British Scientist ‘Solves’ Mystery of Himalayan Yetis

Abominable Snowman is ‘part polar bear and still roams the Himalayas’, a new study suggests.

British scientists believe that the well-known Himalayan yeti may in fact appear to be a sub-species of brown bear. Photo: Devarsh Shah/Flickr

A scientist of University of Oxford has discovered a genetic match between an polar bear and samples which reportedly came from the Yeti – the founding that probably means the legendary creature is still living in the Himalayas.

Professor Bryan Sykessays, who conducted the study, explains that the most prominent  and logic explanation for the myth is that the animal is a hybrid of ancient polar bears and brown bears.

Prof Sykes revealed to reporters that there may be a real biological animal behind the yeti myth, BBC writes.

“I think this bear, which nobody has seen alive,… may still be there and may have quite a lot of polar bear in it,” he said.

“It may be some sort of hybrid and if its behaviour is different from normal bears, which is what eyewitnesses report, then I think that may well be the source of the mystery and the source of the legend.”

The author of the study took the DNA from hairs from two unidentified animals, one from Ladakh – in northern India on the west of the Himalayas – and the other from Bhutan, 1,285km (800 miles) further east.

After the scientist thoroughly examined the DNA, he compared it with the genomes of other animals that are stored on a database of all published DNA sequences.

The professor found that he had a 100% match with a sample from an ancient polar bear found in Svalbard, Norway, that dates back to between 40,000 and 120,000 years ago.

Prof Sykes said that his results were “completely unexpected” and that the work on the study is not yet finished as it requires further examinaton.

He revealed that while they did not mean that “ancient polar bears are wandering around the Himalayas”, there could be a sub-species of brown bear in the High Himalayas descended from an ancestor of the polar bear.

“Or it could mean there has been more recent hybridisation between the brown bear and the descendant of the ancient polar bear,” he said.

Professor Sykes added: “This is a species that hasn’t been recorded for 40,000 years. Now, we know one of these was walking around ten years ago. And what’s interesting is that we have found this type of animal at both ends of the Himalayas. If one were to go back, there would be others still there.”

Tom Gilbert, professor of paleogenomics at the Natural History Museum of Denmark, said the Yeti’ research provided a “reasonable explanation” for the legendary beast sightings.
“It’s a lot easier to believe that than if he had found something else,” said Gilbert, who was not involved in the study. “If he had said it’s some kind of new primate, I’d want to see all the data.”

“I do not think the study gives any comfort to Yeti-believers,” David Frayer, a professor of biological anthropology at the University of Kansas, said in an email. But “no amount of scientific data will ever shake their belief.”

“If (Sykes’) motivation for doing the analyses is to refute the Yeti nonsense, then good luck,” he concluded.

Share this article

We welcome comments that advance the story directly or with relevant tangential information. We try to block comments that use offensive language, all capital letters or appear to be spam, and we review comments frequently to ensure they meet our standards. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Coinspeaker Ltd.