Could this actually be proof of the legendary Yeti?
April 15, 2001 10:39 AM   Subscribe

Could this actually be proof of the legendary Yeti? Scientists may have a sample of Yeti DNA. Clone this, and a wooly mammoth and you'd have one Hell of a sideshow...
posted by Spanktacular (10 comments total)
I have an open mind, but I'd really like to see a skeleton. It boggles the mind that we haven't found one by now.

Though last Friday's Invisible Man had a neat and new hypothetical explanation: the Sasquatch has the same gland that the invisible man does, and in fact was never visible during the episode. Cheap special effects, too!
posted by dhartung at 11:14 AM on April 15, 2001

How freaking rad. I find it very very interesting that the Nepalese government counted yeti as a protected species. Perhaps there is some historical significance (like yeti were a historical species but had long been dying out or something). It's also interesting that so many cultures have beliefs (and artifacts relating to) these types of creatures. The article mentions the sasquatch of the American Pacific Northwest, but there is also a belief by some of the Northwest Coast Indians in a wild man and woman of the woods. These creatures are regularly carved into masks and totems and are a part of the traditional belief system.
posted by raintea at 11:33 AM on April 15, 2001

The invisible Sasquatch firmly cemented in my mind that The Invisible Man is in some measure a homage to The Six Million Dollar Man. I just love that show; in my opinion it's the best sci-fi on TV right now unless you count reruns of Babylon 5. Clever, witty, surprisingly rigorous in adherence to its goofy premise, inventive, good characters, interesting recurring villains, and rather complex moral shadings for an action/comedy show. Just plain fun.
posted by kindall at 11:38 AM on April 15, 2001

Keep up to date on all the Sasquatch news at the Bigfoot Field Researchers Orgainization, where you can find regularly updated sighting reports from all over the US and Canada, as well as info on the latest news and media. They're even sticking webcams in the woods. Read a couple reports from your backyard and tell me some of them don't give you goosebumps.
posted by techgnollogic at 12:43 PM on April 15, 2001

A few months ago climbers on an Everest expedition took out insurance against any Yeti attacks, apparently after spotting huge tracks near one of their camps. Guess the reality of climbing one of the deadliest mountains wasn't enough to distract them from the fright of ending up as Bantha fodder - must have been pretty big footsteps then!
posted by mackieb at 4:19 PM on April 15, 2001


I wouldn't look for any significance in the fact that both Native American and Nepaleans have Yeti/Sasquatch in their cultures (both located in areas with large bears, coincidentally). Both China and Europe have a mythology of gargoyles/dragons constructed into their architecture, but no one is seriously trying to find one.

posted by Kevs at 5:12 PM on April 15, 2001

i find the scientist's comment about never having found DNA they were unable to identify funny. perhaps they should start checking the rain forests, or has it been destroyed enough that nothing new is sprouting anymore... hmm...
anyway, how can they either completely negate or totally confirm that this is proof of yeti existence if they can't even identify it. scientists have to understand that people in ancient cultures don't speak scientifically. and chasing a tangible creature may not even be relevent to the cause. i don't mean that science should leave tradition/ religion alone, that's subject to opinion. this article reminds me of excavations to proof the existence of biblical events. the existence of these places don't prove that those events occured, but if you believe they have, then they have, you don't need to scientifically proof the existence of tangible things to have faith. why even sweat it?
posted by elle at 5:24 PM on April 15, 2001


I see your point. I was simply pointing out that there is a strong coincidence between native/traditional "Eastern" mythology (especially in those regions with bears and big mountains) and native (read: not European) "Western" mythology. I think there are many links between cultures across boundaries that nobody thought people and their ideas were able to cross in ancient times (like the Pacific Ocean).

As for big bears... I was talking specifically about the Kwakwak'wakw culture of the upper Puget Sound region. They have a legend of a woman, "dzunukwa", and man, "bakwas", of the woods. They are traditionally represented in masks and totems with sunken tiny eyes, hollow cheeks, pursed lips, and lots of body hair. They are said to make a sound like a hooting when encountered and not to have very good eyesight. As for the bears in this region, you'll only find small black bears, not the big grizzlies and brown bears of Alaska. Especially since these are coastal people.

I do, however, agree that many many people have done too much and wasted a lot of time and energy to find a possible species that for some reason or other, either *really* doesn't want to be found or doesn't exist.
posted by raintea at 6:04 PM on April 15, 2001

Ok; if I understand this rightly, we have this guy. He's the official 'Yeti Hunter' for the king. For 12 years, no less, he's been paid to hunt Yeti. He's a professional.

Of course, apparently he's never actually caught one.

In twelve years.

In any case, he takes these fellas on a field trip, stops in a grove and says -"Heyya fellers, look round here really good - this is the ancient 'Grove Of Yetis', where the Yeti frolic and play."

"Not that I've ever actually seen one," he adds. "But Wabungi Dhundi told my brother he found a skin sample here once. Not the whole Yeti, of course - just the skin sample; he musta had Yeti cradlecap..."

The rubes from Channel Four scour the brush. Aha! "Lookie," one eagle eyed investigator cries gleefully, "there's an incriminating claws-mark right here on this tree, next to footprints that are only hours old! Can you track these, Professional King's Yeti Hunter?"

The Yeti Hunter with twelve years experience eyes the tracks with a keen, practiced eye. "Nope."

The confounded researchers find a hair in the tree - the Yeti must have fought this very tree, and barely escaped with his life.

Folks, it's stories like this that renew my childhood sense of wonder in the world.
posted by resigned at 1:07 AM on April 16, 2001

> i find the scientist's comment about never having found
> DNA they were unable to identify funny.

It's an example of something getting lost in translation when a scientist is interviewed for a (very short) popular-press article. Scientist knows the possibilities are limited because only mammals have hair, that's one of the key characters of class mammalia, so the hair sample is from some species of Nepalese mammal not previously subjected to DNA analysis. You can also easily rule out a lot of these mammals -- if it's a longish hair it's obviously not from some unknown species of Nepalese shrew or mole that might have been overlooked in the past. No, the range of possibilities really is pretty slim: it's a mammal, it's large, it lives in Nepal, it's not a bear or goat or human or anything else we've run into before.

Note, I'm just analyzing the logic of the claim. I of course don't know whether they did the DNA analysis right or even if they really have a hair. But if they do have a long hair and they did analyze it right, the fact that they don't recognize the DNA could very well be worth getting excited about if you're a Yeti fan.
posted by jfuller at 9:58 AM on April 16, 2001

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