Yeti ‘footprint’: Take Army’s picture with a pinch of salt

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Published: May 2, 2019 12:50:20 AM

However, interest in the snowman, at least among the larger public, had waned in the decades since Yeti-mania left its imprint in even the Tintin universe.

The army had stated that it was sharing the picture with the intent of sparking off scientific enquiry into the existence of the animal, but given the overwhelming evidence that there is no such animal, it has earned well-merited mockery.

Yeti, the “abominable snowman”, if it does exist, must have higher intelligence than most humans. British mountaineer Eric Shipton snapped the first “definitive snapshot” of the creature’s footprint in the snowy Himalayas in 1951. Since then, fuelled by many sightings—possibly hypothermia playing with the brain?—Yeti-lore has lived on.

However, interest in the snowman, at least among the larger public, had waned in the decades since Yeti-mania left its imprint in even the Tintin universe. That is, until the Indian Army tweeted a photograph of a large, mysterious footprint that one of its mountaineering team members came across, captioning it the footprint of the ‘mythical beast “Yeti”’.

No sooner had the Army uttered “Yeti”, its army of followers on social media went berserk. But a large majority of Indian Twitter was rightly sceptical of the army’s claims. Yeti sightings and “footprints” have all been debunked by science so far. So, the probability of the “footprint” sighted by the army men confirming the existence of a hitherto undetected Himalayan ape is next to nil. Various footprints and sightings have been confirmed by scientists to be involving a brown bear and common, known Himalayan bovids like serow and goral, even an extinct bear from the Pleistocene era. The army had stated that it was sharing the picture with the intent of sparking off scientific enquiry into the existence of the animal, but given the overwhelming evidence that there is no such animal, it has earned well-merited mockery.

But, it shouldn’t get disheartened—it has illustrious company. For instance, in 2004, the editor of Nature, a reputed scientific periodical, Henry Gee, had written, “The discovery that Homo floresiensis survived until so very recently, in geological terms, makes it more likely that stories of other mythical, human-like creatures such as Yetis are founded on grains of truth”. Till the truth outs, take the Army’s pic—and its Yeti claims—with a pinch of salt.

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