LONDON — A British scientist says he may have solved the mystery of the abominable snowman — the elusive ape-like creature of the Himalayas. He thinks it's a bear.
DNA analysis conducted by Oxford University genetics professor Bryan Sykes suggests the creature, also known as the yeti, is the descendant of an ancient polar bear.
Sykes compared DNA from hair samples taken from two Himalayan animals — identified by local people as yetis — to a database of animal genomes. He found they shared a genetic fingerprint with a polar bear jawbone found in the Norwegian Arctic that is at least 40,000 years old.
Sykes said Thursday that the tests showed the creatures were not related to modern Himalayan bears but were direct descendants of the prehistoric animal.
He said, "it may be a new species, it may be a hybrid" between polar bears and brown bears.
"The next thing is go there and find one."
Sykes' research has not been published, but he says he has submitted it for peer review.