It is a mystery that has confounded people for hundreds of years.
The existence of an ape-like creature in the Himalayan region of Nepal or Tibet.
It’s been dubbed the Yeti or Abominable Snowman.
Now a British scientist has concluded the creature may in fact be a sub-species of the brown bear.
Bryan Sykes, a genetics professor at Oxford University, had set out to test ‘yeti’ hair samples and find out what species they came from.
He said he conducted DNA tests on hairs from two unidentified animals, one in northern India and the other in Bhutan.
Sykes told the BBC: “We found a total genetic match between two samples from the Himalayas and an ancestor of the polar bear.
He has concluded the most likely explanation for the myth is the animal is a hybrid of polar bears and brown bears.
“This is an exciting and completely unexpected result, which was a surprise to us all,” the scientist added in a statement.
“There is still work to be done to interpret the results. But we can wonder about the possible explanations. This could mean that there is a subspecies of brown bear in the Himalayas that descends from the ancestor of the polar bear.
“Or it means that there has been a recent hybridisation between the brown bear and the descendant of the ancient polar bear.
“It may be some sort of hybrid and if its behaviour is different from normal bears, which is what eyewitnesses report, then I think that may well be the source of the mystery and the source of the legend.”
The search to find the Yeti can be traced back to Alexander the Great who demanded from villagers in the Indus Valley that he see one for himself.
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