The mystery of the abominable snowman seems to have finally been solved by a team of scientists.
Legends have abounded of the tall, furry manlike creatures who wander the snow and ice of the Himalayan peaks.
For decades climbers have reported sighting the mythical beasts, but no one has produced irrefutable evidence of their existence – until now.
A team of scientists have pinned down the truth by analysing dung and concluded that the answer to the mystery is all the reported yeti are really bears.
The legend first came to prominence in the 1830s, but the name abominable snowman was not coined until 1921 when a British team explored the Himalayas.
Riddle of the abominable snowman
The research consigns reports of sightings of the huge creature to the dustbin of history – together with photographs of footprints.
Yeti commentators claimed the half-man, half-beast creature roamed the foothills of the Himalayas, but no one could ever confront or capture the famed beast.
A preliminary investigation of dung collected from the Tibetan plateau suggested the riddle of the yeti was confusion over local bear sightings. Two species live on the Himalayas – a black bear and a brown one.
The scientists drew their conclusion from DNA sampling against these and other bears in captivity.
To prove their theory, the team went out into the icy wilderness to collect fresh dung samples to compare against their database from areas where people were reporting yeti sightings.
DNA analysis proves theory
From the dung, the team managed to unravel DNA sequences of the Himalayan brown bear and black bear for the first time.
“Except for one tooth sample collected from a stuffed exhibit at the Reinhold Messner Mountain Museum, which matched dog, all other samples were identified as bears,” said a report from the team published by the respected Royal Society.
“We were able to determine the clade affinities of all other purported yeti samples in this study and infer their well-supported and resolved phylogenetic relationships among extant bears in the Tibetan Plateau and surrounding Himalayan Mountains.
“This study represents the most rigorous analysis to date of samples suspected to derive from anomalous or mythical hominid-like creatures, strongly suggesting that the biological basis of the yeti legend is local brown and black bears.”