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“Yeti” DNA found to come from bears and dogs

Scientists analyzing DNA samples said to come from either the legendary yeti in the Himalayas or sasquatch in North America have found that all come from known ordinary animals, mostly bears.

Of the nine “yeti” samples, eight turned out to be from bears native to the area, the researchers report today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The other sample came from a dog. Similar studies of hair samples supposedly related to North America’s big hairy hominid, the sasquatch (aka Bigfoot), have revealed that those fibers came from bears, horses, dogs, and a variety of other creatures—even a human.

Debunking aside, the new study also yielded lots of scientifically useful info, Lindqvist says. The analyses generated the first full mitochondrial genomes for the Himalayan brown bear (Ursus arctos isabellinus) and the Himalayan black bear (Ursus thibetanus laniger), for example. That could help scientists figure out how genetically different these rare subspecies are from more common species, as well as the last time these groups shared maternal ancestors in the past.

While we must always recognize the uncertainties of science, we must also recognize when it provides us clarity. This is an example of the latter.

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