Illustration of the Yeti.
|Year First Seen||1832|
|Authenticity Status||Presumed Authentic|
Covered in brown fur, the Yeti reportedly resembles a human-gorilla hybrid or possibly even a bear, and it stands more than 11 feet (3.3 meters) tall.
With a menacing howl and eyes that glow, this beast reportedly protects the mountains from evil-doers. The first report of a strange creature living in the Himalayas dates back to 1832, when climber B.H. Hodgson of Nepal witnessed a tall beast covered in dark hair walking on two feet.
At the turn of the century, sightings multiplied as more adventurers set out to conquer the mountains, but it wasn't until the 1950s that Yeti sightings reached a fever pitch. Eric Shipton made one of the best cases that the Yeti exists in 1951, when he photographed strange footprints on Mount Everest.
Other expedition teams returned from the mountains with hair and fecal samples, but nothing proved conclusive. Since then, Yeti enthusiasts continue to visit the mountains in search of this elusive creature. Sightings have occurred as recently as 2008, when a team of Japanese climbers photographed more strange footprints. The Yeti has been labeled the "guardian" of the Himalayan Mountains, but it's the natives who have become protective of this obscure beast.
Many tribes in the area consider the Yeti a divine being and don't appreciate cynics who question its existence, or simplify the sightings as nothing more than rare Himalayan wildlife. One well-known detractor is Reinhold Messner, who claims to have killed a Yeti and wrote a book about his experience. Messner says the Yeti is actually the endangered Himalayan Brown Bear.
Despite skeptics who set out to disprove its existence, the Yeti is a pop culture icon. Interpretations of the Yeti can be found in numerous video games, television shows and movies, such as the holiday TV special "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer."
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