New analysis of DNA evidence contradicts claims of 'Yeti' brown/polar bear hybrid in Himalayas

December 17, 2014 by Bob Yirka weblog
Undated photo made available by Britain's Channel 4 television Thursday Oct.17 2013 of Oxford University genetics professor Bryan Sykes posing with a prepared DNA sample taken from hair from a Himalayan animal. Sykes says he may have solved the mystery of the Abominable Snowman—the elusive ape-like creature of the Himalayas also known as the Yeti. He thinks it's a bear, based on two samples sharing a genetic fingerprint with a polar bear jawbone found in the Norwegian Arctic that is at least 40,000 years old. His findings, yet to be published, will be aired in a TV show in the UK Sunday. (AP Photo/ Channel 4)

(Phys.org)—A pair of researches are challenging claims made by a British scientist last year that DNA samples of animal remains found in the Himalayas were from a brown/extinct polar bear hybrid that is still alive and wandering about in the mountains—and is likely the source of rumors of a Yeti. Now, Ross Barnett and Ceiridwen Edwards of the Natural History Museum of Denmark and Oxford, respectively, have published a paper in Proceedings of the Royal Society B suggesting that an analysis they conducted on the same animal remains shows that one came from a modern polar bear and the other from a rare type of brown bear that is still alive today.

Last year, Bryan Sykes, a genetics professor at Oxford, and colleagues, claimed that a DNA analysis of two hair samples, one found by itself, the other as part of the frozen remains of an animal—found at two sites far from each other in the Himalayas—revealed that they'd come from a hybrid animal—a brown bear and a supposedly extinct polar bear relative–and that it was clearly still alive today. His claims were covered by the BBC and eventually wound up in a paper also published by the Royal Society.

Now Barnett and Edwards are suggesting that Sykes and his team made a mistake during their analysis—matching DNA from a sample with an ancient extinct polar bear, instead of a modern , which is what they found. They concluded that the other DNA sample came from a sub-species of brown bear that is still alive today living in very remote locations high up in the mountains. Thus, there is no evidence of a hybrid animal and reports of a Yeti, they maintain, are likely made by people mistaking a for something more ape or human-like.

In reviewing the findings by Barnett and Edwards, Sykes and his team acknowledged, via the BBC, that they had made errors in database searchers. But they still maintain that their conclusions suggesting that the Yeti is still likely a modern unknown primate of some sort is likely correct. They're also suggesting that the true identity of the Yeti still needs to be "refined" by analyzing other samples that were not part of either study.

Explore further: DNA links mysterious Yeti to ancient polar bear (Update 3)

More information: Himalayan 'yeti' DNA: polar bear or DNA degradation? A comment on 'Genetic analysis of hair samples attributed to yeti' by Sykes et al. (2014) C. J. Edwards, R. Barnett , Published 17 December 2014. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2014.1712 . http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/282/1800/20141712

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7 comments

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tadchem
not rated yet Dec 17, 2014
I have heard that a polar/brown bear cross has been shot in the North American Arctic, but never in the Himalayas.
SciTechdude
5 / 5 (2) Dec 17, 2014
Polar/brown bear crosses have been encountered numerous times in Alaska, in the area you would expect, the overlap of territory between the species. With the earlier thawing of arctic sea ice trend, it's not uncommon at all for polar bears to be in more southern territory than they are expected to live in.
yep
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 18, 2014
"Yeti is still likely a modern unknown primate of some sort is likely correct."
Except every hair sample ever put forward as "yeti" or sasquatch has always been from other animals. There is no physical evidence in existence for such a creature, but like black holes it makes good money for writers of books and movies.
Vietvet
4.6 / 5 (10) Dec 18, 2014
"Yeti is still likely a modern unknown primate of some sort is likely correct."
Except every hair sample ever put forward as "yeti" or sasquatch has always been from other animals. There is no physical evidence in existence for such a creature, but like the Electric Universe it makes good money for writers of books and movies.


Fixed it for ya.
yep
2 / 5 (4) Dec 18, 2014
Hehehe that's funny the old switcharoo, but its not the 1950's and space is not a vacuum attached to a black hole.
http://www.robkal...dex.html
alchemist from bristol
3 / 5 (2) Dec 22, 2014
Switching to renewable energy will stimulate the economy, create jobs, save money and clean up the environment. "Climate change doesn't just mean record heat. It leads to more extreme storms and droughts, rising sea levels, and threats to our economy and our health." http://clmtr.lt/c/RsT0Y0cMJ
Uncle Ira
4 / 5 (4) Dec 22, 2014
"Yeti is still likely a modern unknown primate of some sort is likely correct."
Except every hair sample ever put forward as "yeti" or sasquatch has always been from other animals. There is no physical evidence in existence for such a creature, but like the Electric Universe it makes good money for writers of books and movies.


Fixed it for ya.


Ol JVK-Skippy better watch out for those stinky love potions, I hear they work good with the brown bears, and I'm pretty sure they'll work with the Yeti-Skippys too.

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