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Himalayan Yeti Mystery: Offspring from mating between brown and polar bear?

yetiThe mystery surrounding Himalayan Yeti, the snowman who has puzzled many visitors to Himalayas for the last 100 years, has taken a new twist with British scientists espousing a theory that the samples may have come from a hybrid species of bear produced from a mating between a brown bear and a polar bear.

Though there was no evidence to prove the existence of Yeti, reports about the giant footprints discovered 90 years ago have by a Greek photographer, N.A.Tombazi, who claimed to have seen the creature opened up a major controversy about the Yeti’s existence. Tombazi was part of a British geological expedition in the Himalayas, who took the photos of the footprints which led to the ice surface almost 1000 feet away.

Similar view was echoed by Captain d’Auvergue, a curator of the Victoria Memorial in Calcutta, during the British period who said that he was saved by a Yeti, when he became snow-blind and ill. Some British Scientists later confirmed that there was a creature dwelling atop the snow-filled Himalayan Mountains, but failed to confirm whether it was an abominable snowman.

The hair samples found about 40 years ago in Ladakh led some scientists to conduct DNA tests, which resulted in finding a new sub-species of the brown bear. Advanced tests were conducted by Bryan Sykes, a genetic professor in Oxford University on hair samples, to conclude that the samples could belong to a hybrid of polar bears and brown bears. Sykes told BBC, “I think this bear, which nobody has seen alive, may still be there and may have quite a lot of polar bear in it.”

He said when the results were compared with the genomes of GenBank, they found that it had a 100 per cent match to an ancient polar bear jawbone that was 40,000 to 120,000 years old. The sub-species could have been born at a time when polar bears and brown bears were separating into different species.

“We do not mean that ancient polar bears are wandering around the Himalayas,” he said. He further said he the samples may have come from a hybrid species of bear produced from a mating between a brown bear and a polar bear. It could have descended from an ancestor of the polar bear or it could be a hybrid of the brown bear and the descendant of the ancient polar bear, he added.

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