Yeti (Abominable Snowman, Michê, Dzu-teh, Migoi, Mi-go, Mirka, Kang Admi, JoBran, Bigfoot and Sasquatch)
Location: Himalayan Mountians, Asia
Danger Level: Very Low
The Yeti, or Abominable Snowman, is an ape-like cryptid said to inhabit the Himalayan region of Nepal and Tibet. It walks upright, has long powerful limbs and is covered in hair or fur. It ranges in height fron 6 foot (1.75 meters) to almost eight foot (2.5 meters) tall, and wieght is estimated to exceed 300 lbs. The names Yeti, and Meh-Teh, are commonly used by the people indigenous to the region, and are part of their history and mythology. Stories of the Yeti first emerged in Western popular culture during the 19th century. The scientific community generally regards the Yeti as a legend, given the lack of conclusive evidence, yet it remains one of the most famous creatures of cryptozoology. The Yeti may be related to the Bigfoot (Sasquatch) of North America.Yeti was a part of the pre-Buddhist beliefs of several Himalayan people. The Lepcha people worshipped a “Glacier Being” as a God of the Hunt. Followers of the Bön religion once believed that the blood of the “mi rgod”, or “wild man”, was used in mystical ceremonies. The being was depicted as an apelike creature who carries a large stone as a weapon, and makes a whistling sound. Up to the 1960s, belief in the Yeti was relatively common in Bhutan. So much so, that in 1966, a Bhutanese stamp was made to honor the creature. However, twenty-first century belief in the being is declining.
In 1832, James Prinsep’s ‘Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal’, published trekker B. H. Hodgson’s account of his experiences in northern Nepal. Hodgson’s local guides spotted a tall, bipedal creature covered with long dark hair, which seemed to flee in fear. Hodgson concluded it was an orangutan.
An early record of reported footprints appeared in 1899, in Laurence Waddell’s ‘Among the Himalayas’. Waddell reported that his guide described of a large apelike creature that left the prints, which Waddell thought were made by a bear. Waddell had heard stories of bipedal, apelike creatures, but wrote that “none, however, of the many Tibetans I have interrogated on this subject could ever give me an authentic case. On the most superficial investigation, it always turns out to be something that somebody heard tell of.”
In 1925, N. A. Tombazi, a photographer and member of the Royal Geographical Society, writes that he saw a creature at about 15,000 ft (4,600 m) near Zemu Glacier. Tombazi later wrote that he observed the creature from about 200 to 300 yards (180 to 270 meters), for about a 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 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.”
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 (20,000 ft) above sea level. These photos have been subject to intense scrutiny and debate. Some argue they are the best evidence of Yeti’s existence, while others contend the prints are those of a mundane creature that have been distorted by the melting snow. It should also be noted that Eric Shipton was a notorious practical joker.
Peter Byrne reported finding a yeti footprint in 1948, in northern Sikkim, India near the Zemu Glacier, while on holiday from a Royal Air Force assignment in India.
In 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary, and Tenzing Norgay, reported seeing large footprints while scaling Mount Everest. Hillary would later discount Yeti reports as unreliable. In his first autobiography, Tenzing said that he believed the Yeti was a large ape, and although he had never seen it himself, his father had seen one twice. But, in his second autobiography, he said he had become much more skeptical about its existence.
During the Daily Mail Snowman Expedition of 1954, the mountaineering leader, John Angelo Jackson, made the first trek from Everest to Kanchenjunga in the course of which he photographed symbolic paintings of the Yeti at Tengboche gompa. Jackson tracked and photographed many footprints in the snow, most of which were identifiable. However, there were many large footprints which could not be identified. These flattened footprint-like indentations were attributed to erosion, and the subsequent widening of the original footprint by wind and particles.
On March 19, 1954, the Daily Mail printed an article which described expedition teams obtaining hair specimens from what was alleged to be a Yeti scalp found in Pangboche monastery. The hairs were black to dark brown in colour in dim light, and fox red in sunlight. The hair was analysed by Professor Frederic Wood Jones, an expert in human and comparative anatomy. During the study, the hairs were bleached, cut into sections and analysed microscopically. The research consisted of taking microphotographs of the hairs and comparing them with hairs from known animals such as bears and orangutans. Jones concluded that the hairs were not actually from a scalp. He contended that while some animals do have a ridge of hair extending from the pate to the back, no animals have a ridge (as in the Pangboche “scalp”) running from the base of the forehead across the pate and ending at the nape of the neck. Jones was unable to pinpoint exactly the animal from which the Pangboche hairs were taken. He was, however, convinced that the hairs were not of a bear or anthropoid ape. He suggested that the hairs were from the shoulder of a coarse-haired hoofed animal.
Beginning in 1957, wealthy American oilman Tom Slick funded a few missions to investigate Yeti reports. In 1959, supposed Yeti feces were collected by one of Slick’s expeditions; fecal analysis found a parasite which could not be classified. Cryptozoologist Bernard Heuvelmans wrote, “Since each animal has its own parasites, this indicated that the host animal is equally an unknown animal.” The United States government thought that finding the Yeti was likely enough to create three rules for American expeditions searching for it: Obtain a Nepalese permit, do not harm the Yeti except in self defense, and let the Nepalese government approve any news reporting on the animal’s discovery.
In 1959, actor James (Jimmy) Stewart, while visiting India, reportedly smuggled remains of a supposed Yeti, the so-called Pangboche Hand, by concealing it in his luggage when he flew from India to London.
In 1960, Sir Edmund Hillary mounted an expedition to collect and analyze physical evidence of the Yeti. He sent a supposed Yeti “scalp” from the Khumjung monastery to the West for testing, whose results indicated the scalp was manufactured from the skin of a serow, a goat-like Himalayan antelope. Anthropologist, Myra Shackley, disagreed with this conclusion on the grounds that the “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, claimed to have witnessed a creature when scaling Annapurna. According to Whillans, while scouting for a campsite, he heard some odd cries which his Sherpa guide attributed to a Yeti’s call. That night, he saw a dark shape moving near his camp. The next day, he observed a few human-like footprints in the snow, and that evening, viewed with binoculars a bipedal, ape-like creature for 20 minutes as it apparently searched for food not far from his camp.
In 2004, Henry Gee, editor of the journal Nature, mentioned the Yeti as an example of a legend deserving further study, writing, “The discovery that Homo floresiensis survived until so very recently, in geological terms, makes it more likely that stories of other mythical, human-like creatures such as Yetis are founded on grains of truth … Now, cryptozoology, the study of such fabulous creatures, can come in from the cold.”
In early December 2007, American television presenter, Joshua Gates, and his team (Destination Truth) reported finding a series of footprints in the Everest region of Nepal resembling descriptions of Yeti. Each of the footprints measured 33 cm (13 inches) in length, with five toes that measured a total of 25 cm (9.8 inches) across. Casts were made of the prints for further research. The footprints were examined by Jeffrey Meldrum, of Idaho State University, who believed them to be too morphologically accurate to be either fake or man made, before changing his mind after making further investigations.
On July 25, 2008, the BBC reported that hairs collected in the remote Garo Hills area, of northeast India by Dipu Marak, had been analyzed at Oxford Brookes University in the UK by primatologist Anna Nekaris, and microscopy expert, Jon Wells. The initial tests were inconclusive. Ape conservation expert, Ian Redmond, told the BBC that there was similarity between the cuticle pattern of these hairs and specimens collected by Edmund Hilary during Himalayan expeditions in the 1950s, and donated them to the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. Their analysis revealed that the hair came from the Himalayan Goral.
On October 20, 2008 a team of seven Japanese adventurers photographed footprints which could allegedly have been made by a Yeti. The team’s leader, Yoshiteru Takahashi claims to have observed a Yeti on a 2003 expedition, and is determined to capture the creature on film.
A group of Chinese scientists and explorers in 2010, proposed to renew searches in Shennongjia province, which was the site of expeditions in the 1970s and 1980s. At a 2011 conference in Russia, participating scientists and enthusiasts declared they now have “95% evidence” of the Yeti’s existence.