In the Himalayan region of Nepal, Bhutan, and Tibet, he’s known as Yeti, or Meh-Teh. To British explorers tackling Mount Everest in the 1920s, he was the Abominable Snowman. Stories of the mysterious Yeti, an ape-like creature who lives in the Himalayas, emerged in Western popular culture in the late 19th century. Over the years, "evidence" purporting to prove the existence of this ape-man has included footprints, teeth, hair, and bones. But when geneticists were asked to analyze the mitochondrial DNA from nine "Yeti" samples for an Animal Planet television production, they discovered that seven came from Himalayan or Tibetan brown bears, one came from a black bear, and one came from a dog.
No evidence of the Yeti yet:
- Through the analysis, the researchers were able to create the first full mitochondrial genomes for the Himalayan brown bear and the Himalayan black bear. They were surprisingly different.
- When Alexander the Great conquered the Indus Valley in 326 BC, he demanded to see a Yeti, but later learned that the Himalayan hulks supposedly lived only at higher altitudes.
- In 1960, Sir Edmund Hillary organized an expedition to collect Yeti evidence. A supposed Yeti scalp found at a Khumjung monastery turned out to be skin of a serow, a Himalayan antelope.