The Yeti, or Abominable Snowman, is a mythical ape-like creature said to inhabit the Himalayan mountains.
Yeti "sightings" make the news from time to time, and the latest one has been met with the expected skepticism.
Mountaineers from the Indian Army (ADG PI) spotted 32-inch footprints near the Makalu Base Camp in Nepal that they claimed came from the Yeti.
ADG PI says the footprints were discovered and photographed on April 9.
For the first time, an #IndianArmy Moutaineering Expedition Team has sited Mysterious Footprints of mythical beast… https://t.co/1mpgyJ35FL— ADG PI - INDIAN ARMY (@ADG PI - INDIAN ARMY)1556557998.0
The Yeti is the folkloric cousin to Bigfoot (or Sasquatch) and there has been no conclusive evidence that such creatures actually exist.
In fact, scholars like Daniel Taylor, who has been recognized for his work on the subject of theoretical social change and who wrote 2017's Yeti: The Ecology of a Mystery, say that the most likely culprits are a mother bear and her cub:
"In every case you will find that all yeti footprints were made by the Himalayan black bear, Ursus thibetanus."
He also explained how a bear would be able to make footprints that large, noting that mother bears produce overprints, which happen when her front foot goes down and the back foot goes down on the same spot.
The length of the footprint can be explained by the baby cub that "hops behind the mother." That, and snow melting along the edges of the print create the effect we see.
ADG PI has been ridiculed since it shared the tweet to its official social media account, with at least one person urging the agency to delete the tweet altogether to save India from "international embarrassment"...
...at least one person bringing in a healthy dose of skepticism...
@adgpi @SpokespersonMoD @ChinarcorpsIA @HQ_IDS_India @PIB_India @IAF_MCC @indiannavy Can there possibly be a simple… https://t.co/ayKL25IuEf— Siddharth Singh (@Siddharth Singh)1556563152.0
...and others just in this game for laughs.
@adgpi @SpokespersonMoD @ChinarcorpsIA @HQ_IDS_India @PIB_India @IAF_MCC @indiannavy Also sighted: a delighted Yeti… https://t.co/NB8hL8o5il— Sachin Kalbag (@Sachin Kalbag)1556594710.0
@adgpi @SpokespersonMoD @ChinarcorpsIA @HQ_IDS_India @PIB_India @IAF_MCC @indiannavy Wun Wun? https://t.co/qYbFJyxQwr— Chowkidar Ankur Singh (@Chowkidar Ankur Singh)1556564396.0
@adgpi @SpokespersonMoD @ChinarcorpsIA @HQ_IDS_India @PIB_India @IAF_MCC @indiannavy He entered in city for voting https://t.co/8QQRr5NBIR— Asif Karjikar (@Asif Karjikar)1556566629.0
@adgpi @SpokespersonMoD @ChinarcorpsIA @HQ_IDS_India @PIB_India @IAF_MCC @indiannavy Yeti I Love You https://t.co/CcpIZtHZLO— Sameer Khan (@Sameer Khan)1556607669.0
The Nepalese government has been a good sport about the whole Yeti thing, issuing hunting licenses in the 1960s to those who wanted to have a shot at capturing the legendary beast.
Genetic research published in the scientific journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B in 2017 found that nine bone, tooth, skin, hair and fecal samples attributed to the Yeti came from Asian black bears, Himalayan brown bears or Tibetan brown bears, with one sample even coming from a dog.