KATHMANDU, Nepal-In spite of being long thought of as a myth, a British scientist has concluded that the legendary creature Yeti or Abominable Snowman may be a sub-species of brown bear.
An ape like creature, taller than a human, Yeti dwells in the Himalayan region of Nepal and Tibet.
Oxford University genetics professor Bryan Sykes reached to the conclusion that Yeti could be a sub- species of brown bear in the High Himalayas that has long been mistaken for the mythical beast, after conducting the DNA test.
Bryan Sykes had collected and carried out test of yeti’s hair samples to discover which species they came from.
The ‘myth’ of the yeti is also thought to have come from Tibet and spread ‘throughout the region along the trade routes to Nepal via the Sherpa.’
Professor Sykes studied various hairs from two animals, one found in the Western Himalayan region of Ladakh and the other from Bhutan, 800 miles to the east and he found out that tests on hair samples have a genetic match with an ancient polar bear.
After analyzing the hairs through the advanced DNA tests and comparing the outcome to other animals’ genomes stored on the Gen Bank database, Professor Sykes found that ‘he had a 100% match with a sample from an ancient polar bear jawbone found in Svalbard, Norway, that dates back at least 40,000 years – and probably around 120,000 years – a time when the polar bear and closely related brown bear were separating as different species.’
‘This is an exciting and completely unexpected result that gave us all a surprise. There’s more work to be done on interpreting the results. I don’t think it means there are ancient polar bears wandering around the Himalayas’, quoted international news agencies as professor saying.
To recall, a snap shot of a ‘yeti’ footprint’, taken by British mountaineer Eric Shipton at the base camp of Mt Everest in 1951 triggered global enthusiasm towards this ape like creature.
Likewise, legendary mountaineer Reinhold Messner, first man to scale the world’s highest peak without oxygen, has studied yetis since he had ‘a terrifying encounter with a mysterious creature’ in Tibet in 1986.
His own research backs up the Prof Sykes’ theory. He uncovered an image in a 300-year-old Tibetan manuscript of a “Chemo” – another local name for the yeti, with text alongside it which was translated to read: “The yeti is a variety of bear living in inhospitable mountainous areas.”
In the meantime, Professor Sykes’s investigations feature in a new three-part Channel 4 documentary series, Bigfoot Files, which broadcasts on Sunday.