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Mystery solved? UB study finds "Yeti" DNA tied to local bears

Posted at 7:01 PM, Nov 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-28 23:20:40-05

The Yeti or "Abominable Snowman" has for long been a mysterious, ape-like creature said to roam the high mountains of Asia. 

Nepal and Tibetan natives have reported sightings, spotted footprints, and passed down mythological stories for centuries. 

So has the mystery finally been solved?

The UB-led study analyzed nine "Yeti" specimens, including bone, tooth, skin, hair and fecal samples collected in the Himalayas and Tibetan Plateau. 

Eight of the specimen were from Asian black bears, Himalayan brown bears or Tibetan brown bears. The other turned out to be a from a dog.

UB Biological Sciences Professor Charlotte Lindqvist said, "Our findings strongly suggest that the biological underpinnings of the Yeti legend can be found in local bears, and our study demonstrates that genetics should be able to unravel other similar mysteries."

Lindqvist studied purported Yeti DNA samples from museums and private collections. In addition to tracing the origin of the Yeti legend, Dr. Lindqvist's work is uncovering information about the evolution of Asian bears. 

"Bears in this region are either vulnerable or critically endangered...but not much is known about their past history," said Lindqvist. "Further genetic research on these rare and elusive animals may help illuminate the environmental history of the region, as well as bear evolutionary history worldwide."