Yeti is a mythical creature believed to exist in the Himalayan ranges in Nepal and Tibet. The existence of the creature, which has been an issue of debate since the last century, again resurfaced when the Indian Army Tuesday claimed it had discovered fresh “mysterious footprints” of Yeti during an Army expedition to Mount Makalu.
The term Yeti comes from the Nepali dictionary and means ‘abominable snowman’. It is also called Meh-Teh in the Tibetan folklore. According to urban legends, Yeti is a two-legged white, shaggy ape-like animal and is described to be 10-20 feet tall. The footsteps found by the Army had measured 32×15 inches, clearly suggesting that they did not belong to a human.
The first account of Yeti dates back to 1921 when British explorer Charles Howard-Bury found the footsteps of Yeti near Lakhpa La pass while on an expedition in the Himalayas. The incident is mentioned in his book ‘Mount Everest: the reconnaissance, 1921’. Bury stated that he found the imprints of a human-like creature among the footsteps of animals, and later got to know from the locals about the legend of a race of wild, hairy men living found in the “wildest and most inaccessible mountains”.
In 1951, noted English Himalayan explorer Eric Shipton caught on camera footprints left behind by the Yeti, which showed a thumb-like impression instead of a toe. Sir Edmund Hillary, in 1960, brought back what he thought was the Yeti’s scalp, shaped like a helmet, but it was later proved to be from a serow, a goat-like animal. In 2010, Chinese hunters caught a hairless, four-legged animal which they said was the Yeti, but was identified as a civet that had lost its hair after suffering from a disease. In 2011, researchers claimed they had found the Yeti’s finger; but its DNA proved to be from a human. In 2013, the National Geographic released a documentary on the legend of Yeti in the Himalayas.
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Despite no authentic evidence of its existence, Yeti became a popular figure in folklore and cartoons. From Tintin and Scooby Doo to Monsters Inc, Yeti has been recreated several times in popular culture.