Mountaineers from the Indian army on an expedition in Nepal have found mysterious large footprints in the snow that they think belong to the yeti, or the abominable snowman, the military said on Tuesday.
Largely regarded by the scientific community as a myth, the yeti is part of Nepali folklore and is said to live in the higher snow-capped areas of the Himalayas.
In a tweet accompanied by pictures, the Indian army said it had sighted footprints measuring 32 inches by 15 inches (81cm by 38cm) close to a camp near Mount Makalu on April 9.
“For the first time, an #IndianArmy Mountaineering Expedition Team has sited Mysterious Footprints of mythical beast ‘Yeti'”, it said in a tweet, not explaining how a mythical beast could leave footprints.
Indian social media was abuzz with sceptical and even hilarious reactions from users on the discovery. Hashtag #Yeti was trending at number two on Twitter in India.
For the first time, an #IndianArmy Moutaineering Expedition Team has sited Mysterious Footprints of mythical beast 'Yeti' measuring 32×15 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. pic.twitter.com/AMD4MYIgV7
— ADG PI – INDIAN ARMY (@adgpi) April 29, 2019
Have you or anyone seen #Yeti before?
Why do you assume #Yeti is two-legged? Or 4-legged?
Why can’t Yeti-ji be a 1-leg creature?!
— Rakesh Sharma (@rakeshfilm) April 30, 2019
Located on the border between Nepal and China, Makalu is among the highest mountains in the world and stands near the Makalu-Barun Valley, a remote wilderness that has also been surveyed by researchers hunting for the yeti.
Tales of a wild hairy beast roaming the Himalayas have captured the imagination of climbers in Nepal since the 1920s, prompting many, including Sir Edmund Hillary, to go looking for the creature.
In 2008, Japanese climbers returning from a mountain in western Nepal told Reuters news agency they had seen footprints, which they thought belonged to the yeti.
Although they carried long-lens cameras, video cameras and telescopes, they hadn’t seen or taken any photographs of the creature.
If you question Indian Army's 'Yeti' discovery, are you anti-national?
— Meghnad 🔗 (@Memeghnad) April 30, 2019
But scientists have found little evidence of the yeti’s existence so far. In 2017, a group of international researchers studied multiple purported yeti samples collected from across the Himalayan region and concluded they belonged to bears.
In 2008, two men in the United States said they had found the remains of a half-man-half-ape, which was eventually revealed to be a rubber gorilla suit.