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Creatures, Myths & Legends

Yeti

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An artist's depiction of the Yeti. Image Credit: Pixabay / Bernell
FACTUAL ANALYSIS: While no definitive evidence of the Yeti has ever been found, given the number of sightings and the vastness of the region, it is impossible to rule out the possibility that it is a genuine creature.
Believed to reside in the remote mountains and forests of Tibet, Bhutan and Nepal, the Yeti has long remained a spiritual and cultural staple for the people who live in the vicinity of the Himalayas.

Sometimes referred to as the Abominable Snowman, this elusive ape-like hominid became a major part of Western popular culture after climbers reported finding trails of large footprints in the snow during expeditions to climb some of the most treacherous and remote mountains on Earth.

But while the local people remain adamant that the Yeti is the real deal, scientists remain unconvinced and the fact remains that no definitive evidence of its existence has ever been found.

Physical description

Like its American counterpart Bigfoot (or Sasquatch), the Yeti is typically described as a large, bipedal ape-like creature standing much taller than a human (or other great ape) and covered in thick hair.

While many descriptions of the Yeti imply that it has dark brown or black hair, other accounts describe it having white hair (some assume that this is so that it can blend in against the snow).
Recorded sightings

While accounts of the Yeti among the local people date back centuries, the creature didn't gain widespread attention until reports of its existence were brought back by Western climbers.

In 1899, Laurence Waddell recorded his guide's descriptions of a large ape-like beast in the Himalayas. Then, in 1925, photographer N. A. Tombazi witnessed such a creature first-hand over a long distance near the Zemu Glacier.

"Unquestionably, the figure in outline was exactly like a human being, walking upright and stopping occasionally to pull at some dwarf rhododendron bushes," he wrote.

"It showed up dark against the snow, and as far as I could make out, wore no clothes."

Perhaps the most widely reported accounts were those of Eric Shipton - who photographed mysterious tracks in the snow during his attempted ascent of Mount Everest in 1951 - and Sir Edmund Hillary who, in 1953, also reported large footprints on the mountain.

Such reports would continue for decades, making the Abominable Snowman a household name.

Evidence

To date, no definitive physical evidence of the Yeti has ever been found. Footprints alone are insufficient, mainly due to the tendency of regular human footprints to enlarge due to the repeated freezing and thawing of the ice and snow as well as the effects of wind erosion.

Several hair samples have been found, collected and analyzed in more recent years, but these have always turned out to be from conventional animals such as goats, bears or horses.

An alleged Yeti scalp kept at Khumjung monastery in Nepal had intrigued researchers for a time until an analysis of a hair sample revealed that it was actually part of a Himalayan serow.

Witness accounts of the creature, especially among the local population, remain tantalizing but inconclusive, especially given that the Yeti is a major part of the local beliefs and folklore.

For many of them, the Yeti is more of a divine being than a physical creature.

That said, it is impossible to rule out the possibility that the Yeti is a genuine animal.

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  Related Entries:
  • Bigfoot, a large hairy hominid said to roam the wilds of North America.
  • Loch Ness Monster, a legendary Scottish loch monster.

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