The Legend of the “Abominable Snow Man” Genetically Tested: DNA Analyzes of Presumed Remains of “Yetis” Show That This Mysterious Creature Would Actually Be a Bear in the High Mountains of Asia, According to a New study published Wednesday.
This is not the first time that genetics has been trying to spell a Yeti spell, sometimes described as a kind of ape in these areas.
In 2012, a team of scientists led by geneticist Bryan Sykes of Oxford University, had already performed DNA tests on hair samples supposed to come from Yétis. A year later, she speculated that Yeti could actually be a cross between a polar bear and a brown bear. But the results of this study are controversial.
“It was based on much too limited data to draw solid conclusions,” says AFP Charlotte Lindqvist, co-author of the new study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
This Associate Professor of Biology at the State University of New York at Buffalo worked on nine samples of supposed remains of Yetis. Fragment of bone, tooth, piece of skin, hairs or feces were collected in the Himalayan mountains and the Tibetan plateau over a long period, ranging from the late 1930s to recently. They are kept in museums and private collections.
After DNA analysis, one of them turned out to be from a dog. The other eight samples are Asian black bears, Himalayan brown bears, and Tibetan brown bears.
“According to our results, Yeti is a bear that lives in the region now,” says Charlotte Lindqvist. “It can be any of these three local bears.
– Folklore –
The Himalayan brown bear (Ursus arctos isabellinus or Isabelle bear) is a subspecies of the brown bear. It has a fairly light red fur.
The Tibetan brown bear (Ursrus arctos pruinosus, or Tibetan blue bear), has a darker fur with a white “collar” around the neck.
The third thief is the black bear of Asia (Ursus thibetanus). He is smaller and wears a kind of white collar on his chest.
For Charlotte Lindqvist, the results of the study show that the myth of the Yeti “has its roots in real biological facts” and is related to local bears.
“This has been suggested before but never directly confirmed with a rigorous scientific approach,” she says.
The team also conducted a larger genetic study of 23 Asian bears including the alleged “Yetis”. It has been found that brown bears on the Tibetan Plateau and brown bears in the western Himalayas appear to belong to two distinct populations of long-separated bears, despite their relative proximity.
Separation would have occurred about 650,000 years ago, during a glacial period. In its evolution, the Himalayan brown bear, isolated, would have followed its own path.
Is this the end of the myth of Yeti? Charlotte Lindqvist does not think so. “This myth is important for the Himalayan region and local folklore” and it will remain so. “People love mysteries”.