Mountaineers from the Indian army claim they’ve found footprints in the Himalayan snow that are evidence of the Yeti, the famed beast of the region’s folklore, The New York Post reports.
On Monday, the Indian army’s official Twitter account posted a tweet with a series of pictures showing a group of mountaineers in uniform, as well as pictures of tracks in the snow. The pictures were taken near the Makalu Base Camp, a remote mountainous area between Nepal and Tibet.
The photos were actually taken weeks ago, but the army held off on making them public because they wanted to research theories about the mythical beast, also sometimes incorrectly referred to as the “abominable snowman,” and make sure they were on the right track, so to speak, before going public.
“So, we thought it prudent (to go public) to excite scientific temper and rekindle the interest.”
The mountaineers estimate that the prints are approximately 32 inches long by 15 inches wide, roughly consistent with the beliefs about the Yeti’s general size and shape.
“For the first time, an #IndianArmy Moutaineering Expedition Team has sited Mysterious Footprints of mythical beast ‘Yeti’… This elusive snowman has only been sighted at Makalu-Barun National Park in the past.”
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
It remains unclear, as of this writing, if the mountaineering team attempted to follow the prints to see if they could find the beast, perhaps hiding out in a cave.
Unfortunately, not everyone is convinced the Indian team stumbled upon the tracks of the cryptid. Author Daniel C. Taylor, who has explored the Himalayas extensively and has even written a book about the Yeti, says via Yahoo News that the footprints almost certainly belong to a bear, not a Yeti. He also doubts that the mountaineers got their estimates right as to the size of the prints.
“If that is the footprint of an animal or a single animal, it’s the size of a dinosaur. One needs to really confirm those measurements of the footprint size because we know for sure that there are no dinosaurs living in the [region].”
Unlike Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster, which are largely not taken seriously and exist mostly as cultural in-jokes, the Yeti is considered sacred by the residents of the Himalayan region. Some shrines and temples in the region even have bits of hair or flesh that supposedly came from the mythical hominid. However, scientists who have been allowed to study those samples have concluded that they came from bears.