Is the Yeti Real?

by JoHarrington

Does a ten foot, ape-like humanoid stalk the frozen tundra of the Himalayas? Sightings of the Abominable Snowman have been reported for centuries.

20,000ft above sea level, the highest peaks of the Himalaya are carpeted in perpetual snow.

Yet it is here that the tracks have been found, on separate occasions, giving credence to the legend of the Yeti. Historians have noted that these stories pre-date the coming of Buddha.

Meanwhile, an international group of scientists concluded a two day expedition into Yeti country with a tentative probability that the Abominable Snowman may well exist.

The Abominable Snowman (as Imagined by Disney)

What is the Abominable Snowman?

It's a dodgy piece of mistranslated Tibetan language. But the Yeti (by whatever name) is a Sasquatch, which purportedly lives in the Himalaya Mountains.

If the creature lived in the American North-West, it would be called Bigfoot or Sasquatch.  But it lives in Asia, where the Tibetan and Nepalese names are prone to mistranslation into English.

The most famous of all was Metoh Kang Admi, which should have been 'male bear snow man'.  But Henry Newman, a New Stateman journalist working in Calcutta, received a garbled rendering of the Tibetan words in the first place.  

He then compounded matters by mistranslating 'metoh' as 'filthy'.  Releasing that this didn't look good in print, he substituted the word for one that was more dramatic in English. Thus the world read about the Abominable Snowman for the first time in 1921.

This wasn't the first report of the creature itself.  It was merely the start of its best known and most commonly used nickname. 

The locals themselves have several words.  It is Michê, Migoi, Meh-teh (the phonetic rendering of this is from where we got Yeti), Yeren, Dzu-teh, Mi-go, Mande Burung, Bun Manchi, Mirka, Almas, Kangmi or simply Kang Admi - snowman - depending on your country or tribe.

They all mean similar things - bear, snowman, wild man of the rocks or wild man of the mountains; and they all refer to something with an identical description from Russia to Bhutan; from India through to China.

Adult Yetis grow up to ten feet tall and their fur is black, red or brown, not the white of popular culture.  They keep to themselves, disdaining contact with humans; and they live in caves hidden behind snow-drifts.  They walk on two legs and their faces are remarkably human in aspect.

The legends are all intact; but is the Yeti real?

The Bigfoot Report: Extinct? The Yeti

Ro Sahebi examines some of the theories and evidence for the existence of the Yeti.

Watch Destination Truth's Yeti Documentaries on Amazon Instant Video

Josh Gates and the team travel to Nepal, then Bhutan, in search of the Yeti in these special editions of the popular true adventure series.
Episode 201: YetiBhutan Yeti

National Geographic Yeti Expedition to Bhutan in 2003

Please note that this section contains spoilers for the program 'Yeti: Hunt for the Wildman'.

In 2003, an expedition funded by National Geographic set out to Bhutan to speak with eye witnesses and try to find evidence of the Yeti. 

It was a well connected trek. A member of the Bhutanese royal family accompanied them!  Which probably encouraged villagers along the way to share their stories.

It certainly gained them access to a remote and isolated Buddhist monastery, where monks claimed to hold the mummified remains of the creature.

The team examined it. It had been cut in two and stitched together, but the agonized expression was all too human. Nevertheless the condition of the pelt and the absence of a skeleton made it difficult to determine what it could have been.

A skeptic on the trip was still disturbed. If it wasn't a Yeti (and he was convinced that it couldn't be), then it was a human being.  The implications of its violent death gave him a sleepless night.

On the whole, the trip was disappointing.  A seven inch footprint was found, which matched in all dimensions plaster-casts of Yeti prints, but little else went right. Their motion triggered track cameras picked up traveling nomads, cattle and a squirrel, but no ten feet tall primate.

Then their luck changed. They met a man who worked for Bhutan's King Jigme Singye Wangchuck.  He hunted the Yeti (or Migoi) in an official capacity and knew precisely where the creature's lair could be found.

A punishing climb up a mountain and into dense forest uncovered the aforementioned footprint. It also led to a gigantic cedar tree with a hollowed base. This was the place, but the Yeti wasn't home and the weather was closing in.

If they didn't hurry back to a lower elevation, then incoming snows may see them trapped up there. 

But hunting around inside the hollowed cedar tree, wildlife cameraman Ted Giffords found a sample of hair with 'a nice, plump follicle there'.  This was precisely what the team needed! 

Back in Britain, there was one more member of the team who didn't need to travel to Bhutan to play his part.  It was geneticist Professor Bryan Sykes, and he was willing and able to test that hair for all that it might reveal.

Books About the Yeti | Abominable Snowman Books

Buy these testimonies to learn more about what people are seeing out in those remote mountain tundras.

Prof Bryan Sykes Tests Hair for Yeti DNA

Or, at least, he's looking to see what else it could be! The interesting ones are those indicating an unknown species.

As Professor of Human Genetics at Wolfson College, University of Oxford, Bryan Sykes is one of Britain's leading researchers in the field.

I've personally had my DNA tested by him! 

It was during his research into the Blood of the Isles, wherein he determined the genetic make-up of modern Britons. 

Had we intermingled into a mongrel race made up of Celts, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, Romans, Normans and every other invader and immigrant?  Apparently not!  We still have our enclaves and very little of the twain will meet. 

(Incidentally, my results showed a 98% chance that I'm a Brythonic Celt.  In short, my DNA is Welsh.  No real shock there then!)

But on this occasion, he was receiving samples purported to come from a Yeti.  The hair from the cedar tree wasn't all that he was given. After sifting through all of the wild pig and goat hairs, the most promising offering had been skin. It turned out to belong to a bear.  Then he tested the hair.

"Because we were half expecting a bear - because of the analysis of the skin sample - we went directly and asked the reaction to look for bear DNA."  Prof Sykes explained on camera. "But there wasn't any there."

He and his team performed more tests.  They looked specifically for humans, bears and primates, but none were a match.  In fact, so far, it can't be identified as 'any known species'.

"It's certainly mysterious."  Prof Sykes concluded.  He also appeared dumb-founded, as if this was not the anticipated result.  It must have made an impact upon him too. 

In May 2012, Prof Sykes put out a call for any alleged Bigfoot, Sasquatch or Yeti hair.  It was part of an announcement that he was teaming up with Michel Sartori, the director of Lausanne Museum of Zoology, in Switzerland.

The academics will test all of the hair samples, in order to establish for once and for all what grew them.

Genetics Books by Professor Bryan Sykes

Buy these studies for a fascinating look into our genetic make-up. I've personally read and recommend them all. I donated DNA for the first one!

Yeti Project Japan Witness the Yeti in Nepal

They have also snapped photographs of purported Yeti footprints. They're 8" long!

Also in 2003, another team was on a different Yeti hunt across the border in Nepal. 

Led by Yoshiteru Takahashi, the Japanese group were over 25,000ft above sea level, on the Dhaulagiri IV mountain. They spotted the creature, but gained no firm evidence to show the rest of the world.

It was described as being only around 5ft tall, but walking on two legs. 

The sighting promoted Mr Takahashi to set up the Yeti Project Japan, which sought funding for more expeditions onto the same mountain.

By October 2008, they finally struck lucky again and uncovered some footprints. With the members of the party all competent hunters, they know what various tracks look like. They can identify all of the usual suspects.

But this was something different. These were eight inch long footprints, which looked disconcertingly human.  Which human being would be bare-foot in the snow, so high up?  And how big would they have to be to leave such large prints?

Yeti Project Japan are planning further trips to find out. 

Yeti Footprint in the Himalayas

This famous photograph was taken in 1951 by explorers in Nepal. The original was recently sold at Christie's for £3,500.
Yeti Footprint in the Himalayas

Chinese Geneticists Announce DNA of an Unidentified Species

The country's Global Times newspaper was full of speculation that it was the Yeren - the Chinese name for the Yeti.

It seemed that Professor Bryan Sykes wasn't the only genetics specialist bamboozled by possible Yeti samples.

On November 22nd 2010, scientific researchers working for the Shennongjia Nature Reserve, in China's Hubei province, had an announcement of their own. 

They also had a hair loaded with unknown DNA.

Local people had been seeing the Yeren for decades, before an official investigation was launched in 2009.

The Hubei Wild Man Research Association was headed by scientist Luo Baosheng. The team included archaeologist Wang Shancai from the Hubei Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archeology. They set out with a budget that was the equivalent of $1.5m.

It was this project which yielded the hair sample.  That was described as 'thicker than human hair and thinner than horsetail hair'.

The Yeren is said to be nearly seven feet tall, with red, black or grey hair all over its body.

No further announcements have been made about this.

Yeti Footprints in the Snow

I've been unable to find any further information about this image, but it appears to be from the same collection as the more famous one above.
Yeti Footprints in the Snow

Are Scientists 95% Certain That a Yeti Lives in Siberia?

This was the claim made by the district's government. The scientists themselves seem more circumspect.

The most exciting recent news about Yetis came from the Kemerovo government, on October 10th 2011.  It related to an investigation into reports emanating from its desolate Siberian tundra.

An international gathering of scientists had met for a conference in the town of Tashtagol. For several days, they examined the extant evidence and talked with eye-witnesses. Then some of them set out on a two day trek into the remote Azassky cave and Karatag peak.

It was there where they collected what government officials called 'irrefutable evidence' of the existence of a Yeti in the region.

The world's press was soon abuzz with headlines screaming that scientists were '95% certain' that the Yeti was real.  They had hair samples, footprint casts and a scalp.  They had inspected a cave, where the creatures lived.

But a closer look into the stories revealed that said scientists were slightly more reserved about their conclusions. 

Professor Valery Kimeyev, who is the Professor of Archaeology at the Kemerov University, was amongst those visiting the area.  He told a news reporter, "As long as we don't find the bones of this snowman, it is pointless to talk about him. This problem has been talked about for about a hundred years, so there must be remains."

Also present was Professor Jeffrey Meldrum, the Associate Professor of Anatomy and Anthropology at the University of Idaho.  He stated that no such claims were made by the delegates.

The implication has been that the Kemerovo government are attempting to drum up interest in the region for Yeti tourism.

Do You Think That the Yeti may be Real?

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Siberian Yeti Footage on YouTube

Paranormal writer Michael Cohen has shared these two short clips with us.

More Books About Yetis and Sasquatch

Buy these studies to learn more about these elusive creatures; and use the evidence to help you decide whether or not Yetis are real.

Articles about Sasquatch Around the World

From the snow-covered mountain tops to the raucous party next door, the Abominable Snowman has been seen. Roar! I say again, RAWR!
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Human, hobbit or ape? This elusive 'short man' has been spotted throughout history on South Pacific islands. It's Bigfoot's tiny cousin.
Updated: 06/16/2014, JoHarrington
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JoHarrington on 04/11/2013

Ouch! re Wizzley, but thank you very much for the chapters! <3

I'm away this weekend and rushing around sorting stuff now. But you can be sure I'll be all over them come Monday.

ShawnO on 04/11/2013

Jo, I sent all but the last part of the Clayton Mack stuff to you, but the site temporarily shut me down because it looked like I might be spamming, since I sent so many messages to you back to back. The chapter is 9 pages long, and I have one part left. As soon as my account is released I will send the rest. It's too much to post, but you might want to make an article out of it.

JoHarrington on 04/11/2013

Frank - I'm taking notes too. Thank you!

JoHarrington on 04/11/2013

Shawn - I'd heard about the President Roosevelt story, but not the Clayton Mack one. And yes, keep the tales coming! Like I said (and you can probably tell by all of the articles), I'm quite fascinated by all things sasquatch. Thanks!

frankbeswick on 04/11/2013

Shawn, the Long Walk is by Slavormir Rawicz, to distinguish it from other books of the same name. The mention of the yeti is near the end of the book, which deals with the escapees time crossing the Himalayas. The book is currently available on kindle on Amazon.I am unsure whether it is the last or the last but one chapter.

Shawn) on 04/11/2013

I'm sure you've read the two excerpts from President Theodore Roosevelt's book, "The Wilderness Hunter". After he lost his 3rd run for office under his newly formed Bull Moose Party, he decided to embark on more adventures as an explorer, and had strange encounters while exploring a smaller river that fed the Amazon in South America. I also have a chapter from a book called "Grizzlies and White Guys" by Clayton Mack. Mr. Mack was a Bella Coola Indian from Brittish Columbia who guided hunters in the early 1900s for black bear and grizzly bear hunts. In Chapter 7 of his book he relates some encounters he and some of his clients had with Sasquatches in the wilds of that vast, still largely unexplored country. I can send some of this info to you if you like. I have more.

JoHarrington on 04/11/2013

You have one more to add to your collection now! Have you any more anecdotes to share with us? This subject really does fascinate me.

Your theory about juveniles makes a lot more sense, than imagining a barefoot human being up there.

ShawnO on 04/11/2013

I'd love to read that as well, at least that portion of it! I have a small collection of excerpts from works unrelated to yeti and bigfoot type creatures that make mention of encountering such, largely being ignorant of what they are or simply not knowing what to make of them.

On the footprints I mentioned below, my intent was only to demonstrate that an 8" track would not belong to a large yeti, but likely to a small one, which is what they indeed saw (they saw a 5-footer). I do not believe that a barefoot human walked across the snowfield either.

JoHarrington on 04/11/2013

Thank you for this. I've not read the book, so I hadn't heard about it before. It's little details like this which really strengthen the case for the yeti. I have to agree with your take on the notoriously narrow-minded scientists. Somewhat cynical, but almost certainly true.

It's worth remembering that gorillas themselves were thought to be mere legends until quite recently.

frankbeswick on 04/11/2013

In the book, The Long Walk, a Polish p.o.w. who escaped from Russia by crossing the Gobi desert and the Himalayas saw what he thought were three large gorillas. He had never heard of the yeti, and with an adventure like his he had no need to make up further stories. Furthermore, I read an account of his life afterwards and he comes out as a very devoutly religious and ethical man. Why would such a man lie?

Never mind, though, the yeti won't exist until a scientist sees it and then he will be the one who discovered it!

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