Yeti Fun Facts
Belief in the Yeti's existence goes back thousands of years. Tibetans have worshipped a Yeti-like monster for centuries. References to it can be found in ancient Roman history, and in Indian lore. In A.D. 79, Pliny the Elder wrote:
"In the land of the Satyrs, in the mountains that lie to the east of India, live creatures that are extremely swift, and they can run on both four feet and two. They have human-like bodies and because of their swiftness can only be caught when they are ill or dead."
The first publicized report of a Yeti sighting came from a German photographer in 1925, but many Nepalese report having seen the Yeti, as well. Mountaineers (including Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay - the first to scale Mt. Everest) report having seen large footprints in the snow. However, expeditions to track the Yeti have failed, perhaps due to the difficult weather conditions in the Himalayas.
Here are some distinguishing features of the Yeti, as described by the Nepalese:
- It's nocturnal.
- It whistles and growls.
- It picks up huge stones and tosses them aside with one hand when looking for food.
- It can kill with a single punch.
- It stands upright when it attacks.
- It will kill animals, but is not necessarily dangerous to humans.
When Tibetans are asked what animal most resembles the Yeti, they choose the orangutan. Fossils of giant orangutans have been found near the foothills of the Himalayas. But reported Yeti sightings have occurred as recently as the 1980s.
The idea of an ancient species surviving unknown to humans is immensely appealing (as evidenced by the myths of the Loch Ness monster and Bigfoot). It has proved true in the case of the Coelacanth fish, thought to have been extinct for the past 70 million years until it was rediscovered in 1938. It is possible, though increasingly rare, for such animals to survive unknown to us. And if they do, the frozen landscape of the Himalayas is one of the safest places for them to be.
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