Sasquatch/Yeti may be a new subspecies of bear

A well-known geneticist, Bryan Sykes has been studying DNA from the Siberian Yeti (Abominable Snowman) and Sasquatch in North America. 

In a  preliminary report, he says the Yeti samples he has matched an ancient polar bear, from when polar bears and brown bears were diverging.  So the Yeti might be a previously unknown subspecies of bear, or a polar bear/brown bear hybrid.  Bears sometimes walk on their hind legs (perhaps to intimidate?) so maybe the Yeti is a bear with a particular propensity to walk on its hind legs. The Yeti/Sasquatch is reported to be up to 10 feet tall, and polar bears can stand up to 10 feet tall.  However the height of Yeti/Sasquatch sightings is likely exaggerated because people are scared.

This is much less spectacular than a new hominid - but pretty amazing anyway. 

Dr. Sykes hasn't released results from his American Sasquatch samples yet - but it's conceivable that we have a previously unknown kind of bear wandering around with some unusual behavior. 

 

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Comment by Luara on October 21, 2013 at 6:06pm

Dogs have such a wide diversity of appearance - they have the genetic ability to have many different appearances, within the same species.  Bears are related to dogs so I wonder if the same is true of bears. 

Comment by Luara on October 21, 2013 at 5:32pm

Here's a British documentary that goes into more details on the unusual bear theory.

They DID duplicate a Bigfoot-style track, with a bear's front and hind foot stepping in the same place.  Apparently bears do have toes. 

With an 800-pound grizzly bear that acts like a dog :)

They actually matched two different hair samples from the Himalayas, from many miles apart, to the same ancient polar bear DNA. 

Sykes theorizes that it's a polar bear/brown bear hybrid.  Hybrids often have unusual characteristics - their characteristics might depend on the individual.  He says polar bears hunt people and that's would explain why people are so afraid of it.  It might be a more aggressive sort of bear than the usual which goes around scavenging the garbage. 

Comment by Luara on October 21, 2013 at 11:23am

I don't know why you are reacting as if this is a "win" for the sasquatch believers.  It does suggest there is something unusual behind the sasquatch and yeti sightings.  But them being an unusual kind of bear is much less spectacular than a novel hominid out there.  It's actually somewhere between the sasquatch skeptic and sasquatch believer theories. 

An unusual bear does a good deal to rationalize the sightings, actually.  That video I linked to above, does make you think of a sasquatch when the bear is standing up.  Our minds think of something on two legs as "humanlike". 

I don't know whether bear tracks can look like the sasquatch tracks, with toes.  There are some sasquatch tracks that would be difficult to fake, where the toe position changes from one footprint to the next, etc. 

Bears might be stinky, and one thing that people often report in sasquatch sightings is that they smell very, very bad. 

If they are bears that are more likely to stand upright than other bears, then people seeing them when NOT standing upright, might just think it's a bear.  Polar bears might be more likely to walk upright than a brown bear - I'm not sure. 

Also bears are heavily built, like the sasquatch sightings.  I wondered about the sasquatch as hominid-human hybrid theory - there have been people that tall, but those people are built skinny like people, not stocky and huge like bears. 

There is often some grain of truth in weird stories, some element of the unknown in them.  This is true in many areas.  For example, many people rave about how much unusual diets have done for them - raw vegan diets, paleolithic diets, low-carb diets.  I think this is often because they have an allergy to some food they stopped eating.  It's clear that there are food allergies other than the "classic" and well-known kind, because double-blind placebo controlled food challenges show they exist. 

There is also a great deal of hoaxing and illusion in weird stories.  The sasquatch believers are quite aware of that.

Comment by Michael Penn on October 21, 2013 at 10:46am

Have it your way. When DNA proves the existence of a Yeti (or his cousin) you can bet that it was the mighty chondrial DNA. On the other hand, these sightings may have been foxes or big bears the entire time.

Comment by Luara on October 21, 2013 at 9:06am

This is just more "woo" on the fringe areas.

No, this is a DNA study by a well-known geneticist Bryan Sykes.  Your namecalling - "asscratch", "woo" - is vacuous. 

Comment by Michael Penn on October 21, 2013 at 8:49am

Asscratch has never been shown to really exist, and as of this moment there is not any "unknown DNA" that is attributed to him. This is just more "woo" on the fringe areas.

On the other hand, Zeus might exist! Maybe.

Comment by Luara on October 20, 2013 at 10:01am

SOME big and hairy unknown mammal may be out there.  Results are not back on the Sasquatch but the Yeti DNA apparently is.  But, "more research is needed".  As it always is.  Pretty soon there will be radio-collared Sasquatches. 

There are various sasquatch habituation sites around the country, where people try to get sasquatches used to humans by feeding them, interesting toys out etc. 

Maybe what those people are actually doing, is feeding bears :)  But unusual bears. 

The idea of strange upright bears wandering around in the woods is Very Cool. 

Comment by Randall Smith on October 20, 2013 at 8:18am
Are we to assume, then, that "they" DO exist?

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