From Academic Kids

This article relates to the mythical creature, for the British indie rock band see Yeti (band).

The Yeti is the Western name given to a large primate-like creature reported to live in the Himalaya. The name derives from the Tibetan yeh-teh, "little man-like animal"; it is a false cognate with Old English Geottan (or Yettin in Modern English), an antiquated word for an orc or troll, the Yeti's European equivalent. See also Jotun.

Most mainstream scientists and experts consider current evidence of the Yeti's actuality unpersuasive, and the result of hoaxes, legend or misidentification of mundane creatures. Still, the Yeti remains one of the most famous creatures in cryptozoology.

Certain physical evidence, however, such as tracks and nests have suggested to some that Yeti is an unknown primate, a remnant hominid, or a type of bear.

The Yeti is sometimes referred to as the "Abominable Snowman". This name was popularized by the press after a reporter related a mistranslation of a Nepali name for the Yeti. "Migoi" is another name for such a creature.

The term yeti is often used to describe a number of very different reported creatures:

The term is also often used to refer to reported ape-like creatures that fits any of these descriptions, e.g. the "Scottish yeti" with reference to the fear liath.

Recently, Henry Gee, editor of the journal Nature, wrote that "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.... Now, cryptozoology, the study of such fabulous creatures, can come in from the cold" [1] (



Occasional reports of an ape-like creature in the Himalayas began filtering to the west in the 1800s, mainly by British explorers [2] (

Journal of the Asiatic society of Bengal published, in 1832, the account of B. H. Hodgson. He wrote that while trekking in northern Nepal, his native guides spotted a tall, bipedal creature covered with long dark hair, then fled in fear. Hodgson did not see the creature, but concluded it was an orangutan.

Perhaps the first formal record of reported Yeti footprints was in 1889's Among the Himalayas, by L.A. Wadell [3] ( Waddell reports his native guides described the large apelike creature that left the prints; he concluded the prints were a bear's. Waddel heard stories of bipedal, apelike creatures, but wrote that of the many witnesses he questioned, none “could ever give me an authentic case. On the most superficial investigation it always resolved into something that somebody had heard of.”

The frequency of reports increased in the early 20th century, when westerners began making determined attempts to climb the many mountains in the area and sometimes reported seeing odd creatures or strange tracks [4] (

Also notable was Lieutenant Colonel C.K. Howard-Bury, inadvertently responsible for coining the term “Abominable Snowman” While leading a group on Mount Everest in 1921, Howard-Bury’s expedition discovered many footprints at about 20,000 feet in altitude. Howard-Bury related his account to a reporter for the ‘’Calcutta Statesman’’, however, the reporter made an error: The sherpas had said “meh-teh” (roughly, “manlike thing that is not a man”), while the reporter wrote “metoh-kagmi”, which translates, roughly, to “abominable snowman”.

In 1925, N.A. Tombazi, a photographer (and, incidentally, a member of the Royal Geographical Society) saw a creature at about 15,000 feet in altitude, near Zemu Glacier. Tombazi later wrote that he observed the creature from about 200 or 300 yards’ distance, for about one minute. “Unquestionably, the figure in outline was exactly like a human being, walking upright and stopping occasionally to pull at some dwarf rhododendron bushes. It showed up dark against the snow, and as far as I could make out, wore no clothes.” about two hours later, Tombazi and his companions descended the mountain, and saw what they took to be the creature’s prints, described as “similar in shape to those of a man, but only six to seven inches long by four inches wide ... The prints were undoubtedly those of a biped.”

In 1942, after escaping from a Siberian prison, Slavomir Rawicz and his companions reported seeing two large, apelike creatures while crossing the Himalaya. They claim to have observed the creatures for several hours from a distance of about 100 m (300 feet).

Western interest in the Yeti peaked dramatically in the 1950s. While attempting to scale Mount Everest in 1951, Eric Shipton took photographs of a number of large prints in the snow, at about 6,000 meters (20,000 feet) above sea level. These photos have been subject to intense study and debate: Some argue they are the best evidence of Yeti's reality; others disagree, and think the prints are a mundane creature's, distorted and enlarged by the melting snow.

In 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reported seeing large footprints while scaling Mount Everest. Hillary would later discount Yeti reports as unreliable.

Beginning in 1957, Tom Slick, an American who had made a fortune in oil, funded a few missions to investigate Yeti reports. In 1959, faeces reportedly from a Yeti were collected by Slick’s expedition. Analysis found a parasite, though but could not classify it. Bernard Heuvelmans wrote that “Since each animal has its own parasites, this indicated that the host animal is equally an unknown animal.”

In 1959, actor Jimmy Stewart, while visiting India, reportedly smuggled the remains of a supposed Yeti, the so-called Pangboche Hand, by hiding them in his luggage when he flew from India to London [5] (

In 1970, British mountaineer Don Whilliams says he saw a creature while scaling Mount Annapurna. While scouting for a campsite, Whilliams heard some odd cries. His Sherpa guide told him the sound was a Yeti’s call. That night, reported Whilliams, he saw a dark shape moving near his camp. The next day, Whilliams observed a few human like footprints in the snow, and that evening, he asserted that with binoculars, he watched a bipedal, ape-like creature for about 20 minutes as it apparently searched for food not far from his camp.

Yeti accounts have perhaps received less attention in recent decades, but as recently as 1998, Craig Calonica reported seeing two apelike, bipedal creatures on Everest.


  • Many cryptozoologists, after careful examinations of eye-witness reports and statistical evidence, have concluded that Yeti reports are misidentification of mundane creatures. Well-financed expeditions have failed to turn up any positive evidence of its existence, although a sample of hair retrieved from one expedition was reportedly confirmed as belonging to an unknown ape.
  • Enthusiasts speculate that these reported creatures could be present-day specimens of the extinct giant ape Gigantopithecus, as the only evidence (other than teeth) recovered from Gigantopithecus (its jawbone) indicates a skull rested upon a vertical spinal column (as in hominines and other bipedal apes such as Oreopithecus). However, while the Yeti is usually described as a bipedal, most scientists feel that Gigantopithicus was probably quadrupedal, and so massive that unless it evolved specifically as a bipedal ape (like Oreopithecus and the hominids) upright walking would have been even more difficult for the now extinct primate than it is for its extant quadrupedal relative, the Orangutan. Without evidence to support it, this suggestion must be regarded as highly speculative.
  • Although there is no firm evidence to support Yeti reports, some have noted the Himalayas are remote and sparsely populated, and that there is perhaps more room for the Yeti's actuality than with Bigfoot in North America.

The Yeti and popular culture

With the many Yeti reports in the 1950s the creature crossed-over into popular culture. Mel Blanc lent his talent to voicing a bumbling, lovelorn Abominable Snowman on a few Warner Brothers cartoons from the era.

The long-running British science fiction television series Doctor Who featured robotic Yeti in the serials The Abominable Snowmen and The Web of Fear and its 20th anniversary special The Five Doctors.

In 1960, the Tintin comic book Tintin in Tibet was published, featuring a story about a yeti. This has been claimed to be the author Herge's own favourite in the series.

An abominable snowman called Bumbles was the villain in the perennial 1964 Rankin-Bass Christmas television special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

In 1978, Disneyland added Audio-Animatronic yetis to its Matterhorn Bobsleds attraction.

The 2001 Disney/Pixar film Monsters, Inc. featured an Abominable Snowman voiced by John Ratzenberger.

In 2005, Walt Disney World will open Expedition Everest in Animal Kingdom, which will be a roller coaster featuring animatronic Yetis.

See also


  • Jerome Clark, "Unexplained! 347 Strange Sightings, Incredible Occurrences, and Puzzling Physical Phenomena", Visible Ink Press, 1993.
  • Bernard Heuvelmans, "On The Track Of Unknown Animals", Hill and Wang, 1958
  • Reinhold Messner, "My quest for the yeti : confronting the Himalayas' deepest mystery", New York : St. Martin's Press, 2000, ISBN 0312203942

External links

eo:Restajxa homeculo es:Yeti fi:Lumimies fr:Yti it:Yeti ja:イエティ nl:Yeti pl:Yeti pt:Yeti ru:Снежный человек


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