the Himalayan black bear and the Himalayan brown bear instead of a mysterious hominid inhabiting the steep, cold mountains of Tibet. The new study even had evidence that turned out to be from a dog.
In North America, similar research has ended up with similar conclusions, leading experts to believe that sasquatch AKA Bigfoot is also just some sort of bear or another type of animal. Still, scientists acknowledge they can’t completely rule out the existence of cryptids or play down their importance in local folklore.
— The Atlantic (@TheAtlantic) November 29, 2017
All Yeti evidence belonged to Himalayan bears
Led by Charlotte Lindqvist of the University of Buffalo in New York, a group of scientists set out to collect samples from all across Nepal and other parts of the world where, supposedly, evidence of the Yeti’s existence was stored or exhibited.
Their journey led them to museums, collections of private tokens, local nomadic herdsmen and spiritual healers, who all had samples of either fur, teeth, bone, nails, and more. They gathered all this evidence while also shooting the 2016 documentary “Yeti or Not?”
24 samples in total were analyzed, out of which nine supposedly belonged to the Yeti. However, out of those nine, eight turned out to be from Himalayan bears and the remaining one was from a dog. As disappointing as that may sound, it actually helped scientists identify important differences between species.
The Yeti will keep existing, even if bears say otherwise
Lindqvist and others published their findings on Tuesday in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Other researchers have praised their study because it allowed distinguishing Himalayan bears at a genetic level.
As it turns out, brown and black bears from the region are actually quite different when looking at their genetic code up close. Further research is needed to consolidate views on a common ancestor, but some studies suggest polar bears might have, at some point, been involved in the process.
When asked about how their research affects local beliefs on the mythical creature, scientists reassure that their practice doesn’t influence native folklore. After all, they cannot rule out the existence of the Yeti, and their studies only help to keep the mystery alive, according to Lindqvist herself.