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Yeti Bears Up Under Scrutiny

timothy posted 1 year,14 days | from the hey-hey-boo-boo dept.

Science 104

Rambo Tribble writes "Bryan Sykes of Oxford University has discovered that hairs, ostensibly from the Yeti creature of the Himalayas, were '... genetically identical to polar bear.' What the professor is suggesting is that a rare hybrid of brown and polar bear may be the actual, elusive creature of legend."

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Joke of the day (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45153139)

What do polar bears like to eat?

Brrrrrrrritos!

Re:Joke of the day (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45153183)

What is the difference between a smart congressman and Bigfoot?
Bigfoot exists.

Re:Joke of the day (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45153471)

I think honest would have worked better in the joke over smart.

Re:Joke of the day (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45153689)

Are you saying Bigfoot is a liar?

Re:Joke of the day (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45154229)

Not at all. The adjective added to congressman but not Bigfoot in no way implies that Bigfoot is not that adjective. But since you seem to think it does, does that mean you were calling Bigfoot an idiot?

Re:Joke of the day (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | 1 year,14 days | (#45154935)

Are you saying Bigfoot is a liar?

That would imply that the Bigfoot is one of your elected representatives. Somehow I don't think he was saying that.

Re:Joke of the day (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45153761)

Punchline fail. It's:

What is the difference between a smart congressman and Bigfoot?
People have actually claimed to have seen Bigfoot.

Re:Joke of the day (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45154963)

What is the difference between a smart congressman and Bigfoot?

Bigfoot can't make your life a living hell....

Re:Joke of the day (1)

nightsky30 (3348843) | 1 year,14 days | (#45154327)

What is the difference between a smart congressman and Bigfoot? Bigfoot exists.

Bigfoot smells better.

How hard can it be? (3, Insightful)

guytoronto (956941) | 1 year,14 days | (#45153185)

How hard can it be to really capture one on film? There are reports almost daily of bears wandering into populated areas looking for food. If this mythical creature actually exists, it should be dead easy to get legitimate proof via baited trap and motion-sensing camera.

For gawd sakes, the Ewoks managed to capture Chewbacca. Are we really that incapable?

Re:How hard can it be? (5, Informative)

rally2xs (1093023) | 1 year,14 days | (#45153257)

What's hard about it is that its in the Hymalyas, and from the sound of things, people that see it in the clear would say, "Oh, that's a bear" and people that have it come out of a snowstorm and try to eat them think its the abominable snowman...

Re:How hard can it be? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45153775)

Except the face of a bear and a "man" aren't remotely alike.

Re:How hard can it be? (1)

Sarius64 (880298) | 1 year,14 days | (#45154185)

How did you see its face while receiving the anal probe?

Re:How hard can it be? (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | 1 year,14 days | (#45154325)

Doesn't really matter if you've been eaten.

Re:How hard can it be? (2)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | 1 year,14 days | (#45154913)

Except the face of a bear and a "man" aren't remotely alike.

Well, yes, except that I don't think that there are good views of the face in Yeti sightings, and certainly no photographs of the yeti's face. Since most sightings seem to be in bad conditions, by people nearly snow-blind, often with somewhat ice-fogged goggles, and not to mention the fact that eyeballs can change focus at low pressure, it's not implausible. Keep in mind that manatees were reported as mermaids in the 1500s-- manatees look nothing like mermaids. Unless mermaids are a lot uglier than the legend says.

So, the hypothesis would be that, during the glacial maximum of one of the previous ice-ages, polar bears (or, proto-polar-bears) expanded their territory southward, and when the ice retreated, a small colony got cut off and colonized the high-altitude niche. Not impossible. A question of "what do they eat?" is going to be relevant here, but the Himalayas are not completely devoid of prey.

More evidence is needed that the animal even exists (if it doesn't actually exist, it doesn't need explanation), but it's not a hypothesis that can be rejected out of hand.

Re:How hard can it be? (1)

Richy_T (111409) | 1 year,14 days | (#45155957)

Bear in mind that sailors were supplied with a ration of rum and hadn't seen women for months.

Re:How hard can it be? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | 1 year,14 days | (#45157015)

Bear in mind.

Clever.

Re:How hard can it be? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45159395)

Bear in mind that sailors were supplied with a ration of rum and hadn't seen women for months.

People traveling in the himalayas may very well be in the same position.

Re: How hard can it be? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#45162433)

Actually weren't they using drunken shaved bears to impersonate ugly woman a while back. Source... My recollection.

Re:How hard can it be? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45154739)

I think most people reading and commenting on this don't have much of an idea as to how difficult the terrain is (in the heights where Yeti are said to exist). And exactly how vast the area is. And how sparsely populated it is (human population wise). And how harsh the weather is.

I was watching a BBC show on the Himalayas on Netflix where the presenter Michael Palin (no relation to Sarah I'm afraid) hikes in Nepal to the Himalayan Base camp. Perhaps second best to actually getting there is to watch the video, to get a sense of how brutally harsh the region is.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Himalaya_with_Michael_Palin

There is a brief discussion there about the Yeti (where the Sherpa guide talks about it).

Re:How hard can it be? (5, Funny)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | 1 year,14 days | (#45153263)

We tried that, but the UFOs kept stealing the cameras.

Re:How hard can it be? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45155007)

Sorry, needed them to take pictures of the crop circles...

Do you wan them back?

Re:How hard can it be? (4, Funny)

Cajun Hell (725246) | 1 year,14 days | (#45153353)

What are you talking about? There's tons of photographs and other physical evidence, confirming the existence of bears. Some bears have been captured, too. At this point, I'd say people claiming bears to be mythical, are he ones who are making extraordinary statements which need backing up.

Re:How hard can it be? (5, Funny)

SJHillman (1966756) | 1 year,14 days | (#45153555)

I think Mitch Hedberg summed it up best:

"I think Bigfoot is blurry, that's the problem. It's not the photographer's fault. Bigfoot is blurry, and that's extra scary to me. There's a large, out-of-focus monster roaming the countryside. Run, he's fuzzy, get out of here."

Re:How hard can it be? (1)

BitwiseX (300405) | 1 year,14 days | (#45156133)

I miss that man :(

Re:How hard can it be? (1)

geekoid (135745) | 1 year,14 days | (#45154823)

Here's the thing, when it wanders into a town or village, people see it clearly and thing 'Oh, another bear'. When it's not very clear, then OMG YETI!

Re:How hard can it be? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45155103)

It can actually be quite hard to spot something in dense forestry, even if you are an expert, even kitted out with military grade crap for seeing things.

There are loads of new species found every day, including animals and large insects.

Something the size of bigfoot, however, is unlikely, but it could easily just be some hybrid or something that people actually haven't seen before and just assume it is bigfoot.
As for baited traps and the like, what if it actually IS basically the descendants of Neanderthals? Or something close enough that hasn't been spotted yet that evolved only fairly recently (500k+) and is very good at keeping itself hidden and has incredible intelligence?
WHAT IF THEY RUN THE GOVERNMENT?! OH NO, PANIC!

Yeti Bears Up Under Scrutiny (1)

geekoid (135745) | 1 year,14 days | (#45153189)

I see what you did there, very clever.

Re:Yeti Bears Up Under Scrutiny (2)

cold fjord (826450) | 1 year,14 days | (#45153249)

I want to know if it is smarter than the average bear.

Re:Yeti Bears Up Under Scrutiny (1)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | 1 year,14 days | (#45155341)

I want to know if it is smarter than the average bear.

Perhaps there is some way you could use this Pic-A-Nic basket to find out?

Junk science (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | 1 year,14 days | (#45153321)

Everybody knows that when you cross a brown bear and a polar bear you get a chupacabra.

Re:Junk science (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45153589)

2nd cousin of Chewbacca.

So is anyone shocked? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45153389)

Some legends don't seem to die. This whole yeti/bigfoot thing is almost a religion to some people.

Re:So is anyone shocked? (4, Insightful)

SJHillman (1966756) | 1 year,14 days | (#45153623)

You could argue that a religion is just a legend that won't die. Or that gets resurrected a few days after it dies.

Re:So is anyone shocked? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45154457)

How to get modded "Insightful" on Slashdot, tip #56:

Bash religion.

Errr... wat? (5, Insightful)

Slartibartfast (3395) | 1 year,14 days | (#45153393)

If it's "genetically identical" to a polar bear, well... doesn't that mean it's a polar bear?

Re:Errr... wat? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45153529)

If it's "genetically identical" to a polar bear, well... doesn't that mean it's a polar bear?

Prof Sykes found that he had a 100% match with a sample from an ancient polar bear jawbone found in Svalbard, Norway, that dates back to between 40,000 and 120,000 years ago - a time when the polar bear and closely related brown bear were separating as different species.

So it is a polar bear, just not a modern polar bear.

Re:Errr... wat? (1)

wiwa (905999) | 1 year,14 days | (#45154635)

So it is a polar bear, just not a modern polar bear.

If it is living in the Himalayas, it is definitely not a polar bear. It is a subtropical bear.

Re:Errr... wat? (5, Funny)

Richy_T (111409) | 1 year,14 days | (#45156009)

Maybe it is a bipolar bear.

Re:Errr... wat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45156655)

No, couldn't be a bipolar bear. There would be some great art or science or something from that species since everyone knows that the greatest minds have been bipolar, look at all the hollywood biopics for examples. Also when they're in the manic phase they'd be clubbing and having homosexual sex, which means they wouldn't be reproducing much. And when they're in the depressive stage they'd just be holed up in their den crying and starving. But since they are bi, some would reproduce, but would it be with other bipolar bears, and wouldn't the genetics be watered down with average bears? On the flipside, the DNA the hair matches is 40,000+ years old, maybe they are genius or something and figured out how to clone themselves so the DNA doesn't change anymore. Holy crap, we need to find the bear labs and steal their technology!

Re:Errr... wat? (1)

Solandri (704621) | 1 year,14 days | (#45156511)

So yeti are time-traveling polar bears?

Re:Errr... wat? (1)

dbIII (701233) | 1 year,14 days | (#45158637)

What's more they can transform! From Polar bears into Cartesian bears - or so the origin story goes.

Re:Errr... wat? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45153575)

I think it means that the vendor selling the "Authentic Yeti Hair" is really selling polar bear hair.

Re:Errr... wat? (1)

bobbied (2522392) | 1 year,14 days | (#45154795)

Well that much is obvious.... Shesh...

Re:Errr... wat? (1)

sjames (1099) | 1 year,14 days | (#45155423)

So where did he get the time machine? The hair was genetically identical to an ancient polar bear from back before it was fully distinct from brown bears.

So the Authentic yeti hair is from a bear but it is a scientifically interesting bear related to the modern polar bear.

Re:Errr... wat? (1, Insightful)

Bite The Pillow (3087109) | 1 year,14 days | (#45153847)

Thanks to chimerism or mosaicism we know people can have different DNA in different places. This animal could have polar bear DNA in the fur and differences elsewhere.

This sample of a bit of fur from one animal does not represent all yeti so we know almost nothing more than we did before this find.

Re:Errr... wat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45153957)

It's rather unlikely though, that the particular specimen they just happened to find some hair from just happened to be an individual with mosaicism, given that the condition occurs randomly (and rather rarely) during gestation - it's not inherited..

Re:Errr... wat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45154029)

Wow. Your ignorance of population genetics is quite astonishing.

Population geneticists routinely use a single sample (from a hair snare, cheek swab, etc.) and take it as representing the whole animal. Chimerism is so rare as to be a total non-issue.

Valid criticisms of the study might include:
1) That a single sample does not accurately represent a full population of animals.
2) It could just be homoplasy.
3) The article says "The sample from Ladakh came from the mummified remains of a creature shot by a hunter around 40 years ago". And that creature was clearly a bear. If it had been unambiguously been the remains of a "yeti", the remains would have been known worldwide and the existence of the yeti would have been proven already. Basically he got some bear hair and found out that it's a bear.

In summary, there's no evidence that actually links his specimens to the yeti.

Re:Errr... wat? (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | 1 year,14 days | (#45154259)

"Basically he got some bear hair and found out that it's a bear."

No, it's more like he got some bear hair and found it's from a bear species (or hyrbid) that we haven't really documented, but would plausibly explain the yeti myth much better than the currently documented bear species in the area.

Re:Errr... wat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45154383)

But as I said, he didn't prove that at all. Homoplasy could be a much better explanation.

Re:Errr... wat? (4, Informative)

Will.Woodhull (1038600) | 1 year,14 days | (#45154933)

I'm blowing off some mod points to post this. Oh well. This is arguably more important than saying something is +1 Funny.

Homology [wikipedia.org] is a term related to convergent evolution. It means that appearance of structures in different species is similar, even though the genetic history-- the evolution-- is very different. The genetics are different. This study found that the genetics between a candidate yeti and an ancient polar bear were identical. By its very definition, homoplasy is not an applicable term.

Stripping this post of connective verbiage that can be inferred, the take-away from this is that

1. While adding fancy new words to your vocabulary is commendable,

2. It is also necessary to actually learn what the new word means before using it.

Re:Errr... wat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45158573)

I find it odd they're identical. A 99% match with different 1% from modern polar bears would be more believable. Did evolution just stop?

Re:Errr... wat? (1)

Bite The Pillow (3087109) | 1 year,14 days | (#45160901)

I'm sure my ignorance of population genetics is quite average, or you are easily astonished.

Your knowledge of the incidence of chimerism among yeti is much more astonishing. And your certainty of the nature of the sampled mummy without having observed it is nearly psychic.

Everyone in this thread missed this part apparently: a 100% match with a sample from an ancient polar bear jawbone found in Svalbard, Norway, that dates back to between 40,000 and 120,000 years ago - a time when the polar bear and closely related brown bear were separating as different species.

That bear doesn't exist now, so it would have to be an interbred bear. That would explain the rarity of the yeti, and numerous other oddities. I'm sold, the yeti is a cross bred bear. Fuck it, I'm starting a yeti farm. 2 for one sale, own your very own mythical creature. Get them before they speciate!

Re:Errr... wat? (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | 1 year,14 days | (#45154049)

While 'possible', when you mix the extreme rarity of chimerism (35 humans in US), that mosiacism is an internal mutation (not a mix of disparate DNAs) and the rarity of yeti sightings in the first place, it gets very unlikely either of these are the answer.

This bit of fur is indeed indicative of a all current 'evidence' for yeti. Every case examined thus far has turned out to *not* be a yeti, but a common creature. Or a crappy, blurry photo, or half melted and indistinct footprints. Etc. Etc. Etc.

You cannot determine what a fictional creature 'really' is.

Re:Errr... wat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45159511)

People hang on to the word "yeti" for some strange reason. what we (possibly) have is a creature which may be bear-like (or ape-like). What if instead of yeti we called it Peter, this creature called Peter is rather ellusive as well as rare, it also happens to share ancestory with bears (i guess that rules out the ape-like, though a bear walking on backfeet could be mistaken for an ape too). Now it starts to sound like how we find new (sub)-species of animals every year, including occasionally rather large but ellusive and rare species. But as soon as you call it Yeti, you have people going into imagination-mode about all the myths (and im sure most of the stories are either worng/fake/misunderstandings/exagerations)

Peter may very well be real, but it is unlikely he will live up to everyones mental image of what a yeti is supposed to be like.

Re:Errr... wat? (2, Interesting)

tompaulco (629533) | 1 year,14 days | (#45154993)

Maybe the yeti was wearing a polar bear pelt.

Re:Errr... wat? (1)

intermodal (534361) | 1 year,14 days | (#45154421)

That would be the common-sense version, but rarely doe that end up being the final answer.

Hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones - all basically the same, just in different geographical locations.

Re:Errr... wat? (1)

guruevi (827432) | 1 year,14 days | (#45155399)

Monkeys are 98.5% genetically identical to humans. Does that mean we're monkeys? Yes we are but we're a different species. All the domestic dogs in the world are the same (Canis Lupus Familiaris) yet you have pugs and you have great danes, those are called breeds or when we don't artificially select for them, subspecies.

Re:Errr... wat? (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | 1 year,14 days | (#45155601)

Makes me wonder how a polar bear would end up in the Himalayas, though indeed it's what I was thinking first, a polar bear that wandered a bit far away. Save the difference in air pressure the climate is probably quite similar. Food may be an issue, no seals in the Himalayas.

Maybe even more realistic than a hybrid brown/polar bear.

Re:Errr... wat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45156253)

Makes me wonder how a polar bear would end up in the Himalayas, though indeed it's what I was thinking first, a polar bear that wandered a bit far away.

Probably got a lift from Lee Scoresby.

Re:Errr... wat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45159579)

It has had many many years to travel :-)

It is not that uncommen for one or a small group of animals to end up travelling (far) to places they do not naturally occur (especially durring low food periods or if otherwise threathened). It is not that far-fetched that this is a distant cousin to polar bears (or whatever bears - "polar" is a rather human distinction that the animal does not really care about). There is other food available in the Himalayas (fox comes to mind) and the lack of food could explain the low number of yetis, since there might only be food enough to support a very low "population"

In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45153413)

In other news, after careful scruteny of a black and white picture of a supposed UFO, it seems to be a top-hat thrown upwards and then photographed.

Re:In other news... (1)

bobbied (2522392) | 1 year,14 days | (#45154839)

And Nessi is made of Styrofoam... I think you are onto something.

MU Online (0)

watcher-rv4 (2712547) | 1 year,14 days | (#45153453)

The name "Yeti" remembers me a low level monster from the mmo MU Online.

Re:MU Online (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | 1 year,14 days | (#45153647)

Many MMOs feature some kind of Yeti... and this is what they're mostly named after

Re:MU Online (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45153679)

Thanks, that's good to know.

Hmmmm .... (3, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | 1 year,14 days | (#45153523)

What the professor is suggesting is that a rare hybrid of brown and polar bear may be the actual, elusive creature of legend

Why does this sound like he's made up another undocumented creature as his explanation?

This sounds like he either tested a sample which was from a hoax, or he's just making shit up.

I'm going with "researcher tests hoax, comes up with own unfounded explanation to get publicity". Because there's no more evidence for the existence of this creature in the Himalayas than the yeti.

Re:Hmmmm .... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45153627)

Pizzly Bear [wikipedia.org]

+1 interesting (1)

raymorris (2726007) | 1 year,14 days | (#45153697)

Too bad I don't have mod points today.

Re:Hmmmm .... (1)

neoshroom (324937) | 1 year,14 days | (#45155571)

Grolar Bear [youtube.com]

Re:Hmmmm .... (3, Informative)

SJHillman (1966756) | 1 year,14 days | (#45153677)

Polar/brown bear hybrids are rare... not undocumented

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grizzly [wikipedia.org] –polar_bear_hybrid

Re:Hmmmm .... (2)

SJHillman (1966756) | 1 year,14 days | (#45153687)

apparently Slashdot hates hyphens in links

It's en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grizzly–polar_bear_hybrid

Re:Hmmmm .... (1)

omnichad (1198475) | 1 year,14 days | (#45154015)

That wasn't a hyphen, it's an en dash [wikipedia.org] . Slashdot just hates non-ASCII characters.

Re:Hmmmm .... (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | 1 year,14 days | (#45157107)

Slashdot hates everything.

Re:Hmmmm .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45153875)

In the Himalayas?!

That's what makes a polar bear "undocumented" in this sense.

Re:Hmmmm .... (1)

sjames (1099) | 1 year,14 days | (#45155575)

I'm sure INS will take care of it.

Re:Hmmmm .... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | 1 year,14 days | (#45153877)

Polar/brown bear hybrids are rare... not undocumented

In the Himalayas?

Yes, there are hybrids, but whether or not that has anything to do with this is another thing.

Like I said, he's postulated another thing for which there isn't direct evidence in the Himalayas (what with it being very far from where you find polar bears) -- at which point, he's just suggested another theory.

So, yes, he tested *something*, and we don't know where that really came from. He's then suggesting the existence of something else in an area it's not been documented, and my question is if there's anything to warrant that conclusion.

I'm far more inclined to believe he's tested what was actually a hoax, and any conclusions about a possible polar bear hybrid is at best speculative, and at worst utterly pointless.

Re:Hmmmm .... (2)

SJHillman (1966756) | 1 year,14 days | (#45154161)

He compared the DNA sample to an ancient polar bear from about the time the species were separating. So it seems to be more of a classification stretch (saying the ancient species is the same as the modern polar bear) than a case of putting a creature in a location far from where it currently is. Furthermore, the hair sample is from a bear shot 40 years ago, which predates the ubiquity of cameras (they were common, just not *everywhere* like today) and a species more closely related to the polar bear could have easily become extinct since then.

From the article:
"He said that while they did not mean that "ancient polar bears are wandering around the Himalayas", there could be a sub-species of brown bear in the High Himalayas descended from an ancestor of the polar bear."

So to loop back around... no, it really doesn't sound like he's falling for a hoax or making up one creature to explain another. His bear-hybrid theory is highly plausible based on what we know about the evolution of polar bears, the existence of bears in that region, and the ability of polar bears and brown bears to make lil'uns.

Re:Hmmmm .... (1)

b4upoo (166390) | 1 year,14 days | (#45155275)

Actually the cross bred polar bear, brown bear has been studied and well documented. It occurred due to a hunter being charged with killing a polar bear with the hunter insisting it was a brown bear which was legal to take. Genetic testing clearly proved that the cross bred bear existed. The theory is that the wealthy used to keep private zoos in the 19th century and that one or two of these bears were created in captivity and either escaped or were released into the wild. From that point on nature simply kicked in and these bears mated with wild bears. The best policy in dealing with these cross bred bears is never, ever, find one.

Re:Hmmmm .... (1)

olsmeister (1488789) | 1 year,14 days | (#45153737)

Maybe he's watched a few too many episodes of Lost...

Re:Hmmmm .... (1)

shaitand (626655) | 1 year,14 days | (#45154547)

There's DNA taken from two distinct samples taken 800 miles apart, one them from an actual mummified animal body that anyone can test and examine.

That seems like more evidence than there is for the yeti to me. Also, I do agree this seems like more of a blow to the skeptics than the believers because while it seems the creature was not a large manlike primate there was in fact something up there. The problem with skeptics is that if everyone listens to them nobody investigates and finds the truth behind anything.

Re:Hmmmm .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45159655)

Another problem with skeptics (though this is also a problem with fanatic belivers) is that if you can not account for every variation of the story (you know, explain the _entire_ myth, even when it is 90% made up stories) Then you have effectively proved nothing. Even if this Polar bear _is_ the Yeti, some people will find some claim made at some point about something the yeti supposedly did, that this animal can not live up to - they will then take that as proof that nothing about the new theory is right)

Personally I have never believed in the Yeti as a mythical monster, but theres certainly nothing in my opinon saying that a (yet undiscovered?) bear species could not account for most of the sightings.

Re:Hmmmm .... (1)

shaitand (626655) | 1 year,14 days | (#45160527)

I don't believe in the Yeti or Bigfoot but I have yet to hear any particular reason to assume there aren't such creatures either. If the places where both are said to exist can support bears they could support large primates as well. I'm thrilled to see some actual investigation of the yeti at least even it's no more effort than to remotely collect a couple samples and sequence them with no field work.

I can understand why the idea of an upright primate might make the anti-evolution crowd uncomfortable and cause an irrational level of opposition to the idea but I don't understand the irrational disdain spreading further than that. NOBODY credible investigates this, if they do anything it is set out with the bias of disproving some piece of evidence or providing an alternate explanation.

It is perfectly reasonable that there could be an upright primate, that it might well be reclusive, and given the size would likely have a low population. Credible researchers have spent decades actively looking to try to confirm the existence of a species. So why does looking for this one make you a crackpot? Just because the idea got media attention and there were a few hoaxes? The sightings of this creature go back hundreds of years. Isn't it worth someone who actually knows what they are doing actually making a real effort?

Unless they do, I doubt we'll ever know because guys going out in the woods at night and yelling and banging sticks together is not a strategy that is likely to EVER successfully find any woodland creature.

Re:Hmmmm .... (1)

geekoid (135745) | 1 year,14 days | (#45154995)

Because polar bears and brown bears sometimes intermix. They aren't mythical creatures like the Yeti.

"Because there's no more evidence for the existence of this creature in the Himalayas than the yeti."
you mean beside hair and DNA?

Other explanation (2)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | 1 year,14 days | (#45153567)

The yeti was snacking on a polar bear (or Himalayan Goral FTFA..) while out for a walk.

Obligitory xkcd (3, Insightful)

Wormholio (729552) | 1 year,14 days | (#45153601)

Re:Obligitory xkcd (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45154625)

Because Americans carrying cameras has significance to bears in the Himalayas.

YETI BEARS!?!?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45154039)

We are so screwed....

confusion about foot prints (1)

sribe (304414) | 1 year,14 days | (#45154191)

You know, I've seen black bear prints that look remarkably similar to human prints. I'm serious, they can really look alike under the right conditions, such that there's no obvious impression of claws...

Shit. (1)

TheCarp (96830) | 1 year,14 days | (#45154633)

So you mean to tell me that the himilays have polarized killer bears?

Scratch that off my vacation destinations.

Tibetan blue bears have been called "Yeti", too (2)

WilliamBaughman (1312511) | 1 year,14 days | (#45154773)

I guess this isn't entirely surprising considering that "Yeti" fur has been identified as coming from the Tibertan blue bear [wikipedia.org] as well. It is very interesting how closely and recently related the brown bear is to the polar bear, though, and to these mountain dwelling species as well. I did not know that. The Tibetan Blue Bear has only been rarely sighted since it was documented in the 1850s. It's not out of the question that there are other, non-classified bear relatives in the high mountains.

The Tibetan sand fox [wikipedia.org] and other fox species contribute to the Yeti legend as well. They occasionally make human-like cries. Snow leopards do to. I've heard a snow leopard cry at a the Central Park Zoo; it sounded like a child shrieking only much louder and more piercing. If you heard one of these animal species during a blizzard, especially combined with certain related optical phenomena (or actually seeing a sub-species/relative of brown bear), you could get the strong impression that there was another person out there. Or something like a person but definitely not. You certainly wouldn't find a person after it had been snowing, the animal having moved on, burrowed, or appearing only as an animal.

My view's - not my employer's. I wonder when Microsoft will take a stance on the Yeti question...

This is already being misreported... (1)

Delusion_ (56114) | 1 year,14 days | (#45154785)

...as actually having anything to do with "yetis".

I don't think we need DNA evidence to demonstrate that people are perfectly capable of making up monster folklore without anything more convincing than a tall tale.

Replacing a non-existent creature of folklore with a purported half breed of a creature that occurs nowhere near a specific location really isn't accomplishing much, especially when people have long been motivated to produce "evidence" before the advent of DNA testing. The polar bear doesn't live anywhere near the Himalays, yet intrepid explorers who wanted to engage in a prank or to fool a foundation to donate money to their expedition were certainly capable of bringing part of a polar bear to create "evidence" for their "discovery".

This is like finding a South African cent in my change and coming to the conclusion that the United States used to be a South African possession. There are easier ways to explain this "evidence" than purporting the yeti myth to be a misunderstood bear that didn't live anywhere near the reported location: people make shit up, and people want to believe in monster myths.

Maybe it tends to rear up and walk? (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | 1 year,14 days | (#45155943)

Given the terrain, maybe when people meet it the Yeti bear rears up and roars ... which does look a lot like the classic Yeti image. Just add some longer white hair and bazinga!

A hybrid polar/ brown bear is ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45156701)

...impossible! Global Warming/Global Cooling/Global Weirding/Climate Change/George Bush already killed all of the polar bears.

headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45157927)

Hey slashdot, the media called and they want their stupid sensationalistic clickbait headline back.

Re:headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#45158471)

It's called a pun.

Whatever happened to peer review? (1)

ve3oat (884827) | 1 year,14 days | (#45159843)

Publishing your research on BBC television? Is that how it works now? Do the comments, questions and rebuttals have to appear on BBC TV also, or can they appear on someone else's TV show?

Re:Whatever happened to peer review? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | 1 year,13 days | (#45162419)

The last time I checked, the BBC News running a story about your work doesn't make your work into a BBC TV show.

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