Research by a British scientist has concluded that the legendary Himalayan yeti may in fact be a sub-species of brown bear.
DNA tests on hair samples carried out by Oxford University genetics professor Bryan Sykes found that they matched those from an ancient polar bear.
He subjected the hairs to the most advanced tests available.
He says the most likely explanation for the myth is that the animal is a hybrid of polar bears and brown bears.
Prof Sykes told the BBC that there may be a real biological animal behind the yeti myth.
“I think this bear, which nobody has seen alive,... may still be there and may have quite a lot of polar bear in it,” he said.
“It may be some sort of hybrid and if its behaviour is different from normal bears, which is what eyewitnesses report, then I think that may well be the source of the mystery and the source of the legend.”
Prof Sykes conducted the DNA tests on hairs from two unidentified animals, one from Ladakh – in northern India on the west of the Himalayas – and the other from Bhutan, 1,285km (800 miles) further east.
The results were then compared with the genomes of other animals that are stored on a database of all published DNA sequences.
Suspected yeti footprints in Nepal Suspected yeti footprints – such as these in Nepal – are regularly photographed
Prof Sykes found that he had a 100% match with a sample from an ancient polar bear jawbone found in Svalbard, Norway, that dates back to between 40,000 and 120,000 years ago – a time when the polar bear and closely related brown bear were separating as different species.
The species are closely related and are known to interbreed where their territories overlap.
The sample from Ladakh came from the mummified remains of a creature shot by a hunter around 40 years ago, while the second sample was in the form of a single hair, found in a bamboo forest by an expedition of filmmakers around 10 years ago.
Prof Sykes said that his results were “completely unexpected” and that more work needed to be done interpreting them.
Alleged Nazi archives photo, dated 18 December 1942, of U-boats and very large shark off Capetown
The Discovery Channel happens to be reporting, by the strangest kind of coincidence, just at the beginning of “Shark Week,” several pieces of evidence suggesting that the giant Megalodon shark (fl. roughly 28 to 1.5 million years ago, during the Cenozoic Era, late Oligocene to early Pleistocene) is still with us.
NYM last September linked reports of sightings by US forces in Afghanistan of a mysterious large wild cat.
Michael Yon (who I’m reluctantly linking, despite his being on my shit list these days for devoting so much of his blogging recently to narcissistic attempts to play crusading journalist taking on the American military high command) has fresh photos from someone in the field today.
The pictures (taken from a helipcopter north of Kandahar) are clearly of a Jungle Cat (Felix chaus), an Asian critter a bit larger than a lynx or bobcat (20-24”—48 to 61 centimeters) running 22-37”—55 to 94 centimeters in length. The body color and tail markings are pretty distinctive. Try Google Images for comparable pictures.
Brody thought this infrared image might be a caracal.
Michael Yon mixes a front-lines combat story into his report of American sightings of an unidentified large cat in Kandahar province, Aghanistan.
There is much talk about “jaguars” or “cougars” among the troops here. At least a dozen American Soldiers claim they have seen gigantic cats in these flatlands. “Gigantic” being defined as roughly the size of a German Shepherd. During a mission, I asked about these mysterious big cats. Several US Soldiers insisted—completely insisted—they were eyewitnesses. The Afghan soldiers chuckled, saying their American counterparts were hallucinating. The Americans remained adamant. The inevitable follow-up questions came. “How do you know what a cougar even looks like? Have you ever seen one before?” An Afghan commander said to a particularly persistent American, “You saw a sheep.”
“No, it was a big cat!” replied the American.
“You maybe saw a donkey,” conceded the Afghan.
We know there are big cats in Afghanistan. This is widely accepted as fact, yet big cats are not reported living in the Zhari District of Kandahar Province. We know there are polar bears in the United States. But if you find yourself stumbling out of the Florida Everglades, ripping moss from your hair while mumbling that you saw a polar bear, locals might ask you to sit under a shade tree and enjoy an iced tea and a nap. A polar bear in Florida is as likely as an alligator in Alaska.
Snow Leopards have been photographed this year in Afghanistan, but the climate and geography in the Wakhan Corridor is extremely dissimilar, and far less populated than Zhari. We are in hot, dry country, just a short drive from the Dasht-i-Margo or “The Desert of Death.” I visited this desert in the spring of 2006 and dozens of times since.
The Afghan Soldiers refute any suggestion that there are big cats here in Kandahar. “No way,” they say, “impossible.” American Soldiers insist they have seen them by naked eye, by weapon optics, and by thermal optics that can zoom with amazing clarity. I look through these kinds of optics almost every day, and to be sure, they are so precise it’s hard to conceive anyone mistaking a sheep or donkey for a big cat. But even when Soldiers agree another Soldier may have seen a big cat, the discussion turns to, “How long did you see it? A second? Ten seconds? A minute?” Sometimes they see it for minutes at a time. Two Soldiers in separate locations claimed they saw large cats jump over high walls. One Soldier told me he saw two cats at the same time. Troops in different outfits who are miles apart are reporting seeing these cats from around Panjwai and Zhari. ...
I asked TJ what color is the cat he’s been seeing. He sees the cat almost every morning, and it’s brown and has spots or stripes. He said it stays about 300 or 400 meters away, and sometimes hangs out for up to twenty minutes. I asked if he’d stake it out with me if I came back, because with my camera gear we can practically get its eye color from 400 meters. He said sure, come back and we’ll stake it out.
It might not be long until we settle the question of the Kandahar Cougar.
——————————————————————— Ben Brody, another embedded reporter working in the same area wrote a similar report back in June.
Last summer when I spent two weeks at Combat Outpost Lakokhel in Zhari District, a few soldiers there swore they had seen a mountain lion-sized cat stalking around their guard towers at night. While I believed they thought they had seen such an animal, I privately felt they were probably seeing a big, sneaky stray dog.
Now I am embedded with soldiers at Combat Outpost Sangsar, just a couple miles from Lakokhel, and the sightings persist. Last night the patrol I was out with spotted two of the cats circling them in the dusty gloom, using their thermal imagers. I don’t have high-tech equipment like that so I couldn’t see them firsthand.
One of the soldiers managed to capture a few photos of the cats on his imager, and I in turn photographed its eyepiece. The thermal images, while a bit indistinct, appear to show two adult Caracals walking 40 meters from an American infantry squad.
The cats followed us for several hours, always keeping their distance but occasionally uttering a low growl, casting a shadow of dread over the dark fields. As we passed a farm compound a lonely hound howled at the column of soldiers, likely unaware of the great cats slinking through the shadows who could easily make a meal of him.
Despite soldiers’ hyperbolic reports that the cats are “seven feet long and around 300 pounds,” Caracals weigh about 40 pounds.
Another really bad game camera photo accompanied by an unpersuasive narrative of skepticism and reluctant public release. This time from Minnesota, a long, long way from the original theoretical range of the imaginary North American elusive and unknown large primate.
I don’t think it requires any apparatus more complicated than the eye to recognize the posture of a man underneath what is obviously a suit.
Tim Kedrowski and his sons, Peter and Casey, say they aren’t pushovers for Bigfoot stories. But a frame on a game trail camera set up on their hunting land north of Remer, Minn. has left them wondering.
“To us, it’s very hard because we lean toward the skeptical type,” Kedrowski said in a telephone interview from his Rice, Minn., home.
But after checking with neighbors and any other hunters who might have been walking through the dense woods at 7:20 p.m. on the rainy night of Oct. 24, he said they couldn’t imagine what else the image could be. Tim said he considered ideas from a bear to a bow hunter in a fuzzy suit. But the arm and hand couldn’t be a bear’s, or its upright gait. And there is no evidence in the photo of a bow or flashlight a hunter might be using to track a wounded deer. ...
Casey Kedrowski said he and his brother had gone out to the family’s hunting shack prior to deer season to bring in firewood and make other preparations. They set up a game trail camera to see what might be wandering around their property.
Casey said he and his brother were the only people who knew where the camera was located. They took the camera down when deer season started, and a couple of weeks later checked on what they had caught.
When they came to the picture of the long-armed creature walking upright, Casey said, “We just looked at each other. Each of us thought we were playing a trick on each other.”
When they determined that neither of them had pulled a prank on the other, they checked to see if anyone had been in the area that night. Tim said the only neighbors were two elderly hunters in their own shack, neither of whom matched the size and appearance of the creature caught on camera.
However, he said, when he asked the men about the night the camera clicked on the mystery, they said they had gone out about 2 a.m. to use the outhouse and had heard strange squealing noises. Tim said he asked them to show him the direction of the sounds. They pointed to the area where the camera had been, although they had no idea of its location.
Tim said he just released the photo and permission for its publication last weekend.
The photo itself is unconvincing and displays many of the attributes associated with previous “man in an ape suit” photos and YouTube videos. Note the lack of articulation on the back of the legs where the thigh meets the knee and continues to the calf. The “fur” has the draped appearance of a pant leg – not the musculature of a wild animal. The hands have the rubbery look of an ape from a 1930s Bela Lugosi B-movie. Notably, the face of the “creature” is blocked by a small tree, conveniently obscuring any facial details, the most difficult part of a costume to fake effectively.
Despite the “internet sensation” claim, Ananova is really the only news source on this one.
A photograph purporting to show a 55ft snake found in a forest in China has become an internet sensation.
It was originally posted in a thread on the website of the People’s Daily, the official Communist Party newspaper in China.
The thread claimed the snake was one of two enormous boas found by workers clearing forest for a new road outside Guping city, Jiangxi province.
They apparently woke up the sleeping snakes during attempts to bulldoze a huge mound of earth.
“On the third dig, the operator found there was blood amongst the soil, and with a further dig, a dying snake appeared,” said the post.
“At the same time, another gold coloured giant boa appeared with its mouth wide open. The driver was paralysed with fear, while the other workers ran for their lives.
“By the time the workers came back, the wounded boa had died, while the other snake had disappeared. The bulldozer operator was so sick that he couldn’t even stand up.”
The post claimed that the digger driver was so traumatised that he suffered a heart attack on his way to hospital and later died.
The dead snake was 55ft (16.7m) long, weighed 300kg and was estimated to be 140 years old, according to the post.
However, local government officials in Guiping say the story and photograph are almost certainly a hoax as giant boas are not native to the area.
Anannova seems to have gotten the story from QuirkyChina, which claims to be quoting the People’s Daily for November 11th, but no such story turn up in a search of the English language edition of the paper’s web-site.
The use of the term “boa” is obviously inaccurate. Boa constrictors are native to the New World. The visible markings on the snake’s back, I think, identify it clearly enough as a reticulated python. And Chinese English news reports do clearly routinely refer to pythons (native to Asia) as “boas.”
This 40 k. (88 lbs.), 4 m. (13’) long reticulated python found by Yunnan villagers in this October 22, 2006 story is referred to as a “giant boa.”
There is a problem with range. Guping is a bit north of the generally described range of Python reticulatus.
Wikipedia estimated range of Reticulated Python (Python reticulatus)
Jiangxi Province, China
And there is a problem with the size. The photograph is obviously calculated to mislead. The snake is hanging from the bucket in the extreme foreground in an effort to induce viewers to take the people and cab behind as an indication of scale. If someone could identify the model of the backhoe, and could determine the actual size of the digging bucket, it would be pretty easy to come up with a more accurate estimate of the actual size of the snake.
Estimates of how large reticulated pythons can grow vary. Wikipedia says “more than 28 feet (8.7 m),” quoting Murphy/Henderson (1997). Wall (1926) proposes 30’ (9.14 m.). Oliver (1958) goes all the way up to 33’ (10.06 m.).
Yet, there is a news agency account, dated January 8, 2004, describing the capture in Indonesia of a nearly 49 foot (14.9 m.), 990 pound (450 k.) monster reticulated python, complete with 0:33 video.
Reuters several days ago carried Polish reports of a large cat roaming the countryside and killing farmer’s pigs in the vicinity of the town of Opole in Upper Silesia. A brief glimpse of the predator was captured by a local on his cell phone camera. Reportedly, hair found at some of the kills was analysed and identified as that of a snow leopard (Panthera uncia).
Residents in south western Poland are living in fear of a mysterious predator blamed for attacking and killing livestock over the past few days.
The animal is thought to be a rare snow leopard. It’s has been sighted numerous times around Opole and has even been recorded on a mobile phone camera by a resident of Biala village. At another location, a driver informed the police that a big cat had jumped over his moving car while chasing a deer.
SWEDEN’S own version of the Loch Ness monster, the Storsjoe or Great Lake monster, has been caught on film by surveillance videos, an association that installed the cameras says.
The legend of the Swedish beast has swirled for nearly four centuries, with about 200 sightings reported in the lake in central Sweden.
“On Thursday at 12.21pm, we filmed the movements of a live being. And it was not a pike, nor a perch, we’re sure of that,” said Gunnar Nilsson, the head of a shopkeepers’ association in Svenstavik.
The association, together with the Jaemtland province and local municipality of Berg, installed six surveillance cameras in the lake in June, including two underwater devices.
The project, which has so far cost about 400,000 kronor ($73,400), is aimed at resolving the mystery of the Swedish Nessie.
The first sighting dates back to 1635 and the most recent to July 2007, with most speaking of a long, serpent-like beast with humps, a small cat or dog-like head, and ears or fins pressed against the neck.
The association employs one person full-time to review the recorded video footage each day.
In the images filmed yesterday and posted on a website dedicated to the Storsjoe monster, a long serpent-like being is seen swimming in the murky waters.
“A highly-advanced system on one of the cameras detected heat produced by the cells,” indicating that it was a live being, Mr Nilsson said.
Last week’s story of the discovery of a deceased Sasquatch in northern Georgia has been debunked. When the block of ice enclosing the alleged body was melted, a rubber Bigfoot suit emerged. California Bigfoot “researchers” claimed they had been deceived and were disappointed. George’s Clayton County Police said they were going to fire the police officer involved.
Looks like a gorilla mask, a buffalo rug, and a bear paw to me
Searching for Bigfoot, Inc. of Redwood City, California announced the alleged recent discovery of a deceased male Bigfoot in the woods of northern Georgia by a Clayton County police officer named Matthew Whitton and a friend, Rick Dyer. Robert Barrows, a Burlingame, California publicist, and Tom Biscardi, Las Vegas promoter and long-time Bigfoot “researcher,” made the announcement and claim to have seen the body personally.
DNA and photographic evidence are promised to be presented at a press conference to be held Friday, August 15, 2008, at noon at the Cabana Hotel-Palo Alto, 4290 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, California 94306.
A body that may very well be the body of the creature commonly known as “Bigfoot” has been found in the woods in northern Georgia.
DNA evidence and photo evidence of the creature will be presented in a press conference on Friday, August 15th from 12 Noon to 1:00pm at the Cabana Hotel-Palo Alto at 4290 El Camino Real in Palo Alto, California, 94306. The press conference will not be open to the public. It will only be open to credentialed members of the press.
Here are some of the vital statistics on the “Bigfoot” body:
The creature is seven feet seven inches tall.
It weighs over five hundred pounds.
The creature looks like it is part human and part ape-like.
It is male.
It has reddish hair and blackish-grey eyes.
It has two arms and two legs, and five fingers on each hand and five toes on each foot.
The feet are flat and similar to human feet.
Its footprint is sixteen and three-quarters inches long and five and three-quarters inches wide at the heel.
From the palm of the hand to the tip of the middle finger, its hands are eleven and three-quarters inches long and six and one-quarter inches wide.
The creatures walk upright. (Several of them were sighted on the same day that the body was found.)
The teeth are more human-like than ape-like.
DNA tests are currently being done and the current DNA and photo evidence will be presented at the press conference on Friday, August 15th.
Alas! the publicity scheme worked only too well. Searching for Bigfoot’s web-site quickly exceeded its bandwidth limit. You can see the original press release in the Google cache, or go to the Inquisitr, who managed to get a copy via Cryptomundo (whose site is also swamped by traffic and unresponsive).
Richard published at Gawker published the original news item on Tuesday alleging that the above object had washed up on a Montauk, Long Island beach, and hinting that it may have originated from the federal Plum Island Animal Disease Center, the vacation spot promised fictional supervillain Hannibal Lector were he to help recover a Senator’s daughter kidnapped by a serial killer in Thomas Harris’s The Silence of the Lambs.
The authorities at Plum Island obligingly cooperated with the silliness by issuing a denial.
The story spread, and was picked up by CNN who ran a
The story went international, and the British Telegraph gravely reported:
The identity of this creature, which reportedly washed up on a New York beach last month, has captivated the blogosphere and is dividing animal experts.
The beast, dubbed the Montauk Monster after the Long Island resort where it was discovered, has a hairless, leathery body, sharp teeth and what appears to be a beak.
A photo of the animal appeared on the gossip website Gawker earlier this week under the headline “Dead Monster Washes Ashore in Montauk”, and the story has since been picked up by US networks Fox News and CNN.
The woman who claims to have taken the original photo on Montauk beach on July 12 says she had no idea what the creature was.
“We were looking for a place to sit when we saw some people looking at something,” said Jenna Hewitt.
“We were kind of amazed,” the 26-year-old added, “shocked and amazed.”
Other locals have now come forward to say they saw the animal, which has been variously identified by blog commenters as a dog, raccoon, and shell-less sea turtle.
The dog theory, which depends on the creature’s beak actually being a nasal cavity, currently appears to have most support.
An initial theory that the image may be a hoax produced as part of a viral marketing campaign has been undermined by the number of witnesses.
All this was so much fun that today Newsday climbed on board with its own photograph and witnesses, claiming:
A. Something really did wash up in Montauk, one sunny day, two weeks ago.
B. More than four people saw it.
C. More than one person photographed it.
The surf was rough, flipping the thing, over and over, and over again.
Jenna Hewitt, of Montauk, and three friends crept up to examine one side. And Hewitt snapped the camera shot heard ‘round the world.
But here’s the rub.
Her group was the second on the scene that afternoon.
The first was a quartet of sun-worshipers from western Suffolk and New York City.
“It looked like nothing I’d ever seen before,” said Ryan O’Shea, of Brooklyn. “It looked like it died angry.”
They were so puzzled by what they saw, they left and came right back, with more friends.
The second time around, Christina Pampalone, of East Northport, borrowed O’Shea’s camera. She aimed and kept on firing.
The result is lots of—ew—gross photos of a carcass that looks more domestic than exotic, a bloated dog, not the Hound from Hell.
It shows ears. A big swatch of fur. And its proportions appear to be less distorted—making the head appear to be a suitable complement to the body.
“I was telling people, all day (Wednesday), that I had better photos,” Pampalone said.
“Everybody I showed her pictures to said it looks like a dead dog,” O’Shea said.
“But looking at the claws, and at the teeth in the front, it looked like it could be something else, something vicious.”
It was relatively small, roughly 21/2 to 3 feet long, he said.
She also told our man Wargas—who had started his workday high on the hope of seeing, and no doubt, smelling, the beast’s remains—that the carcass had been moved from the backyard of her friend to another location.
Joann Dileardo saw it at the end of Roe Avenue in Patchogue, a few weeks ago. “I didn’t know what that thing was,” she said. “It looked like a pig.”
Another reader, Pat, e-mailed that the ladies in his office saw it on an East Quogue beach—back in April.
Elizabeth Barbeiri said her family saw it about a mile east of Gurney’s Inn in Montauk, July 14. And Ryan Kelso, via iPhone, said he spotted it—alive!—in the Montauk dunes. “It looked about the size of an average fox, gray in color, eyes like a mole, hairless and was breathing quite heavily,” he wrote, “needless to say we were freaked out by this discovery and fled the area quickly.”
Lavey Fater saw a surfer bring one to shore, near Ditch Plains.
“It was hairless and gross,” Fater reported. “... The surfer said he had no idea what it was, but that he threw it in the dunes because he didn’t want to be surfing next to it.”
Keith found something last week in Greenport; Chris found one a month ago at Jones Beach east of Field 6. (“The one I saw had a longer snout or beak or whatever you want to call it.”) Sean said he buried one, 3 feet deep, in South Jamesport.
The Voice of Iraq could use a better English-language translator and more garrulous journalists.
I think the article below is saying that someone filmed a Komodo dragon-like reptile in western Duhok (in the Kurdish region of Iraq) believed to have been extinct for a 100 years.
A group of persons accidentally found a 100-year-old rare animal, according to deputy rector of Duhuk University for scientific affairs on Tuesday.
“The animal, found accidentally this week in Bajiel region in Aqra district, western Duhuk, is unlike any other animal. It feeds on reptiles and bugs,” Hassan Amin told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq – (VOI).
“After watching the short movie made by a group of ordinary persons, we can say that the extinct animal is more than 100 years-old and is related to the Dragon family,” Amin explained.
“We have discussed the issue with two specialized centers in Germany and Britain to know more details about this animal, which was discovered in the country for the first time,” he noted.
Duhuk is located 460 km north of Baghdad.
UPDATE - 6/18: 5:29 PM EST
A commenter from the UK says he saw it on TV, and thinks that it was an iguana. There is a problem with that identification as iguanas are New World lizards, found only in Central and South America.