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Cryptozoology

It Turns Out the Yeti Is Probably Just a Rare Bear

The word “yeti” conjures up a specific image in the folklore of Nepal and Tibet — a massive, shaggy, distinctly ape-like beast that wanders the frigid and desolate Himalayan snowscape. It certainly doesn’t evoke anything that looks like it’s about to impart wisdom about stopping forest fires.

But, according to a recent study published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the latter description may be more accurate. Scientists have tested the DNA of purported Yeti remains and confirmed that yetis do exist — they’re just bears.

Researchers analyzed DNA from nine different samples, all collected in the Himalayas and Tibetan Plateau and supposedly from yetis. It was a macabre, mixed bag of parts — some hair, some bone, a bit of feces, and even some teeth. They also included fifteen other samples from various Asian bears, since a smaller study from a few years ago suggested that the yeti may be a rogue, polar-brown bear hybrid.

A femur bone from the decayed body of a purported Yeti found in a cave in Tibet. DNA testing identified it as a Tibetan brown bear bone. Image: Icon Films Ltd.

Every sample matched a known animal. No mysterious, unplaceable DNA. With the exception of the tooth, which was from a dog, all of the so-called Yeti samples were from bears. One came from an Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus), and the others came from two rare, local species — Tibetan and Himalayan brown bears.

The new, detailed DNA evidence provides a real-world, biological origin for the Yeti, suggesting that local bears may have been the inspiration for stories of the terrifying creature. And while the DNA analysis doesn’t reveal anything “abominable,” the study does provide some coveted data on an understudied and critically-endangered group of brown bears.

Himalayan brown bear from Deosai National Park, Pakistan. Image: Abdullah Khan, Snow Leopard Foundation

Brown bears (Ursus arctos) range broadly across northern Eurasia and North America, and can be broken up into many distinct subspecies, each with minor physical and genetic differences. The two subspecies that turned up in the genetic analysis are quite rare, suffering from overhunting.

By comparing the bear DNA, the scientists determined that the Himalayan brown bear (Ursus arctos isabellinus) is a strange and old branch in the brown bear family tree, splitting off from all other brown bears about 650,000 years ago. Even though the Tibetan brown bear (Ursus arctos pruinosus) is a close neighbor, it’s far more closely related to other brown bears.

Looking at the Himalayan population, it’s easy to see how this weird and ancient brown bear offshoot could inspire the yeti’s mythology. It has a paler, sandier coat than most subspecies. Many Himalayan bears have a light mask of fur on the face that can make their faces appear shorter and more ape-like. Combine these features with the fact that the Himalayan bear is the largest animal in the mountains, and that their own extreme rarity matches the infrequency of contemporary yeti sightings, the animal seems like a solid candidate.

Genetic tools similar to those used in this debunking can easily be employed to test the remains of other purportedly undiscovered species. So, hear that, Sasquatch and Nessie? Your secret identities’ days may be numbered.

Source: roaring.earth

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Cryptozoology

Footprints of a Sweets-Loving Bigfoot Found in North Carolina

“Mostly like candy, cookies, they love peanut brittle, chocolate, peanut butter sandwiches. They don’t like apples and bananas.”

If you’re one of those Bigfoot experts who’s been telling Bigfoot expert wannabes and wannasees to hang bags of apples from trees to attract them, meet Vicky Cook – the North Carolina woman who has not only seen Bigfoot, she has the grainy video and plaster footprint casts to prove it … and she says her Tar Heel Bigfoot neighbors prefer sweets to healthy snacks. Or is that just what she stocks in her cupboards?

“I think I’ve counted about eight different sized prints. This is a juvenile, but look at how long it is. That’s a big … big print.”

In her interview with Charlotte’s WCNC, Vicky Cook showed she’s more than just your average Bigfoot spotter by holding up plaster casts of the footprints she says she’s found in her Shelby yard since March. Shelby is a western suburb of Charlotte near the southern border with South Carolina. She also showed the reporter her dark and grainy video (watch it here) of what she claimed is at least one of the creatures that may have made one or more of the footprints.

Bigfoot bait?

“It went in front of my camera. we screamed we didn’t know what it was, though that thing was tall!”

That “we” indicates there’s at least one other witness (unless she’s implying that the Bigfoot screamed when it saw her scream – a great movie scene but probably not what she meant) but no one else appeared in the interview. Vicky also swears it’s not a bear she’s dealing with. Well, then … what is it?

“Sometimes I think this can’t be real.”

We know the feeling, Vicky, especially if you live in North or South Carolina. Neither one of those states made the recent Top 8 States to See Bigfoot list, despite the fact that both have many sightings. The Bigfoot 911 investigation group is in Marion, about 45 minutes north of Shelby, which also hosts the annual WNC Bigfoot Festival – the “the biggest Bigfoot Festival in eastern USA.” John Bruner is involved in both and has himself reported seeing a “large bipedal animal covered in hair” in the area in 2017. While those plus the 90+ other Bigfoot sightings in North Carolina (mostly in the Uwharrie National Forest to the east) warrants a festival and a big-city reporter visiting Shelby, does it prove Vicky has a family of Bigfoot eating her candy and cookies?

What about donuts?

“Any scientific expert will tell you me and the ‘Squatch like the same things.”

James ‘Bobo’ Fay – Bigfoot caller and cast member of “Finding Bigfoot” – said in an interview that they eat what humans eat, including cooked foods and especially bacon. While they’re eat apples and berries, he says he puts leftover donuts out for them too.

Maybe Vicky should work out a deal with Dunkin’. Then again, maybe Bigfoot should cut out the middleperson and make its own deal.

Source: Mysterious Universe

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Cryptozoology

Loch Ness monster study results ‘surprising’


Image Credit: CC 2.0 Dave Conner

Is there a monster lurking in the depths of Loch Ness ? 

A recent effort to trawl Loch Ness for potential ‘monster’ DNA has reportedly yielded some interesting results.

The study, which was led by New Zealand scientist Professor Neil Gemmell, aimed to use DNA sampling techniques to find out whether there was any scientific basis for the monster legend.

Now at last, almost a year after the DNA samples were collected, Prof Gemmell and his team have almost finished the analysis and will be announcing the full results at a conference next month.

From the findings released so far, the team has managed to identify the DNA of 15 different species of fish and a whopping 3,000 species of bacteria, among other things.

Part of the study also involved investigating the validity of various monster hypotheses such as whether or not the creature could be a prehistoric reptile, a sturgeon or a giant catfish.

“Is there anything deeply mysterious ?” said Gemmell. “Hmm. It depends what you believe. Is there anything startling? There are a few things that are a bit surprising.”

“We’ve tested each one of the main monster hypotheses and three of them we can probably say aren’t right and one of them might be.”

Source: Scotsman

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Cryptozoology

Only You, Smokey and Bigfoot Can Prevent Forest Fires

There was a time not many years ago when Smokey Bear was on television more often that Yogi Bear, or even Yogi Berra. Smokey Bear (no ‘the’ – that was added for a song) first appeared in 1944 as part of a public service adverting campaign for the U.S. Forest Service to call attention to the danger of forest fires. Smokey’s finger-pointing “Remember… Only YOU Can Prevent Forest Fires“ image was an immediate hit. Seventy-five years later, we still have Smokey and unfortunately, still have forest fires and wildfires. That’s why the Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal (OSFM) announced this week that Smokey is getting some help from another furry fire fearer – Bigfoot.

“We are introducing a well-known Pacific Northwest mystery into our wildfire prevention marketing, known as Bigfoot or Sasquatch. Bigfoot is a protector of the wilderness and his “home”, and we are encouraging residents to take action to prevent wildfires.”

Starting in June, OSFM will use images of Bigfoot participating in outdoor activities on social media platforms to help raise the alert levels of Oregon residents and tourists, especially those living in or visiting Wildland–Urban Interface (WUI) areas – zones of transition between wildland (unoccupied land) and human development.

Social media images from the OSFM website

“We hope our Bigfoot campaign will draw attention and create a bigger ‘footprint’ of wildfire prevention efforts around the state. We want people to believe in fire safety, whether you are camping, visiting Oregon or recreating.”

While State Fire Marshal Jim Walker had a little Bigfoot pun fun in an interview with KTVZ, the fire prevention campaign is serious business in a state with so much forest land, so many homes very close to woodlands and an ever-increasing risk of fires due to drought, water shortages and carelessness.

“We’ve created images and education materials showing Bigfoot outdoors, protecting his wilderness ‘home.’ By preventing wildfires in Bigfoot’s home, we can help residents protect their homes and our communities.”

You may have noticed that ‘Bigfoot’s home’ was not in quotes. A recent survey of the top states in the U.S. for spotting Bigfoot listed Oregon at #7, close behind its Pacific Northwest neighbors – Washington and California. Do residents believe in Bigfoot? Being associated with Smokey may help. Many people believed Smokey was real long before 1950 when the U.S. Forest Service found a five-pound, three month old American black bear cub that survived a wildfire in the Capitan Mountains of New Mexico and named it Smokey. Smokey was eventually taken to the National Zoo in Washington DC where he received millions of visitors and 13,000 letters a week until he died in 1976. The plaque at his grave reads, “This is the resting place of the first living Smokey Bear … the living symbol of wildfire prevention and wildlife conservation.”

Can Smokey help Bigfoot’s popularity? Let’s hope it doesn’t take putting a baby Sasquatch in harm’s way to do it. In the meantime, watch for fire-fighting Bigfoot on social media (#BelieveInFireSafety), on T-shirts and on Oregon billboards.

And remember … only you, Smokey and Bigfoot can prevent forest fires.

Source: Mysterious Universe

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