ICB: An abominable snowjob… and Yeti may exist
Welcome to this week’s I Call Bullshit, a regular column on spin, pseudoscience and shenanigans. It’s a hairy one this week – does Yeti exist?
On a research trip to a remote Russian mountain this week, scientists found some hair and a footprint – and a ‘presumed bed’ - and declared they were now 95 per cent sure the mythical Yeti lives.
The Yeti legend is of a big, ape-like creature roaming the Siberian tundra, with wild fur but a hairless face. Reports of sightings crop up with Roswellian frequency – and coincidentally there have been several reports of alien bodies and UFO crash sites in the ‘hood as well.
The Guardian reports the local government says it has now “collected irrefutable evidence” of the Yeti.
There has been plenty of ‘evidence’ found in the past. Several explorers have found large footprints, but it’s more likely these are from an animal, such as a wolf or a monkey, but have been distorted as the snow melts.
There are a few grainy images and dodgy videos around, but it’s more likely these are of a bear, or a monkey - or a dude in a gorilla suit - than an oversized, hirsute hominid.
One ‘Yeti’ turned out to be a dishevelled Tibetan holy man.
Throw in the fact the scientists who gathered for the convention in the Kemerov region are Yeti ‘enthusiasts’, and I reckon you can call bullshit.
Take Robin Lynn, from Michigan in the US. She arrived at the conference fairly certain that they do exist. In fact, she says she has a family of ten living on her land – although over that way they’d be called Sasquatch or Bigfoot.
“I know they exist – I see them every day,” she said.
Ah well then, that’s settled, should be easy to track down and DNA test, then.
The Guardian, with the merest hint of cynicism, points out that “The Kemerovo government has hosted a number of stunts aimed at boosting the region’s reputation as a Yeti centre.”
Yeti tales have definitely earned their place within cryptozoology – the pseudoscience of “creatures thought to exist for which no conclusive evidence has been found”.
And yet - according to this wildly speculative article in Nature, the discovery of Homo floresiensis - the metre-tall hominids known as ‘Hobbits’ who existed on the island of Flores as recently as 18,000 years ago – raised hoped for Yeti hunters. For the first time, there seemed a real possibility of a genuine ‘homo’ species living at the same time as Homo sapiens.
From the sounds of that, and the fact that we are still discovering hitherto unknown species, there’s a sliver of possibility that something Yeti-like exists out there. But has it been discovered by the likes of Ms Lynn at the Kemerov conference?
I don’t think so. I call bullshit.
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