The Nepal Army has dismissed the Indian Army’s claim that it had discovered the footprints of the Yeti, a mythical beast of folklore, the Hindustan Times reported on Thursday.
The Indian Army had on Monday said the “mysterious footprints” were found by a mountaineering expedition team close to the Makalu base camp near the Nepal-Tibet border on April 9 and that it measured 32 inches by 15 inches.
But local porters who went with the Indian Army and others dismissed the claims. “A team of Indian Army had noticed the footprints and our liaison team was together with them,” Nepal Army spokesperson Brigadier General Bigyan Dev Pandey told the newspaper. “We tried to ascertain the fact, but locals and porters claimed that it is the footprints of wild bear that frequently appears in that area.”
The Yeti, also called the abominable snowman, is believed to be taller than the average human and to resemble an ape. But scientists have long been sceptical about its existence.
In a study published in 2014 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of Biological Sciences, genetic scientists said that DNA from hair samples found in the Himalayas “had their closest genetic affinity with a Palaeolithic polar bear, Ursus maritimus. Otherwise the hairs were from a range of known extant mammals.”
The Indian Army had tweeted pictures of the footprints in snow to prove its claim. But it showed a single foot, rather than a pair, which amused Twitter users. Social media was flooded with jokes and memes following the announcement on Monday.