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The Yeti is an alleged ape-like animal said to inhabit the Himalaya region of Nepal and Tibet. The names Yeti and Meh-Teh are commonly used by the people indigenous to the region, and are part of their history and mythology. The familiar term abominable snowman would come into vogue by early-20th century English explorers upon hearing the Sherpa accounts of the animal for the first time.

Most mainstream scientists, explorers and writers with experience of the area, consider current evidence of the Yeti's existence to be weak and better explained as hoax, legend, or misidentification of known species. Nevertheless, the Yeti remains one of the most famous creatures of cryptozoology.


The 1954 Pangboche Scalp Investigation Edit

The Daily Mail "Snowman Expedition" of 1954, on March 19 printed an article, where the expedition teams obtained and submitted specimens of hairs from the scalp in Pangboche monastery. The research on the hair was conducted by Professor Frederic Wood Jones, F.R.S, D.Sc., (who died on September 29 1954[1][2] and an expert in human and comparative anatomy.

The research consisted of taking micro-photographs of the hairs and comparing them with hairs from known animals such as the bear and orangutan.

Professor Woods-Jones was of the opinion that the evidence of the hairs and the photographs, from the Pangboche monastery "scalp", proved it was not a scalp of any type. The reason for this is that although some animals have a ridge of hair beginning at the top of the head and extending between the shoulders to the back, he did not believe that any animals have a ridge such as shown in the photographs of the Pangboche relic running from the base of the forehead across the top of the head and ending at the back of the neck"

The hairs were black or dark brown in colour in dull light, and a "foxy-red" in sunlight. None of these had been dyed and they were probably exceedingly old.

The hairs were bleached, cut into sections and compared microscopically with those of known animals. Wood-Jones was unable to suggest from what animal the Pangboche hairs were taken. He was, however convinced they are not the hairs of an anthropoid ape, nor of a bear. He suggests they may come from the hair of a coarse-haired hoofed animal, but not from its head; they may be from its shoulder.[3]

Events Edit

19th century Edit

In 1832, the Journal of the Asiatic society of Bengal published the account of B. H. Hodgson, who wrote that while trekking in northern Nepal, his native guides spotted a tall, bipedal creature covered with long dark hair, then fled in fear. Hodgson did not see the creature, but concluded it was an orangutan.

An early record of reported footprints appeared in 1889 in L.A. Waddell's Among the Himalayas He reported his native guides described a large apelike creature that left the prints, but concluded the prints were made by a bear. Waddell heard stories of bipedal, apelike creatures, but wrote that of the many witnesses he questioned, none "could ever give me an authentic case. On the most superficial investigation it always resolved into something that somebody had heard of."[4]

Early 20th century Edit

The frequency of reports increased in the early 20th century, when Westerners began making determined attempts to climb the many mountains in the area and sometimes reported seeing odd creatures or strange tracks.

In 1925, N.A. Tombazi, a photographer and member of the Royal Geographical Society, saw a creature at about 15,000 ft near Zemu Glacier. Tombazi later wrote that he observed the creature from about 200 or 300 yards, for about one minute. "Unquestionably, the figure in outline was exactly like a human being, walking upright and stopping occasionally to pull at some dwarf rhododendron bushes. It showed up dark against the snow, and as far as I could make out, wore no clothes." About two hours later, Tombazi and his companions descended the mountain, and saw what they took to be the creature's prints, described as "similar in shape to those of a man, but only six to seven inches long by four inches wide.... The prints were undoubtedly those of a biped."

Late 20th century Edit

Western interest in the Yeti peaked dramatically in the 1950s. While attempting to scale Mount Everest in 1951, Eric Shipton took photographs of a number of large prints in the snow, at about 6,000 m (19,685 ft) above sea level. These photos have been subject to intense study and debate. Some argue they are the best evidence of Yeti's reality, but others contend the prints are from a mundane creature and have been distorted and enlarged by the melting snow.

In 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reported seeing large footprints while scaling Mount Everest. Hillary would later discount Yeti reports as unreliable.[5]

During the Daily Mail Snowman Expedition of 1954,[6] the largest search of its kind, the mountaineering leader John Angelo Jackson made the first trek from Everest to Kangchenjunga and in the process photographed symbolic paintings of the Yeti at Thyangboche Gompa.[7] Jackson tracked and also photographed many footprints in the snow, many of which were identifiable. However, there were many large footprints which could not be identified. The flattened footprint-like indentations were attributed to erosion and subsequent widening of the original footprint by wind and particle action.

Beginning in 1957, Tom Slick, an American who had made a fortune in oil, funded a few missions to investigate Yeti reports. In 1959, feces reportedly from a Yeti were collected by Slick's expedition. Analysis found a parasite but could not classify it. Bernard Heuvelmans wrote that "Since each animal has its own parasites, this indicated that the host animal is equally an unknown animal." [8]

In 1959, actor Jimmy Stewart, while visiting India, reportedly smuggled the remains of a supposed Yeti, the so-called Pangboche Hand, by hiding them in his luggage when he flew from India to London.[9]

In 1960, Sir Edmund Hillary mounted an expedition to collect and evaluate evidence for the Yeti and sent a Yeti scalp from the Khumjung monastery to the West for testing. The results indicated that the scalp had been manufactured from the skin of the serow, a goat-like Himalayan antelope. But some disagreed with this analysis. Shackley said they "pointed out that hairs from the scalp look distinctly monkey-like, and that it contains parasitic mites of a species different from that recovered from the serow."

In 1970, British mountaineer Don Whillans says he saw a creature while scaling Annapurna. While scouting for a campsite, Whillans heard some odd cries. His Sherpa guide told him the sound was a Yeti's call. That night, reported Whillans, he saw a dark shape moving near his camp. The next day, Whillans observed a few human like footprints in the snow, and that evening, he asserted that with binoculars, he watched a bipedal, ape-like creature for about 20 minutes as it apparently searched for food not far from his camp.

Analysis Edit

The anthropologist John Napier in his book "Bigfoot: The Yeti and Sasquatch in Myth and Reality", a detailed collation of writings, first hand reports and analysis on the subject, argued that amongst what evidence there is for the Yeti, "unlike the Sasquatch, there is little uniformity of pattern, and what uniformity there is incriminates the bear".

In 2003, Japanese mountaineer Makoto Nebuka published the results of his 12-year linguistic study and postulated that the word "Yeti" is actually a corruption of the word "meti" - a regional dialect term for "bear". The ethnic Tibetans fear and worship the bear (as in many traditional cultures) as a supernatural being.[10] Nebuka's claims were subject to almost immediate criticism, however, and Nebuka was accused of linguistic carelessness. Dr Raj Kumar Pandey, for example, who has also researched both Yetis and mountain languages, said "it is not enough to blame tales of the mysterious beast of the Himalayas on words that rhyme but mean different things."[11]

Many cryptozoologists, after examining eye-witness reports and statistical evidence, have concluded that Yeti reports are misidentification of mundane creatures. Well-financed expeditions have turned up little positive evidence of its existence, although one expedition to Bhutan did retrieve a hair sample that, after DNA analysis, could not be matched to any known animal.[12]

In 1997, Italian mountaineer Reinhold Messner claimed to have come face to face with a Yeti. He has since written a book, My Quest for the Yeti, and also claims to have actually killed one. According to Messner, the Yeti is actually the endangered Himalayan Brown Bear, Ursus arctos isabellinus, that can walk upright or on all fours.[13]

Enthusiasts speculate that these reported creatures could be present-day specimens of the extinct giant ape Gigantopithecus, as the only evidence (other than teeth) recovered from Gigantopithecus (its jawbone) indicates a skull rested upon a vertical spinal column (as in hominines and other bipedal apes such as Oreopithecus). However, while the Yeti is usually described as bipedal, most scientists feel that Gigantopithicus was probably quadrupedal, and so massive that unless it evolved specifically as a bipedal ape (like Oreopithecus and the hominids) upright walking would have been even more difficult for the now extinct primate than it is for its extant quadrupedal relative, the orangutan.

references Edit

  1. Jessie Dobson. "Obituary: 79, Frederic Wood-Jones, F.R.S.: 1879-1954" in Man vol.56 (June, 1956) pp. 82-83
  2. Wilfred E. le Gros Clark. "Frederic Wood-Jones, 1879-1954" Biographical memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society vol. 1 (November 1955) pp. 118-134
  3. Ralph Izzard. The Abominable Snowman Adventure (Hodder and Stoughton 1955)
  4. [1]
  5. Man of Everest Everest - The Autobiography of Tenzing by Tenzing Norgay (told to and written by James Ramsey Ullman) (george harrap & Co. 1955)
  6. http://www.cabernet.demon.co.uk/JAJ/snowman1954/1954-snowman-team.html
  7. Adventure Travels in the Himalaya (pp135-152) by John Angelo Jackson (2005) (ISBN 81-7387-175-2)
  8. Loren Coleman. Tom Slick and the Search for Yeti, Faber & Faber, 1989, ISBN 0-571-12900-5; Loren Coleman, Tom Slick: True Life Encounters in Cryptozoology, Fresno, California: Linden Press, 2002, ISBN 0-941936-74-0
  9. Milestones -- Jimmy Stewart
  10. Tibet: Mystic Trivia
  11. BBC News -- Yeti's 'non-existence' hard to bear
  12. The Statesmen -- Mystery Primate
  13. The Grizzly Truth About the Yeti -- Stalking the Abominable Snow-Bear

References Edit

  • John Napier (MRCS, IRCS, DSC) "Bigfoot: The Yeti and Sasquatch in Myth and Reality" 1972 ISBN 0-525-06658-6.
  • Sir Francis Younghusband The Epic of Mount Everest by 1926, Edward Arnold & Co. The expedition that inadvertently coined the term "Abominable Sbowman"
  • Charles Howard-Bury, "Mount Everest The Reconnaissance", 1921, Edward Arnold, ISBN 1-135-39935-2.
  • H.W. Tilman, "Mount Everest 1938", Appendix B, pp. 127-137, Pilgrim Publishing. ISBN 81-7769-175-9.
  • John A. Jackson, More than Mountains, Chapter 10 (pp 92) & 11, "Prelude to the Snowman Expedition & The Snowman Expedition", George Harrap & Co, 1954
  • Ralph Izzard, The Abominable Snowman Adventure, this is the detailed account by the Daily Mail correspondent on the 1954 expedition to find the "Snowman", Hodder and Staoughton, 1955.
  • Charles Stonor, The Sherpa and the Snowman, recounts the 1955 Dail Mail "Abominable Snowman Expedition" by the scientific officer of the expedition, this is a very detailed analysis of not just the "Snowman" but the flora and fauna of the Himalaya and its people. Hollis and Carter, 1955.
  • John A. Jackson, Adventure Travels in the Himalaya Chapter 17, "Everest and the Elusive Snowman", 1954 updated material, Indus Publishing Company, 2005, ISBN 81-7387-175-2.
  • Jerome Clark, Unexplained! 347 Strange Sightings, Incredible Occurrences, and Puzzling Physical Phenomena, Visible Ink Press, 1993.
  • Bernard Heuvelmans, On the Track of Unknown Animals, Hill and Wang, 1958
  • Reinhold Messner, My Quest for the Yeti: Confronting the Himalayas' Deepest Mystery, New York: St. Martin's Press, 2000, ISBN 0-312-20394-2
  • Gardner Soule, Trail of the Abominable Snowman, New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1966, ISBN 0-399-60642-4.

See also Edit

External links Edit

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