A Possible Scientific Explanation For The Yeti

“Just what I always wanted: my own little bunny rabbit. I will name him George, and I will hug him and pet him and squeeze him.” —The Abominable Snowman, Looney Tunes

In A Nutshell

The yeti is one of the world’s most famous cryptids. Its existence has been the subject of controversy for generations, with explanations for alleged sightings ranging from an undiscovered species of ape or bear, to confusion and outright lies. Now, professor Bryan Sykes claims it may be a type bear thought to be long extinct.

The Whole Bushel

Whether you refer to it as a yeti, Bigfoot, Sasquatch, or the Abominable Snowman, everyone knows exactly who we’re talking about. Often depicted as a brutish, bipedal ape, belief in the yeti has hitherto relied primarily on alleged sightings instead of hard evidence. The greatest evidence for its existence is the infamous video taken in 1967. The one of something that looks suspiciously like a man in a gorilla suit walking nonchalantly into a forest. But to this day, cryptozoologists have retained the belief that Bigfoot exists. Well now, Bryan Sykes, a professor of genetics at Oxford University (a title that admittedly earns a little more respect than “cryptozoologist”) claims he may have made a break in the mystery.

Professor Sykes conducted the most thorough DNA tests possible on two separate hair samples presented to him as Bigfoot hair. The samples, found 1,285 kilometers (800 mi) apart, were compared to every recorded animal DNA sequence, and a complete match was found: an ancient polar bear that lived up to 120,000 years ago. Even more intriguing is the fact that the samples came 30 years apart, the most recent being collected by filmmakers in 2003, and the older from a creature that was shot 40 years ago (why that body wasn’t/can’t be examined is unclear however). They both matched the DNA sample collected from the ancient polar bear’s jaw: 100 percent.

So what does Professor Sykes have to say about his results? He believes there could potentially be an unrecorded creature that people have come to call the yeti. While dubious that the samples brought to him are the same species as the ancient polar bear, he does note that that bear lived during the time polar bears split from brown bears, and says that the creature could be hybrid of the two, which are known to interbreed when they come in contact, or alternatively, a descendant of the ancient bear itself.

While this is a far cry from solving the mystery of the yeti (if there even is one), it certainly is one of the more respectable theories out there. It’s hard evidence presented by a respectable scientist, compared to a suspicious-looking video of Bigfoot presented by a guy who just happened to be getting paid to make the video. Whatever it is, many believe that there is (or was, until very recently) something undiscovered living in the Himalayas, the birthplace of the Abominable Snowman rumors. While it may very well turn out to be a boring old hybrid, remember that the mountain gorilla wasn’t discovered until 1902, few people initially believed in the two-headed deer-rabbit that we now call a kangaroo, and that just a few months ago, we discovered a new mammal.

Show Me The Proof

The Independent: Has the Yeti mystery been solved?
CNN: Olinguito the newest rare mammal species discovery

  • Jouri Benkaddour

    where’s Morris M lists?

    • Hadeskabir

      Morris died. A bigfoot killed him. It was sad, it was a rape-kill thing.

  • Nathaniel A.

    I am reading Mice and Men currently, and the quote sounds eerily familiar to what Lennie would say…

    • WhiteExodus

      You don’t say….

    • Efamore

      I honestly thought that was where the quote originally came from.

    • Akatosh

      poor lenny…
      and that wife

    • P5ychoRaz

      That guy was called the Abominable Snowrabbit

      • P5ychoRaz

        And he had a stupid name like Hank or something. I JUST watched this over the weekend. I miss old cartoons like that…

  • Jacob

    I thought the yeti and Bigfoot were two distinctly separate cryptids.

    • Chris

      I’ve always thought of them as the same. Just that “Bigfoot” is the american local name for them

      • John Vargas

        I still think they are same. both refers to the same huge ape like creature with big foots

    • inconspicuous detective

      you be right in cryptid terms. they may be related somehow, but cryptozoologists have no idea how they might be unless one is caught (good luck) or some evidence like scat or DNA is found (again — good luck).

      • Jacob

        Do you write for Listverse? I read on one of your comments where you said you do. If so what’s your Listverse name?

        • inconspicuous detective

          i plan to (hopefully) soon. i’m on entry 4 of 10 on the list i wanna submit. we’ll see how it goes after that.

  • Evan Belgard

    bigfoot is not the same as a yeti

    • John Vargas

      yeah the spelling is different for sure.

  • Timothy53

    “The greatest evidence for its existence is the infamous video taken in
    1967. The one of something that looks suspiciously like a man in a
    gorilla suit walking nonchalantly into a forest.”

    That’s because it *was* a film of a man in a gorilla suit.

    • Hadeskabir

      I don’t know why people keep talking about that video. It was well proven that it was a fake. The man who wore the suit admitted it and the man who sold the suit to them admitted it too.

      • John Vargas

        Really ? would you like to share with us the link or any other sort of details for that matter ?

      • ethan

        lol. oh really? well, far be it from me, someone whose researched and analyzed every claim of bigfoot I can get my hands on for 30 yrs, to say that your talking out of ur ass. but you are.

        • Hadeskabir

          So because you analyze every claim of bigfoot of 30 years it makes you an expert? lol
          You wasted 30 years of your life on a myth. That’s sad.

          • ethan

            lol. yeah, a real waste. (btw, ive been part of the teams that discovered about 350 different, new species in the past 40 yrs, so yeah…real waste of my life hehe). pray tell, what have you done in the ways of biology in that time? mmmm?

          • Hadeskabir

            AHAHAHAHA! That’s a lie and you know it! You think I’m that gullible? Only a retard would believe you! In 40 years I’ve done nothing. Possibly is because I was born 23 years ago.

          • ethan

            you are one of those people that think all animal species have been discovered already, and new species are never found. that’s pretty sad. its also sad that you have accomplished nothing. you are 23!!! do something with your life!

          • Hadeskabir

            No, I don’t think all animal species have been found. I believe many are yet to be discovered. But I don’t believe that a huge bipedal ape-like creature exists just because of reports of people saying they saw it. I am doing something with my life. I’m glad I have still a long life ahead of me and wont waste it changing mythical creatures like you did.

          • Daniel

            Pray tell Hadeskabir, just what you ‘are doing with your life’? Considering you seem to spend all day on listverse & literally, & I mean LITERALLY reply to every comment on here ,usually with a predictable anti-America rant (yes, I have noticed your bias to) what else are you doing champ?

          • Hadeskabir

            I don’t reply to every comment on Listverse. Usually I like to leave out 2 or 3 so I don’t overflow the comment section with my awesomeness . Stop spying on me you perv.

          • ethan

            lol smh

  • Spartacross

    Yeti, Bigfoot, Sasquatch, I do not care how you call them, they do not exist.
    Because even if they were so secretive as to be practically invisible(?) their poop and footprints would still be very much visible. Of which no one has ever found any.

    • John Vargas

      yup i agree my friend. By the way have you ever found poop or footprint of a satan? and yet satan exists 😛

      • Spartacross

        Satan is a fallen angel.
        The Yeti is supposed to very much corporeal.

        • Hadeskabir

          Satan is as real as the tooth-fairy.

          • Spartacross

            The biggest trick Satan can pull off, is make you believe he does not exist.

          • Hadeskabir

            All praise cheesus! May he save us from Satan!

          • Hillyard

            Wait, what? The tooth fairy isn’t real??? AAAARRRRRRRRGGGGH

          • Hadeskabir

            Yeah, I’m sorry that you learned it this way. My parents raised me always telling me the truth that those kind of things don’t exist. I never believed in Santa, tooth-fairy or the easter bunny.

      • SamwiseGanja

        Prove it

        • John Vargas

          do you fart ? go catch me a fart and bring it to me, i will prove satan exists.

      • ethan

        omg, please STFU with ur fairy tales.

        • John Vargas

          Go f yourself you bloody athiest!

    • ethan

      I agree! I mean, all too often, when walking in the forest, do I find all sorts of bear, coyote, fox, wolf, and deer carcasses, bones, footprints, etc all over the place!XD

  • Passin’ Through

    The mammal the author mentioned in the last line wasn’t necessarily discovered this year, just identified. They assumed it was the same as its closest relative. It’s different than discovering a new mammal.

    I would love for Big Foot wackos to be right, but to me, but their existence doesn’t pass my BS test.

  • Asuka Saitou

    there’s no such thing as 100% match in DNA..

    • ethan

      umm, yes there is

      • Asuka Saitou

        nope, unless you’d round it off, then yes, there is.

        • Hadeskabir

          Yes there is, if someone compared 2 DNA samples from someone they would match 100%. But I get your point anyway.

  • Eoghan-Tony Dwyer

    Seriously Listverse, I thought you were above stupidity

  • bob mcbobberson

    I’ve never seen anything published about this, only news stories quoting Sykes’ claimed findings. Try to find any actual scientific papers or published journals about it and it’s a wild goose chase.

  • sigh

    Neither exist, therefore the same.

  • pronto

    I watched a documentary on the Yeti. What always stuck with me from it was the scientist who said that how come in all of history not a single person has ever found the corpse or bones of such a creature?

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