Indian Army ‘discovers’ footprints of the mythical Yeti, inviting ridicule on social mediaThe Indian Army has finally found footprints of the mythical Yeti, according to a tweet by the Additional Directorate General of Public Information for the Indian Army.
The Indian Army has finally found footprints of the mythical Yeti, according to a tweet by the Additional Directorate General of Public Information for the Indian Army.
In the tweet, accompanied by a photo of the expedition team and three photos of what appear to be footprints in the snow, the Indian Army on Monday night said it had “sited [sic] Mysterious Footprints of mythical beast ‘Yeti’ measuring 32X15 inches close to Makalu Base Camp on 09 April 2019”.
The “elusive snowman had only been sighted at Makalu-Barun National Park in the past”, the tweet continued, sending social media into a frenzy of skeptical hilarity.
“This is a late April Fool’s Day joke, right?” tweeted one Shantanu Chikara while another made references to the Night King, a mysterious snow-dwelling being from the HBO show, Game of Thrones. Yet others drew attention to the fact that the photos appeared to only show footprints from one leg: “Mystery solved...Yeti is using a pogo stick,” said one tweet.
Much of the ridicule was directed towards the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, with India in the midst of its mammoth election exercise.
"BJP must be working out how to fit this into the rest of the campaign," tweeted former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah.
India’s Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav too took a jibe at the BJP, tweeting: “It seems that “Acche Din” are more elusive than the #Yeti”.
Three more photos—in which expedition members are seen measuring the distance between the footprints using a trekking pole, and using a map to show where the military expedition team discovered the mysterious footprints in the snow—have also surfaced since #Yeti began to trend on Twitter on Tuesday morning.
Mount Makalu, at 8,485m, is the fifth highest mountain in the world and is located on the Nepal-China border, 19km southeast of Mount Everest. The Indian Army claims that the footprints were discovered at Langmale Kharka en route to Makalu. Langmale Kharka lies somewhere between Yangle Kharka (3,600m) and Makalu Base Camp (5,000m).
“The footprints were spotted by porters and our guide while we were trekking towards lower base camp [4,600m],” a military source closely following the expedition told the Post. “What look like footprints have been spotted here in the past, according to locals, but there is no credibility to the new claim.”
Sightings and footprints believed to be of the mythical Yeti have been reported for centuries in Nepal. And this is not the first time expeditions have claimed to find Yeti footprints, even famous mountaineers like Sir Edmund Hillary and natural historian Sir David Attenborough had once set their sights on finding the Yeti.
The elusive ape-like creature had also captured the imagination of Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi alias Herge who created ‘The Adventures of Tintin’. The twentieth volume in the series, ‘Tintin in Tibet’, shows a trail of large footprints on its cover, while the plot follows a Chinese boy who gets lost in the Himalayas and is rescued by the Yeti. The young reporter Tintin, accompanied by his friend Captain Haddock and his dog Snowy, go looking for their lost friend.
The scientific community regards the Yeti as a myth, since no credible evidence has been discovered to prove its existence. Samples purporting to be the Yeti’s remains—including one scalp that is on display at a monastery in Khumjung in the Everest region—have been concluded to be parts from Asian black bears, Himalayan brown bears or Tibetan brown bears, and even a dog by a DNA study.
The Yeti has long been part of Nepali folklore, with legends from a number of Himalayan communities claiming the existence of a wild man in the mountains, or a hybrid man-bear creature. The ‘abominable snowman’ is believed to live at high altitudes in the Himalayas and stories have long been passed down from generation to generation. The creature, however, has remained elusive, appearing only as enlarged footprints or dubious remains. In the tongue of the Sherpa community, it even has a name—S(c)hokpa.