Yeti Claims Don’t Bear Up

The Yeti. Also generally known as the Abominable Snowman. It’s the legendary primate some individuals consider exists within the Himalayas and adjoining freezing areas. So what do you get once you use fashionable DNA strategies to research bodily samples allegedly left by yetis? Well, eight occasions out of 9, you wind up with the genetic signature of your non-abominable neighborhood bear.

These unmysterious outcomes are revealed within the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. [Tianying Lan et al, Evolutionary historical past of enigmatic bears within the Tibetan Plateau–Himalaya area and the id of the yeti]

This new research just isn’t the primary to look at DNA extracted from samples allegedly derived from yetis. Analysis of quick DNA fragments from a pair of samples collected in India and Bhutan matched that of an historical polar bear bone. That 2014 discovering raised the likelihood that the abominable snowman may truly be a beforehand unrecognized bear species—and even some form of hybrid brown bear-polar bear that wanders the Tibetan plateau.

In the present research, researchers carried out a extra complete comparability of DNA from 24 samples…together with 9 that supposedly got here from yetis. These specimens…collected from the sector or borrowed from museums…included bits of hair, bone, pores and skin, and scat.

And eight of the 9 yeti samples had been recognized as truly coming from the Asian black bears, Himalayan brown bears, and Tibetan brown bears that decision this distant area residence. Ah, however what about that ninth pattern? [Dog barking] Yeah, it was from a canine. The Abominable Fido perhaps.

On the intense facet, the evaluation did tackle a thriller of a extra scientific nature…relating to the evolution of those native bear populations. The outcomes counsel that Himalayan brown bears belong to a definite evolutionary lineage that diverged from the opposite bears in the course of the best of earth’s ice ages.

Cut off by the unfold of glaciers, these bears have been protecting to themselves for some 660,000 years. That interval of isolation has rendered them uncommon and elusive—however nonetheless very actual. Which we can’t say concerning the Abominable Snowman. At least…not yeti.

—Karen Hopkin

(The above textual content is a transcript of this podcast)  

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