popular science

‘Yeti samples’ came from bears and a dog, scientists say after DNA sampling

They said their tests showed the legend of the abominable snowman has roots in bears that roam the region.

Scientists on Tuesday said they had uncovered information the legend of the yeti, the giant, apelike beast said to dwell in the Himalayan region. A genetic analysis of nine samples of bone, tooth, skin, hair and fecal matter from museum and private collections that are attributed to the yeti, or the “abominable snowman”, found that eight of them came from Asian black bears, Himalayan brown bears or Tibetan brown bears, while one came from a dog.

“This strongly suggests the yeti legend has a root in biological facts and that is has to do with bears that are living in the region today,” biologist Charlotte Lindqvist, from the University at Buffalo in New York and Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, told Reuters.

The study was published in the scientific journal “Proceedings of the Royal Society B”. Lindqvist said the study was the most rigorous analysis of purported yeti specimens.

The researchers studied nine samples gathered by a company shooting a film on the topic. It included mummified animals from monasteries, hair collected by nomadic herdsmen, bone from a spiritual healer and a stuffed “yeti” from the Messner Mountain Museum, The Guardian reported.

They looked for genetic material in structures within cells that was passed down from mothers, of the purported yeti and compared them with those from black, brown and polar bear populations.

“The purported yetis from the Tibetan plateau matched Tibetan brown bears, the ones from the western Himalayan mountains matched the Himalayan brown bear and then, at possibly slightly lower altitude were Asian black bears,” Lindqvist told The Guardian.

The yeti is popular in folklore in the Himalayan region, and has become a part of Western popular culture. Lindqvist told The Guardian the findings resulted in mixed emotions. “That was obviously very interesting to me, perhaps slightly disappointing to the film company,” she said.

“I am sure the legend and the myth will live on,” she said.

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