1. ITV Report

DNA research reveals polar bears may help solve mystery of the yeti

New advanced DNA research may have solved the mystery of the yeti, according to scientists at the Oxford University.

Yetis, also known as the "Abominable Snowman" or "Bigfoot", have been recorded for centuries in the Himalayas, with local people and mountaineers claiming to have come face-to-face with hairy, ape-like creatures.

Tests on "yeti" hair samples were found to have 100% genetic match with a sample from an ancient polar bear jawbone found in Norway, that dates back between 40,000 -120,000 years.

Scientists believe there could be a sub species of brown bear in the High Himalayas that has been mistaken for the mythical beast.

DNA analysis of "yeti" hair samples were found to have 100% genetic match with a sample from an ancient polar bear. Credit: Press Association

Professor Bryan Sykes, professor of human genetics at the Oxford University, said:

This is an exciting and completely unexpected result that gave us all a surprise. There's more work to be done on interpreting the results. I don't think it means there are ancient polar bears wandering around the Himalayas.

But we can speculate on what the possible explanation might be. It could mean there is a sub species of brown bear in the High Himalayas descended from the bear that was the ancestor of the polar bear. Or it could mean there has been more recent hybridisation between the brown bear and the descendent of the ancient polar bear.

Legendary mountaineer Reinhold Messner, who became the first man to climb Everest without oxygen, has studied yetis since he had a terrifying encounter with a mysterious creature in Tibet in 1986.

His own research backs up the Prof Sykes' theory.

He uncovered an image in a 300-year-old Tibetan manuscript of a "Chemo" - another local name for the yeti, with text alongside it which was translated to read: "The yeti is a variety of bear living in inhospitable mountainous areas."

Legendary mountaineer Reinhold Messner's research supports Prof Sykes' theory. Credit: Press Association

Prof Sykes added: "Bigfootologists and other enthusiasts seem to think that they've been rejected by science. Science doesn't accept or reject anything, all it does is examine the evidence and that is what I'm doing."