The Danish popular science publication turned to specialists to find an answer to the question whether there were animals similar to the yeti in history. The cryptozoologist says yes. But the evolutionary biologist is not sure, although she does not rule out this. There are still unexplored species in the world, she recalls.
The fossilized remains of huge prehistoric monkeys can be the source of numerous stories about mysterious anthropoid creatures.
Bigfoot, Yeti or Bigfoot - this super popular ape-like mythical creature has many names.
The riddle of huge great apes that live in the dense forests of North America and the desert Himalayas and can even abduct people has long fascinated both adults and children.
Ten-year-old Theodore became seriously interested in this topic. He is a member of the Science Club and sent us a video asking if there actually existed animals like Bigfoot in nature. As he himself said, "how could you not have known if four-meter monkeys, similar to humans, walked the Earth thousands of years ago ?!"
We definitely agree with him, so we decided to contact several scientists to clarify this issue.
Huge prehistoric monkeys could look like yeti
First, we called Lars Thomas, the only cryptozoologist in Denmark. He just deals with fantastic animals, the evidence of the existence of which is not present.
He quickly turns the conversation to the yeti, or Bigfoot, a large apes believed to live in the Himalayas. The fact is that about 300 thousand years ago, a huge ape really existed on Earth. Probably, all these stories about the Yeti began with her.
It is called gigantopithecus.
“Its very name testifies to its size. We found their chewing teeth and lower jaws - they are twice the size of the teeth and jaws of a gorilla. Therefore, it is believed that gigantopithecus was one and a half to two times larger than a male gorilla. However, we do not know for sure, because the rest of the skeleton has never been found,”says Lars Thomas, consultant at the Center for Fortean Zoology.
“It is possible that the gigantopithecus was a relative of the orangutan, so it was most likely covered in red or brown fur and most likely fit the current descriptions of Bigfoot,” continues Lars Thomas.
In China, his chewing teeth were sold under the guise of dragon bones
The giant chewing teeth of gigantopithecus were first found when a German-Dutch anthropologist walked into a pharmacy in Hong Kong in the 1930s and saw that they were being sold under the guise of dragon bones.
The anthropologist bought these so-called dragon bones and discovered that they were actually the teeth of a monkey, says Lars Thomas.
"I really want to add 'unfortunately", says Lars Thomas. According to him, most of the fossils were found in the south of China, and in quite large quantities. This means that the species was quite widespread. Thus, one can easily imagine Thomas believes that it was the giant orangutan that became the prototype of the Yeti, rumors of which reached the Himalayas.
“Nothing prevented the giant monkey from living on the territory of present-day China long enough for people to see it, who then, generation after generation, composed myths and legends about it. Besides, of all the options we have, it most resembles a Yeti,”says Lars Thomas.
No great apes in America's forests
But Theodore asked specifically about Bigfoot - the North American subspecies of Bigfoot. Is there any proof of its existence?
“It is completely unclear if there is a connection between the Chinese finds and the Bigfoot stories. In North America, the remains of prehistoric monkeys were practically not found, although different people insist that Bigfoot exists, says Lars Thomas. "Unfortunately, I think 99% of these stories are deception and wild imagination."
The pictures, allegedly taken by eyewitnesses, are of very poor quality, and the footprints may well belong to other animals and people. The media interest in incredible Bigfoot stories only adds fuel to the fire.
Analysis of the fur, claws and faeces of the alleged Yeti
But back to the Asian Yeti, after all, it was a Danish scientist who once helped find the real answer to one of the mysteries associated with it.
Charlotte Lindqvist in 2017 led a research project that analyzed the DNA of wool, claws, teeth, bones and even dried faeces found in the Himalayas.
Those who found them were convinced that all this was left behind by the yeti. When this story got caught by one film crew, its members decided to investigate the finds in more detail.
British geneticist Brian Sykes was asked to analyze the samples.
"Research by Brian Sykes showed that some of these 'yeti remains' from Bhutan and the Himalayas genetically most closely resembled the polar bear that I am studying, and a 120,000-year-old bear. That's when I appeared in this picture," says Charlotte Lindqvist is an evolutionary biologist at the University of Buffalo Department of Biology.
Could these remains belong to an unknown species?
The film crew found it very suspicious that the wool allegedly belongs to a polar bear, because polar bears do not live in the Himalayas.
Perhaps this is the remains of a not yet discovered hybrid of a bear that lived in the Himalayas and whose genetic makeup was similar to that of a polar bear? If anything, it would explain why some climbers have periodically reported huge bipedal creatures for many years.
The team members asked Charlotte Lindqvist to re-analyze some of the samples.
“I took them to my laboratory and isolated the DNA. The specimens were found to belong to black and brown bears, which are known to still live in the Himalayas. The film crew was, of course, disappointed, but in my opinion it is still very exciting: you can tell by the DNA whether we are talking about an already known animal or a new species."
Need proof of Bigfoot's existence
So Charlotte Lindqvist hasn't found evidence for the Yeti in the Himalayas, but does that mean it doesn't exist?
Not everything is so simple, says Charlotte Lindqvist, because we are constantly discovering new species, living today or fossils. Some of them could well be seen by people and mistaken for a Yeti or Bigfoot.
“Not so long ago, scientists discovered in the depths of the ocean a giant octopus, which may well be the source of numerous stories about the attacks of the kraken on ships,” - cites the example of Charlotte Lindqvist.
However, she believes that we still have a long way to go before we can say that Bigfoot really exists.
“I hope Theodora isn’t too disappointed with my answer, but I’m a scientist, so until we have hard evidence, I don’t believe the yeti exists,” says Charlotte Lindqvist.
The names of the legendary great apes
The Yeti, or Bigfoot, is the name given to a great ape, presumably living in the Himalayas. It has been known in Europe since 1832 and is considered a myth. However, the locals regard it as a completely ordinary animal.
Bigfoot, or sasquatch, is rumored to live in forests in the western United States and Canada.The name "bigfoot" appeared in the 1830s, but at first it was used to refer to huge bears, and sometimes - Indian chiefs with very large feet.
For the first time the mythical creature was called "bigfoot" in 1958, when an article on this topic was published in one magazine.
The name "sasquatch" appeared in the 1930s in an Indian tribe, which, according to its members, maintained close ties with this great ape.