The Indian Army will send pictures and videos of large "mysterious footprints" captured by its personnel in the higher Himalayas to domain experts, sources said on Tuesday, a day after its claim suggesting the presence of the mythical Yeti close to the Makalu Base Camp in Nepal earlier this month.
On Monday, the Army claimed its mountaineering expedition team in Nepal found mysterious large footprints in the snow that they believe belong to the Yeti, or the abominable snowman.
In Nepali folklore, Yeti is a mythical ape-like creature taller than an average human that is said to inhabit the Himalayas, Siberia, Central and East Asia.
"For the first time, an #IndianArmy Mountaineering Expedition Team has sited (sic) Mysterious Footprints of mythical beast 'Yeti' measuring 32x15 inches close to Makalu Base Camp on 09 April 2019. This elusive snowman has only been sighted at Makalu-Barun National Park in the past," the Army tweeted on Monday night.
The Army also released photos showing large footprints in the snow which they claim to belong to the creature.
An Army team of 18 personnel led by Major Manoj Joshi embarked on an expedition to Mount Makalu in Nepal on April 2. On April 9, the team spotted "mysterious footprints" measuring 32 X 15 inches to close to the Makalu base camp, the sources said.
They said the pictures were sent by the team using satellite communication.
"We will share the photos and videos with domain experts to understand more about this," the sources said.
They did not elaborate on which domain experts they will approach.
The team is expected to be back in India next month.
Makalu is the fifth highest mountain in the world at 8,485 metres. It is located in the Mahalangur Himalayas, some 19 kilometres southeast of Mount Everest, on the border between Nepal and Tibet, China.
Stories of the Yeti first emerged as a facet of Western popular culture in the 19th century.
Given the lack of evidence of its existence, the scientific community has generally regarded the Yeti as a legend.
In one genetic study, researchers matched DNA from hair samples found in the Himalaya with a prehistoric bear from the Pleistocene epoch.
Though the hunt for the mythical beast stretches back centuries, tales of a wild hairy beast roaming the Himalayas captured the imagination of climbers in Nepal in the 1920s, prompting many, including Sir Edmund Hillary, to go looking for the creature.
Sightings have been reported for centuries. Footprints have been spotted and stories have been passed down from generation to generation.
A 2017 DNA study of purported Yeti samples from museums and private collections provided insight into the origins of this Himalayan legend.
The research, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, analysed nine “Yeti” specimens, including bone, tooth, skin, hair and faecal samples collected in the Himalayas and Tibetan Plateau.
Of those, one turned out to be from a dog. The other eight were from Asian bears -- one from an Asian black bear, one from a Himalayan brown bear, and the other six from Tibetan brown bears.
“Our findings strongly suggest that the biological underpinnings of the Yeti legend can be found in local bears, and our study demonstrates that genetics should be able to unravel other, similar mysteries,” said lead scientist of that study, Charlotte Lindqvist, an associate professor at the University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences.
Lindqvist’s team was not the first to research the “Yeti” DNA, but past projects ran simpler genetic analyses, which left important questions unresolved.
“This study represents the most rigorous analysis to date of samples suspected to derive from anomalous or mythical ‘hominid’-like creatures,” Lindqvist and her co-authors wrote in their paper.