What's in a name: Yeti. Abominable Snowman. Himalayan Bear?
March 16, 2015 11:35 AM   Subscribe

Yeti Debate Swirls: Study Reveals Origin of Mysterious Hairs The yeti, a legendary shaggy, bipedal beast from the Himalayas, made headlines last year when a geneticist said he had solved the mystery of its origins. But now, scientists have found the hair samples used in that study didn't come from a mysterious animal, but rather from the Himalayan brown bear.

The debate is being presented very differently in different publications:

Mystery of the yeti deepens: DNA analysis reveals 'Abominable Snowman' hair does NOT belong to an unknown species of bear This is from the Daily Mail (.uk). As usual, they seem to be going for framing things as dramatically as possible. It is included because, also as usual, there are a lot of pictures, boxes with timelines and so on. If the drama-llama framing can be overlooked, it has a good bit of info to offer.

Himalayan Yeti 'Mystery' Looks Even Less Mysterious, Scientists Argue
posted by Michele in California (16 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Plausible explanations for mysterious phenomena really suck sometimes.
posted by Renoroc at 11:41 AM on March 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Imaginary animal is imaginary.
posted by DaddyNewt at 12:38 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I want to believe.
posted by digitalprimate at 12:42 PM on March 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Imaginary animal is imaginary

You take that back. The drama llama is real.
posted by thelonius at 12:51 PM on March 16, 2015 [7 favorites]


The drama llama is not only real, it was recently on twitter.
posted by Michele in California at 1:08 PM on March 16, 2015


This proves yetis died because they didn't make it onto the Ark.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 1:42 PM on March 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


"Yeti Debate" makes it sound like two sides are arguing. Even with Pro-Choice and anti-choice factions, where the two sides are arguing completely different subjects with a common intersection point, they actually argue.

Yeti believers may argue with colloidal silver quaffers about who is more reasonable, but reputable biologists don't waste 0.001% of their careers arguing this.
posted by IAmBroom at 2:28 PM on March 16, 2015


This proves the Yeti is smart enough to wear a coat made from the Himalayan brown bear fur when revealing itself to scientists.
posted by goatdog at 3:23 PM on March 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


The greatest hazard of all, losing one’s self, can occur very quietly in the world, as if it were nothing at all. No other loss can occur so quietly; any other loss - an arm, a leg, five dollars, a wife, etc. - is sure to be noticed.
-Kierkegaard
posted by yeti at 5:07 PM on March 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeti believers may argue with colloidal silver quaffers about who is more reasonable, but reputable biologists don't waste 0.001% of their careers arguing this.

I work with biologists in the Pacific Northwest, and you might be surprised how much time gets devoted to discussing Bigfoot theories -- no one quite believes in it, and yet there is always a note of hope in the conversation, even at the same time they are dismissing the crackpot theories.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:50 PM on March 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


How the Yeti became mayor of Boston - start around 2:43, when previous Mayor Marty Walsh announces his resignation.

Also see twitter.com/BostonYeti2015
posted by adamg at 6:58 PM on March 16, 2015


reputable biologists don't waste 0.001% of their careers arguing this.

So you're saying there's a chance... quantified to within a thousandth of a percent!
posted by No-sword at 5:17 AM on March 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


10 Beasts That Used To Be Mythical

My recollection is that Troy was also considered a myth and is now considered a historic reality (though search tells me The Trojan Horse, Trojan War and Helen of Troy are still viewed as myths -- or were in 2011, by at least one blog author...no, I am not digging further).

As I understand it, the folks who ID the real life things that inspired things once known as myths typically get remembered by history as serious scientists.

Also, I have read little snippets about how much real scientists were mocked by their colleagues for believing "crazy" theories. Off the top of my head, the guy who drank a vial of stuff that gave him an ulcer was initially considered a crackpot and mocked by colleagues for hypothesizing that ulcers were caused by infection, a guy who believed that Bonobos were a separate species of primate and capable of real empathy was initially mocked as believing in stuff that was not real, and Einstein could not get the academic job he desperately desired until his "crackpot" theory was proven, which took many years in part because it required photographs of a total eclipse of the sun and total eclipses only happen once every few years. Most eclipses are partial.

It seems to me that serious scientists have a long history of asking "what if there is a real phenomenon that explains this?" instead of mocking people who saw something they can't quite explain and asserting that it isn't real and you only imagined it. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Myths are fairly often an indicator of partial information rather than just mass hysteria.
posted by Michele in California at 11:20 AM on March 17, 2015


The fact that sometimes scientists have been surprised does not mean that every nutjob with blue skin and a belief in undetectable 8' North American ape populations should be taken seriously.
Michele in California: Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
Another oft-quoted, rarely-uinderstood maxim is: "the fewer assumptions that are made, the better." Occam's Razor shaved the fur off the Yeti, long ago.
Michele in California: Myths are fairly often an indicator of partial information rather than just mass hysteria.
Cite needed.
posted by IAmBroom at 2:39 PM on March 18, 2015


Cite needed.

I started my comment with a citation that lists 10 other animals that were once viewed as myths. I don't see any real need to argue this with you further. (shrug)
posted by Michele in California at 2:47 PM on March 18, 2015




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