The Indian army has claimed to have found the footprints of a yeti, prompting ridicule on social media.
On Monday, the army tweeted to nearly 6 million followers that it had found “mysterious footprints of [the] mythical beast”. The post added that the prints, measuring 81 x 38 cm (32 x 15 inches), were discovered close to Makalu base camp in the Himalayas.
In Nepalese folklore, the yeti or abominable snowman is a tall ape-like creature said to live in the Himalayas, Siberia, central and eastern Asia. Given the lack of evidence for existence, scientists have regarded it as legend.
The army claimed “this elusive snowman” had “only been sighted at Makalu-Barun National Park in the past”, and posted pictures of the footprints on its Twitter account.
Though the supposed discovery was made on 9 April, according to the Times of India, the army said it held on to the “photographic evidence” about the yeti before they decided it matched earlier theories. They added that the “evidence” had been “photographed and handed over to subject matter experts” for scientific evaluation.
Among the Twitter users who reacted with jokes and bewilderment at the army’s announcement was author Siddharth Singh. He posted pictures of people walking, alongside the caption: “Can there possibly be a simpler explanation?”
Previous scientific studies have concluded the origins of yeti stories, which have been told for centuries, are based on real animals.
The results of a DNA analysis of supposed yeti samples – including hair, fur and faeces – published in 2017, showed the samples were from Himalayan and Tibetan subspecies of brown bear and an Asian black bear.
In 2011, a “yeti finger” found in Nepal in the 1950s was revealed by a genetic expert to have been human bone.
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