A DNA sample, said to be that of a type of bear from which the Yeti legend is based, is most likely to be a common Himalayan Brown Bear.
An evolutionary biologist and a zoologist say they have refuted, through DNA sequencing, a recent claim that an unknown type of bear must exist in the Himalayas and that it may be the source of yeti legends.
The latest study is published in the journal ZooKeys.
Last year, scientists DNA sequencing hair attributed to “anomalous primates” — yetis, bigfoots — said two samples from the Himalayas had a 100% match with DNA recovered from a fossil Polar Bear from over 40,000 years ago.
On this basis, they concluded that a currently unknown type of bear must inhabit that portion of Asia.
Later, however, it was shown that the sample was in fact from a present-day Polar Bear from Alaska, and not from a fossil.
The original findings, however, are still being supported. Those scientists maintain their Himalayan samples must be from an unknown type of bear.
However, further analysis by Eliécer E. Gutiérrez, currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Institution, and Ronald H. Pine, affiliated with the Biodiversity Institute & Natural History Museum at the University of Kansas, say the relevant genetic variation in Brown Bears makes it impossible to assign with certainty the samples to either that species or the Polar Bear.
The samples could have come from either one. Gutiérrez and Pine say there is no reason to believe that the samples in question came from anything other than ordinary Himalayan Brown Bears.
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