A number of people may have read that Bryan Sykes, Oxford professor, has proved the Yeti is a bear. As with many a story, the truth is somewhat more complex.
First of all, what is a yeti exactly? If you go a-clambering in the Himalayas (wear warm clothing!), you will find that the locals apply the name not to just one, but basically three, different animals.
The first is the gigantic dzu-teh which is big enough to take your breath away. The second, the meh-teh, is about the size of a human.
The third is a diminutive creature, the teh-lma.
Enter Bryan Sykes, who was given two alleged yeti hairs for analysis.
You'll note the word alleged. Sometimes biological items presented as cryptid remains can turn out not to be from the alleged cryptid at all. They might even be from a different cryptid.
Sykes submitted the hairs to DNA analysis and found they were related to the jaw of an ancient polar bear, discovered in Norway.
He tells us that the DNA informs us that the animal is not the local Himalayan black bear (Selenarctos), but the original primitive bear. an animal which science had no suspicion was to be found in the Himalayas or, indeed, anywhere else.
There is no reason to doubt Sykes' findings. We now know that the Himalayas harbor an unknown bear. It seems to be a bipedal bear. Known species of bear are not bipedal. They will stand on their hind legs to take a look around, but they then drop down on all fours.
This bear probably does account for one of the kinds of yeti. My money is on the dzu-teh. But that means the other two are still mystery animals and possibly hominids. We shall hope that more hairs to clarify this will surface in the future.
Sykes is not the first to have suggested an ursine animal as the yeti, but he seems to have discovered in this bear a completely new animal.
Thursday, 16 January 2014
SYKES AND A YETI
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