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  1. ITV Report

'Yeti remains' from museums are 'abominable fakes'

This thigh bone alleged to have come from a Yeti is actually a from a bear. Credit: PA

Remains purportedly from the Yeti found in museums and private collections are "abominable fakes", a study has found.

Eight specimens, including bones, teeth, skin, hair and faecal samples, were found to come from bears and one belonged to a dog.

All the remnants, collected from the Himalayas and Tibetan Plateau, were claimed to be evidence for the existence of the Abominable Snowman or Yeti.

DNA tests proved they were nothing to do with hairy human-like creatures living in remote regions of Nepal and Tibet.

Lead scientist Dr Charlotte Lindqvist, from the University of Buffalo, US, said: "Our findings strongly suggest that the biological underpinnings of the Yeti legend can be found in local bears, and our study demonstrates that genetics should be able to unravel other, similar mysteries."

A Bhutanese stamp with a drawing of the Yeti in New Dehli, India. Credit: PA

She added: "Clearly, a big part of the Yeti legend has to do with bears."

The study was the "most rigorous analysis to date" of samples linked to mythical "hominid-like" creatures, said the researchers writing in the journal Proceedings Of The Royal Society B.

The Yeti legend is part of Nepalese folklore dating back many hundreds of years.

Stories of the Abominable Snowman first emerged in Western popular culture in the 19th century.

Numerous sightings of the creature and its footprints have allegedly been made, supported by blurry photos and shaky video footage.

The mythical yeti is alleged to be a 7-foot tall creature. Credit: ITV News

But over the years no-one has come forward with any definitive evidence that the Yeti is real.

The new research showed that Asian black bears, Himalayan brown bears and Tibetan brown bears had all contributed to the myth.

One of the samples investigated by Dr Lindqvist's team was a monastic relic consisting of a preserved scrap of skin from the hand or paw of a Yeti.

Another was a thigh bone fragment from the decayed body of one of the creatures found in a Tibetan cave.

The skin sample turned out to be from an Asian black bear and the bone from a Tibetan brown bear.

Besides exploding the Yeti myth, the research has uncovered information about the evolutionary history of Asian bears.

Dr Lindqvist said: "Bears in this region are either vulnerable or critically endangered from a conservation perspective, but not much is known about their past history.

"The Himalayan brown bears, for example, are highly endangered.

"Clarifying population structure and genetic diversity can help in estimating population sizes and crafting management strategies."

The analysis showed that unlike Tibetan brown bears, which has close cousins in North America and Eurasia, Himalayan brown bears had a distinct evolutionary lineage of their own.