Monday, 21 October 2013

Is the yeti a type of polar bear?

CorvidsGreat news! No, don't stop reading, I'm not trying to sell you anything. I saw, last night, a TV programme here in the UK on Channel 4 called the Bigfoot Files. So what was so good about it? Well, for a start it used scientists using scientific methods, unlike most programmes about anomalous phenomena. Secondly, it came up with a remarkable conclusion, which many of you will already be aware of (see here if not). It shows what can be achieved when mainstream scientists get involved in anomaly research, something sadly incredibly rare. It also shows that riveting TV can be produced on serious science, even when it is concerned with anomalous phenomena. I'm hoping that it will start two important new trends - more involvement in anomaly research by mainstream science and coverage of the same in the media.

The big result of the investigation is that two samples of unknown animals found at opposite ends of the Himalayas, thought to be yeti, turned out not only to be identical but were DNA matched to an ancient polar bear (I couldn't help but be reminded on the TV series Lost). Of course, this is just the start of the scientific process of resolving what the yeti really is so it would be premature to say for sure that a yeti is a type of polar bear or a hybrid with brown bear. However, whatever the origin of the hair samples used for the DNA match, the fact remains that a species not previously recorded in the Himalayas, whether it is the yeti or not, has been found. The witness reports of yeti certainly tend to support the idea that it is some kind of bear but not one of species previously known to live in the Himalayas.

It is possible that, in a few years, following further research, we may come to conclude that the yeti is indeed a species of polar bear. One of the most enduring mysteries of crypotozoology would be solved once and for all. I can't help thinking, however, that even then there will be some people unwilling to accept such a conclusion. There are, after all, still people who think that orbs are paranormal, despite all the evidence to the contrary. But anyway, it's still great news!

And the photo? Well I didn't have a yeti picture but the programme featured some excellent Himalayan corvids.

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