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The Yeti and his brethrens

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posted on Jan, 31 2005 @ 04:46 PM
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First thing: what is the Yeti? It's a term often used improperly to dump together all the traditions and sightings of Central Asia (particulary the Himalayan region) involving either unknown large primates or mystery hominids. It's often associated by many with a huge apeman covered in white hair and wandering the mountains during snowstorms. It couldn't be more different from reality.
Yeti is just one of the many terms used by Central Asia inhabitants to describe a particular creature, believed by many to be very real and that has deep roots in the popular traditions. This article will focus on the Himalayan regions proper, with some excursions in the neighbouring areas (Mongolia, Caucasus, etc). To keep things as short as possible I will exclude the rich tradition coming from the rest of Asia (Vietnam, Laos, etc).
First thing etymology: it's a Sherpa or Newari word with unclear meaning and origin. The most commonly accepted is "That there human-like thing". But there are many other meanings as well: "yeh" means "snowy mountain" or "rocky area" and "teh" simply means "animal": so it could mean "mountain animal living among the rocks or the snow". Someone put forward that "teh" is the same as "dred" ("bear"), so meaning " mountain or snow bear". This has often been contested. It is interesting to note that one of the six classes of sentient beings in Tibetan tradition is called Yi Dwags, meaning litterally "hungry ghosts".
To add confusion, Sherpas often speak of two or three types of Yeti, but the classification is often blurred and very confused. Bernard Heuvelmans worked on this for years and finally came up with a very rough classification: the Dzu-Teh (probably large bears turned completely carnivorous), the Sogpa or Mi-Teh (the "true" Yeti) and the Teh-Lma (a small Yeti or very large monkey). Mi-Teh are said to inhabit the highest, most remote parts of the mountains, Dzu-Teh to inhabit the area between the snowline and the treeline, while Teh-Lma inhabit the dense alpine forests in remote locations. That's where the definite boundary ends. Sherpas tend to use the terms freely, without much care in classification. Only the most learned (Lamas, schoolteachers, etc) use this classification.
Physical description, of course, varies a lot. Mi-Teh are thickset and muscular. They are 5 feet 5 inches-8 feet tall. Estimated weight is 200-400 pounds. They are covered with thick fur, grayish-brown or reddish-brown. The head is high and pointed, with a sagittal crest. The nose is flat. Mouth is wide with large teeth. Feet are plantigrade. There's no tail. Dzu-Teh are said to be bearlike, but bigger, with shaggy reddish, black or dark grey hair. They have long and powerful arms and huge hands. Teh-Lma are small (4-5 feet), covered with red hair. The head is pointed and there's a slight mane.
Behavior is, obviously, very difficult to piece together. The Mi-Teh is believed to be primarily nocturnal, reclusive and to have migratory habits. Walks bipedally but sometimes runs on all fours. It's very sure-footed, even on steep or difficult ground. Feeds on pikas, rodents, hares, grubs, eggs, bamboo shots and, possibly, tahr, yaks and musk deer. Sometimes raids village crops. Call is a loud, gull-type yelping, mewing or high-pitched cry. Makes rough nests from juniper branches. Has no technology whatsoever. It is said to occasionally mate with humans, but this may actually refer to other Wildmans of region (see below). The Dzu-Teh is said to walk both bidedally and on all fours. Reclusive, but will attact Yak and kill them by twisting their necks. Solitary. The Teh-Lma walks and runs on its hind legs. It's even more reclusive and will run away as fast as it can if it sees a human. Has a taste for frogs (it is sometimes calle "frog-eating Yeti").
Tracks are a very important part of the Yeti history: length is 8-13 inches, width is 4-6 inches. The big toes is separated from three or four smaller ones. Impression in the snow is much deeper than a human track, even those of mountaineers wearing heavy boots and carrying heavy loads. Stride ranges from 1 foot 7 inches to 3 feet. Trail is a straight line. Dzu-Teh tracks are very similar, but broader and, usually, more blurred. Sometimes there are claw marks. Teh-Lma tracks are very humanlike but smaller: maximun lenght 5 inches.
Later I will post more about hard evidence, other hominids of Central Asia and some good sources.

[edit on 31-1-2005 by Kakugo]




posted on Jan, 31 2005 @ 05:00 PM
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Originally posted by Kakugo
They are 5 feet 5 inches-8 feet tall. Estimated weight is 200-400 pounds.
[edit on 31-1-2005 by Kakugo]


Hummm if its up to 8 feet tall it should weigh a lot more then 400 pounds, animals are more heavily well build then humans, so for 8 feet tall it should weight at least 700-900 pounds ... maybe more... For example I heard of male gorillas only 5 feet tall weighing over 450 pounds, which is not too different from a Yeti...

[edit on 31-1-2005 by beyondSciFi]



posted on Jan, 31 2005 @ 05:10 PM
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Hard evidence is present, but has often turned out to be either inconclusive or false. There are currently three known scalps in Nepal. The scalp at the Pangboche Monastery is the most promising, but it's also the best guarded and taking samples is practically impossible. It's conical, covered with reddish hair. The skin is is blackish with the texture of brittle leather. The scalp at the Kumjung Monastery is very similar in shape and size, but it was proven to be a fake when Sir Edmund Hillary took it to Chicago in 1960 to be analyzed. It was made from the skins of the Serow, a Himalayan goat-antelope (Naemorhedus sumatrensis). The scap at the Namche Bazar Monastery is a very crude and recent fake, probably made with goat skins. There are also two mummified hands, also from Nepal. The one in the Makalu Monastery has been proven to be made of the paw and forearm of a Snow Leopard (Uncia uncia). The one in the Pangboche Monastery is much more promising. In 1959 Peter Byrne was allowed to examine it closely, alone. During this time he removed a thumb and a phalanx, replacing them with human fingers he brought with him. The real bones were smuggled to England, where they were examine by W.C Osman Hill, one of the most brilliant primatologists ever. At first he declared them human, then changed his mind and considered them Neanderthal-like. Other two renown zoologists saw the samples: Charles Leone was baffled and George Agogino thought they came from an unknown ape. The current whereabouts of the pilfered sample is unknown. Unluckily, the Pangboche hand was stolen from the Monastery last year and it may be lost forever. A skin, belonging to an alleged Yeti killed by the soldiers of the Rajah of Mustang (Nepal) turned out to be that of a Sloth bear (Melursus ursinus), a shy and small bear found in India, Ceylon, Bhutan and Nepal. Other Yeti skins obtained by Desmond Doig in 1960 belong to the bluish variety of the Brown bear (Ursus arctos pruinosus). Hair samples recovered in Bhutan in 2001 by zoologist Rob McCall were examined at the Oxford Institute of Molecular Medicine, where they could not be matched against any known hair type.
It would be tempting to write off the Yeti as misidentified bears, but it's not so easy. The Dzu-Teh is clearly a bear, everyone agrees, and that's why Reinhold Messner's book "My search for the Yeti" got a mild reception. He went the "easy way" and tried to carefully avoid any problematic issue. These bears are probably larger, solitary specimen of the two Brown bear subspecies inhabiting the Himalaya (Ursus arctos isabellinus and U. a. pruinosus) that became flesh-eaters and specialize in hunting yaks and other large mammals. The Mi-Teh is a bit of a puzzle: it has been suggested over time that it's either a mythical figure (a personification of the high mountain dangers), a folk memory of ancient, large apes (like the famous Gigantopithecus), Hindu hermits (sadhu) living in solitude and meditation or, again, a large, misidentified bear. Only few have put forward a bolder theory: Bernard Heuvelmans suggested in 1952 that it could be a descendant of the Gigantopithecus (he suggested the name Dinanthropoides nivalis), a large-jawed ape that lived across Asia during the Pleistocene (two species are known G. blacki, from Southern China and Vietnam and G. giganteus, from India and Pakistan) driven to the mountains by the advancing higher hominids. However we only have jaw fragments and isolated teeth, so we don't know the true body proportions. Moreover, the teeth are indispisputably vegetarian, which contrasts with some of the Yeti's habits.

Sources: Bernard Heuvelmans "On the Tracks of Unknown Animals" (London: Kegan Paul, 1997), Ivan T. Sanderson "Abominable Snowmen: Legends Come to Life" (Philadelfia: Chilton, 1961), Ralph Izzard "The Abominable Snowman Adventure" (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1955), Swami Pranavananda "The Abominable Snowman" in Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 54 (1957), John Napier "Bigfoot: the Yeti and Sasquatch in Myth and Reality" (New York: E.P. Dutton, 1973), Kesar Lall "Lore and legend of the Yeti" (Kathmandu: Pilgrim Book House, 1988), Reinhold Messner "My Quest for the Yeti" (New York: St. Martin's, 2000), Mark Henderson "Yeti's Hair Defies DNA Analysis" in Times (London), April, 2, 2001, George Eberhart "Mysterious Creatures" (Santa Barbara, Ca.: ABC Clio, 2002).

About your remark: that's the average weight I found in the aforementioned sources. Differently from Bigfoot (or Sasquatch, if you like) the Mi-Teh/Yeti is invariably described as having a lighter frame, albeit very muscular.



posted on Jan, 31 2005 @ 05:21 PM
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Originally posted by Kakugo
About your remark: that's the average weight I found in the aforementioned sources. Differently from Bigfoot (or Sasquatch, if you like) the Mi-Teh/Yeti is invariably described as having a lighter frame, albeit very muscular.


If indeed they have a lighter frame, say about that of a female gorilla, then the weight should come down, but still would be more then 400 pounds at 8 feet tall. Probably at least 600 pounds tho... no less... if it had lean muscle build (for an animal).

[edit on 31-1-2005 by beyondSciFi]



posted on Feb, 1 2005 @ 01:08 PM
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I have ordered "On the Tracks of Unknown Animals" from Kegan Paul's in the meantime, as well as "The Kraken and the Colossal Octopus" .
Sure they will be a sweet read-
in contrast to my next credit card statement!

I also wonder on which substrate they calculated Yeti's weight-

footprints? bones? ... sherpa sightings?

Please take the time and fill us in.

Best regards,

*Pop*



posted on Feb, 1 2005 @ 05:23 PM
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The weight was calculated using the footprints. Basically they compared Yeti prints with those of a mountaineer in full gear, with a known weight, measured the depth, made a few adjustments while considering the foot size and the estimated bodily size, and there you go! It's an empiric method, but please consider that Yeti only got a fraction of the limelight Bigfoot got. Most of these hypothesis were made by the mountaineers themselves, comparing their own footprints with the ones they just found. It's absolutely not a precise method, as I said, but there not bio-metric researches on the topic (by contrast, there's plenty on the Sasquatch).
My apologies for not posting the rest of the article right away, but I am rewriting part of it and I am also very busy at the time, so be patient!
Popular mechanics: you'll find that every single cent you spent on those books is not wasted. "On the tracks..." is an outstanding book, you'll end up reading it over and over again. "The Kraken...", by contrast, is perhaps the less book written by Heuvelmans. It's an unfinished book (you'll notice it), but nonetheless a much better book on the topic than anything you can get your hands on.



posted on Feb, 2 2005 @ 04:29 PM
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Originally posted by Kakugo

Mi-Teh are thickset and muscular. They are 5 feet 5 inches-8 feet tall. Estimated weight is 200-400 pounds (...)

that's the average weight I found in the aforementioned sources. Differently from Bigfoot (or Sasquatch, if you like) the Mi-Teh/Yeti is invariably described as having a lighter frame, albeit very muscular.

The weight was calculated using the footprints.
Basically they compared Yeti prints with those of a mountaineer in full gear, with a known weight, measured the depth, made a few adjustments while considering the foot size and the estimated bodily size, and there you go! It's an empiric method, but please consider that Yeti only got a fraction of the limelight Bigfoot got. Most of these hypothesis were made by the mountaineers themselves, comparing their own footprints with the ones they just found. It's absolutely not a precise method, as I said, but there not bio-metric researches on the topic (by contrast, there's plenty on the Sasquatch).


No affront, but hopefully constructive criticism:

The weight estimate of 200-400 pounds seems not to be general consensus-
at least not for those who consider Yeti to be a (descendant of) Gigantopithecus.

In this context, 1200 lbs and up to 10 feet height are fair appraisal.
(f.ex Russell Ciochon in: The Search for the Giant Ape in Human Prehistory; Bantam Books, New York 1992)

Jeff Glickman (Toward a Resolution of the Bigfoot Phenomenon; North American Science Institute, Hood River 1998)
even figured the exact weight of the "Patterson Bigfoot": 887 kg ...

I have not read the book, so don't ask me how he could do this!

Of course, the supporters of the Gigantopithecus theory (also: Black, Bourne, Krantz, Shackley) visualize a much less fragile ape:





Originally posted by Kakugo

Popular mechanics: you'll find that every single cent you spent on those books is not wasted. "On the tracks..." is an outstanding book, you'll end up reading it over and over again.
"The Kraken...", by contrast, is perhaps the less book written by Heuvelmans. It's an unfinished book (you'll notice it), but nonetheless a much better book on the topic than anything you can get your hands on.


Yes, I already presumed that "The Kraken..." could not be of superior scientific value.
I bought it mainly for the pictures!









[edit on 2-2-2005 by popular mechanics]



posted on Feb, 2 2005 @ 07:14 PM
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Constructive criticism is what I always welcome. As I say, I only report the facts coming from the biography I have at hand. If there are other studies I am not aware of, I take the chance to fill myself in, so you are more than welcome. As I said, we cannot but speculate about the Gigantopithecus' size: we don't have post-cranial bones, so current estimates are based on the assumption that it had the same bodily proportions as modern-day primates. Ciochon's conclusions are based on not universally accepted methods: see here. The smaller Gigantopithecus giganteus is a trump card because right now we don't even know if it was a true Giganopithecus (just a few jaw fragments and teeth), we don't know the exact bodily proportions (as above) and it's much older than G. blacki (5 million years vs 500.000 years for the freshest bones). Of course we can be completely off the mark: it can be a distant, evolved relative of the aforementioned species, something not on the fossil record, or who knows what.
PS: almost finished tampering with the rest of the article... stay tuned.



posted on Feb, 2 2005 @ 08:48 PM
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Originally posted by Kakugo

Constructive criticism is what I always welcome. (...) If there are other studies I am not aware of, I take the chance to fill myself in,(...)


Me too.
Though I frankly admit that in this case, I only have a synopsis of results at hand, not the quoted studies themselves-
basis of my argumentation is Christian Meyer's "Hausarbeit zur Primatologischen Übung bei Professor Dr. W. Henke & Dipl.-Biol. E. Frauendorf" am Institut für Anthropologie der Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz (WS 1998/99).
(Hallo Herr Meyer, hoffentlich betrachten Sie dies nicht als Missbrauch Ihrer Ausarbeitung!)


Originally posted by Kakugo

As I said, we cannot but speculate about the Gigantopithecus' size: we don't have post-cranial bones, so current estimates are based on the assumption that it had the same bodily proportions as modern-day primates. Ciochon's conclusions are based on not universally accepted methods: see here


Noble refutation. At this point, I have no further objections.


Originally posted by Kakugo

PS: almost finished tampering with the rest of the article... stay tuned.


Sure.
Very pleasant discourse so far!



posted on Feb, 7 2005 @ 08:00 AM
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Other Wildmen and Ape-men of Central Asia: Yeti has many "cousins" and "brethrens" inhabiting the vast wildernesses and mountains of Asia. This is a short review of some of them.
Alma: this how the wildman is known in Mongolia and it means either "wild man" or "killer of animals". It is believed to inhabit the Altai Mountains and the Gobi Desert in Mongolia, the Tian Shah Mountains in the Uygur area, China and also the Sayanskiy Range in Russia. It is much more humanlike than the Yeti: maximum height is about 6 feet, is covered in reddish-brown hair, except for hands and face.The arms are long, with longfingers and humanlike nails. The thumbs are shorts. Legs are short, with bare, callused knees. The feet are broad with a massive big toe projecting inward.
Behavior is, apart from some dubious instances, easy to piece together. It is primarily a vegetarian, eating small animals occasionally. Is a very fast runner. Lives in caves Has no language whatsoever, but uses very crude tools. No knowledge of fire. Not afraid of men, but will keep a distance. Some folklore has it to abduct humans occasionally, but will not harm them.
Hard evidence is, again, very hard to come by. Johannes Schiltberger, writing in the XV century, says that, while he was a prisoner to a Mongolian prince, a local warlord brought as a gift to his master two wildmen he captured in the mountains. He gives a good description of them. In 1937 an Alma was allegedly killed in the Gobi Desert and its skin offered as a gift to a monastery at Baruun Hural, Mongolia.
Possible explanations are two: either a surviving Homo erectus or an hominid akin to the Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis). Myra Shackley suggested that Almas maybe a common ancestor to Neanderthals and modern humans. Neanderthals were known to use fire and handtools, but the Almas could represent degenerate descendants who reverted to a more bestial way of life. The area has a wealth of fossil hominids, including H. erectus, H. neanderthalensis (still not officially confirmed), archaic humans and what may look like an hybrid between H. erectus and H. abilis.
Sources: Ivan T. Sanderson "Abominable Snowmen: Legends Come to Life" (Philadelfia: Chilton, 1961), Bernard Heuvelmas and Boris Porshnev "L'homme de Neanderthal est toujours vivant" (Pris: Plon, 1974), Myra Shackley "Still Living? Yeti, Sasquatch and the Neanderthal enigma" (New York: Thames and Hudson, 1983)

Bar-Manu: this is one of the most sad cases in cryptozoology. This is the "wildman" of North-West Frontier of Pakistan. Physically is very similar to the Alma, but there are better description of the head and face. The nose is large and flat, the forehead receding, the eyebrows protruding. The cheekbones are very prominent and the neck is massive. The hair is darker than the Alma's, but the rest of the physical description seems a neat fit. Beahvior, also, is quite similar, but there ae two peculiar differences: the first is that every single witness talk about its foul body odor. The second is that the Bar-manu, while still an omnivorous, seems to have developed a particular taste for ant larvae and small mammals. As I said before, this is a very sad case: famed biologist and cryptozoologist Jordi Magraner led numerous expeditions in Pakistan to track down the Bar-Manu. After collecting a wealth of footprints and informations, he led a final expedition in 2001 with the firm intent of proving the Bar-Manu existence. He didn't get very far, since he was killed by militiamen while in a small village. The precious materials he collected during those months were mostly destroyed by this same people: they allegedly contained registrations of Bar-Manu's calls. According to the local guides he had hired, he was very close to his goals, since he had planned a series of stake-outs in areas were Bar-Manu are often seen.
Possible explanations are the same as the Alma: either a Homo erectus survival or a degenerate population of Homo neanderthalensis.
Sources: Eric Joly and Perre Affre, "Les Monstres sont vivants: Enquete sur des creatures "impossibles"" (Paris: Bernard Grasset, 1995), Michel Raynal "Jordi Magraner's Field Research on the Bar-Manu: Evidence for the Authenticity of Heuvelmans' Homo pongoides" in Crypto Hominology Special, no. 1.



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