Hair samples said to be from mysterious hominids such as the yeti and bigfoot actually came from horses, bears, goats and canines, genetic testing has shown.
In all, results were obtained on 30 hair samples.
While most of the results pointed to existing mammals, two of the samples said to have been from yetis turned up an interesting result, revealing their closest genetic affinity with a Palaeolithic polar bear.
The researchers reported their findings in the British journal, Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
In 2012, the research team led by Oxford University geneticist Bryan Sykes asked for hair samples around the globe from what scientists refer to as anomalous primates.
In all, they received 57 samples and obtained genetic test results on 30 samples.
Three of the samples were said to be from yetis, the so-called abominable snowman of the Himalayas.
One came from a goat called a serow. The other two showed close genetic links with a Palaeolithic polar bear, Ursus maritimus. The DNA was similar to that from a bear fossil found on a Russian Arctic island dating back 40,000 years.
The hairs, they said, came from either a previously unknown bear species, a darker coated variant of a polar bear, or perhaps a local cross with a brown bear – a hybrid.
The news was discouraging for believers in bigfoot, the North American equivalent of the yeti.
In all, 18 samples purportedly from bigfoot were tested. They would were found to be from a range of existing mammals – the American black bear, raccoon, cow, porcupine and canines. One sample was even of human origin.
Believers in the almasty, said to inhabit the inhabit the Caucasus and Pamir Mountains of central Asia, got similarly bad news. Eight samples were found to be from the brown bear, cows, horses and racoons.
A solitary sample said to be from the orang pendek, a hominid said to live in the Sumatran forest, came back as being from a Malaysian tapir.
The abstract can be read here.