|Average height||Up to three meters (description varies)|
|Aggressivity||Medium (description varies)|
|Place of origin||Himalayas|
|Subspecies||Possibly (see text)|
|Behind the Scenes|
The Yeti (from Ye - teh, "that thing" in Nepalese), also known as Abominable Snowman, is a large ape-like animal reported to inhabit the mountainous regions of the Himalaya. Although most witnesses describe the Yeti as being dark brown in color, it is often depicted as white in popular culture, possibly to emphasize its glacial environment or to better distinguish it from the American Bigfoot, which is fairly similar in appearance.
The Yeti is a respected and feared figure in the legends of the native peoples of the Himalaya. The creature has been first encountered by European expeditions in the late 19th century, although it has been known to the natives for many centuries before. Since the 20th century, Yeti footprints and other evidences have been often found and photographed, but no conclusive evidences of the beast's existence have been gathered, nor has any living or dead specimen been captured. Scientific analysis of fur and other materials allegedly coming from Yetis have often had inconclusive results, though in some cases the analysis did point out that the materials had come from a bear.
Despite being most well known as the Abominable Snowman, rarely do Yeti reports describe the creature as aggressive. Some people believe that Yetis spend most of their lives high in the mountains, while others state that the creatures probably live in valleys bellow, where there is more food, but are more easily spotted when traveling through the snowed mountains from one valley to another.
In 1961, the Nepal government officially declared the Yeti to be a real animal.
Some cryptozoologists who have studied several Yeti relates have identified three distinct types:
- Dzu-teh is the name applied to large, bear-like Yetis which are sometimes seen walking on four legs. Most researchers believe it to be just a bear, not a Yeti in the traditional sense. In fact, the term dzu-teh is actually the local name for the Himalayan Brown Bear.
- Meh-teh is the classic Yeti and the one which is seen more often. It is a two to three meters tall bipedal ape-like creature. The word meh-teh translates as man-bear.
- And finally teh-lma, which refers to the smaller (one meter tall) Yetis said to live on the forest valleys between mountains. Many researchers believe them to be the juvenile form of the Yeti, rather than a subspecies.
It is often thought that the Yeti may be related to many similar creatures occasionally spotted around the world, the most notable of which is certainly the so-called Bigfoot, or Sasquatch, of North America.
If real, many people believe the Yeti should be regarded as a new species of primate, while others believe that the creature is more closely related the bear family. A fairly common theory is that people who have claimed to see the Yeti were actually spotting the rare Tibetan Blue Bear, which, like most bears, is a facultative biped (which means it can walk on two legs but prefers to walk on four).
The Yetis have often been accused of being a surviving population of the extinct giant primate Gigantopithecus. Despite the popularity of this theory, it is actually flawed because Gigantopithecus was probably unable to walk on two legs, even for brief periods of time.
Appearances in Media
Like the Loch Ness Monster to Scotland and the U.F.O.s to Roswell, the Yeti has become somewhat of a cultural icon associated with the Himalayan Mountains, and has been featured in numerous works of popular culture in all forms of media, especially cartoons and fantasy or horror movies. Its popular imagery occasionally overlaps with that of Bigfoot/Sasquatch, so much that a number of works feature North American creatures being referred to as "Yeti" or "Abominable Snowman". Others will show Yeti in wrong locations, such as the Arctic circle, rather than its Nepalese/Tibetan homeland.
The Yeti makes a notable appearance in the comic book Tintin in Tibet: this being one of the comparatively rare occurrences where the creature is depicted in popular fiction in its actual brown pelt, rather than a white one. Other comic appearances include the Uncle Scrooge story The Lost Crown of Genghis Khan, by Carl Barks. Also, "The Snowman" is one of Batman's lesser known villains (with only two appearances in canon), and is acknowledged as having a human mother and a Yeti for a father.
Robotic Yeti, modeled after the real race, were prominently featured in two classic Doctor Who serials featuring the Second Doctor and his companions Jamie, Victoria and, exclusive to the Yeti episodes: Professor Travers. The real Yeti is known to exist in the Doctor Who universe, but never made more than a short cameo in the series.
While no actual Yeti is seen; the Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea season 4 episode "The Abominable Snowman" features a scientist named Dr. Paulsen who gets mutated into a hairy humanoid beast. Meanwhile, a Yeti-like creature known as Tappa is seen as an inhabitant of the mysterious Land of the Lost in the eponymous 1974 TV series.
In the classic 1957 movie The Abominable Snowman (a.k.a. The Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas), starring Peter Cushing and Forest Tucker, the Yetis are implied to be a fully intelligent species which inhabited the Earth before mankind. They remain mostly unseen until the end of the film.
The three meters tall entity from Ishirō Honda's 1955 movie Half Human is officially named "Snowman" and closely resembles the Yeti, but inhabits the Japanese Alps region.
Other movie appearances include The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, which features Yetis that look more like carnivores than primates. Contrary to their usual attitude, Yeti are depicted as murderous rampagers in horror movies like Yeti: Curse of the Snow Demon and Rage of the Yeti, although in the latter case, the creature lives in the Arctic and has only superficial (if any at all) resemblance to the mythical Yeti. In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Gilderoy Lockhart brags about his encounter with the Yeti, among other adventures, but this is likely not true as he is later exposed as a major fraud.
The Yeti has been featured in several children cartoons, including Jonny Quest (in "Monster of the Monastery"), DuckTales (an adaptation of the aforementioned "Lost Crown of Genghis Khan"), The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy ("Yeti or Not Here I Come", in which he is a Pleistocenic creature which only remained alive for so long because the Grim Reaper had forgotten about him) and Secret Saturdays. Skips from Regular Show is a yeti who talks and works at a city park.
The animated feature Monsters, Inc. shows the Yeti as a former inhabitant of Monstropolis which has been banished to the human world for unknown reasons. Chill Out, Scooby-Doo features a fake Abominable Snowman, but as in Doctor Who, the ending strongly implies that there is a real one out there as well. In Rise of the Guardians, the large hairy humanoids which work on Santa Claus' toy factory are referred to as Yetis, despite being in the Arctic, rather than Himalayas. Yetis can also be spotted among the several monsters in Hotel Transylvania, and one makes a minuscule cameo featured on the world map montage in The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists.
A Yeti, known simply as the Abominable Snowman, is featured as the only antagonist of the freeware game SkiFree.
It is worth noting that Yetis have also been depicted as extraterrestrials in a few instances, for example, in Isaac Asimov's short story Everest.
- The real life Yeti Crab (Kiwa hirsuta) is named after this creature.
- Yeti on Alien Species Wiki, focusing on depictions of the creature as extraterrestrial.