A "yeti" that was reportedly sighted on several occasions in the Mount Shoria region of southern Russia has been determined through DNA tests to be an American bear that probably escaped from a circus.
The announcement by scientists has led to the witty quip that "It wasn't a Yeti but a Yogi."
The Sun reports that alleged sightings of a big, hairy creature roaming the Mount Shoria region over a period of three years sparked a lot of excitement among bigfoot enthusiasts.
Samples of coarse black and grey hair the "bigfoot" shed in clumps in several cave locations in the region were collected. The collectors drew a lot of media attention by claiming they had found Yeti hair.
The Sun reports that the samples have been analysed by a leadng geneticist from Oxford University. According to The Sun, "We gave three hairs from different areas of Shoria to yeti-hunter Prof Bryan Sykes of Oxford’s Wolfson Institute."
After scientific analysis of the hair, experts returned the following results: "A long, thick, distinctive hair, comes from a rare type of black bear from North America — Ursus americanus. They can reach 7ft... The other two hairs turned out to be from a racoon and a horse."
However, the experts were puzzled about the presence of the American bear in Russia, saying the bear is never found in the wild outside the US. The scientists were emphatic that the hair was not from an Asiatic black bear.
The Sun reports Professor Sykes, said: "The hairs did not come from a yeti. The American black bear result was highly unusual. An explanation could be an animal escaped from a circus, zoo or private collection, but it is extraordinary."
The Sun comments that it turns out that the mysterious beast was "more closely related to famous cartoon bear Yogi than a mythical man-like snow monster."