For centuries, people have reported sightings of an elusive, ape-like creature that roams high in the Himalayan Mountains.
Bryan Sykes, a professor of genetics at Oxford University, sequenced DNA from two unidentified animals to prove the existence of the Abominable Snowman, or yeti, as it’s referred to by natives.
The samples he used were from a single hair found a decade ago in a bamboo forest by an expedition of filmmakers and the jawbone of a mummified animal shot by a hunter in the 1970′s. Sykes compared the samples to a database of thousands of known animals and got some surprising results.
According to Sykes, the samples reveal that the Abominable Snowman may be an unknown species of bear – a hybrid descended from an extinct polar bear and a closely related brown bear.
“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,” he told reporters.
The jawbone suggests the animal would have been around 5 ft. tall – not quite the towering creature that popular folklore led us to believe. However, Sykes did say the animal could have exhibited mannerisms which would be in line with the yeti myth.
“The fact that the hunter, who had great experience of bears, thought this one was in some way unusual and was frightened of it, makes me wonder if this species of bear might behave differently. Maybe it is more aggressive, more dangerous or is more bipedal than other bears,” he said.
The professor’s research will give scientists plenty to analyze.
“There’s more work to be done on interpreting the results,” he continued. “I don’t think it means there are ancient polar bears wandering around the Himalayas. But we can speculate on what the possible explanation might be. It could mean there is a sub species of brown bear in the High Himalayas descended from the bear that was the ancestor of the polar bear. Or it could mean there has been more recent hybridization between the brown bear and the descendant of the ancient polar bear.”
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Source: ABC News