The Indian army claims it has "photographic evidence" of the mythical yeti. Members of the army's mountaineering expedition team snapped photos of what appear to be footprints near the base camp of Nepal's Mount Makalu, the fifth highest mountain in the world, on April 9. The decision was then made to release the photos as "they matched earlier theories," per the Times of India. If they do show footprints, they belong to something big. The army's Additional Directorate General of Public Information describes the prints as 2.5 feet long and more than a foot wide (32 inches by 15 inches) in a tweet, adding, "This elusive snowman has only been sighted at Makalu-Barun National Park in the past." In fact, there have been no confirmed sightings of a yeti, per CNN, which notes this latest claim is "at odds with scientific findings."
The yeti myth has persisted for 350 years, ever since a holy man ventured to a cave high in the Himalayas. Local folklore suggests he was aided by Yetis while living there and kept evidence of their existence, per CNN. The Times reports that Japanese climbers also claimed to have seen yeti footprints in western Nepal in 2008. But a 2017 study of 24 samples said to have come from yetis—including hair, skin, feces, and bone—showed they actually came from bears and a dog. The Indian army's Monday announcement has therefore been met with "jokes and disbelief," per the BBC. "With all due respect, institutions such as yours should be more responsible and careful before going ahead and declaring the sighting of any footprints as 'Yeti's'!" one user writes. The army counters that the photos will be "handed over to subject matter experts." (Read more yeti stories.)