DNA thought to be from infamous Yeti was actually from bears

If you are among the people out there who believe in Bigfoot or its cold weather cousin the Yeti some bad news has turned up. The DNA from nine different samples though to be from a Yeti have been analyzed and the scientists inspecting the samples have determined that eight of the nine samples came from different bear species native to the Tibet and Himalayas areas.

Previous genetic studies proved that samples though to be from Yeti had mitochondrial DNA that resembled DNA from polar bears. That finding suggested that a species of bear that was some sort of hybrid between polar bears and brown bears was roaming the wilderness. To determine if this hybrid bear did indeed exist, scientist Charlotte Lindquist took a better look at the mtDNA of many samples that were claimed to be from Yeti remains.

The samples studied included a tooth an hair collected from the Tibetan Plateau in the late 1930s and a sample of scat in a museum in the Tyrolean Alps. Other samples include more hair from Nepal and a leg bone found in a Tibetan cave. Those samples along with samples collected from varied species of bears in the areas were studied. In all 24 samples were studied, including nine that were claimed Yeti samples.

Eight of those Yeti samples were from bears in the area. What of that ninth sample? That one turned out to be from a dog. The analysis of these samples did generate the first full mitochondrial genomes for the Himalayan brown bear and the Himalayan black bear.

Future study of other types of DNA might shed more light on these bear species. Scientists say that they were surprised at the distinct differences in the mtDNA of these bear subspecies. The DNA is often genetically similar according to the scientists.