In 1957, rumors began to spread that a monastery in Pangboche, Nepal possessed a Yeti hand. Now, after more than fifty years, a finger from this hand has finally been subjected to DNA analysis. Does it belong to a Yeti?
The Lost Yeti Hand?
The history of the Pangboche Hand makes for a fascinating read. In 1957, an oil tycoon and adventurer named Tom Slick heard rumors that a monastery in Pangboche, Nepal possessed a Yeti hand, which it used as a ritual artifact. He and his team were eager to examine it. One of his associates, a man named Peter Byrne, managed to infiltrate the monastery and stole some bones from the hand, replacing them with human bones. Byrnes smuggled the bones into India at which point actor Jimmy Stewart (yes, that Jimmy Stewart) smuggled the bones into London.
The Yeti, or Abominable Snowman, is a cryptozoological creature. It’s often described as an ape and supposedly lives in the Himalayas. It’s one of the most sought after cryptids in the world, rivaling Bigfoot and the Lochness Monster in popularity. In fact, a widely publicized expedition is now underway, hoping to discover evidence of this elusive animal.
Part of the finger was retained by George Agogino, an anthropologist who served as a consultant on Slick’s various expeditions. These supposed Yeti bones were later analyzed by the TV program Unsolved Mysteries, which decided they were “near human.” Unfortunately, they disappeared shortly afterward, making future tests impossible.
But the main portion of the finger was given to Professor Osman Hill for examination. Professor Hill first declared it to be from a hominid and later, a Neanderthal. But after that, the finger vanished.
The Lost Yeti Hand…Rediscovered?
Recently, the finger was rediscovered in the archives of the Hunterian Museum, at the Royal College of Surgeons. It was subsequently verified by an elderly Peter Byrne as the original finger. Reporter Matthew Hill requested a DNA test, the results of which were revealed on December 28, 2011. And now, we know for certain that the identity of the hand’s owner was a…
Human. That’s right. The finger, revered by Pangboche monks, stolen by Byrne, and smuggled by Jimmy Stewart, was nothing more than a human finger.
“We had to stitch it together. We had several fragments that we put into one big sequence and then we matched that against the database and we found human DNA. So it wasn’t too surprising but it was obviously slightly disappointing that you hadn’t discovered something brand new. Human was what we were expecting and human is what we got.” ~ Dr. Rob Ogden, Royal Zoological Society of Scotland
Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis
Of course, this discovery won’t end the hunt for the fabled Yeti. Still, it represents a blow to the hopes of cryptozoologists everywhere. But don’t count the Abominable Snowman out just yet. There are numerous examples of mythological creatures being discovered in modern times such as the Kipunji Rungwecebus kipunji and the Burmese snub-nosed monkey Rhinopithecus strykeri. Maybe, just maybe, one of these days we’ll be able to add the Yeti to that list as well.