Purported yeti hair underwent a rigorous DNA analysis, and fans of the “abominable snowman” may be disappointed with the results.
Researchers found that hair collected over the years in the Himalayas and Tibetan Plateau region probably comes from local brown and black bears.
They published their study Wednesday, calling it the “most rigorous analysis to date of samples suspected to derive from anomalous or mythical ‘hominid’-like creatures” — a reference to the yeti.
The genetic survey analyzed mitochondrial DNA sequences to determine the origin of the samples. In the process, the researchers wrote that they compiled the Himalayan brown bear’s complete genome for the first time.
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All samples matched to species of existing bears except for one, which matched to a dog.
The yeti is a staple of some Asian countries’ folklore. Large footprints in the snow were photographed by British mountaineer Eric Shipton in 1951, according to LiveScience, which sparked theories about the existence of a human-like creature that might have been a surviving member of Neanderthals or some other species previously thought extinct.
Previous studies of purported yeti hair posited that it came instead from a hybrid between a polar bear and a brown bear, but the new study refutes that conclusion.
“We unambiguously show that this sample is from a bear that groups with extant Himalayan brown bear,” the researchers wrote.
The study was published in the “Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences,” a biological research journal.