Profile: The abominable snowman legend


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The Independent Online

You know it's not real, right?

You sound so sure! The Abominable Snowman (or Yeti) is thought to inhabit the Himalayas, but a trace of the beast has come to light in the stores of the Royal College of Surgeons, where mysterious mummified remains labelled "Yeti's finger" have collected dust for the past 50 years.

Hardly definitive proof, is it?

The Irish-American explorer Peter Byrne pinched the artefact from under the nose of guardians at a Nepalese monastery in the 1950s. The Hollywood actor James Stewart helped smuggle it across the Indian border by concealing it in his wife's lingerie case. A London professor came to the startling conclusiong that Byrne's find was not human.

So, it's really the Yeti?

No, tests this week by scientists at Edinburgh Zoo have concluded it's human.

Let's kill this myth, then

It'll take more than a rogue finger to do that. The Yeti has captivated us since the first European "sighting" in 1925 by NA Tombazi, a photographer climbing in the Himalayas. In 1953, Sir Edmund Hilary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay reported spotting grisly hairs from the beast on the slopes of Everest. Intriguingly, Yeti sightings are actually on the rise. Earlier this year a Russian University announced it was setting up a research institute dedicated to Yeti study after a team of scientists said they were "95 per cent sure" that Russia is home to the creature.