DNA tests on mysterious hairs found on a Yeti trek have reportedly revealed they come from an “unknown mammal closely related to man.”
Scientists collected the hairs in a cave in the Siberian Kemerovo region last year.
According to the tests, the hairs come from a “human-like creature which is not a Homosapien, yet is more closely related to man than a monkey”, The Siberian Times reports.
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DNA analysis of this hair found on last year's Yeti hunt has been released
The newspaper cites an official website of a regional government in Russia as its source.
It quotes Professor Valentin Sapunov as saying: “We had ten samples of hair to study, and have concluded that they belong to a mammal, but not a human, and not the animals known to the area where they were found, like a bear, or wolf, or goat, or any other animal.”
It adds the report gives “strangely scant details” and refers to speculation that alleged sightings may boost tourism in the area.
Sapunov, who is a professor at the State Hydrometeorological University in St. Petersburg, told The Moscow Times he was "60 to 70 per cent" certain the hairs belong to a Yeti-like creature.
Yet Jeff Meldrum, a biologist and cryptozoologist at Idaho State University, has poured scorn on the expedition which yielded the hairs.
He said: "There was no expedition. The conference participants were accompanied by the press on a field trip to a cave site. It is my opinion that the 'evidence' found in the cave was unreliable."
An illustration of the creature reported to inhabit the Kemerovo region of Siberia
Meldrum, who went on the trek, added in an email to the newspaper: "There was no other sign of occupation in the cave except a few empty soda cans and snack food wrappers."
The latest findings come after a spate of sightings were reported in the Kemerovo region.
The beast was apparently spotted in the Shorsky National Park in September, with Trud newspaper quoting government spokesman Sergei Adlyakov as saying: “The creature did not look like a bear and quickly disappeared after breaking some branches of the bushes.”
In August, fisherman Vitaly Vershinin told a local Siberian newspaper he had spotted two bear-like creatures drinking at the water’s edge.
Vershinin said: “When they noticed me, they easily stood straight upright and went away…I did not wish to chase them.”
Vershinin returned to the spot, near Myski village, with a TV crew, explaining he had initially believed the pair to be human.
He said: “We shouted at them, do you need help?
“And they just rushed away, all in fur, walking on two legs, making way through the bushes with two other limbs.
“What did we think? It could not be bears, as the bear walks on all-fours, and they ran on two…so then they were gone.”
A further account was reported to officials in the Kuzbass region.
The sighting reported “some tall animals looking like people” on a rock above the Mras-Su River.
The unnamed source added: “Our binoculars were broken and did not let us see them sharply. We waved at the animals but they did not respond, then quickly ran back into the forest, walking on two legs.
“We realised they were not in dark clothes but covered by dark fur. They did walk like people.”
Igor Burtsev, pictured in the Kemerovo region during the Yeti hunt of 2011
Russia will shortly host a conference and expedition in serach of the Yeti, Igor Burtsev, head of the International Centre of Hominology said.
While he did not attend the trek, Loren Coleman, founder and director of the International Cryptology Museum in Portland, Maine, told The Huffington Post: "They're sometimes seen at the edge of a forest just staring at people and not really considered as wild creatures, compared to some Yeti reports in Nepal where they reportedly attack yaks or sherpas."
Sightings of the creatures in the region have increased three-fold over the past 20 years, prompting scientists at Moscow's Darwin Museum to speculate that there may be a small population of these creatures.
"Some of the Neanderthals, however, may have survived to this day in some mountainous wooded habitats that are more or less off limits to their arch foes. No clothing on them, no tools in hands and no fire in the household. Only round-the-clock watchfulness for a Homo sapiens around."
This still image taken from a 1977 film purports to show Bigfoot in California.
A film still shows what former rodeo rider Roger Patterson said is the American version of the Abominable Snowman of Nepal and Tibet. The film of the tall creature was shot by Patterson and Robert Gimlin northeast of Eureka, Calif., in October 1967.
As a motor biker was driving through the Grand River area of Ohio in April 2012, an alleged Bigfoot ran across the road and was caught on videotape.
Depicted is an illustration of a creature reported to inhabit the Kemerovo region of Siberia. Scientists from the U.S., Russia and other countries have yet to find one of these creatures known as the Russian Snowman. In early October, researchers claimed to be 95 percent certain that the animal exists.
An alleged footprint of a Yeti, or Abominable Snowman, appears in snow near Mount Everest in 1951. Now, scientists are setting out to find evidence of a reported unknown, hairy, bipedal creature known as the Siberian Snowman.
Bigfoot or bear? Impression left on the driver's side window of a pickup truck owned by Jeffrey Gonzalez. The bizarre image was left by an alleged Bigfoot in California's Sierra National Forest over Memorial Day 2011. DNA samples of the impressions will eventually determine the identity of the animal responsible for them. (See next slide for a close-up of the paw-like impression.)
Close-up of the "paw" print image. The impression was reportedly left by Bigfoot on the window of a pickup truck in the California Sierra National Forest over Memorial Day weekend 2011.
Bigfoot or bear? Pictured is a second impression left on the rear side window of the same truck from the previous slides. According to forensic/law enforcement photographer Mickey Burrow, "What you're seeing is a swipe mark. It looks like a small hand, swiping to the left, leaving another impression, and there's hair within those areas -- you can see where the hair would be."
This footprint was found over Memorial Day weekend, 2011, near Fresno, Calif. by a group of campers who were on a Bigfoot-hunting expedition. The print, measuring approximately 12 inches, was found near a truck where possible DNA evidence was left behind by more than one Bigfoot creature.
This footprint was found in 2008 in the Sierra National Forest near Fresno, Calif.
Thomas Byers snapped this photo of "Bigfoot" along Golden Valley Church Road in Rutherford County on March 22, 2011.
Bill Willard is the leader of a group searching for evidence of a Sasquatch or Bigfoot creature, spotted by, among others, his two sons in Spotsylvania County. He is shown on May 19 in Thornburg, Va., with a plaster cast he made from a suspicious footprint several years ago.
This still frame image from video provided by Bigfoot Global LLC shows what Whitton and Dyer claimed was a Bigfoot or Sasquatch creature in an undisclosed area of a northern Georgia forest in June 2008.
This October 2007 image was taken by an automated camera set up by a hunter in a Pennsylvania forest the previous month. Some said it was a Bigfoot creature; others believed it was just a sick bear.
A preserved skull and hand said to be that of a Yeti or Abominable Snowman is on display at Pangboche monastery, near Mount Everest.
Idaho State University professor Jeffrey Meldrum displays what he said is a cast of a Bigfoot footprint from eastern Washington in September 2006. Some scientists said the school should revoke Meldrum's tenure.
Joedy Cook, director of the Ohio Center for Bigfoot Studies, talks to a visitor to his booth on Oct. 15, 2005, at the Texas Bigfoot Conference in Jefferson, Texas. The event, hosted by the Texas Bigfoot Research Center, drew enthusiasts and researchers of the legendary creature.
Ken Gerhard of Houston, Texas, holds a duplicate plaster cast footprint Oct. 15, 2005, at the Texas Bigfoot Conference. The event, hosted by the Texas Bigfoot Research Center, drew enthusiasts and researchers of the legendary creature.
Josh Gates, host of Syfy TV's "Destination: Truth," holds a plaster cast of what Malaysian ghost hunters said was a Bigfoot footprint in 2006.
Al Hodgson, a volunteer guide at the Willow Creek-China Flat Musuem in California, holds up a plaster cast of an alleged Bigfoot imprint in 2000. The museum houses a collection of research material donated by the estate of Bob Titmus, who spent his life trying to track the creature.
Costume maker Philip Morris, who does not believe the Bigfoot legend, claimed the Patterson-Gimlin film showed a person wearing a gorilla suit that he made.