Tales of giant Yeti, or Abominable Snowmen have been around for decades, and so-called “Bigfootologists” have enjoyed studying and chasing the elusive beasts. Now, according to CNN, research that has been done by a leading UK geneticist may have shed some light on the truth about the Yeti, or Abominable Snowman, after hair samples from two mystery animals proved to be a genetic match to an ancient polar bear.
Brian Sykes put out a worldwide call last year for people to submit hair or other tissue from “cryptids,” or previously unknown species. From these donations, he collected about 30 samples. Those who gladly submitted samples to the project last year were asked to give a description of the material and details of where and when it was found. They were also encouraged to give their own opinion of its species type and the reasons for that view.
Sykes’ research focused on two samples, both from the Himalayas but found about 800 miles apart. Testing found a 100% absolute match with a polar bear jawbone from Svalbard, the northernmost part of Norway, that dates back between 40,000 and 120,000 years.
These surprising results cast new light on the legend, but will it satisfy worldwide “Bigfootologists”? “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,” Sykes said. “But we can speculate on what the possible explanation might be. It could mean there is a subspecies 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.”
“‘Bigfootologists’ and other enthusiasts seem to think that they’ve been rejected by science,” Sykes is quoted as saying. “Now I think that’s a complete distortion of what science is about. Science doesn’t accept or reject anything. All it does is examine the evidence, and that is what I’m doing.”
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