In a tweet put out on Monday night, the Indian Army claimed that its Mountaineering Expedition Team sighted footprints measuring 32x15 inches on April 9 near the Makalu Barun park national park located in Nepal. "This elusive snowman has only been sighted at Makalu-Barun National Park in the past," it said.
The tweet soon went viral with some Twitterati asking if the official account of the Indian Army was hacked and this what some sort of prank. However, this is not the first time where such a claim has been made and later dismissed. In November 2017, a report in the Royal Society journal Proceedings B said that the 'half-human half-snowman' that people have claimed to spot is infact a bear. They even classified the three kind of bears that is likely to be spotted in the Himalayan region — the Asian black bear, the Tibetan brown bear and the Himalayan brown bear.
For the first time, an #IndianArmy Moutaineering Expedition Team has sited 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. pic.twitter.com/AMD4MYIgV7— ADG PI - INDIAN ARMY (@adgpi) April 29, 2019
So, what exactly is a Yeti?
The legend of Yeti — a Sherpa word for 'wild man' — dates back to 1920s. They are said to be gigantic in size, weigh around 100-180 kilograms, and reside at high altitudes where most humans would not prefer living.
This is a representational image of a Yeti from Shutterstock
Humans have for long been fascinated with these unknown creatures allegedly walking the mountains.
In 1951, renowned British explorer Eric Shipton took a picture of a giant footprint that clearly showed a thumb. The footprint was found on the Menlyung Glacier on the Nepal-Tibet border near Makalu Barun national park.
Throughout the 20th century, the fascination with the Yeti grew stronger. Two expeditions — one that almost included Edmund Hillary — were mounted in the 1950s in search of these creatures.
Debunking the theory, Charlotte Lindqvist, associate professor at the University of Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences, had said: "Our findings strongly suggest that the biological underpinnings of the Yeti legend can be found in local bears. Brown bears roaming the high altitudes of the Tibetan Plateau, and brown bears in the western Himalayan mountains, appear to belong to two separate populations. The split occurred about 650,000 years ago during a period of glaciation," reported AFP.