The Yeti

GNC

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#91
Big Dave wades into the debate:
http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2013-09- ... ay-be-real

David Attenborough believes that the Yeti – or Abominable Snowman – may be real.

The world-renowned naturalist and broadcaster says he thinks the creature of Himalayan legend – which has a North American cousin known as Bigfoot or Sasquatch – could be much more than a myth.


“I believe the Abominable Snowman may be real. I think there may be something in that," said Attenborough, speaking today at a showcase of upcoming programmes on UKTV.

“There are footprints that stretch for hundreds of miles and we know that in the 1930’s a German fossil was found with these huge molars that were four or five times the size of human molars.

“They had to be the molars of a large ape, one that was huge, about 10 or 12 feet tall. It was immense. And it is not impossible that it might exist. If you have walked the Himalayas there are these immense rhododrendron forests that go on for hundreds of square miles which could hold the Yeti."

Attenborough, who was addressing an audience at the Saatchi Gallery to promote a second series of Natural Curiosities on the Eden channel, explained why the existence of the beast had not been proven up until now: “If there are some still alive and you walked near their habitat you can bet that these creatures may be aware of you, but you wouldn’t be aware of them...”
He's visited the place, so he'd know better than some, right? Anyone aware of this German fossil found in the 1930s?
 

oldrover

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#92
He's visited the place, so he'd know better than some, right? Anyone aware of this German fossil found in the 1930s?
No, not necessarily he's only visited the place very briefly compared to the locals, who make it clear that the Yeti isn't a simple flesh and blood animal.

The German fossil wasn't found in the Himalayas but in a Chinese medicine shop in China or Hong Kong by Ralph von Koenigswald. It was a gigantopithecus molar. A few molars and a jawbone are all the fossils we have for this species. At one time based on the width of the rear part of the jaw* it was suggested that gigantopithecus might have been bipedal, though this idea has been largely abandoned. As a result of this previous line of thought, as well as the fact that it lived on the same continent as the yeti is supposed to, they got lumped in together.

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gigan ... 010112.jpg
 

GNC

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#93
Thanks for the info. The evidence gets a bit vaguer on closer examination, I suppose.
 

Pietro_Mercurios

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#95
A new species of bear, related to the polar bear? Something concrete at last?
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/s...foot-dna-matches-rare-polar-bear-8884811.html


Has the Yeti mystery been solved? New research finds 'Bigfoot' DNA matches rare polar bear

Discovery leads scientists to believe there could be a sub species of brown bear in the High Himalayas that has been mistaken for the mythical beast

The Independent. Jennifer Cockerell. 17 October 2013


New DNA research may have finally solved the mystery of the yeti. Tests on hair samples were found to have a genetic match with an ancient polar bear, with scientists believing there could be a sub species of brown bear in the High Himalayas that has been mistaken for the mythical beast.

Yetis, also known as the “Abominable Snowman” or “Bigfoot”, have been recorded for centuries in the Himalayas, with local people and mountaineers claiming to have come face-to-face with hairy, ape-like creatures.

Bryan Sykes, professor of human genetics at the Oxford University, set out to collect and test “yeti” hair samples to find out which species they came from. In particular he analysed hairs from two unknown animals, one found in the Western Himalayan region of Ladakh and the other from Bhutan, 800 miles to the east.

After subjecting the hairs to the most advanced DNA tests available and comparing the results to other animals' genomes stored on the GenBank database, Professor Sykes found that he had a 100 per cent match with a sample from an ancient polar bear jawbone found in Svalbard, Norway, that dates back at least 40,000 years - and probably around 120,000 years - a time when the polar bear and closely related brown bear were separating as different species.

Professor Sykes believes that the most likely explanation is that the animals are hybrids - crosses between polar bears and brown bears. The species are closely related and are known to interbreed where their territories overlap.

The professor said: “This is an exciting and completely unexpected result that gave us all a surprise. 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.

“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 hybridisation between the brown bear and the descendent of the ancient polar bear.”

A photograph of a “yeti' footprint, taken by British climber Eric Shipton at the base of Everest, sparked global mania after it was taken in 1951.

Legendary mountaineer Reinhold Messner, who became the first man to climb Everest without oxygen, has studied yetis since he had a terrifying encounter with a mysterious creature in Tibet in 1986.

His own research backs up the Prof Sykes' theory. He uncovered an image in a 300-year-old Tibetan manuscript of a “Chemo” - another local name for the yeti, with text alongside it which was translated to read: “The yeti is a variety of bear living in inhospitable mountainous areas.”

Prof Sykes added: “Bigfootologists and other enthusiasts seem to think that they've been rejected by science. Science doesn't accept or reject anything, all it does is examine the evidence and that is what I'm doing.”

His investigations features in a new three-part Channel 4 documentary series, Bigfoot Files, which starts on Sunday.

A book by Prof Sykes about his research, The Yeti Enigma: A DNA Detective Story, is to be published next spring.
Thursday 17 October 2013
 

rynner2

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#96
'Yeti lives': The secrets of bigfoot uncovered in new documentary
A new Channel 4 series hopes to uncover the secrets behind the legend of bigfoot by using DNA testing to determine if he's a hominid, an ape, or just a hoax.
[video]
7:00AM BST 17 Oct 2013

Oxford scientist Bryan Sykes has teamed up with presenter Mark Evans to uncover the global legend surrounding bigfoot for a new Channel 4 documentary series called Bigfoot Files.

Dr Sykes, who is a Professor of Human Genetics at Oxford University, has assembled substantial physical evidence, which he subjects to the most sophisticated DNA tests available, to answer scientifically, once and for all, the mystery of Bigfoot.

The first episode, in the three part series, sees Mark Evans travel to the Himalayas to find the real story behind the centuries-old yeti legend.
He risks altitude sickness at Everest Base Camp, where the photograph of a footprint in the snow set off yeti mania in 1951.
He then traces the legend through ancient manuscripts, holy relics and a Nazi expedition, and meets people convinced they have come face-to-face with the creature known in the west as the Abominable Snowman.

Bigfoot Files airs on Channel 4, October 20 at 8.00pm

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvan ... ntary.html
 

Kondoru

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#97
Yes, Polar bears are common in the Himalayas...There is a relict population left over from the Younghusband expedition in 1904.

Apparently bears were often used as sledge beasts in artic travel back then, it was thought that they might prove just as useful in the high mountains.
 

oldrover

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Re: "More Yogi than Yeti"

forteanolson said:
Did anyone see the "Yeti" scientist on BBC earlier. "More Yogi than Yeti". Great quote!!!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24565282
It's interesting from a bear perspective but I'm dubious as to whether it really relates to fundamental reason for the yeti myth.

I don't think people will start mistaking bears for yetis unless the idea of a yeti already exists.

I doubt that any amount of field work or science will ever really scratch the surface, the answer here I think lies in human psychology.
 

lordmongrove

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I know Brian Sykes and he s a great bloke and top of his field. I'm sure he has very unusual bear hair but its not the yeti. The yeti walks erect, has a human like grip )capable of hurling rocks) and a gorilla-like face. It's a primate, probobly a great ape, rather than a bear. Trying to say it is a bear is like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole its just no in line with the accounts.
 

oldrover

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lordmongrove said:
I know Brian Sykes and he s a great bloke and top of his field. I'm sure he has very unusual bear hair but its not the yeti. The yeti walks erect, has a human like grip )capable of hurling rocks) and a gorilla-like face. It's a primate, probobly a great ape, rather than a bear. Trying to say it is a bear is like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole its just no in line with the accounts.
Far too much is being made of this, as if this is the first time the idea has been proposed. Some hairs, which have turned out to be very interesting in their own right, have been proposed to have been from a yeti but weren't. It says nothing for the identity of the yeti whatsoever.

You can't illuminate myth with science.
 

Kondoru

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So we have a bear, a bear we don't know about....

...And we are told by some that the yeti is a bear who walks upright (like the bear in the kipling poem?)

Connection here?
 
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Kondoru said:
So we have a bear, a bear we don't know about....

...And we are told by some that the yeti is a bear who walks upright (like the bear in the kipling poem?)

Connection here?
Yes, these bears acted as agents for The Raj during The Great Game.

Kim, nudge nudge, Kim Philby.
 

Cochise

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You can't illuminate myth with science.
Well, you can a bit. We have all sorts of myths about wolves and werewolves, but they wouldn't exist if there wasn't a wolf in the first place - or at least they'd take a different form.

So if there is a Yeti Bear, it does at least explain how the myths came to take the particular form they did, although I must admit I'd expected some kind of ape. But a bear could fit, although not quite as well. They do stand on their hind legs at times.
 

oldrover

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While I agree with you about the werewolf myth, see India were leopards, I'm not sure how much it relates to the Yeti question.

Firstly it's important to ask just how much we think we know about the idea of the yeti has been manufactured in the West, and what if any of our version is compatible with the version familiar to the people of that area. Not much I suspect.

Secondly as certain so-called artifacts, terms and images seem to suggest there's at least some sense among the locals that the yeti is man like, so it's probably safe to assume that it's related or comparable to the universal wild man myth. Albeit, as always, with certain culturally specific elements.

Thirdly what links these bear hairs with the Yeti in the first place? Obviously no ones going to find hair from a yeti so any sample they collect is going to be erroneous, they may just as well have taken serow hair again.

But just because it was bear hair that got picked up people are making the assumption that as as there seems to be an idea among some people that this may represent an unknown species, it won't it'll turn out to be from a Tibetan blue. And that as some bear traits could easily transfer across to, again our, version of the yeti that we've cleverly solved another puzzle.

We haven't, it's just like a Nepalese geneticist coming over here to investigate our idea of angels, finding some owl feathers and having the press announce that the great mystery has been solved; angels are owls. Missing the fact that like the yeti, the idea has a long history across several cultures, and plays a particular role in an early overview we humans have of nature rather than being sparked by encounters with any one species,in any one place.
 

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The difference is that angles are mythical, there is a good chance that the yeti is not. The witnesses i interview put no spiritual importance on the yeti. They all described it as a huge ape.
 

lordmongrove

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Old Rover said...
"Far too much is being made of this, as if this is the first time the idea has been proposed. Some hairs, which have turned out to be very interesting in their own right, have been proposed to have been from a yeti but weren't. It says nothing for the identity of the yeti whatsoever."

He's exactly right.
 

Cochise

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I suppose another way to look at the report is that if there can be an unknown species (or subspecies) of bear living in the area, there could equally be an unknown species of ape. IOW, it undermines the oft-stated opinion that there could no longer be an undiscovered species of large mammal.

We of course in the West have a way of looking at things that is very much obsessed with classification. That may not be with the case with the people who pass down the spiritual legends connected with the Yeti.
 

oldrover

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No one is suggesting that thee's an unknown species of bear in the Himalayas. It's much more likely to come from the scarcely known Tibetan Blue. I'm not sure if much, or any study, has been carried out into their DNA.
 

oldrover

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Apparently I'm wrong, again, it is being suggested that there's an atypical bear on the prowl.

Personally I'm not buying that idea as yet. Let's wait though for the forthcoming journal article.
 

oldrover

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This is it, the Tibetan Blue along with the Mongolian brown bears, which may or not be the same sub species, are so bloody rare I don't know if anyone could answer that question.
 

oldrover

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I'm not sure who's got what to be honest. It's not a well studied animals though.

Back in the 80's I'm not sure if anyone in the West had even seen a photo of one. I was amazed when I came across a snap of one in a zoo in Tibet (I think) on the internet. Of course things have moved on since then but still.
 

Peripart

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ramonmercado said:
Yogi Bear walks erect.
I reckon you might be onto something there. Next time someone spots a yeti, they should be on the lookout for a collar and tie. No shirt, obviously - that would be silly.

I watched and really enjoyed the C4 documentary, more than I thought I would. Whatever you thought of the conclusions, the programme was not over-sensationalised, and approached things in a pretty scientific manner, with very level-headed presenters.

Just imagine if the same show had been on C5 - all recaps, flash-forwards, dodgy reconstructions, and about 5 minutes of facts.
 
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