DNA tests reveal Yeti remains in museums are actually from bears and a dog

29 November 2017, 01:26

The Yeti legend has received a devastating blow after alleged remains from museums and private collections were found to be abominable fakes.

Eight specimens - including bones, teeth, skin, hair and faecal samples - were proven to be unrelated to hairy human-like creatures rumoured to be living in remote areas of Nepal and Tibet.

Instead, DNA tests from the University of Buffalo in the US showed the remnants actually belonged to bears and a dog.

Dr Charlotte Lindqvist, lead scientist in the research, said: "Our findings strongly suggest that the biological underpinnings of the Yeti legend can be found in local bears, and our study demonstrates that genetics should be able to unravel other, similar mysteries.

"Clearly, a big part of the Yeti legend has to do with bears."

The study, published in the journal Proceedings Of The Royal Society B, showed that Asian brown bears, Himalayan brown bears and Tibetan brown bears had all played their part in the Yeti myth.

One sample studied by the team consisted of a preserved scrap of skin from the hand or paw of a Yeti, which turned out to be from an Asian black bear.

A thigh bone fragment turned out to be from a Tibetan brown bear.

Stretching back hundreds of years, the Yeti is from of Nepalese folklore.

Great excitement was stirred by reported sightings of the creature and its footprints but the blurry photos and shaky video were not enough to support the animal's existence.

While Yeti fans might be somewhat disappointed by the study, it has helped scientists learn more about the evolution of Asian bears.

Little is known about the bears, as they are rare and live in an inhospitable habitat. Also, political unrest sometimes makes the area inaccessible.

A period of glaciation 650,000 years ago may have cause the Himalayan bear to separate from the other bears.

So, while Tibetan brown bears are closely related to animals in North America and Eurasia, Himalayan brown bears have a unique lineage.

Dr Lindqvist said: "Bears in this region are either vulnerable or critically endangered from a conservation perspective, but not much is known

"Further genetic research on these rare and elusive animals may help illuminate the environmental history of the region, as well as bear evolutionary history worldwide, and and additional 'Yeti' samples could contribute to this work."